"Can you see them?"
Translation:An bhfuil tú in ann iad a fheiceáil?
Why is thie wrong - an féidir leat á bhfeiceáil
Because it's an infinitive and not a gerund perhaps
á bhfeiceáil isn't the equivalent of the English imperative, as you said, but the English progressive. It'd translate roughly as "Can you seeing them?". However, you should be able to use An féidir leat iad a fheiceáil
in ann is one way of expressing capability - you can also use abalta, or féidir, but you do need one of them
An bhfuil tú in ann iad a fheiceáil?
An bhfuil tú ábalta iad a fheiceáil?
An féidir leat iad a fheiceáil?
There are other ways of expressing could/can but these are the most common ones.
No. "in ann" just means "able (to)".
"ann" has a number of different meanings (or there are a number of different "ann"s, if you prefer). "ann" can mean "there is" (there exists) or "there" (in that place", and it is also the 3rd person masculine singular of "i" ("ionam", "ionat", "ann", "inti", "ionainn", "ionaibh", "iontu"). That "ann" already includes an "in", so if was part of "in ann", it would mean "in in him"
Here are some other examples from the Foclóir Gaeilge Béarla of how "in ann" is used:
"In ann aige" - "able for him, a match for him"
"In ann ag an obair" - "able for, equal to, the work"
"In ann a bhainte" - "fit for reaping"
In the tips section it says when 'them' is used, it's 'á + ecl' I don't know what I'm missing for every part of that to be wrong. I didn;t even put the iad because of other sentences that seem the same to me. Like this one: Bhí sé á hionsaí. The her bit is shown by the h. I understand that one and others like it. But not this one, I don't see what's different. Except for there being an -ing in the second sentence...
It took me a while to figure out that you're referring to the Tips & Notes for the Verbal Noun skill.
There is a gap in those notes. They mention that the verbal noun is used "in similar ways to the infinitive and the gerund in other languages", and then go on to only describe using the verbal noun as a gerund (usually the -ing form of the verb). In that case, the object comes after the verbal noun, and is in the Tuiseal Ginideach, which is a problem for pronouns, leading to á, etc.
But when the VN is used to translate an infinitive, the object comes before the VN, and that doesn't cause any problems for the pronoun, so you just have iad a fheiceáil.
So yes, it's all about "Except for there being an -ing in the second sentence..." :-)
Oh yes sorry, verbal nouns. I use the table in the tips and notes, but the explanation part was pretty useless for me, not being able to figure out what an infinitive or a gerund is. Honestly, I've really tried D: I've been trying to figure it out through practice instead and the best I've managed is the -ing.. and those short sentences in that table in tips and notes. As in.. I usually get those right, but I can't use the labels of infinitive etc. The rest of the sentences? Pffft. Just a couple from my last lesson: Ní maith liom úsáid a bhaint as. Is gá dom bheith luath. Ní maith liom úsáid a bhaint a No idea :(
So to sum up - I thank you for your reply, but because I find grammar labels difficult to get my head round, I have no idea what this part means: But when the VN is used to translate an infinitive, the object comes before the VN, and that doesn't cause any problems for the pronoun, so you just have 'iad a fheiceáil'.
infinitive - In English, "to eat", "to drink", "to read", "to write" are all examples of the infinitive.
Gerund - In English "eating", "drinking", "reading" and "writing" are examples of gerunds. (There's a bit more to it than that, but that's enough to be getting on with).
When you are translating an English infinitive into Irish, the object comes before the VN (verbal noun) in Irish. "To throw stones" - clocha a chaitheamh, "to read a book" - leabhar a léamh. If the object is a pronoun, no problem - "to see them" - iad a fheiceáil.
When translating an English gerund* into Irish, the object comes after the VN (verbal noun), and is in the tuiseal ginideach - "throwing stones" - ag caitheamh cloch, "reading a book" - ag léamh leabhair. But that's a problem when the object is a pronoun, and you end up with "seeing them" - á bhfeiceáil.
* Not all -ing words in English are gerunds and there are other structures used in Irish for some of these translations, but that's for another day.
Ohhhh! Why can't grammar sites explain it like that? Hehe, including Wikipedia, which came up first when I looked those terms up. Those explanations made zero sense to me. Actually made me more confused, so.. less than zero. Putting the object before and after - I haven't seen that explained simply anywhere and really opened up this section. Thank you!