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"Why is the food on the plate?"

Translation:Cén fáth go bhfuil an bia ar an bpláta?

August 29, 2014



what does "go bhfuil" mean and what does "a bhfuil" mean


go bhfuil = that is

a bhfuil = whom/whose is

atá = who is

An fear a bhfuil a mhac san ospidéal = The man whose son is in hospital.

In English the who/whom/whose distinction is only used for people, but in Irish it also holds for inanimate objects.


But why are both correct is this sentence?


Because different dialects use each one. Ulster uses lenition, while Connacht and Munster use eclipses.


Ok, but I was referring to "go bhfuil" and "a bhfuil".


Ah, my bad! Cén fáth has to require a relative clause (indirect, to be precise), so a bhfuil is what should be correct in the standard.

Note that that was the standard, however. In Munster, go bhfuil can be used for the indirect relative clause. That's my best guess as to why they're both correct.


Ah, brilliant, I wasn't aware of that. Thank you.

[deactivated user]

    Thank you! I knew there had to be a simple explanation.


    Thank you, that clears that up!


    "go bufuil" means "that ... is", so in most English sentences that have a "that ... is", you use "go bhfuil", for example, "deir sé go bhfuil sé ard = he says that he is tall".

    I'm actually not sure what you mean by "a bhfuil" without seeing it in a sentence. Where have you come across it?

    \"an bhfuil" is used for a question. Perhaps that is what you meant?


    That makes a little more sense. As for "a bhfuil" I came across it in a 'choose the correct translations' exercise. I chose the one with "go bhfuil" but it was marked wrong and said that both "go bhfuil" and "a bhfuil" were correct. Do they mean the same thing when used in a question?


    I don't think so. You would use "an bhfuil" to pose a question. "go bhfuil" may occur in the middle of a question.

    Unfortunately without the actual sentences in full to read, it's hard for me to know. If you find some examples come back to me with them.


    "Cén fáth a bhfuil an bia ar an bpláta?"


    I don't understand why we are given sentences we have no way of answering! We not only are not given the literal meaning of the words but we aren't given them as an example so there is no way we could know what the construction of the sentence would be like. So this says, "Why is the food that is on the plate?" So every sentence that starts with "Why is" and ends with it being "on" something starts with "Cen fath go bhfuil" ?


    Two years later and I still can't do these sentences and don't know what they mean...but it must just be me....

    [deactivated user]

      This is the first lesson I've had genuine trouble with. It would be nice if the notes included an explanation of how to use the verb "to be" in questions.


      The notes for the Present Tense skill explain how to use verbs, including the verb "to be", in questions.

      [deactivated user]

        They really don't.

        [deactivated user]

          You are wrong. Your link doesn't explain when to use which form of the verb "to be" in C questions. Or when not to use it for that matter. That was the context of my question.
          I really hate our exchanges. They are a negative experience that I do not wish to have. I am going to stop participating in these forums, so that you will no longer have the opportunity to color my experience here with negativity.


          You didn't ask about how to use the verb "to be" in C questions, you asked about how to use the verb "to be" in questions.

          There's nothing special about the verb "to be" when used with Cén fáth. It is used in the same way as any other verb:
          Cén fath a ritheann tú ar an mbóthar?
          Cén fáth ar bhris tú an cupán?
          Cén fáth nach léann tú an nuachtáin?.

          The only oddity with "to be" is that it uses the dependent form fuil, as explained in that link.


          They really do. But the comment that you deleted suggests that you weren't really asking about questions using the verb "to be", like "is it ready yet?" of "are there any donuts left?" or "am I late?", you're confused about "w" questions - "who", "where", "which", "why", "when", "what" and "how", and why some of them are followed by atá, and some are followed by bhfuil, and some of them are followed by the copula.

          Rather than making any more assumptions, though, if you give some examples of the type of questions that you are confused about, it might be easier to explain what's happening, rather than providing an answer to a question that you didn't ask.


          And where would these notes be? Using the app on an android and have only seen exercises, nothing like notes, descriptions, explanations. What have i missed? Something that is a link?


          I don't use any of the various different Android, iPhone and iPad apps, so I can't tell you about how to access any particular features in any of those apps, but you can use the web browser on a phone or tablet and log into the Duolingo website, where you'll find the Tips & Notes for skills that have them by clicking on the lightbulb icon when you select a skill.


          Why is go bhfuil necessary if cén fáth already asks the question 'why'?


          You need a verb: “cén fáth“ = “why“ (literally (“what cause“) “go bhfuil“ (or “a bhfuil“) = “is“ (indirect relative form) To make it clearer, we could replace “go bhfuil“ by a different verb, e.g. “Cén fáth ar rinne tú é?“ = “Why did you do it?“


          Nope, wouldn't understand that one either. "ar rinne"?


          Okay, try a slightly different sentence.

          Even in English people wouldn't say "Why the food on the picture/?", they would ask "Why IS the...?"

          BTW this sentence would make more sense as a rhetorical question - the meme from wewantplates.com

          Hope this helps.


          It said that both sentences below were right...

          "Cén fáth a bhfuil an bia ar an bpláta"

          "Cén fáth a bhfuil an bia ar an phláta"

          Why can both be right? I thought only the first one were right..


          Dialectical difference. Ulster Irish will use lenition but the others use eclipsis. Best to choose one and stick with it, as they are both accepted in the standard.


          Does any dialect have this?

          Cén fáth ATÁ an bia ar an ....


          clearly this sentence is out of place in this lesson and in spite of the opportunity to learn by induction, it only creates frustration based on all lessons before it. (with the greatest admiration of all those who have volunteered their time to create this course, the blame clearly falls on duo admin for these type of issues throughout duo courses.)


          This sentence is an unnatural mishmash of different dialects. Cén fáth takes an indirect relative clause, whose particle is a in standard Irish as well as in Connacht and Ulster. So cén fáth a bhfuil... is the form that should be used in this course. In Munster the indirect relative particle is generally go, like it in the sentence here, but cén fáth isn't an authentic Munster form. This question would be Cad ina thaobh go bhfuil... or Cad chuige go bhfuil in Munster Irish.


          Why is "go" in this sentence here? What is its purpose? Shouldn't it be "cén fáth an bia ar an bpláta"?


          Where's the verb in "cén fáth an bia ar an bpláta?" ?


          I don't understand why it says wrong when written:

          Cén ina thaobh go bhfuil an bia ar an bpláta?

          instead of Cén fáth...


          That should be Cad ina thaobh (pronounced "cana thaobh")


          Why is it "a bhfuil" instead of "an bhfuil"?


          an bhfuil bia ar an bpláta? means "Is there food on the plate?"

          Cén fáth a/go bhfuil bia ar an bpláta? means "What is the reason that there is food on the plate?". In English, that becomes "Why?" but you actually have a question with a relative clause, using the relative particle a rather than the interrogative particle an, because the question is in the word Cén.

          (As the "default answer" listed above indicates, Cén fáth a bhfuil is Cén fáth go bhfuil in some dialects).


          The grammar comments and dancers are necessary and enlightening. Is there any way to copy and keep these posts? Also, is there a place or places where each element of the grammar is explained separately. From a teacher who used to teach languages in the conventional way, this is an awful lot for a beginner, including me, to glean from one sentence. Phil, this is not a criticism because the answers explain a great deal but merely an observation. Thanks. Irish can be a bit daunting smile.


          You can get back to any sentence discussion using the URL, this one is https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/4341734

          I copy and paste the URL into my notes, so on the page in my notes for C questions, I have this link under examples. I also keep the URL for the relevant Tips and Notes, in this case, https://www.duolingo.com/skill/ga/Questions/tips-and-notes

          (I love "comments and dancers", however, if you want to fix a typo like that, you can edit your post to make it the way you want it rather than having to post a correction.)


          When do you use "go bhfuil" and when do you use "atá" in questions? I can't figure out the difference.


          Oops, and answers, not and dancers


          Can anyone tell me if I can select text within the app as this would be usual for me. GRMA!


          I read that it was best practise to use atá for question format and still got it wrong! But sure I'll Nat be giving it up for that :)


          Why does plata and bplata both mean plate


          Why do "Plate" and "plate" both mean "plate"?

          Making a letter uppercase is an "initial mutation" that only occurs in certain grammatical circumstances, and it doesn't change the meaning of the word. In Irish, eclipsis is another "initial mutation" that only occurs in certain grammatical circumstances, and doesn't change the meaning of the word. In this case, the preposition ar together with the singular definite article an causes the following noun to be eclipsed - pláta becomes bpláta.


          This entire category of lessons is too important for the low amount of practice it gives us. Knowing how to ask questions is extremely important and I feel like the lesson is advancing way faster than I am able to learn it. On half of this particular part, I've just had to give up even trying and just click on the translation and type it in. Obviously not a good thing to do when learning a language, but what choice do I have?


          I'm sure this answer is buried somewhere in this discussion, but I can't seem to find a straight answer. Why is it ..go bhfuil an bia... instead of ...atá an bia...?


          The interrogative cén fáth requires an indirect relative clause, and indirect relative clauses use the dependent form of a verb.


          OK, I think the light is beginning to come on here. If the sentence were "What is on the plate?", that would be a direct relative clause and would use an atá construction. Cád é atá ar an bpláta. Is that correct?


          The é is sometimes left out, but yes, Cád é atá ar an bpláta? is the correct translation.


          The é is sometimes left out

          This is purely a matter of dialect. Ulster would always use é here,(pronounced and often written in dialect texts as a single word goidé). Munster on the other hand é never intervenes between cad and a following relative clause. In Connacht they would use céard.

          So your sentence isn't grammatically incorrect, but it's a bit like saying "Howdy y'all, where's the loo" in that it contains an incongruous mixture of dialects. I'd say Cad é atá ar an phláta or Cad/céard atá ar an bpláta

          It's enormously tough to talk about questions in a way that's dialect neutral, as each of the three possesses a distinct set of question words.


          Yeah, was going to ask about using phláta instead of bpláta in the ulster dialect. Also, I've heard and pronounced Cad é in Ulster as "cuh jay* which I'm hoping is reasonably close.


          Why do we need four randomly spelled words to say"why"?


          Well, in English, we have "why," "how come," "wherefore," and "how." (Albeit, using "how" to mean "why" is a regional variant; e.g., you might hear "how" for "why" in Scottish English.)

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