Céist faoi sórt na briathra…

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    Séril Báicéir

    What is a good way to tell whether a verb is first or second conjugation? Is there a true way or is it just something I’ll have to memorize when I learn each verb?

    Go raibh maith agaibh!


    Normally, the 2nd class verbs, the dictionary-form of the verb (which is the imperative 2nd singular person)

    – has more than one syllable and ends with -(a)igh

    – has more than one syllable and ends with consonant+(a)in, (a)ir, (a)is, (a)il (the verbs with -àil don’t count there, though)

    There are a few other verbs with more than one syllable (without having the above-mentioned features) and that are in the 2nd conjugation (eg. foghlaim…)

    There are exceptions…


    Here is Ó Siadhail’s description in Learning Irish:

    “There are two basic types of regular verb; in the vocabularies, verbs are marked ‘1’ or ‘2’ according to whether they belong to the first or second type. The second singular of the first type has one syllable, e.g glan, bris, nigh, léigh while that of the second type has two syllables, e.g. salaigh, coinnigh, oscail, imir… Exceptionally, verbs with roots ending in -(e)áil (pacáil, péinteáil etc.) belong to type 1; also verbs spelt with one syllable but pronounced with a helping vowel, e.g. dearg ‘redden’ belong to type 1.”

    Séril Báicéir

    This helps a good bit. It’s just a matter of studying and learning each verb, but knowing the little tricks definitely helps.

    Go raibh maith agaibh, a Lughaidh agus a Sheáinín.

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