Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Did you know?

We also have Bitesize study guides covering many subjects at National 4 and National 5 on our Knowledge & Learning BETA website.

Home > Gaelic > Grammar > Fiddly phrases – is / tha


Fiddly phrases – is / tha

Fiddly Phrases

Learners of Gaelic often have difficulty knowing when to use tha and when to use is. Students are often required to make a comment about someone’s occupation, perhaps their mother's or father's. For example:

  • He is a joiner.

  • She is a doctor.

  • He is a teacher.

  • She is a nurse.

Both tha and is can be used to make the above statements:

  • He is a joiner. Tha e na shaor / Is e saor a tha ann.

  • She is a doctor. Tha i na dotair / Is e dotair a tha innte.

  • He is a teacher. Tha e na thidsear / Is e tidsear a tha ann.

  • She is a nurse. Tha i na banaltram / Is e banaltram a tha innte.

There are a couple of things to remember when using tha or is to say what someone’s occupation is:

  • To make a straightforward statement and say what someone’s occupation is, use tha e/i na… remembering to lenite for males only.

  • To emphasise what someone’s occupation is you can use Is e, commonly written as ’S e.

Here are the same statements as above using ’s e:

  • He is a joiner. ’S e saor a tha ann.

  • She is a doctor ’S e dotair a tha innte.

  • He is a teacher ’S e tidsear a tha ann.

  • She is a nurse ’S e banaltram a tha innte.

Now try a Test Bite that will allow you to practise using these fiddly phrases.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.