This, the relative pronoun, may serve in several ways beside the ones you have learned. In English, an example would be:
I saw the child to whom I gave the money.
In less stilted form, although not as pleasing to grammarians, it is:
I saw the child that I gave the money to.
The second form is close to the Irish equivalent:
Chonaic mé an páiste a dtugaim an t-airgead dó.
To say: I saw the child that I don’t give the money to, the Irish equivalent is: Chonaic mé an páiste nach dtugaim an t-airgead dó.
“A” and “nach” here both cause eclipsis when they introduce the relative clause for this type of sentence in all tenses except the past tense, and even there several of the irregular verbs are preceded by “a” and “nach”.
With all except “téigh”, “déan”, “abair”, “feic”, “faigh”, and “tá”, the words to introduce the relative clause in the past tense are “ar” and “nár”, and they cause aspiration, as usual.
An example of the past tense:
I saw the girl that I gave the newspaper to; Chonaic mé an ghirseach ar thug mé an nuachtán di.
Note that because “girseach” is baininscneach (feminine), the last word must be di, “to her”.
Here are some sentences to help you learn an tuiseal tabharthach (TUSH-uhl TOO-uhr-hahk*), or dative case, with relative clauses. Read each sentence out loud, get the meaning by mental picture (not by translation), and then substitute the noun following the sentence for the words in italics. Change the end word when necessary.
Chuala mé an t-amhránaí a ndúirt tú leis. The woman.
Bhris Caitríona an fhuinneog ar tháinig mé tríthi. The windows.
Baileoidh sibh na cupáin nach bhfuil caife iontu. The bottle.
D’fheicfá an carr nár cuireadh an bosca faoi. The chair.
Feicfidh siad an chathair ar fhill Séamas uaithi. The countries.
Is é seo an leabhar a bhfuair sí an scéal uaidh. The girl.
Cheannaigh an rialtas an garáiste a ndearna Niall na plátaí ann. The farm.
I heard the singer that you spoke to. an bhean léi.
Caitríona broke the window that I came through. na fuinneoga tríothu.
You-all will collect the cups that don’t have coffee in them. an buidéal ann.
You would see the car that didn’t have the box put under it (under which the box was not put). an chathaoir fuithí.
They will see the city that Séamas returned from. na tíortha uathu.
This is the book that she got the story from. Is í seo an ghirseach uaithi.
The government bought the garage that Niall made the plates in. an fheirm inti.
Follow the word order and form given above, with the preposition last, when you speak or write. After you have had sufficient practice, you will be ready for an alternative form for several (but not all) prepositions:
Just as in English, in which you can say either “I see the box that I place the letter in” or ” I see the box in which I place the letter”, it is possible in Irish to say either:
Feicim an bosca a gcuirim an litir ann; or:
Feicim an bosca ina gcuirim an litir.
In the past tense, this alternative becomes:
Feicim an bosca ar chuir mé an litir ann; or:
Feicim an bosca inar chuir mé an litir.
The prepositions that allow this choice are:
i; in, with forms: ina, inar
do; to, for, with forms: dá, dár
de; off, also with forms: dá, dár
faoi; with forms: faoina, faoinar
ó; from, with forms: óna, ónar
trí; through, with forms: trína, trínar
The forms ending in “r” are for the past tense only and cause aspiration of the verb following them. Here are examples:
Dhíol Diarmaid an leabhar ina raibh an litir. D’fhill Nóra ar an siopa ina bhfuair sí na húlla. Chonaic mé an teach ina bhfanfaidh sé.
Is é sin an múinteoir dá dtugaim mo cheacht baile (home lesson, homework). Phóg sé an cailín dár thug sé an fáinne.
Chonaic mé an droichead dá léimeann sé (the bridge from which he jumps).
D’imigh mé ón gcnoc dár thit sé; I left the hill from which he fell.
Tógfaimid (TOHK-hi-mid) an t-úrlar faoina gcuireadh Seán na prátaí; We will raise the floor under which Seán used to put the potatoes. Is é sin an t-ordú faoina bhfuaireamar an cíos; that’s the order under which we got the rent. Faigh an ceann faoinar chuireamar na boscaí; get the one under which we put the boxes.
Glaoigh ar an duine óna gcloiseann tú é sin; call the person from whom you hear that. Rachaidh sé isteach sa teach ónar tháinig sé; he will go into the house that he came from.
Dúnfar an bóthar trína dtiománfadh an bus; the road through which the bus would drive will be closed. Táthar ag dúnadh an fhuinneog trínar sháigh sé a cheann; the window through which he stuck his head is being closed.
To ask the question: “To whom did you give the money?”:
Cé dó ar thug tú an t-airgead? ((kay* goh) is the usual pronunciation.)
The answer to this could be: Thug mé do Sheán é.
Cé leis a ndúirt sí?; with whom did she talk.
Cad leis ar oscail siad an doras?; what did they open the door with?
Cad ann a raibh an bia?; what was the food in?
Cad de ar thit sé?; from what did he fall?
Cé uaidh a bhfaigheadh sí é?; from whom would she get it?
The dependent form of the verb is the one in these questions, but in the answer either the dependent or independent may be needed. For example: Bhí an bia i mála; nach raibh an bia sa bhosca?
A short answer can nearly always be given by a few words beginning with the preposition. Examples: Cé leis a ndúirt sí? Le Dóirín. Cad ann a raibh an bia? I mbosca.
Return to Lesson Index