"I am not able to write."
Translation:Nílim ábalta scríobh.
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?
Other questions: nílim Duo: "watch the accents, you should write nílím" This question: nílím Duo: "misspelling, you should use nílim" Augh, what controls whether the i has a fada? I don't understand how the same word with the same meaning and same useage can be spelled two different ways. Is it nílím after slender words? Masculine? Not that i know how to figure those out either but there has to be some rule that controls this...right? Stuff like this is where Duo's "learn like a child," method really falls apart because we aren't children so we know there are rules...but they aren't clearly communicated.
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.
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.
Il peut écrire. He can write. He is able to write. Tá sé in ann scríobh. Is féidir leis scríobh.
In each of these cases, you have a verb which is conjugated (peut, can, is, tá, is). In French and in English, the second verb (write or écrire) is in the infinitive form; in Irish, the second verb is in the verbal noun form.
Maybe the problem is with nílim. Another way to say nílim is níl mé, and níl comes from the words ní+bhfuil, although you must use the contraction níl. So nílim is a conjugated verb form just like tá.
'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