Appendix:Irish verbs

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There are two conjugations of Irish verbs. The first is mostly monosyllabic with only a few exceptions, while the second is polysyllabic. There are only eleven irregular verbs, with different degrees of irregularity.

Person and number

  • First, second, third; singular, plural.
  • Autonomous

Voices, moods and tenses


Conjugated forms:

  • Active
    • Indicative
      • Present
      • Present habitual
      • Past
      • Past habitual
      • Future
    • Conditional
    • Subjunctive
      • Present
      • Past
    • Imperative

Periphrastic constructs based on and/or verbal nouns and adjectives:

  • Indicative perfect
  • Passive
    • The autonomous form can also be translated as passive.

Analytic and synthetic forms


Analytic forms have information about tense only, e.g. molann, molfaidh, etc. Pronouns must be used to add personal information, e.g. molann sibh.

Synthetic forms (as the name suggests) "join together" an analytic form and a pronoun, e.g. molann + mé > molaim.

First conjugation

Indicative Conditional Subjunctive Imperative
Person Present Future Past Past habitual Present Past
analytic -ann -fidh L~ L-adh L-fadh -a -adh -
1st s -im -fad -as -inn -finn + -inn -im
2nd s -ir -fir -is -tá -fá + -tá ~
3rd s + + ~ + + + + -adh
1st p -imid -fimid ‑amar -imis -fimis -imid ‑imis -imis
2nd p + + ~ + + + + -igí
3rd p -id -fid ‑adar -idís -fidís + -idís -idís
auto -tar -far ‑adh -tí -fí -tar -tí -tar
relative -as -fas ~ + + n/a n/a n/a

Second conjugation

Indicative Conditional Subjunctive Imperative
Person Present Future Past Past habitual Present Past
analytic -íonn ‑óidh [1] L~ L-íodh L-ódh ‑íodh ~
1st s -ím -ód -íos -ínn -óinn + -ínn -ím
2nd s -ír -óir -ís -íteá -ófá + -íteá ~
3rd s + + ~ + + + + -íodh
1st p -ímid -óimid ‑íomar -ímis -óimis -ímid -ímis -ímis
2nd p + + ~ + + + + -ígí
3rd p -íd -óid ‑íodar -ídís -óidís + -ídís -ídís
auto -ítear -ófar ‑íodh -ítí -ófaí -ítear -ítí -ítear
relative -íos -ós ~ ~ ~ n/a n/a n/a

Suffix notes

  • ~ Bare radical form.
  • + Add the analytic suffix to the root.
  • L Initial lenition of radical/root.
  • † Dialect form.
  • The tenses are listed slightly differently than in general on Wiktionary, in order to show the indicative present beside the future, and the indicative past habitual beside the conditional.
  • The shorter of a suffix's broad and slender forms is shown, e.g. ‑ann for ‑(e)ann; ‑fidh for ‑f(a)idh.

Conjugation classification

  • First
    • Monosyllabic
      • Various endings (template class 1a)
      • Suffix -igh, e.g., nigh, léigh, dóigh (template class 1c)
        • short or no vowel:
          slender f, slender t
          ií (except before t)
          e.g. nífeá, niteá
        • é:
          slender f, slender t
          e.g. léifeá, léiteá
        • other long vowel:
          broad f, slender t
          e.g. dhófá, dhóiteá
      • Compounds of monosyllabic
    • Polysyllabic (template class 1b)
      • in ‑áil:
        broad f, slender t
        e.g., shábhálfá, shábháilteá
      • Certain other polysyllabic (with broadening or syncopation)
  • Second (template class 2)
    • Polysyllabic, except those noted to be in the first conjugation
    • Especially with endings:
      • ‑igh, ‑im, ‑ing
      • ‑il, ‑in, ‑ir, ‑is with syncopation.

Independent and dependent forms


Independent and dependent forms derive from the related ideas of absolute and conjunct forms (for simple verbs), and prototonic and deuteronic forms (for complex verbs), in Old Irish.[2] The forms are identical for all regular verbs in Modern Irish, and are clearly seen only in some of the tense forms of some of the irregulars.

Nouns and adjectives


Verbal nouns


There is a plethora of verbal noun forms in Irish. There are some patterns, but many exceptions. The suffixes are listed below in alphabetical order, although the long-vowel endings are grouped together, and suffixless forms are discussed at the end of the list.

  • á, -é, -í, -ó, -ú
    • first conjugation -igh
      • short or no vowel: nigh, ní
      • long vowel: leáigh, leá; pléigh, plé; dóigh, dó; súigh, sú
    • second conjugation
      • igh + adh > ú: críochnaigh, críochnú
      • achain, achainí
      • éirigh, éirí
      • fiafraigh, fiafraí
  • -ach
    • ceannaigh, ceannach
  • -acht
    • fan, fanacht
    • imigh, imeacht
  • -achtáil
    • mair, maireachtáil
  • -adh
    • bris, briseadh
    • with broadening: buail, bualadh
  • -aidh
    • iarr, iarraidh
  • -áil
    • tóg, tógáil
    • feic, feiceáil
    • many late borrowings: péint, péinteáil
  • -ain
    • arg, argain
  • -aíocht
    • tóraigh, tóraíocht
  • -amh
    • léigh, léamh
    • déan, déanamh
  • -an
    • lig, ligean
  • -ch
    • glaoigh, glaoch
  • -chan
    • beoigh, beochan
  • -e
    • fair, faire
    • ith, ithe
  • -im
    • tit, titim
  • -int
    • inis, insint
    • tuig, tuiscint
  • -t
    • verbs in -il, -in, -ir: imir, imirt
  • -úint
    • lean, leanúint
  • suffixless
    • fás[3]; ól; rith
    • verbs in -áil: sábháil
  • suffixless with broadening
    • ceangail, ceangal
    • cuir, cur
    • siúil, siúl
    • tafainn, tafann

Verbal adjectives


The verbal adjective root is slender or broad, derived from the radical. The basic suffix is ‑tə, which may or may not be lenited/aspirated, and the final ə is broad (a) or slender (e) in agreement with the adjective's root. Therefore, the possible set of altered suffixes is ‑ta, ‑tha, ‑te, ‑the. The formation rules are well defined and are applied regularly with very few exceptions.

  • 2nd conjugation -im, -in, -ir (but not -il): root is broadened
  • 2nd conjugation -is: root is syncopated
  • verbs in -igh: drop the gh, exposing the vowel i
  • dntls, th, vowels: suffix is not lenited
    • for -th, -thte > te,
  • verbs in -bh, -mh: bhth, mhth > f

Examples following these rules

  • foghlaim, foghlamtha
  • oscail, oscailte
  • inis, inste
  • glan, glanta
  • nigh, nite
  • ith, ite
  • scríobh, scríofa

Declension of verbal nouns


The declension of verbal nouns depends on context. When used for example as substantive,[4] they are declined with the appropriate noun declension. The gender of the verbal noun tends to follow that of the declension, but there are exceptions.

When verbal nouns are in infinitive context, they are declined using the verbal adjective.

  • ól, ólta
  • titim, tite
  • foghlaim, foghlamtha
  • ithe, ite

However, certain verbal nouns are always declined using the verbal adjective, irrespective of context.

  • socrú, socraithe, socruithe



The copula is exists in only three tenses:

  • indicative present (and future)
  • indicative past (and conditional)
  • subjunctive present

It is not declined.

Defective verbs


There is only a handful of defective verbs in Irish, notably:

The copula is (see above) is also regarded as a defective verb.

Wiktionary Templates

  • {{ga-conj-1a}}, first conjugation, monosyllabic, various endings not ‑igh
  • {{ga-conj-1b}}, first conjugation, polysyllabic
  • {{ga-conj-1c}}, first conjugation, monosyllabic ‑igh
  • {{ga-conj-2}}, second conjugation


  1. ^ In Ulster Irish, -óchaidh.
  2. ^ Dependent and independent verb forms on Wikipedia
  3. ^ Fiche blia(i)n ag fás
  4. ^ See for example the verbal noun discussion on the Nualeargais Grammar Guide for more details

See also