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Definite articles in the "Ann am(an).." phrase

Out of curiosity, when a noun is prefaced by "ann a(m/n)", why does it mean "in a(n)" rather than "in the"? I'm aware of the lack of indefinite articles in Gaelic, (which has caused me many a missed translation thus far), but what's the story here? How would one say "in THE school" if the definite article is already part of the "in" phrase?

December 9, 2019


  • ann an/am = in a
  • anns [+article] = in the


  • ann an sgoil = in a school
  • anns an sgoil = in the school / in school (the one you regularly attend)


Okay, confusion averted.


'Ann an' means 'in' with indefinite nouns. 'Anns' means 'in' when followed by a definite noun. Think of 'ann an' as a set phrase meaning 'in a'

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