"He is a good man."

Translation:Fear maith is ea é.

October 16, 2014

32 Comments

Sorted by top post

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benhoch13

I thought "Is ea" meant "it is," so why is there also an "é" here? I suck at Irish, so I'm sure this is incorrect, but it seems like "Fear maith is ea é" says "He it is a good man."

January 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/draconian19

I could be completely wrong, but I think "Fear maith is ea é" translates more literally to "A good man, he is it". Which would translate more naturally to "He is a good man".

March 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AF_fisher

Thank you, always tricky to understand how the Irish sentences are formed.

April 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

It translates to the meaning (i.e. not literally as there is little benefit doing a literal translation here):

He is a GOOD MAN (imagine yourself stressing the 'good man' as you say it).

Again going for implied rather than literal meaning:

Is fear maith é - he is a good man

Is maith an fear é - he is a GOOD man

Fear maith is ea é - he is a GOOD MAN

As for how to translate "he is a good MAN" (possibly in reply to someone incorrectly guessing the person's gender and asking "is she a good woman?"), I'd have a stab at:

Is fear an duine maith (sin)

or

Fear is ea an duine maith (sin)

with the second being stronger. I'm certain that someone will offer a better alternative if the last two are are non-ideal.

June 13, 2019

[deactivated user]

    very helpful, thanks

    October 19, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

    ea / eadh is the neuter pronoun. It is seldom used in Irish outside these type of sentences.

    The purpose for it, in this sentence, is because the subject of a sentence must never directly follow a form of the copula. The grammar of the sentence is as follows:

    Fear (noun, predicate in sentence)

    maith (adjective, modifying the predicate fear)

    is (copula, linking the subject to the predicate - fear maith)

    ea (neuter pronoun, refers back to the predicate)

    é (masculine pronoun, the subject of the sentence)

    Predicate - Copula - Predicate (pronoun) - Subject

    The sentence therefore means, literally: "a good man is it he"

    So is ea does mean "it is" in a way, but only in a way like "him is" or "her is" - NOT "he is" or "she is". The subject of sentences like this start after the ea.

    June 13, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

    P.S. I doubt you "suck at Irish" - the grammar is very different to most other (i.e. unrelated) European languages, especially this copula stuff. Everyone will find it tough to start with - I recently started trying a related language on here (Welsh) and I find it challenging - the words seem so unfamiliar to me. Irish is like riding a bike or driving a car. It is difficult to start with, resulting in feelings of failure and pessimism about every making progress. But - guess what..? Like riding a bike or driving a car, it becomes second nature with time. DL is not the best Irish course in the world by any means but don't give up! It can give you a foundation to build on and access to the Irish mindset as well as some of the oldest literature in Europe.

    June 13, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/josefderry

    Why not ''ta...se''

    September 29, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SeanMeaneyPL

    The verbs and is have different uses in Irish, and there is a lot more about them coming your way. Worth getting a good grammar book, but broadly goes with adjectives to describe things and is with nouns and pronouns to identify, categorise and classify people and things.

    "I am cold" is describing a transient feature or experience. "It is cold" is describing a transient feature of the weather. Both use . Tá mé fuar, ta sé fuar.

    "I am a man" = a permanent feature, an identifying characteristic. "I am a cold man" = a permanent characteristic, I am taciturn, unemotional, unresponsive - in a word, cold. Both use is. Is fear mé Is fear fuar mé Duine fuarchúiseach is ea é (He is a cold, unresponsive person).

    November 16, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jamie281165

    Thank you

    February 19, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

    Three reasons:

    1) You should use the copula to translate that sentence

    2) If you were to use tá sé (which would be wrong), you should not split the words to form a predicate sandwich in the way you suggest

    3) If you were to use those words, there should be fadaí on their vowels

    June 13, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jamie281165

    Tá sé fear maith?

    February 19, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
    Mod
    • 1227

    No - when using a noun (fear) to describe a noun or pronoun (é), you use the copula is, not the verb ( in the present tense).

    May 30, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

    You could try tá sé ina fhear maith but the copula should really be used here.

    June 13, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KerrieSalsac

    I thought "Is fear mhaith é" was a correct although less powerful way of saying this? Went with it on a multiple choice one.

    October 16, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/galaxyrocker

    It wouldn't be lenited. Is fear maith é is a way to say this, yes. It's like say "He is a good man" versus "He is a good man in English"

    October 16, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KerrieSalsac

    There's my mistake!!! Thanks :)

    October 16, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarjieVolk

    I marked "is fear maith é" and it said that was wrong

    February 6, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lg72xx
    • 1368

    I also had that marked wrong -- not because that version is incorrect, but because there are TWO correct versions, and I only chose one of them. Perhaps this was your case, also?

    March 20, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1dunmore

    Isn't the verb always the first in a sentence not the subject

    July 17, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

    Generally the verb always stands first in its clause. The Irish copula isn't really a verb and, even if you want to think of it as a verb, it can have strange syntax.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copula_(linguistics)

    June 13, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_torioi

    I've read somewhere in this skill's discussion section that is is used to "categorize" things instead of describing them.

    If so, then why is is used here, instead of ?

    October 19, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
    Mod
    • 1227

    "He is a man" - "he" is in the category or classification "man".

    The adjective maith/"good" is just decoration, and doesn't change the fact that this is a copula.

    May 30, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

    Depending on what you mean by "describe", the copula can do both things.

    is fear é - it is "a man" (or "he is a man" but the subject of this sentence is 'é')

    is fear maith é - it is "a good man"

    is maith an fear é - it is a "good" man

    N.B. DL doesn't accept the last form as an answer for some reason. Also, with the change in word order, the subject of this sentence is now 'an fear (a is) é' - the subject is never allowed to follow the copula directly.

    It can also identify things:

    is é an fear féna rabhas ag caint - He is the man about whom I was talking

    and many other things.

    Regarding and "describing" people: this, generally, describes people in a transient state:

    tá sé fuar - he is cold (but he could warm up sitting by the fire) - this also means "'it' is cold" but, again, 'it' can warm up when the sun comes out.

    tá an t-ocras air - he is hungry (but he won't be after eating something)

    tá sé ina luí ar an leabaidh - he is lying on the bed (but could always get up)

    You can have situations where, depending on the dialect, either is or can be used:

    is múinteoir é / tá sé ina mhúinteoir - he is a teacher.

    Use of is for professions is becoming an anachronism as society changes and people no longer tend to have "jobs for life". That said, people's temperament can change so a good man is fear maith é could turn into an evil man is fear olc é over time.

    When to use the correct structure will come with time. I'm not a native speaker but I read widely and my understanding of these things is always improving. That will be true for you too. Keep it up and don't let SatharnPHL's arrogant and condescending posts get you down!

    N.B. I used some dialectal forms in my post. I will put what I believe to be the standard form for them here - féna = faoina, rabhas = raibh mé, leabaidh = leaba

    June 13, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

    Just to be clear: I didn't mean to imply that 'a good/evil man' could be translated as is fear maith/olc é, I was merely showing fear maith/olc being used with the copula.

    June 13, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lyra763942

    The answer given is 'is fear maith é' and elsewhere 'fear maith is ea é'

    October 27, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

    Both are correct. The latter emphasises that it is "a good man", the former merely states it.

    June 13, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pallethands

    "Is fear deas é" Why is this wrong?

    May 30, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
    Mod
    • 1227

    deas means "nice".

    May 30, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainm10

    This question appears to refuse acceptable answers, given that there are a variety of ways this could be translated.

    e.g. is maith an fear é (emphasis on him being good)

    June 12, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SebRyan1

    This should be sé instead of é

    August 30, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SatharnPHL
    Mod
    • 1227

    No it should not. is not used with the copula.

    August 30, 2019
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