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

Gaelic

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.

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