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  5. “Ann an, ann am, ann a’”


“Ann an, ann am, ann a’”

Can somebody please explain why the three words in the title all translate to “in a” rather than “in the” and if “Anns an” and its variants have any relationship to them? I’m getting a bit confused. Mòran taing

December 6, 2019



In the nominative case, with indefinite nouns (the article "the" is not used in English) --- If you want to say "in" + indefinite noun:
Use ann an before most indefinite nouns (ann an tidsear).
Use ann am before indefinite nouns beginning with b, f, m, p (ann am baile).

If the definite article is used, and you want to say, "in the", then "anns" is used with the correct form of the definite article for the noun.

Definite Gaelic nouns (using “the”) have different forms of the definite article depending on Gender (masculine, feminine), number (singular and plural), case (nominative, dative (/prepositional), possessive (/genitive)), and the first letter of the noun. There are some online resources that cover this in detail: - for masculine nouns: http://www.akerbeltz.org/index.php?title=Masculine_nouns - for feminine nouns: http://www.akerbeltz.org/index.php?title=Feminine_nouns

Also there are some short entries in Wiktionary: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ann_an https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ann_am#Scottish_Gaelic https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/anns#Scottish_Gaelic


  • ann an = "in a", except…
  • ann am = before words beginning b/f/m/p
  • anns an = "in the", except…
  • anns a' = before consonants that can lenite (which do lenite)
  • anns na (h-) = "in the" with plural nouns (prefix h- before vowels)


  • ann an eaglais = in a church
  • anns an eaglais = in the church
  • ann am bùth = in a shop
  • anns a' bhùth = in the shop
  • anns na h-eaglaisean = in the churches
  • anns na bùithtean/bùthan* = in the shops

*dialectical variation of the plural


Ann = in

an / am / a' -- seems to be different forms of "the".

But when translated to English, it may not be always equivalent to English "the"


"ann an/am" is just "in", there's no article there.

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