Getting started

How to put a verb into the present tense

To put a verb into the present tense, an understanding of the different types of verbs in Irish is needed.

Long, short and syncopated verbs

Have a look at the rules below on long, short and syncopated verbs in Irish, then move to the next page where the present tense is explained.

  • a short verb has one syllable - for example cuir, glan, bris
  • a long verb has more than one syllable (ends with –igh / –aigh), for example éirigh, ceannaigh
  • a syncopated verb has more than one syllable (does not end with –igh / –aigh), for example muscail, imir, freastail, oscail
oscail
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If you say the verb out loud it will help you decide how many syllables it has.

Here is a short version of the rules.

  • short - one syllable
  • long - more than one syllable
  • syncopated - more than one syllable, not ending with –igh / –aigh

Can you decide if the following verbs are short, long or syncopated?

Question

bain

short

Question

éirigh

long

Question

imir

syncopated

Question

tosaigh

long

Question

tit

short

Question

múscail

syncopated

Question

ceannaigh

long

Question

imigh

long

Question

cuir

short

Question

bailigh

long