"I eat."


August 25, 2014



I learned Irish at school in Ireland and we were always taught verbs with "mé" ie. "ith mé". We were taught shortening it to "ithim" was an option but not necessary just like when we say "can not" in English and it can be shortened to "can't". Has that changed or were we just being taught a kind of text book version of the language rather than a natural fluent one. The school I went to wasn't in the Gaeltacht area.


What you were taught was that you could say "itheann mé", not "ith mé". That's right. Both "itheann mé" and "ithim" are right.


But itheann mé should be accepted, too.


So, is it kind of like in Spanish where the pronoun is dropped? And is it only the "I" form that this incorporation happens? Sorry to bother you, the notes section didn't mention it that deeply:P


Nope, it's not really the same as Spanish pronoun drop, since you use one form with the separate pronoun (itheann mé) and the other (ithim) without the separate pronoun.

That's really happening here is the form ithim has the pronoun inside it (that's what the -m) is.

Look at it this way: itheann doesn't tell you anything about the person who's eating. To do that, you need to add a noun (itheann Pól, "Paul eats") or an pronoun. If you're adding a first person singular pronoun, you have the option of doing is as a separate word (itheann mé) or as an incorporated pronoun (ithim).

As for other persons:

2nd singular: Only itheann tú: no incorporated forms that I know of.

3rd singular: Only itheann sé/sí/Pól: no incorporated forms.

1st plural: The incorporated form ithimid is much more common. In some places (Conemara?) they say itheann muid

2nd plural: I think there's a form like ithid used somewhere (Munster?), but only itheann sibh is common

3rd plural: Only itheann siad / itheann na páistí is possible. No incorporated forms.

The separate forms are correctly called "analytic forms", and the incorporated forms are properly called "synthetic forms".


(reply to devonm36)

Yes, the same for every verb in the present tense (and in most other tenses)


Oh! OK I understand now! Thanks so much! I really appreciate it. So, the pronoun isn't dropped, it's only incorporated and only in the first person. Is it the same way for every verb?


Same I'm from Ireland aswell and we say ag ithe for eating


Same i get most of these wrong because of that


I am not getting any audio on these "tile" questions or the picture questions. Is anyone else having that issue?


Ithim me wouldn't work? Is the pronoun-drop necessary?


This is from Tips & Notes. It would seem to apply here.

In present tense verbs, mé and muid/sinn are generally not used; they are incorporated into the verb instead, to make what is known as the "synthetic form".


The "m' in "ithim" is the last remnant of mé after contracting to form the synthetic form.


Pronoun drop is necessary. The verbal form on its own expresses person and number. This verb form is remnant from Old Irish, where 1st person singular present absolute forms in the active voice of the indicative mood frequently ended in -m.


There's another form without a dropped pronoun: "Itheann mé".

So: ithim and itheann mé are OK. But ithim mé is not.


That's true. I just meant in reference specifically to ithim me ;-)


Sure, and thanks for the historical information. My comment was just aimed to make sure learners don't come to the wrong conclusion.


awesome comment LaineyBE awesome no kidding


In Irish, Is 'I eat' one word, or could it also be two words?


I am in a university Irish course and we were taught both the contracted form and the verb with pronoun (itheann me).


I think you are right you can retake it you know


I'm not sure if its just the audio, or if I'm just hearing it wrong, but is the 't' not pronounced here? I have just started learning Irish and I'm confused about how to pronounce the 'th' correctly...


th in Irish is not pronounced like "th" in English.

This Youtube video gives an introduction to the basics of Irish pronunciation - Sounds and Spelling of Irish / Fuaimniú agus Litriú na Gaeilge


Why don't we have audio, have I missed something?


I used " itheann mé " , is it wrong?


No, it's fine. Go ahead and report it if it didn't mark it right.


No, it's not. Ithim is "I eat". You could also say Itheann mé, but the m in ithim corresponds to the "I" in "I eat" - an additional is completely redundant.


Unless, perhaps, you are a cannibal?


Self-cannibalising, I should say.


I love it. The first time


is there a difference between I eat and I am eating?


"I eat" suggests that you sometimes eat but are not necessarily eating now (as in, "What do you do for fun?" - "I read."). "I am eating" suggests that you're eating right now, as in: "Do you want to come play Dungeons & Dragons?" - "I can't, I'm studying."


I'm sorry if my question was confusing. let me rephrase that. I was wondering if there were two different Irish words for I eat, as compared to I am eating because in French there is only one word.


Oh. That, I don't know.


It's a different form of "eat", the verbal noun. Anything that is an -ing (gerund) uses 'ag' ('at' in English) + the verbal noun. You use the 'to be' verb as the primary so it's conjugated as Tá mé ag ithe, I am eating.


Yes, there are:

Itheann sé = he eats

Tá sé ag ithe = he is eating (literally, he is at eating)


Just to summarize the consensus of this thread, "ithim" is the synthetic form of "itheann mé". Both are correct for "I eat" in Irish.


Ithim is NOT a contraction of itheann mé. But yes, both ithim and itheann mé are correct.


Changed "contraction" to "synthetic form", thanks.


who whatched monday night football

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