"What does he eat?"
Translation:Cad a itheann sé?
I have trouble distinguishing when I should be using cad a and when i should use cad atá.
Cad a is used with any verb but the present non-habitual of bí. Cad atá is just Cad a tá, and is used when you would use tá in regular sentences.
That would be helpful if I knew when to use "tá"! I had no idea that "atá" is basically two words!
No, it wouldn't. That would roughly translate to "What is eats he now?" If you wanted to use anois, you could do Cad atá sé ag ithe anois - what is he eating now.
The tip suggested "céard" instead of "cad," but the translation uses "cad." Are they interchangeable in some way? I'm not sure that I recall any explanation of that, but maybe I've just forgotten.
I don't follow the above either and agree that the tips seem to suggest "céard" and "cad" are interchangeable. Does anybody know if "Cad a itheann sé?" is OK as a translation of "What does he eat?"
I'm not familiar with "cad a"; I'm assuming that the "a" doesn't mean "his" here- or does it?
But what is it? Why do I need it? "Cad itheann sé" seems like it already includes everything in the English sentence (but it's wrong apparently), so what is the "a" adding?
What is it that he eats.. is the phrasing. The tutor should explain the linguistics
But essentially "a" in this sentence means "that," right? So the phrasing is literally "what that he eats"? And the "is it" is left out?
cad contains a hidden copula, so you need a as a relative particle to introduce a relative clause with another verb, because you can't have two verbs in a single clause.
Whoa, so that's interesting. So "cad" by itself means "what is"? (Or does it mean "what is it?") Is there a good explanation of this somewhere around here that I can look at?
Thanks. This looks like something that's going to take some getting used to.
Imagine the fun that learners of English have in figuring out what "how" means in "how are you?" "how many do you want" and "how did you do that?"
But "how" means the same thing in all of those sentences and is used in the same way. It's always a question word that queries and functions adverbially. There's no real distinction in meaning or function, although the usage in "how are you" and "how many" is arguably somewhat idiomatic. But the meaning is perfectly clear from the ordinary sense of the word "how." (That doesn't mean that "how" can be successfully translated into any other language using the same word for each of those questions, but that in no way indicates that there isn't a real fundamental unity to the sense and usage of the word in English.) By contrast "cad" is apparently used in different ways syntactically and structurally in Irish in different types of questions, which is much more confusing. Of course, English has its own peculiarities and absurdities . . .
"arguably somewhat idiomatic"???
Sometimes the word following "how" is a verb, sometimes it's an auxiliary verb, sometimes it's an adjective, sometimes it's an adverb.
cad is an interrogative pronoun. It's always a question word that means "what", though it is idiomatically translated as "how" in cad chuige? and "where" in cad as (because English idioms and Irish idioms don't always overlap).
Can you point to some of these "different ways syntactically and structurally" that cad is used that make it so different from "how", in your opinion?