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  5. "There is little between them…

"There is little between them."

Translation:Is beag eatarthu.

December 5, 2014



Why is and not ta?


I’m not sure — both seem to be used. The English-Irish Dictionary provides as examples both Is beag eatarthu, translated there as “There is not much difference between them”, and Tá easaontas eatarthu, translated there as “There is friction between them”.

For this sentence, I would have expected beagán to be used in the translation rather than beag.

EDIT: Perhaps is is used when an “equality” comparison is involved (e.g. ”little between them“ suggesting that they’re quite similar), and is used when such a comparison is not involved (e.g. describing the existence of the abstract noun “friction” between them).


I went with "Tá beagán eatarthu" thinking it meant "they have little (they don't have much) between them (between the two of them). After reading the discussion here, I'm not sure whether that would be correct for that meaning or not (it is marked wrong.)

Does "Is beag eatarthu" mean "There is little difference (there is not much difference) between them"?

This sentence is simple, and yet confusing.

  • 1446

is beag eatarthu means "they differ little"/"there is little difference between them"/"there is little to choose between them".

Is mór eatarthu is the opposite.


GRMA! Out of curiosity, if I did want to say "They have little between them" (as in, "Between the two of them, they haven't got much money," would "Tá beagán eatarthu" work, or would it need to be said another way?

  • 1446

The problem here is that you need the preposition ag to say "have" in Irish (níl mórán acu - "they don't have much"), so "have between them" can't easily be directly translated, you really need to rephrase it for clarity, and that's further complicated by the fact that "between the two of them" also uses acu - idir an bheirt acu, so idir an bheirt acu, níl mórán airgead acu sound clunky. Níl mórán airgead ann idir an bheirt (acu) sounds a bit better to me, but it isn't exactly the same meaning.

While I'm at it, I'll point out that the NEID suggests níl mórán eatarthu (using níl, the opposite of , not is) for "there's little to choose between them".


Satharn, thanks for explaining that as well. I completely forgot about the ag because I was concentrating on the correct form of idir+pronoun. GRMA for clarifying, and for the various ways of explaining/saying in Irish what I was understanding from the English.


Maybe it could be considered elliptical ie "Is beag atá eatarthu" "It's a small amount there is between them", so to speak.


Sometimes an a bheith seems to be optional, but I didn’t know of an atá in the same boat.


I can't attest to that, myself, but it seemed like a possible explanation.

I have just found "Is beag atá eatarthu" listed in a book on Google (Impreasin na Gaeilge by Seosamh Mac Ionnrachtaigh) with the translation "There is little between them".


You can say "Is beag X" meaning "X is a little thing"

Is beag an difear atá eadarthu = The difference between them is a small thing = They are similar

However just saying "eadarthu" without a noun attached to it seems unnatural to me, I think this sentence is slight Béarlachas.


Tá beagán eatarthú---------not accepted.?


Would that mean "There is a little between them"? A subtle, but significant, difference. cf "He has a little money" vs "He has little money".


...Fianna Fáil agus Fine Gael.

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