If you want to say they eat, you need the word they--siad.
When the subject is mé or muid, you can use the synthetic forms--the ones where the subject and verb are smooshed together, like ithim and ithimid. Do not add mé or muid to these forms, unless you want to say I I eat.
You do need to add a subject when the verb is itheann because that's the form to use with tú, sé, sí, muid (if you don't use ithimid), sibh, and siad. Itheann siad = They eat Itheann siad na páistí = They eat the children. Since Irish is a VSO (verb-subject-object) language, you will usually find the subject right after the verb and the object after that.
Irish doesn't make as big a deal about subjects and objects as, say, German. The nouns are the same for subjects and objects, but the pronouns change: sé, sí, siad (subjects) become é, í, iad (objects). Many people use tú for the subject and thú for the object, but I don't know if that is required.
Itheann tú iad. = You eat them. Itheann siad thú. = They eat you.
Thank you so much! I think I was wrapping my mind around the synthetic form, and thinking that all conjugations had a synthetic form. Like in Spanish where one can drop the subject because the conjugation of the verb generally indicates the subject. I would hate to accidentally cannibalize anyone!
Quoting the very first lines of the Tips & Notes for the very first skill, Basics 1
Welcome to Duolingo's Irish course! In this course you will learn the official standard (an Caighdeán Oifigiúil) of Irish. But note, this is a written, and not a spoken standard. Irish is spoken in three main dialects, corresponding to three Irish provinces of Munster (south), Ulster (north), and Connacht (west). The audio in this course was recorded by a native speaker of the Connacht dialect.
That would be Tá na páistí ag ithe.
Using Duolingo, where you see sentences in isolation, you will often need to supply some context or understand that it's just a practice sentence. I do agree, though, that it wouldn't have been all that hard to add an object like spaigití or sceallóga.
Thanks, that's helpful. I'm also doing Spanish on here, and I was thrown by the fact that the response to my answer using the continuous form was incorrect in Irish, but accepted in Spanish. I've forgotten all my school Irish - except for 'Cead mile failte' - and even there, I can't remember where the accents go!
Check out Oideas Gael. (I'm not putting down any of the others; I just loved Oideas Gael.) I'm going back for four weeks this summer.
It's in a beautiful area, and I thought the teachers were great. There's not a lot of entertainment besides the beach and the pub, which was fine with me.
There are only adults (university age and up) there, with quite a few retired folks, including myself. Check it out on line: www.oideasgael.ie I would recommend going for at least a couple of weeks.
Tá na páistí ag ithe - "The children are eating"
Itheann na páistí - "The children eat"
Irish and English both differentiate between the simple present tense and the present progressive/present continuous - they aren't interchangeable. Not all languages make this distinction.
(This question has already been answered at least 3 times in the earlier comments).