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  5. "Céard a itheann madraí?"

"Céard a itheann madraí?"

Translation:What do dogs eat?

January 13, 2017



Does this "a" introduce a relative clause, just like the "a" in "atá" in the sentence "Conas atá sí?" If so, then this sentence would literally mean "What [is it] that dogs eat?"

Also, when should we use "cad", and when should we use "céard"? Thank you!


You are correct. a is the present tense relative clause marker (for both types). As to cad v. céard, use the latter if you want to speak Connacht Irish, otherwise use the former (and caidé = cad é for more Donegal Irish)


Everyone keeps talking about the relative clause- can anyone post a link about what relative clause is in Irish?


céard (and other c-question words) contain a copula, so you have a copula and a verb, and therefore the verb has to go in a separate clause from the copula.

If you want to get into more of the gorey details, check out Gramadach na Gaeilge.


Itheann siad "Madra(')s curry."



How would one say ”what eats dogs'?


Cad/céard a n-itheann madraí?


What is the function/meaning of that "n-?"


The n- lets us know that Cad/Céard refers to the subject of the verb itheann and that madraí is the object. Since the n- is eclipsis/urú, in front of consonants, it will follow the usual rule...


When i first heard this, i thought it said somthing about eating dogs!!


I continue to mistake "a" as introducing a verbal noun - eating- as in What are dogs eating. Is there a rule to more easily identify this construction?


If you are confusing a for ag in spoken Irish, the other obvious marker is that "are" is in Irish, and there is no in this sentence - the only verb is itheann, which is "eat/s", not "eating".


Would you use "céard a" for something like "what do you do"?


Céard a dhéanfadh mac an chait ach luch a mharú?

If you use céard rather than cad, you can use céard a.

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