"I am not able to run but I am able to write."
Translation:Níl mé ábalta rith ach táim ábalta scríobh.
Perhaps another possible alternative would be "Nílim in ann rith ach táim in ann scríobh"? I would be inclined to avoid overusing 'ábalta'.
Is it alright to contract one of the contractible words and not the other in the same sentence?
If by “contractible words” you‘d meant analytic forms vs. synthetic forms, then yes, it would be akin to combining “I’m not” with “I am” in an English sentence. If you’d meant something like m‘athair vs. mo athair, then no, the contracted form should always be used.
No, I mean nilim/nil me as one, and taim/ta me as the other. So I can use taim and nil me in the same sentence?
Why is the "Ní féidir liom..." version not allowed as another valid choice. Surely it means the same thing?
What "ní féidir liom..." version? If you got this sentence in a "Mark all correct" exercise, other people don't get the same sentences, and most people seeing your question will only have encountered this exercise as a regular translation exercise.
Ní féidir liom means "I can't" in the sense of "it's not possible for me to", rather than "I'm not physically capable", so it's not really the right choice for this exercise.
>>If you got this sentence in a "Mark all correct" exercise...
Yes, I did.
>>Ní féidir liom means "I can't" in the sense of "it's not possible for me to", rather than "I'm not physically capable", so it's not really the right choice for this exercise.
Well, a few lessons further on, I've just had a "Tap the word pairs" where "féidir” was paired with "able" —so, a bit inconsistent.
Yes, Irish and English are two different languages, and you can't simply do word for word substitutions in many cases. That's not inconsistency, it's simply a reflection of the fact that translation between languages is not an exact science (otherwise we would have had machine translation a long time ago).
In English, "I can't" and "I'm not able to" are often interchangeable, so "I can't help you right now" and "I'm not able to help you right now" could both be translated as Ní féidir liom cabhrú anois díreach, but "I can't run" usually means "I'm not physically capable of running", and Ní féidir liom rith doesn't have that meaning. If Duolingo was only teaching you one of is féidir le, in ann and ábalta then you could simplify the exercises down to always use that one version, but you would lose out on the different shades of meaning that are involved.
For example, Obama's 2008 slogan "Yes We Can" is translated as Is Féidir Linn. Even in English, you could say that "Yes We Can" means the same thing as "we are able to", but it's immediately clear that you can't just swap one for the other, and Is Féidir Linn is a much more effective translation of the translation than Táimid in ann or Táimid ábalta.
I'm confused here because in this particular sentence, surely it's the same? It says "I can't run" which implies I'm not physically able to run rather than" I can't run right now. Yet it uses "ábalta" as the answer in both parts of this sentence
I don't understand your confusion. If you interpret "I can't write" as "I'm not capable of writing" (whether that's because your writing hand is in a cast, or because you never learned how to write), then Níl mé ábalta scríobh is a better translation.
The simplest interpretation of "I can't run but I can write" is best translated with Níl mé ábalta. But in other contexts, particularly aspirational ones, like "I can have ice-cream for dessert!", Is féidir liom is a more appropriate translation.