The copula

Do you know how to describe others Irish? Learn some helpful words and phrases and test yourself on others you may already know!

To describe a person’s characteristics in Irish, you use a grammatical construct called the copula.

This means that the noun goes first and then the adjective, followed by the subject.

For example, a tall person is translated as duine ard.

To say I am tall, you could just say tá mé ard. But to say I am a tall person, you need to use the structure of the copula.

To construct the copula, you need three things:

  • The copula is, which is sometimes known as the particle

  • The object which in this case is "tall person" - duine ard

  • the subject which is the I, you, he, she or they of the sentence

Particle

is

Object

duine ard

Subject

Look at some of the examples below to see how the copula is used in the response to the question cén sórt duine tú?

Cén sórt duine tú?

Is duine cairdiúil mé.

Is duine falsa mé.

Is duine spóirtiúil mé.

What type of person are you?

I'm a friendly person.

I'm a lazy person.

I'm a sporty person.

What if you wanted to talk about someone else you're not talking directly to? That's easy - all you need to do is change the subject.

So, if you wanted to say she is a tall person, just swap to í.

Particle

is

Object

duine ard

becomes

Subject

is

duine ard

í

If you wanted to make it clear who you were talking about by using someone's name or who they are, just add it at the end.

For example, if Deirdre is a tall person, write is duine ard í Deirdre.

Or if you wanted to say my father is a tall person, write is duine ard é m'athair.

Look at the subjects in the slideshow below them, and practice learning them off - they're really important when putting sentences together, so try not to forget!

Is duine láidir mé.

I am a strong person.

1 of 7

What if you wanted to make it clear that you aren't a tall person? This time, change the form of the particle.

The negative form of is is . So, this time, let's say I'm not a tall person.

Particle

is

Object

duine ard

becomes

Subject

duine ard

Finally, what if you wanted to ask someone if they are a tall person? Well, just take what you've learnt before and put it all together, changing both the particle and the subject!

The question form of is is an. You also change to if you are asking the person directly.

Particle

is

Object

duine ard

becomes

Subject

an

duine ard

tú?