1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Is buachaill dearfach é."

"Is buachaill dearfach é."

Translation:He is a positive boy.

June 24, 2015



The results are back from the lab, and he tested positive for boy.


My mental block is with the use of the English word "positive" to describe a person. Does the sentence mean the person has a positive outlook (is optimistic), that he/she is positive in his/her opinions, likes, dislikes, etc (is opinionated or inflexible), is positive about doing things his/her own way (is stubborn) or something else?


Since it’s an Irish-to-English translation of dearfach, “positive” in this case means “optimistic”.


Thank you, scilling. That is what I wanted to know.


so we could say is buachaill soirbh ? in english i'd say it's a good boy never heard anyone saying it's a positive boy. You say that he's got positive attitude alright. what that would be ? the boy has got positive attitude ? ta iompar dearfach aige an buachaill ?


One could say Is buachaill soirbh é, but I think that that would mean more “He’s a cheerful boy” than “He’s an optimistic boy”. To speak directly of the boy’s attitude, perhaps Tá meon dearfach ag an mbuachaill would suffice — iompar might speak more to the boy’s external behavior than his internal attitude.


feicim, go raibh maith agat


For some reason I cannot get my mind around the difference of using "Ta" or "is" to start a sentence! Can someone please explain to me the difference in using the two. Every time I think I have it right, I don't. It's a mental block or something.


is is used for classification or identification. Basically, at this level, if it's two nouns, is is used. Otherwise, use ( is a form of ).


This sentence has only one noun: "buachaill." So your suggested rule of using "is" for a two noun sentence doesn't apply.

  • 1453

The sentence has a noun (buachaill-"boy") and a pronoun (é-"he"). That requires the use of the copula is.


I find this page very helpful: http://nualeargais.ie/gnag/kopul4.htm It's also good to click the 'classificatory' and 'identificatory' links if, like me, you didn't really know what those meant.


Positive outlook, I would say.


I'm not just positive, I'm hiv-positive


Why one cannot translate this to ''the boy is positive''?

  • 1453

For a number of different reasons.

The simplest is that there is no definite article in Is buachaill dearfach é, so the translation can't be "the boy".

The more fundamental reason is that Is buachaill dearfach é is a copula - you are linking the noun buachaill to the pronoun é. "the boy is positive" is not a copular sentence - you are using an adjective ("positive") to describe a noun ("boy"). The Irish for that sentence is Tá an buachaill dearfach.


I had no idea what this sentence said even though I knew the words. It just seems like we are missing some key steps here when I can't even get a sentence when I know the words.


Well, once again, we have an exercise sentence that doesn't make much sense in any language! "The boy has a positive attitude" would have made more sense, as would have "he's an optimistic boy."

Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.