"I am not able to write."
Translation:Nílim ábalta scríobh.
You can also say Níl scríobh agam to mean the same thing, or Nílim in ann scríobh.
. . . or Ní thig liom scríobh, but Duolingo would probably mark it wrong. (It's not wrong.)
Can someone explain why nílimse ábalta scríobh was not considered acceptable? (I had this sentence as a multiple choice question.)
With only a single sentence in a multiple choice context, nílimse should be just as acceptable as nílim. Report it as an error.
The other options in this case were nílim ábalta scriobh and something else that was clearly wrong (I think it had a cailín in there or something). I selected nílimse... and nílim..., and I'll definitely report it, if it comes up again.
I just got a similar question--I marked both Níl mé ábalta scríobh and Nílimse in ann scríobh as correct but was myself marked wrong for including Nílimse in ann scríobh, which I thought was another way of saying I can't write. I don't normally use the synthetic forms, so I really don't have a feel for them. Can someone with more Gaeilge give me a hand here, le do thoil?
This should be accepted. As scilling said above, this synthetic form with emphasis is grammatical and appropriate, especially outside of the context.
You wouldn't use that normally. It's like saying "I am not able to write" with emphasis on the fact that you are the one unable to write.
That said, it's not incorrect, just an emphatic form.
Except for a few verbs of motion, a is only used when the infinitive has an object (I am not able to write books, for example)
Any clarifications on when to use "a" before the verb? Mar shampla. Nílim ábalta a rith, although that would be considered wrong here as Nílim ábalta rith is the answer her for ...... to run
Except for a few verbs of motion, a is generally only used when the infinitive has an object that comes before it.
Oh come on, you can't tell me ábalta is not onomatopoeic :D An Englishman walked up to an irishman: "Hey you, don't you have an easier way to say 'able to do sth'?" Irishman: "àbal-ta... gotta remember this..."
mise is an emphatic form of mé. Nílimse is an emphatic form of Nílim.
(In English, emphasis is usually indicated with tone of voice, in Irish there are separate emphatic forms).
Is there no difference between a verb and a verbal noun in Irish? It seems like this should say: "I am not able write," but it means, if I am not mistaken, "I am not able TO write." Did I miss something, or is it just a quirk of the Irish language?
No, it's a quirk of the English language. The 'to" in "able to write" is part of "able to" (you don't need it if you replace "able to" with "can", for example).
So how does that fit in with prepositional phrase usage, ie, "Ta air snamh." That comes, literally, to: "it is on me TO SWIM." Or is it closer to say "SWIMMING is "on" me?" If the latter is the case, is there no difference in Irish between the word "swim" and the word "swimming?" Thanks for the reply. Hopefully I can get this sorted out.
'Tá orm snámh' = 'I have to/must swim.' No one would actually say /Swimming is on me/, so I can't answer your question, sorry.
A verbal noun IS a noun, in the same way that a gerund is a noun in English. Read this, it might answer your questions: http://www.nualeargais.ie/gnag/verbnom.htm
Snámh is not a good example to examine, because the verb and the verbal noun share the same form. If you look at the exercise Ta uirthi imirt you can see that this construction uses the verbal noun (imirt), not the verb (imir).
It also doesn't help you with your confusion about the quirks of the English language, because Tá uirthi imirt can be translated as "She has to play" or "she must play". The preposition in the Irish phrase is associated with the verb bí, not with the verbal noun - in other words, you parse it as (tá ar X)(Y), where Y can be (just about) any verbal noun.
Okay, so if I'm understanding this right, some irish verbs have verbal nouns that share the same form, and some do not. That clears things up a little for me. And in your example: "Ta uirthi imirt," which is translated "she must play," is the literal word for word translation: "Is on her playing?" (Playing is "on" her?) The entire preposition thing is really throwing me for a loop. Thanks!
"is on her playing" is just gibberish - don't waste your time on word for word translations if they don't actually offer some help in interpreting the phrase - "it's on her to play" at least has the saving grace of offering some link to a comprehensible phrase in idiomatic English, but you really should stop using that crutch once you get that initial comprehension sorted out.
tá uirthi snámh means "she must swim" or "she has to swim", it doesn't mean "it's on her to swim".
As for the verb and the verbal noun, they are not the same thing, but in some verbs, the verbal noun happens to take the same form.
Don't fret too much about the literal translation--it will rarely help (except to make you realize that all languages have expressions that really make no sense when taken literally.)
You need to get an elementary grammar book, or better yet, a textbook to help you with things like this. Duolingo doesn't do a very good job of explaining things, and yours seems to be the kind of mind that needs to be able to put things in their places in order to learn them.
The prepositions will never go away! Your way of analysing the phrase will help you if you say, 'Okay, bí+ar+X means X has to and copula+le+X+an Y means The Y belongs to X but then make up or look for lots of examples so that you train your eye/ear/brain to recognize the pattern behind the sentences.
Make sure you know all the forms of the prepositional pronouns: http://www.irishpage.com/quiz/preppron.htm
And get that book. I don't think a serious adult learner can learn from a method that doesn't help us to organize the language.