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Present tense verbs? (I'm not sure how to title this question.)

I'll use the verb "seinn" as an example.

Is there any difference between "Seinnim uirlis." and "Táim seinn uirlis."? Could I get away with using either one?

June 6, 2015



"Táim seinn uirlis" is incorrect. I presume you mean "Táim ag seinm uirlise" :) Anyway, both "Seinnim uirlis" and "Táim ag seinm uirlise" mean different things:

  • Seinnim uirlis - I play an instrument. (This tense is the present habitual)
  • Táim ag seinm uirlise - I am playing an instrument (as in right at this moment)

You would use the first option to describe a recurring event, while the second one is used to describe what you are currently doing :)


The "ag" is interesting. So would the literal translation be, "I am at an instrument playing."?


Yes, that would be one literal interpretation. This construction uses what is called the "verbal noun". If you are a true beginner, I wouldn't worry about it too much (you can see there is a skill in this after the last checkpoint). If you are curious about how it works, there is a detailed explanation here.


That's quite helpful of you. Go raibh maith agat. :)


Yes; the first is “I play an instrument” (and a valid sentence), and the latter is “I am play an instrument” (and an invalid sentence). Whether you could get away with using the second one depends upon whom you use it on, I suppose.

You could say Táim ag seinm uirlise, “I am playing an instrument”, to mean that you’re playing one at the moment of saying the sentence. Seinnim uirlis, on the other hand, would mean that you habitually play one, but aren’t necessarily doing so when saying it.

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