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"Gu math" - Does it mean "quite" or "very"?

Hi there! I came across this discussion in the course: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/35325124 and I was wondering if someone could help clear things up?

"The question is, what does a Gaelic speaker mean by 'Chan eil i gu math sgòthach'? Does it mean "It's not quite cloudy (that is, "not cloudy enough, and I'm disappointed by the lack of cloud") or does it mean "it's not very cloudy" (that is, Thank goodness it's not too cloudy - we may have a nice say after all!)"?

Tapad leibh for any help! :-)

December 15, 2019



Hey! Depending on the context "gu math" can function as either quite or really and we for this reason we teach it as both, although it can be confusing. We also take both as accepted translation.

Gu math fuar - quite cold (pretty cold, but not extremely so) Gu math fuar - really cold

Hope that makes sense!


It doesn't help that "quite" is ambiguous, as least in British English, where it can mean both "completely" and "fairly".


Tapadh leibh! That definitely helps! :D


For me it means "Really". A bit similar to street english "I am well tired". Dìreach nam bheachd fhìn....


Tapadh leibh a charaid! :-)


I have it on good authority that "gu math teth" or "gu math sgòthach" means quite hot or quite cloudy rather than really hot or really cloudy. "Uabhasach fhèin teth" or "Uabhasach fhèin sgòthach" would be a better translation for "really".


Gu math is almost always a strengthener. Gu math sgìth for example would mean that you are pretty as in significantly tired. It wouldn't mean that you are just a little tired. We originally had is translated as quite, but this was confusing folk due to the dual meaning of quite (just a little / quite a lot) so we changed it.

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