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  5. "Tá an fear os comhair na lea…

" an fear os comhair na leabharlainne.."

Translation:The man is opposite the library.

September 19, 2014



I said "across from" as opposed to "opposite." They mean the same thing (to me at least), but I would rarely say the latter. I think it should be accepted unless anyone objects.


I agree, I don't accept being marked wrong for that. :-)


Exactly, I wouldn't say "opposite" unless I'm trying to give very specific spacial directions.


Is there a difference between os comhar and roimh?

Also, the tips and notes section for the genitive gives a translation for os comhair as "over." Is this incorrect? I can't seem to find anything in the dictionary suggesting that this means over.


Excellent questions.

For "over" vs. os comhair, there is a possibility of a typo in the tips & notes section confusing with "os cionn". "Os comhair" was included as opposite / in front of in teanglann. I reported it just in case.

Looking at the examples shown, there wouldn't be a difference between roimh and comhair. There is even one welcome phrase included.



Still didn't get the difference of the two


Comparing the entries in teanglann, it would seem, that there is practically no difference regards to the meaning "before".

However "os comhair" has a limited and very specific use, whilst "roimh" many other uses, which are not necessarily related to the place related meaning "in front"


Ok, believe it or NOT, I finally have a slight understanding of this genitive. It was another post that helped me out but I had this little break through today and I did learn how to look the genitive up and I also understand that some of these like os comhair require the genitive and I just have to keep looking them up until I know them. Things you guys have been telling me all along suddenly had meaning...it was SO good!


hmm, na leabharlainne? I think that's meant to be plural


After compound prepositions, you use the gentive.


ah I think I realised soon after the rest of the examples, and it just flows better when i kept saying it aloud! ha


Yeah. Certain "compound prepositions" cause the genitive afterwards. I'll see if I can't track down a list.


I think it is genitive case, feminine singular. But I'm really struggling with this myself. so don't quote me.


I have been through these lessons a bunch of times and never caught that it said "na leabharlainne" and I see galaxyrocker's explanation now. You all know that I don't know what part's of speech are what and never even heard of the Genitive before I came here but I find all these exceptions so odd. So after a preposition with two words you just change the noun? So now it looks like a plural but isn't one. What if you wanted to say "The man is opposite the libraries" ? Just curious though I supposed there wouldn't be two libraries side by side. Also can someone tell me what the regular word for "library" would be and then the plural for it as well? I am having trouble figuring out how to change this noun when I never knew what it was to begin with. Thanks!


You all know that I don’t know what parts of speech are what

There’s nothing stopping you from learning them other than your lack of will to do so.

What if you wanted to say “The man is opposite the libraries” ?

You’d replace the genitive singular form with the genitive plural form: … na leabharlann.

can someone tell me what the regular word for “library” would be and then the plural for it as well?

  • “library” = leabharlann (nominative singular);
  • “libraries” = leabharlanna (nominative plural);
  • “library’s”, “of a library” = leabharlainne (genitive singular);
  • “libraries’”, “of libraries” = leabharlann (genitive plural).


I suppose that is perfectly true. I really don't want to have to learn all the parts of speech. I am beginning to understand why people think I am crazy for wanting to learn Irish at all. It's ok though, I don't have to explain myself to everyone. Thank you for your help. So the genitive is completely opposite of the normal words...(yeah, that's how I explain it). It is helpful to see the regular word for "library".


The genitives aren’t always the complete opposite of the nominatives (normal words); it depends on the particular noun. There are five declension types (noun classes) in Irish:

  • the first declension forms the genitive by making a final broad consonant slender (e.g. catcait, bealachbealaigh);
  • the second declension does so by appending an e to a final slender consonant (e.g. súilsúile), by making a final broad consonant slender and then appending e (e.g. brógbróige), or by making a final -ach into -aí or a final -each into (e.g. gealachgealaí, teach );
  • the third declension often appends an a to a final broad consonant (e.g. amama) or makes a final slender consonant broad and then appends a (e.g. feoilfeola);
  • the fourth declension has identical nominative and genitive forms (e.g. pócapóca);
  • the fifth declension is something of a catch-all, but the end result is a final broad consonant (e.g. beoirbeorach, athairathar, caracarad).


Ok, so even if I knew what all that meant...how would I know which one to use? Isn't it still just a matter of learning word and how it changes spelling? I am pretty sure this is why I almost gave up on Irish--way too much to remember in all these explanations for a beginner, just takes all the hope right out of you. I promised myself when I came back here that I would stay off these boards and I really should have. Thanks anyway.


even if I knew what all that meant… how would I know which one to use?

Any English phrase in that comment for which you don’t know the meaning can be learned by referring to the Tips and Notes here; if they’re not present there, you could refer to a dictionary. All of the Irish words in there are merely examples to show the difference between nominative and genitive forms.

You can learn which one to use by looking at example sentences in the course here; for example, since this exercise uses the genitive form of “library”, one can conclude that os comhair X is a situation that requires the genitive form of X.

Isn’t it still just a matter of learning word and how it changes spelling?

Of course — just as it would be with any language that declines nouns for case.

I am pretty sure this is why I almost gave up on Irish — way too much to remember in all these explanations for a beginner, just takes all the hope right out of you.

If learning Irish is your goal, then you’ll need to learn its nouns’ declensions. If your hope is that Irish nouns are declined exactly like English nouns, then you’ll be better off abandoning that particular hope sooner rather than later. That’s not to say that everything must be memorized on day one — but if you want to be able to distinguish e.g. “The man is in the library” from “The man is opposite the library” in Irish, then you’ll need to learn the genitive form of “library”, since the latter sentence requires that genitive form.


Hmm, I do irish in school and always have been taught that os comhair is opposite or beside. Ive never heard it being used as before. Before in irish is roimh but that is more like before a certain time like 'i got there before 8 O' clock' I guess os comhair can also be used as before as in before a place. :/

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