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Lesson by "The Irish People"
In sentences with relative clauses of the type in which the word "who"
or "what" is in the nominative case, such as:
I saw the man
who collects newspapers; chonaic méan fear a bhailíonn
you often need
to express the negative. In the sentence above, this would be:
fear nach mbailíonn nuachtáin; I saw the man who doesn't
(nahk*) connects the clauses for the negative, for all tenses except
the past, where "nár" (naw*r) takes its place. Even
in the past tense, however, the irregular verbs "déan,
abair, téigh, feic, faigh, tá" are preceded by
Read aloud the
following examples of "nach" or "nár" usage
with the nominative relative structure. Try to develop a general sense
of how the relative clause is formed, so that you will be ready for
the practice at the end of this lesson:
An aimsir láithreach; the present tense
buachaill nach mbearrann séfóséféin; this
is the boy who does not shave (himself) yet.
Cuirim sa bhosca
na píosaíaráin nach bhfuil ite; I put into the
box the pieces of bread that are not eaten.
Mháire staidéir mhargaidh (STAH-day*r VWAHR-uh-gee)
nach n-ordaíonn sí; he gives Máire marketing
surveys that she doesn't order.
An aimsir chaite (K*AHT-ye); the past tense
leabhair nár tháinig tríd an bpost; I get books
that didn't come through the mail.
méésin leis an gcigire nár scríobh litir
ar bith chugam (HOO-uhm); I will say that to the inspector who didn't
write any letter to me.
an bhónár ith a féar; don't sell the cow that
didn't eat its grass.
For the few irregular
verbs that take "nach" in the past tense:
Seán leis an bhfear nach ndearna an obair i gceart; Seán
will talk with the man who didn't do the work properly.
fuinneoga nach raibh briste; I cleaned the windows that weren't broken.
ar eitilt nach ndeachaigh fós chuig Boston; Bláthnaid
will leave on a flight that didn't go to Boston yet.
An aimsir ghnáthcaite; the past habitual tense
gach lále múinteoir nach bhfoghlaimíodh an Iodáilis;
I talk every day with a teacher who didn't used to study Italian.
an bus nach dtéadh ar an ardbhóthar; that's the bus
that didn't used to go on the highway.
hainmneacha de na páistínach n-óladh bainne;
I got the names of the children who didn't used to drink milk.
An aimsir fháistineach; the future tense
dom an duine nach mbeidh ann amárach; show me the person who
won't be here tomorrow.
leis an amhránaínach n-imeoidh roimh an samhradh seo
chugainn (rev-uh SOU-ruh shuh HOO-in); we listened to the singer who
will not leave before next summer.
An modh coinníollach; the conditional mood
le daoine nach gcreidfeadhé; he told that to people who wouldn't
t-iascaire nach rachadh amach taréis meán-lae; that
is the fisherman who wouldn't go out after noon.
Cuir Gaeilge ar
na habairtíseo leanas; Translate these following sentences
I put out the
cat that howled (béic) all night.
I gave milk to
the cat that didn't howl all night.
I will see the
woman who lost the ring.
I would see the
woman who didn't lose the expensive ring.
méamach an cat a bhéic an oíche go léir.
Thug mébainne don chat nár bhéic an oíche
bhean a chaill an fáinne. Feicfidh méan bhean nár
chaill an fáinne daor ( or "costasach").
Notice that tenses
can be mixed in this sentence forming.
For example, "I
saw who will " or "He would give that was ."
The accusative case with the relative
formidable subject becomes simple when the everyday meaning of it
is explained by illustration:
I prepared the
lunch that Seán ate; d'ullmhaigh méan lón a d'ith
He will sell the
boat that he bought last year; díolfaidh séan bád
a cheannaigh séanuraidh.
The rule for "nach"
and "nár" hold here, too. Samplaí:
an doras nár oscail an múinteoir; he returned to the
door that the teacher didn't open.
Chuir mo mháthair
ar an mbord an gloine nach bhfaca mé; my mother put on the
table the glass that I didn't see.
The danger of
ambiguity or misunderstanding can arise here, however. Obviously,
in the sentences just preceding, there is no mistaking who or what
is doing or receiving the action in the second clause. For example,
a door does not open a teacher, nor does a boat buy a person.
In other situations,
however, the meaning may not be clear:
fear a thuigeann Seán, This could be either "That is the
man who understands Seán" or "That is the man whom
To avoid the ambiguity,
follow this pattern:
fear a dtuigeann Seáné; that is the man whom Sean understands;
and keep the meaning of "Sinéan fear a thuigeann Seán"
as "That is the man who understands Seán."
relative word in this usage eclipses instead of aspirating. In the
past tense, "ar" and "nár" serve, with
an "é," "í," or "iad"
at the sentence end. The six irregular verbs: "déan, abair,
téigh, feic, faigh, tá" are preceded by "a"
and "nach" in the past, with eclipses occurring.
fear a bhuaileann mná; I saw the man who strikes women.
fear nach mbuaileann mná; I saw the man who doesn't strike
fear a mbuaileann mnáé; I saw the man whom women strike.
fear nach mbuaileann mnáé; I saw the man whom women
fear ar bhuail mná. Chonaic méan fear ar bhuail mnáé.
fear a fhuair Seán. Chonaic méan fear a bhfuair Seáné.
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