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  5. "Is it eight or eighty?"

"Is it eight or eighty?"

Translation:An ea ocht nó ochtó?

April 26, 2015



Why is it An ea instead of An bhfuil sé?


Because it’s a classification question, for which is is needed rather than .


What's a classification question?


A question that asks how something or someone would be classified, e.g. “Is the Republic of Kosovo an independent country?” or “Will Pól be a model ex-president?”.


I tried An ocht nó ochtó é? and got a thumbs down. Why would that not be OK?


Why does ea have to be in here?


For the same reason that “it” needs to be in “Is it eight or eighty?” — a subject is required.


Can the ea not also go at the end? An ocht nó ochtó ea?


No it cannot, ea always follows the copula directly. Though in this particular sentence, I don't think ea should be used at all.


I am playing devil's advocate - the sentence is a classification sentence, and also it's a question sentence. The classification part requires the copula. If you look at the first definition of "ea" in: https://www.teanglann.ie/en/fgb/ea , you will see ea is used in classification copula to mean the 3rd singular neuter pronoun. Also, "ea" is located right after the copula initiator word, which in this case is "an". I hope I've helped.


It's true those are classification sentences, but they're a special form of the classification sentence. In that example ea is a stand-in referring back to múinteoir which appears in front of the copula for emphasis. Here nothing is appearing in front of the copula so there's no reason for the ea substitution. Theoretically this special form can be turned into a question, An múinteoir is ea an bhean but I can't say I've actually encountered it. In either form an ea doesn't appear in a classification-type question.

As for the suitability of the classification copula at all I think any scenario where I'd have to classify things as "an eight or an eighty" would be vanishingly rare compared to more mundane questions like "Is it eight or eighty centimeters?" or "Are there eight or eighty people there?" Neither of these two questions demand the copula, and on account of their higher occurrence I'd prefer Duolingo work from their template, rather than attempt and botch a copular construction.


So, if I wanted to ask "Is it a horse or a dog?", would that be An ea capall nó madra. ? EDIT: Before anyone asks, if you've ever seen a great dane or Irish wolfhound in person, then you know why that question may be necessary.


An capall nó madra ata ann?

The more grammatically obvious An capall nó madra é? is actually a bit more abstract. If you were looking at an animal standing in front of you, wondering what it was, the atá ann version would be more appropriate.


Ok, then going back to the original exercise, why wouldn't it be An ocht nó ochtó atá ann??


capall and madra are actual things.


Why is it "ocht" instead of "a hocht"?


There are a number of situations in which the particle a is omitted; one of those situations is when there is a choice between two numbers.


My guess is because the "it" implies the question is about the number. If it had been, "Are they eight or eighty?" I suspect the "a" would precede hocht as the subject would be the items being counted? Can we get a little help here?

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