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  5. "You like the beef."

"You like the beef."

Translation:Is maith leat an mhairteoil.

August 29, 2014



When does mhairteoil use an h and when does it not (mairteoil)? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, and I'm confused :) Thanks


The h is called a séimhiú (lenition) and changes the sound of the consonant. The rules of when to use lenition in a noun are quite extensive, but here are the main ones you need to know.

If a feminine noun begins with a consonant (other than d, t, s), you must lenite it after the definite article (an).

Feminine nouns:

  • an mhairteoil = the beef
  • an chloch = the stone
  • an fharraige = the sea

Masculine nouns (no lenition):

  • an madra = the dog
  • an crann = the tree
  • an fear = the man

After certain possessive pronouns:

  • mo mhairteoil = my beef
  • do mhairteoil = your beef
  • a mhairteoil = his beef

But not her

  • a mairteoil = her beef



So how do I know when a known is masculine or feminine? E.g. in French the indefinate and definate articles "un", "une", "le" & "la" tell me, but in Irish ?


Thanks for the link!


baddums, mairteoil would also be lenited following mo (“my”), do (“your” [singular]), and a (“his”). However, it wouldn’t be lenited following a (“her”). It would also be lenited following several prepositions, as well as in other grammatical circumstances which we haven’t covered yet.

  • mo mhairteoil (“my beef”)
  • do mhairteoil (“your beef”)
  • a mhairteoil (“his beef”)
  • a mairteoil (“her beef”)

EDIT #1: The forum software doesn’t correctly render a single character in italics when using underscores. The “a” for both “his” and “her” above should not appear with neighbouring underscores, and the text between them shouldn’t be rendered as italic.

EDIT #2: Using asterisks around a single character works; using underscores around a single character doesn’t.


"a mhairteoil " a mhairteoil

a ("his") a ("her")

I knew it worked for me in quotes, so I tried out the second without it. You could use double stars around a single letter for bold.

Oh, just make sure there is no space between the letter and the star. It should work. I generally add an extra space after the last italicized letter star. "a " ("his") to prevent "a mhairteoil"

Oh, I see from your posts that you use underline in front of and after words to make them italicized. I didn't know you could do that. Use single star in front of and after words for the same effect and it works on single letters too. a ("his") a mairteoil


Thanks for your reply. A few weeks back I’d downloaded a Markdown guide, and discovered that the default for Markdown is one asterisk on each side for italics and two asterisks on each side for bold; before downloading it, I’d expected it to use one underscore on each side for italics and one asterisk on each side for bold. I found that one underscore on each side worked when there were at least two characters between the underscores; it doesn’t seem to be able to render correctly with a single character between the underscores.

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