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  5. "He smokes tobacco."

"He smokes tobacco."

Translation:Bíonn sé ag caitheamh tobac.

April 20, 2015



This sentence really makes me understand how "caitheamh" can be either "wear" or "throw" because, either way of looking at it, "He wears tobacco," or "He throws tobacco," makes a lot of sense to me. I know I'm thinking of the cloud of smoke, but still, it makes sense.


Why is "tá sé ag caitheamh tobac" not accepted? Am I misunderstanding something?


I think "tá sé ag caitheamh tobac" means he's doing it right now, whereas "bíonn sé...." means that he does it often or habitually.....


What's the difference, then, between "Bíonn sé ag caitheamh tobac." and "Caitheann sé tobac."? I thought the latter construction also indicated a habitual action.


Bíonn sé ag caitheamh tobac is both habitual and progressive — he smokes tobacco habitually, including right now. Caitheann sé tobac is only a habitual statement; it doesn’t state that he’s smoking tobacco at this moment.


So ... caitheann sé tobac sounds like it should be an accepted answer too for the translation exercise from English (of "He smokes tobacco"), but it isn't. Is that an oversight, or does one just not say that in Irish? (I reported it as "my answer should be accepted", but is it really the case?)


In my view, it’s a consistency oversight. Given the use of “does be” in other exercises, either this exercise should have been “He does be smoking tobacco” (to keep the current translation), or the translation should have been Caitheann sé tobac (to keep the current exercise).


Go raibh maith agat!


tá sé ag caitheamh tobac means "he is smoking tobacco", not "he smokes tobacco".

Irish, like English, differentiates between the progressive present, and the habitual present, a distinction that isn't made in some other European languages.


I'm confused by this. We're told in other lessons that "Tá sé ag obair" means "he is working", "bíonn sé ag obair" means "he does be working" and "Oibríonn sé" means "he works". So I don't get why "he smokes tobacco" is "Tá sé ag caitheamh tobac" or "bíonn sé ag caitheamh tobac", surely based on the previous examples to do with work that "he smokes tobacco" would be "caitheann sé tobac" ? Any thoughts?


For consistency with the “work” examples that you’d mentioned, Tá sé ag caitheamh tobac = “He is smoking tobacco”, Bíonn sé ag caitheamh tobac = “He does be smoking tobacco”, and Caitheann sé tobac = “He smokes tobacco”. The exercises here don’t always use the “does be” structure when a bíonn translation is expected.


Oh let's not talk about all those horrible different number words. Yes, I get what you are saying though.


I suppose the idea of " let me throw something on" might help for unserstanding the meanings. Caith.. Throw money at something, consume tobacco..sure


Well, I am glad it made sense to someone because I just thought it must be wrong. Somebody tell me is this the verb always used for this or is there another word for "smokes" and "smoking"? I won't even get into why I never get any of the "Bionn" sentences right. I am not sure how anyone can tell if this means the person is smoking right now or always smokes...or apparently both, ugg....just when I get to where I am understanding a "little" (I get the ones with "ag" not so much the ones with "a") we get a new exception!


Caith is the verb used for 'smoke' (among other things). If you want to say 'smoking', you use caitheamh. Is that what you were asking?


Ok, so this can mean either "smoke" or "wear"....I guess that is where my confusion came in.


The entry for caith in the Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla gives "wear", "consume", "spend", "throw" and "denoting obligation, necessity" as some of the different meanings that caith commonly has, as well as a few other less common uses.

Duolingo has exercises demonstrating all of these different ways that the verb caith is used in everyday Irish:
Caithimid an sciorta "wear"
"Bhí siad ag caitheamh tobac roimh an rang "consume"
Caithim mo shaol thar lear "spend"
Caithim an chathaoir "throw"
Caithfidh mé dul anois - "obligation, necessity"

Duolingo doesn't do this to confuse you - these are all ordinary examples of how the verb is used, and they are all straightforward in context.


I understand they don't do it to confuse us but I think for someone just beginning to learn a language introducing a verb and all 5 of its different meanings might be a little beyond a beginners ability....just my 2 cents I guess.


If you want to read or listen to Irish, you are going to hear caith used in all of these ways very early on - "throw", "wear", "spend" , "I have to" are all very common words. Which one do you not want to learn?

It's precisely because it's such a versatile verb, used in a number of different ways, that it pays to become familiar with it. It has other, more obscure meanings too, that aren't necessary for beginners, and Duolingo doesn't cover them, but ignoring any of the 5 common uses would be like deciding to only cover the numbers 1 to 4, because it's too confusing to teach beginners 10 completely different numbers.


The basic meaning is "throw". By extension, it can also mean "spend", which kind of makes sense to be connected with "throw". And I guess from there you get to things like "consume", "smoke" and "wear" somehow, though I would agree that this derivation is kind of odd.

I guess the reason why I could remember this word relatively easily anyway is because these extensions of its meaning were so absurd that it made the word special and somehow funny.

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