1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Scottish Gaelic
  4. >
  5. "He is working in an office."

"He is working in an office."

Translation:Tha e ag obair ann an oifis.

March 30, 2020



Why isn't this sentence "He is working in THE office"? (Caps for emphasis because I can't use italics - not trying to yell at anyone) There is an "an" before "oifis", thus referring to a specific office, right? Thank you for your time!


ann an / ann am means "in" rather than "in the" - it's a good idea to try to think of ann an/am as one word, to avoid confusion with an/am as "the": ann an in oifis an office.

"In the office" would be anns an oifis. Duolingo doesn't introduce this form at this stage, as there is a complication (the noun has to be in the dative case, which is not an issue for a feminine noun like an oifis, but is an issue for masculine nouns).

To use italics, you type an asterisk on either side of the word you want to italicise. Nothing changes in the comment box, but when you post your reply the word is automatically italicised.


OK! That makes sense, as far as I can tell. I will try to remember the asterisk thing. Tapadh leibh, a thidseir!


I knew this would be an issue in the comments, and came here looking for it. Good job explaining, there! Have a lingot from me, too.


"Obair"... It doesn't seem to make a difference who is speaking, but it sounds like a "d" on the end of this word. Am I hearing it right?


Why isn't it ann "am" vs ann "an"? I thought oifis should have the "am" used.


ann am is used before words beginning with b, f, m or p. ann an is used before words beginning with the other letters, including vowels, as here.


But why not t-oifis?


There are three reasons for not using t-oifis, some of which will only become clear later in the course.

  1. an t- is only used as a definite article before masculine nouns beginning with a vowel, and only when they are used in the nominative case - oifis is a feminine noun, and means "an office" rather than "the office", which would be an oifis. So t- only occurs as part of a masculine definite article, which leads to 2.

  2. The an/am in ann an/ ann am is not the definite article - it's best to think of ann an/ ann am as a single unit meaning in, i.e. as [ann an][oifis] rather than [ann][an oifis] - that should help make clearer that it means "in an office" rather than "in the office". ann an/ ann am doesn't vary according to number or gender, and only varies from ann an to ann am before words beginning with b, f, m or p - i.e. it doesn't vary from ann an before words beginning with a vowel.

  3. even if we were talking about a masculine noun beginning with a vowel, e.g. ospadal, "a hospital", an t-ospadal, "the hospital", the word would never appear with the t- in phrases meaning "in a/the hospital". In the case of "in a hospital", there is of course no article as Gaelic doesn't have an indefinite article - [ann an] [ospadal]. In the case of "in the hospital", the noun and article have to go into the dative case (sometimes called prepositional case) - this only comes later in the course. Masculine nouns beginning with a vowel with the definite article change from e.g. an t-ospadal in the nominative case (i.e. where they are the subject of a sentence) to an ospadal in the dative case - "in the hospital" would be anns an ospadal (anns an/a'/na for "in the" is also introduced later in the course - here the an/a'/na does represent the definite article).

The short answer is that t- will never appear before words beginning with a vowel in phrases involving "in", whether with ann an/ ann am or anns an/a'/na.


Wow! That's quite the answer

Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.