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PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar 2012 9:12 pm 
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For a complete list of wombat explanations, see: viewforum.php?f=34

In English, we usually make comparisons by tacking the suffix -er or -est onto the adjective. Here's how it's done in Irish:

mór big
níos mó bigger (ní ba mhó in the past tense)
is mó biggest (ba mhó in the past tense)

fuar cold
níos fuaire colder (ní b'fhuaire in the past tense)
is fuaire coldest (ab fhuaire in the past tense)

álainn lovely
níos áille lovelier (ní b'áille in the past tense)
is áille lovelier (ab áille in the past tense)

Note that the same form of the adjective is used for the relative and absolute comparisons. It's the prefix, níos or is, that makes the difference. Also note that the comparison is expressed differently for the past tense. (We're only going to worry about the present tense in this thread.)

The most common structures for comparing things are:
Is comparative X ná Y X is ___er than Y.
Tá X níos comparative ná Y X is ___er than Y.
Is X an Z is comparative X is the ___est Z.

You may have notice something unusual about that first structure. I said earlier that is is used for absolute comparisons, where we use the '-est' ending in English, but I translate the first structure using an "-er" ending. You probably remember your English teacher saying that you compare two things using "-er"; that "-est" could only be used with three or more things. However, Irish doesn't have this rule. A sentence such as Is í an tsúil chlé an tsúil is láidre literally means "My right eye is the strongest eye", where in English we would say "My right eye is the stronger eye." So in short, don't worry about it.

One final comment about the first and third structures. The copula, is, can never be followed directly by a definite noun or a proper noun; you need to insert é, í or iad. If you're not ready to deal with that, don't worry. Just stick with the second structure.

So let's look at some examples of how to make comparisons.

Tá an madra mór. The dog is big.
Tá an madra níos mó ná an cat. The dog is bigger than the cat.
(Notice how is used for "than".)
Sin an madadh is mó. That is the biggest dog.

Tá an aimsir fuar. The weather is cold.
Tá an aimsir níos fuaire anois. The weather is colder now.

Tá an lá inniu go deas. Today is nice.
Beidh an lá amárach níos deise. Tomorrow will be nicer.

Is airde mise ná tusa. I am taller than you.
Is é Seán an fear is airde sa rang. Seán is the tallest man in the class.

Is fearr Gaeilge briste ná Béarla cliste. Broken Irish is better than clever English.

Some of you may remember this old advertising jingle:
Is fearr mó mhadadh ná do mhadah.
Is fearr mó mhadadh ná do cheannsa.
Is fearr mó mhadadh mar itheann sé Ken-L-ration.
Is fearr mó mhadadh ná do cheannsa.

Comparative Forms
The rules for changing an adjective into the comparative form are fairly simple.

If it ends in a consonant, add -e to it. (If the ending isn't slender, you'll need to make it slender first.)
glas - níos glaise - is glaise

If it ends in a vowel, no change.
dána - níos dána - is dána

If it ends in -(e)ach, change the ending to -(a)í.
bacach - níos bacaí - is bacaí
díreach - níos dírí - is dírí

If it ends in -(i)úil, change the ending to -(i)úla.
flaithiúil - níos flaithiúla - is flaithiúla
dathúil - níos dathúla - is dáthúla.

Irregular Comparatives
beag - níos lú - is lú
breá - níos breátha - is breátha
dócha - níos dóichí - is dóichí
fada - níos faide - is faide
fogus - níos foisce - is foisce
furasta - níos fusa - is fusa
iomaí - níos lia - is lia
ionúin - níos ionúine - is ionúine
maith - níos fearr - is fearr
olc - níos measa - is measa
te - níos teo - is teo
tréan - níos tréine/treise - is tréine/treise
mór - níos mó - is mó

Play the Game!
You will be given two things or the names of two famous people.
1. Write a sentence that compares the two.
2. Provide two things/people for the next person to compare.

Example: Nua Eabhrac (New York), Baile Átha Cliath
Tá Baile Átha Cliath níos lú ná Nua Eabhrac.

Ready? The first pair to compare is: Superman, Batman

ImageTo the extent possible under law, Amy de Buitléir has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

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Seans Eile - free software to help you practice your Irish
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