1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. tá or tú


tá or tú

I'm looking through some notes I took during a lesson and I wrote down Tá úll agat .. but I think I might have written down the wrong word. So far the lesson hasn't repeated this particular phrase and I haven't been able to check it.

I'm thinking if tá tú = you are and tú = you, then tá úll agat = is has an apple ... and that makes no sense but if tú = you ... then tú úll agat = you have an apple.

Can anyone confirm my thinking or set me straight if I'm wrong.

Thanks in advance.

September 3, 2014


Sorted by top post


Pay close attention to what the individual words mean!

  • = is, are
  • = you
  • agat = at you

  • Tá úll agat = An apple is at you = You have an apple

  • Tú úll agat = You an apple at you (doesn't make sense)

See the "Tips and notes" for Basics 2 for more explanation.

September 3, 2014


You're right about the first part. Tá=present tense of "to be", tú=you.

Now, in Irish there is no verb "to have"; instead you say 'something is at someone'. So "Tá úll agat" is literally "an apple is at you". "Agat" is the preposition "ag" merged with the pronoun "tú".


I'm sorry but I don't understand what you're trying to say.


So there's three and a half things going on. The Basics 1 explains this, but clearly it's not quite working. I'll try to split them out.

First. Here English and Irish have a big linguistic difference. English speakers are used to having ( :) ) the verb "to have" ... doesn't exist in Irish. So Irish does this a different way. Things are "at" things. The word is "ag" (at).

Second item is that Irish has these things called prepositional pronouns... think of them as formalized contractions. So remember, at = ag - this is our preposition here.

at+me = agam (ag+mé)

at+you = agat (ag+tú)

at+him = aige (ag+sé)

at+her = aici (ag+sí)

at+us = againn (ag+sinn)

at+ye = agaibh (ag+sibh)

at+them = acu (ag + siad)

Third. Tá itself. Some folks have an easier time I find in their early notes by writing down Tá as 'Tis. I prefer this because "T-Shirt Irish" has made this word common, but it also is a useful contraction. Celtic languages are Verb+Subject+Object, unlike English Subject+Verb+Object... which is a fancy way of saying, "sometimes the front of sentences look flipped"

The half thing. Nouns don't have an indefinite article "a/an" so we assume it when we come back to a language that has it, like English.

All put together. I will use square brackets to line things up.

[ Tá ] [ úll ] [ agat ]

Literally: [ Tis ] [ (an) apple ] [ at+you. ]

in English we generally say (remember we flip the front going from Germanic to Celtic): [ You ] [ have ] [ an apple. ]


THANK YOU!!! Somewhere along the way I missed the table of "at"s and didn't understand that agat meant ''at you" .. I couldn't connect where the you was coming into the picture.

That makes a tonne of sense now, much appreciated. Sending you many lingots.


Go ndéana a mhaith duit :)


I'll get back to you on that after many more lessons, LOL!!! (I can only suspect it means something like "you're welcome"


Thanks everyone .. I think it's a situation where I need to just accept it the way it is without questioning it and it will get easier with time.

ETA: Thank you to Wolfman Jack who answered my question in his post above. It makes sense now.


... and just because I said it hadn't repeated this phrase it promptly did. It is tá úll agat .. and I answered "you have an apple" .. which I didn't think was correct but it accepted it.

I didn't understand why and read through the discussion notes where someone replied that tá can also be used as a way of saying .. "there is". Is that correct?

If tá = there is and tú = you,

shouldn't my answer tá úll agat = "you have an apple" be wrong? Shouldn't the correct answer be "there is an apple"??

ETA: not questioning the logic of the wording, just trying to determine the correct way to say/write this and wondering if there is a glitch in the beta


But why would tá úll agat = "you have an apple" be wrong?

The "you have an apple" is a completely valid sentence.

It wouldn't be "there is an apple" because it's already saying that you have the apple with the word agat.


tá = is/am/are

ag = at

agam = at me

agat = at you


Tá úll agat literally translates as either "There is an apple at you" or "An apple is at you". As explained in the "Tips and notes" for Basics 1, this is how you say "You have an apple" in Irish. When you use the word with a form of the word ag, it expresses the concept of having something.

Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.