Verbs

Past and future tense of regular verbs

Forming the past and future tenses of verbs in Gaelic is straightforward on the whole. If you know the root of a verb, then you can form other tenses.

The past tense

There are variations in the way verbs form the past tense. They can be looked at in the following way:

  • To form the past tense of verbs beginning with a consonant insert an h after the first letter of the root, eg dhùin. The three exceptions are verbs beginning with the letters l, n, or r. They do not require an h, eg laigh
  • All verbs beginning with a vowel put dh' before the initial vowel to form the past tense, eg dh'òl
  • Verbs which begin with f + vowel have dh' inserted before the f and have an h inserted after the f, eg fuirich becomes dh'fhuirich.

NB There are no verbs beginning with the letter h in Gaelic.

Examples

Verb begins with consonants b, c, d, g, m, p, s, t
RootMeaningPast tense
brisbreakbhris
cuirputchuir
dùinclosedhùin
gabhtakeghabh
millspoilmhill
pòsmarryphòs
suidhsitshuidh
togliftthog
Verb begins with consonants l, n, r
RootMeaningPast tense
laslightlas
nighwashnigh
ruithrunruith
Verb begins with vowel
RootMeaningPast tense
aithnichknow, recognisedh'aithnich
èirichrise, get updh'èirich
itheatdh'ith
òldrinkdh'òl
ullaichpreparedh'ullaich
Verb begins with f + vowel
RootMeaningPast tense
fuirichwait, staydh'fhuirich
falaichhidedh'fhalaich
faighnichaskdh'fhaighnich