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PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar 2012 9:22 pm 
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For a complete list of wombat explanations, see: viewforum.php?f=34

Type 1 Verbs, Type 2 Verbs
There are two categories of verbs in Irish, and you need to know which category a verb belongs to before you can conjugate it. Fortunately, it is very easy to remember the categories.

* Type 1 verbs (usually) have one syllable.
* Type 2 verbs (usually) have two syllables.

There are a few two-syllable verbs you "scrunch" into one syllable (syncopate) in order to conjugate. Also, if a verb has a prefix, it's still conjugated the same way as if it doesn't have the prefix. For example, athscríobh (rewrite) is counjugated the same way as scríobh (write).

Slender and broad endings
You also need to be able to tell if the verb ends in a broad or slender consonant. (If you need to review what "slender" and "broad" mean, see this thread: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=830).
This means that you need to know four sets of endings, one for each of the following cases:

* Type 1 verbs ending in a broad consonant
* Type 1 verbs ending in a slender consonant
* Type 2 verbs ending in a broad consonant
* Type 2 verbs ending in a slender consonant

Or does it? Some people memorise it that way. Others memorise only two sets of endings, one set forType 1 verbs, one for Type 2 verbs, and then apply the caol le caol agus leathan le leathan rule. I myself find it easiest to memorise one set of endings, plus a small set of "middles", and then apply the caol le caol agus leathan le leathan rule.

Whichever way you do it, you will get the same result. But if you find my system confusing, by all means ignore this and follow the method described by your book or teacher.

General Rules for Adding Endings to Verbs
I'm just going to list these rules here, so that I can refer to them by number. I'll explain them as we work through examples. I've also left some gaps in the numbering in case I remember more rules later!

1. Pad the ending (with 'a' or 'e') if needed to satisfy the "caol le caol agus leathan le leathan" rule. (See viewtopic.php?f=28&t=831)
(a) If the ending begins with a vowel, pad it with a vowel between the stem and the ending.
(b) If the ending begins with a consonant, pad it with a vowel after the consonant.
2. Drop a after á,ó,ú
3. Drop i after í
4. í + a -> ío
5. After slender consonant, ó -> eo
6. t(h) + t -> t

Rules For Type I Verbs
10. If the verb ends in -áigh, -óigh, -úigh, -eoigh, or -uaigh drop igh, and use broad f and slender t in verb endings.
11. If the verb ends in -éigh, drop (i)gh and use slender f and slender t in verb endings.
12. If the verb ends in -igh alone or after short vowel, drop gh, i -> í (except before t), and use slender f and slender t in verb endings... except for the verb "faigh".
13. áil -> ál unless ending begins with t

Rules For Type II Verbs
20. If ending has an initial vowel, drop last syllable:
* drop (a)igh
* drop (a)i before final l, n, r, s

It may seem like a long list of rules, but believe me, they will become second nature very quickly. Some of the rules, like 2 and 3, might even seem a bit obvious. (Have you ever seen áa or íi in the middle of an Irish word? Before long you'll drop that extraneous second vowel without even realising that you're applying a rule.)

We're only discussing the present tense on this thread, and many of the rules listed above won't be applicable. But I thought it would be useful to have a list of all the rules so you can get into the habit of considering all the possibilities.

Present Tense
Note: We discussed the past tense on this thread

First, you need to know the "root", or "imperative" form of the verb. This is the form of the verb that you use when giving commands, and it's also the form that's listed in the dictionary.

Here are the endings you'll be adding to the stem:
Type 1: stem +     +---------+-----------+
Type 2: stem + í + |   -im   |   -imid   |
                   | -ann tú | -ann sibh |
                   | -ann sé | -ann siad |

(For a list of endings for all tenses, see

Let's work through an example with bris! (break! I put the exclamation point there to remind you that we add the endings to the imperative form.) How would we say "I break". bris only has one syllable, so it's a Type 1 verb. We can see from the chart that the for the first person singular we need to add -im, so we have bris + im. None of the rules in the list apply, so we can just remove the plus sign and we're done: brisim means "I break".

So far so good. How would we say "you break"? From the chart, the ending for the second person singular is -ann tú, so we have bris + ann tú. By rule 1(a), we need to pad it with a slender vowel, so we get bris + e + ann tú. None of the other rules apply, so we can just remove the plus sign and we're done: briseann tú means "You break".

Let's try another verb, can! (sing!). How would we say "we sing"? Again, can has only one syllable so it's a Type 1 verb. For the first person plural, we need to add -imid, so we have can + imid. By rule 1(a), we need to pad it with a broad vowel, so we have can + a + imid. None of the other rules apply, so we can just remove the plus sign and we're done: canaimid means "We sing".

Here are some more examples of Type 1 (one syllable) verbs, but with less explanation:

they comb -> cíor + ann siad -> cíorann siad
I take -> tóg + im -> rule 1a -> tóg + a + im -> tógaim
she kisses -> póg + ann sí -> póg + ann sí
you drink -> ól + ann tú -> ólann tú
I pay -> íoc + im -> rule 1a -> íoc + a + im -> íocaim
you break -> bris + ann tú -> rule 1a -> bris + e + ann tú -> briseann tú
he puts -> cuir + ann sé -> rule 1a -> cuir + e + ann sé -> cuireann sé
we run -> rith + imid -> rithimid
you (plural) lose -> caill + ann sibh -> rule 1a -> cailleann sibh

Up to now, the only rule we've used is rule 1. Here are some examples involving some more rules:

I burn -> dóigh + im -> rule 10 -> dó + im -> dóim
you press -> brúigh + ann tú -> rule 10 -> brú + ann tú -> rule 2 -> brú + nn tú -> brúnn tú
he annoys -> cráigh + ann sé -> rule 10 -> crá + ann sé -> rule 2 -> crá + nn sé -> cránn sé
we mention -> luaigh + imid -> rule 10 -> lua + imid -> luaimid

Ready for some Type 2 (two-syllable) verbs? Looking back at the chart, notice that in the present tense, type 2 verbs get a "middle" í in addition to the ending.

I buy -> ceannaigh + í + im -> rule 20 -> ceann + í + im -> rule 3 -> ceann + í + m -> rule 1 -> ceann + aí + m -> ceannaím

At this point you may be wondering: How do I know what order to apply the rules in? Most of the time it doesn't matter; the wombat system is fairly robust. But save rule 1 for last so that you don't undo your "caol le caol agus leathan le leathan".

More examples:

you (plural) bless -> beannaigh + í + ann sibh -> rule 20 -> beann + í + ann sibh -> rule 4 -> beann + í + onn sibh -> rule 1 -> beann + aí + onn sibh -> beannaíonn sibh
we gather -> bailigh + í + imid -> rule 20 -> bail + í + imid -> rule 4 -> bail + í + mid -> bailímid
he changes/translates -> aistrigh + í + ann sé -> rule 20 -> aistr + í + ann sé -> rule 4 -> aistr + í + onn sé -> aistríonn sé
they order -> ordaigh + í + ann siad -> rule 20 -> ord + í + ann siad -> rule 4 -> ord + í + onn siad -> rule 1 -> ord + aí + onn siad -> ordaíonn siad

That last example was rather inefficient, because we took away an 'a' in rule 20 and brought it back again in rule 1! But don't worry about that for now. You won't be using these rules for very long. Soon you'll just "know" your verb endings. I feel it's better to keep the rules simple (and occasionally inefficient) while you're learning how to apply them.

I will fill in lots more examples, using other rules, later. Note to self: cover ones like siúil, taispeán, and the ones that scrunch

If you want to practice your verbs, there's a free program called Seans Eile to help you. It's available from I wrote this program to help me learn verbs, and it worked. When you start the program, you can go straight to the verbs section like this:

1. From the Options menu, select "Modules". The select modules dialog opens.
2. At the bottom, click the "Clear all" button so that we only get the modules we're going to choose.
3. Select "verbs, type I, present, slender", "verbs, type I, present, broad", "verbs, type II, present, -(a)igh". After you're comfortable with those, you might add "verbs, type I, present, other" and "verbs, type II, present, other endings".

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

賢いふくろぐま Image
Seans Eile - free software to help you practice your Irish
Scéala na Wombait - Muddle-headed Memes and Musings

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