Clarification on lenition, feminine/masculine nouns

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    Dia dhaoibh,

    I just want to make sure that I have this straight. According to Learning Irish, there are about 8 adjectives which take “go” before them under certain circumstances. For example, “breá” becomes “go breá”. My understanding of it is that this is not the case when the noun coming before one of these adjectives is feminine. Do I have that right? In other words:

    Tá teach go breá ann. (Since “teach” masculine, “breá” becomes “go breá” instead of being lenited).

    Tá fuinneoig bhreá ann. (Since “fuinneoig” is feminine, “breá” is lenited instead of using “go”).

    Whereas with “mór”, which is not one of the 8 or so adjectives that have “go” used with them, it would be like this:

    Tá teach mór ann.

    Tá fuinneoig mhór ann.

    In other words, when using one of the special adjectives referred to above, you use “go” (and don’t lenite the adjective) if the noun is masculine. You don’t use “go” and just lenite the adjective as normal if the noun is feminine. Do I have that straight?

    Go raibh maith agabh!


    No. This sentence is incorrect:

    Tá teach go breá ann.

    Tá teach breá ann

    is what would be said:


    Tá an lá go breá.

    It is meaning which matters, not gender.
    Adjectives are lenited if possible following a feminine noun, and not following a masculine.

    I’m not certain what the circumstances are (but I know them when I see them!) I’ll do some digging and try and get a better answer.

    An Lon Dubh

    You only use “go” for those adjectives, if they are used predicate adjectives.

    For example:
    Tá teach breá ann = There is a fine house.

    breá tells you what type of house it is, so it is an attribute of the noun, this
    is an attributive adjective. Only attributive adjectives care about the gender
    of the noun.

    Tá an lá go breá = The day is fine

    Here the adjective doesn’t become part of the noun, if you want to think of it that
    way. In this situation we have a predicative adjective and it doesn’t care about gender.


    Go raibh maith agabh! I had to look up what a predicative adjective is, which led me to a quick lesson on cupolas. Amazing how much you learn about one language (English in this case) when studying another. Please bear with me; I want to see if I’ve gotten a better feel for this now. Can someone please correct these sentences?

    Tá sé lá breá. It is a fine day.

    Tá sé oíche bhreá. It is a fine night.

    Tá an lá go breá. The day is fine. (I know this is correct as I didn’t come up with it myself.)

    Tá an oíche go breá. The night is fine.

    These are really contrived sentences, but I was trying to use both masculine and feminine nouns with both attributive and predicative adjectives. Thanks for your patience.


    You need to look at bit closer at copulas! Tá & Is give people a lot of trouble.

    The correct sentences:

    Is lá breá é (or atá ann)
    Is oíche bhreá í (or atá innti)

    The others were correct
    Tá an lá go breá
    Tá an oíche go breá


    Go raibh maith agat, a Aonghuis (I hope I got the vocative right there)! I haven’t yet come across the Tá/Is thing in Learning Irish yet, but think I’m starting to get a feel at least for when to use “go” and when to lenite. I really appreciate your taking the time to correct me.


    Níl a bhuíochas ort. (And yes, “A Aonghuis” is correct)

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