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  5. "Níl turtar agam."

"Níl turtar agam."

Translation:I do not have a turtle.

March 15, 2016



Why is it Nil instead of ni here? If I had been asked to go from Irish to English I would have put "Ni turtar agam." Is that wrong? Why?


Flick back to the Basics 1 tips notes page! Remember that Irish has two versions of the verb to be - and similarly two versions of the verb to not be.

You use is and for classification/identification - in other words, to say what class or group something belongs to.

  • Is buachaill é He is a boy
  • Ní póilín í She is not a police officer
  • Is aisteoir é an fear The man is an actor
  • An é gunna é? Is it a gun?

By comparison, you use and níl to describe something, or to explain what state it is in at the moment.

  • Tá an buachaill mór The boy is big
  • Níl an póilín ag ithe The police officer is not eating
  • Tá aisteoir ar an stáitse An actor is on the stage
  • An bhfuil gunna ag an saighdiúir? Does the soldier have a gun? (literally "Is [there] a gun at the soldier?")

In this sentence, we are describing the creature's current state - literally, "A turtle is not at me" - so we use Níl.

If instead we were classifying the creature itself - for example, something like "The turtle is not a fish" - then we would use instead: Ní iasc an turtar.


Alright, got it! Was that mentioned in some of the earlier tips pages and I just have forgotten already, or is it one of those cases, where you're supposed to deduce or look it up for yourself?


like ser and estar one is used with adjectives


Does Irish distinguish between 'turtle' and 'turtoise' like English?

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