When to use the definite article in the genitive case
I constantly get confused over this. If I see an example of the genitive and the definite article in Irish, I almost immediately know what it means, but when I have to put something in to the genitive from English, I'm at a loss over whether I should use the definite article or not. Is there an easy way to know when and when not to use the definite article with the genitive?
Would you provide a couple of English noun phrases that you’d potentially find confusing to translate into Irish with a genitive? They could help in formulating a general guideline.
Like the door of the house, the door of a house, the house door, a house door. the house's door, a house's door. I would be confused putting these into Irish.
- the door of the house = doras an tí (definite genitive noun phrase)
- the door of a house = an doras tí
- a door of the house = doras den teach (partitive dative)
- a door of a house = doras tí
- the house door = an doras tí (genitive as adjective)
- a house door = doras tí (genitive as adjective)
- the house’s door = either doras an tí (if the house has only one door) or doras den teach (if the house has more than one door)
- a house’s door = doras tí
Note that the dative declension tigh could be used instead of teach in some dialects.
EDIT: Corrected the “the house door” entry.
Thanks. So, if the last thing is definite (of the house) it uses the article. If the last thing is indefinite (of a house) it doesn't use the article, but that could be ambiguous with the first thing (the door - a door - a house door). Is that right? Also, why would you use den if the house has multiple doors? If i had to have guessed, I would have said that it was doirse an tí.
You use den because that's how the partitive dative is formed. You can rewrite "the house's door" to be "a door of the house", if it has multiple doors.
The partitive dative is basically just using the preposition de to say it's part of something else.
Ceathrú den úll - A quarter of the apple