"Níorbh aisteoir í."
Translation:She was not an actor.
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My question is how come this is not discussed at all in the hints and tips section online... i'm entirely confused about the past tense copula then... anyone have any links that help to explain it at all?
Yes, the copula is tricky. Here is one link for you: http://nualeargais.ie/gnag/gram.htm
Níorbh is the past tense of the copula before a vowel. It's also the conditional of the copula, so this can be translated as "She wouldn't be an actor."
Actually, unless context distinguishes it. The Conditional/Past tense of the Copula is assumed to be conditional. So if you said this to a native speaker without context, they would probably assume you meant "She wouldn't be an actor."
Indeed! Another good example (and possibly the best!) is how you wouldn't really say Ba mhaith liom é for "I liked it."
So past tense forms of the copula are to be avoided in order not to be confused with the conditional tense?
What is that "ba"? I cannot find it in teanglann.ie. It takes me to the noun "bó", which wouldn't make sense here.
As ba is the past and conditional form of the copula, you'll find it listed under is.
So would it be clearer to say 'Ní raibh sí ina haisteoir' or something to indicate past rather than conditional use (in the absence of decisive context)?
So I came her to see what this was, having never been introduced to it before. After reading all the comments it seems you would not say "She was not an actress" this way at all but I couldn't seem to understand from the comments how you would actually say "She was not an actress". BUT this is how you would say "She wouldn't be an actress" which is a sentences I don't think would ever need to be said anyway (I believe we would say "She would never be an actress"). Anyway, good to know.
I would like to know too. What would be the best way to say "She was not an actor/actress"?
Níorbh aisteoir í is the best way to say "She was not an actress".
While níor/níorbh can be either the past tense or conditional, context usually makes it clear which is most appropriate, and if you are talking about someone in the past tense, then the statement will be understood in the past tense.
That wouldn't work, since is maith liom is an idiomatic structure using the copula. It'd probably be clear what you meant, but it'd be an incorrect (as in no native would use it) way of saying it.
Yes, I realized after I asked that that would be using 'bi' and not the copula. Thanks!
Colloquially, in Ireland to say 'she wouldn't be an actress' could mean she wasn't an actress but would try anyway.
“She was not an actress” is also accepted. (“Actor” in the translation is used in its unisex meaning.)