1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Tá an cat níos lú."

" an cat níos lú."

Translation:The cat is smaller.

October 12, 2014



Is there any etymological reason why comes from beag?


Not quite sure why, but the difference goes all the way back to Old Irish, where lugu was the comparative of bec, "small"


I can't work out when to use is instead of nios


níos lú - smaller , is lú - smallest

[deactivated user]

    Couldn't it also be "The smaller cat" ?


    It has the verb , so you need the verb in there somewhere.

    "The smaller cat" would be an cat níos lú, without a form of

    Itheann an cat níos lú an luch (The smaller cat ate the mouse).

    [deactivated user]

      Okay thank you. In my understanding "the smaller cat" and "the cat is smaller" isn't really any difference. But from a grammatical point of view I get it know. Thank you.


      See, I do have a difference between "the smaller cat" and "the cat is smaller." One just states a specific cat, the smaller one. The other is an actual comparison. "What is smaller? The cat is smaller."


      Those precisely demonstrate the difference between an attributive adjective and a predicative adjective. The latter is used to form a complete sentence; the former isn’t (other than as a terse response to a question).


      Could you use this structure to say sth equivalent to ' you're the best!'? Tá tú is fearr or maybe Is é an rud is fearr atá tú?


      You're trying to translate an English idiom directly - you'd be better off using any of the many expressions of approval available in Irish.

      (Having said that, focloir.ie does have "it's not the best" - "ní hé is fearr", but that somehow works a bit better than "is tusa is fearr".)


      Many thanks ! Now, I notice you've used the copula here, instead of tá. Would that be an instance of 'emotional estimation' as Ó Siadhail puts it, as in 'Is deas í do léine'? ' 'An-scríbhneoir ba ea í.'? Or is there another rule that you always use the copula with a comparison?


      I didn't use the copula - I quoted an entry from the NEID that does what I said you shouldn't do, translating an English idiom directly into Irish.

      But the reason for using the copula is because "best" is really being used as a noun in "you are the best" or "it's not the best" - it's standing in for whatever noun the definite article is there for.


      As in: Is é Seán is fearr orthu (EID).... an implied noun. Thanks, I'll chew on that a while


      Why is it 'an cat' and not 'an chat'


      You're asking the wrong question - the Irish for "cat" is cat, not chat, so the question you should be asking is "Is there anything in this sentence that would cause cat to be lenited in this sentence?".

      And the answer to that question is "No, there isn't anything in this sentence that would cause cat to be lenited".

      The basic reasons why a word is lenited are introduced in the Tips & Notes for the lenition skill: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/ga/Lenition/tips-and-notes

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