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Please. I'm a polite girl.

I am on level 2 and still haven't come across the word please. Is this something that isn't used in gaelic. I just don't feel right saying "I want" and not adding please on the end.

February 19, 2020



Hi, a specific term for please is not commonly used in Gaelic, although some exist. It is certainly not used in the same way that it is in English. There are ways to show a bit of extra politeness in Gaelic (some polite verb forms and the use of "sibh" over "thu" if appropriate) but generally your tone and expression will do the job of "please" nicely. We made the decision not to teach "mas e do thoil e" early on. I like the use of the word "clunky" below, that pretty much sums it up. I would usually learners to avoid using it. Native speakers generally don't and to most it is a little jarring.


It's also good to know that we don't have to be careful not to say "thank you" when given something, at the risk of it being snatched away again. (In quite a few European countries it seems that "thank you" is assumed to mean "no thank you" and if you actually want to eat that food someone put in front of you, you better learn to say "please".)


I discovered it in Speaking Our Language, quite near the beginning. It's "mas e do thoil e".

But when I mentioned this in a different thread Robbie Kerr said it's seldom used in Gaelic speech and it sounds as clunky to Gaelic ears as "If it is your pleasure" or whatever sounds to Beurla-speaking ears.


I've also heard that it is seldom used.
For informal situations or talking to one person you know well:

mas e do thoil e

For formal situations and talking to more than one person:

mas e ur toil e


So it's literally s'il te/vous plaît in Gaelic? Interesting.


Yes, I should have said that. In fact Speaking Our Language is quite big on defaulting to the sibh form of the second person.

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