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 Post subject: "It was not often"
PostPosted: Sat 07 Jan 2023 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun 04 Apr 2021 12:53 pm
Posts: 51
I'm writing about people long ago and I want to say "it was not often that they met strangers" would I say "níor mhinic..." for that or is that wrong? Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: "It was not often"
PostPosted: Sat 07 Jan 2023 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu 27 May 2021 3:22 am
Posts: 527
~RibeRóibéis~ wrote:
I'm writing about people long ago and I want to say "it was not often that they met strangers" would I say "níor mhinic..." for that or is that wrong? Thanks


The way I see is that the statement remains true in the present. "It is not often that they met strangers".

Quote:
Ní minic a bhuailfidís le stróinséiríbh.


There are many sentences in Peadar Ua Laoghaire's Irish with "is minic" followed by the past tense:

Quote:
Is minic a dhéin duine a leas le diúltughadh do chómhairle a gheabhadh sé ó namhaid.


An interesting question is whether the preterite or past habitual should be used:

Quote:
is minic a thagadh sé uirthi de léim agus do dtugadh sé folthachtadh dhí


In fact both "is minic"+preterite and "is minic"+past habitual are found.

I've never read a good explanation of this, but I think the past habitual is used when you wish to add the nuance of habituality (something happening frequently in the past). You don't have to have it.

Note these:

Quote:
Is minic a bhíodar go teith am dhiaig féin agus an t-airgead am phóca agam.


Quote:
Is minic a bhíodh focail Laidne sa n-athlú san. Is cuimhin liom go maith gur minic d'airighinn mh'athair, beannacht Dé le n'anam, ag rádh an athluighthe


The word "minic" itself doesn't automatically trigger the past habitual. It seems you have to want to lay stress on that aspect to use the past habitual.


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 Post subject: Re: "It was not often"
PostPosted: Sun 08 Jan 2023 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun 04 Apr 2021 12:53 pm
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Go raibh maith agat!

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