How to say “I wasn’t able to” using the copula and feidir

Fáilte (Welcome) Forums General Discussion (Irish and English) How to say “I wasn’t able to” using the copula and feidir

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  • #36764
    Dáithí
    Participant

    I’m trying to figure out how to say “I wasn’t able to bring my homework.” Immediately my brain went looking at “is feidir” and then I hit a roadblock thinking of what the negative past tense for “is” is.

    Would it be “Níor feidir liom tabhair(t?) m’obair tí?” Or do I have to use something like “Ni raibh mé álbalta a thabhairt m’obair tí?”

    GRMA. Corrections welcomed.

    #45420
    Cúnla
    Participant

    D’fhág mé an obair baile sa mbaile. 😛

    “Wasn’t able to bring my homework” is a bit weird, isn’t it? 😛 Wasn’t able to do it, maybe?

    In any case, when you have the verbal noun and an object, the object comes first, as an obair baile a thabhairt liom = “to bring the homework with me.”

    And in this case, the past tense of the copula would be níorbh fhéidir, as níorbh fhéidir liom an obair baile a dhéanamh = “I was not able to do the homework.”

    #45421
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    The problem is that the copula has the same forms in the past and in the conditional. Níorbh fhéidir liom means both I couldn’t (conditional) and I wasn’t able.

    Btw you can say “ní raibh mé ábalta / in ann / in inmhe”…

    #45422
    Dáithí
    Participant

    I was able to do the homework, but since I was running late at work I couldn’t stop at home to pick it up before coming to class – hence the need for “bring.”

    And thanks to your help I think I understand the construction with féidir in the past tense.

    Níorbh fhéidir liom an obair b(h?)aile a tabhairt.

    Corrections welcomed.

    #45423
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    Níorbh fhéidir liom an obair bhaile a thabhairt.

    but I’d add something after, because “tabhairt” means “to give” when there’s no context. If you want it to mean bring, you should add the name of the person or of the place you bring it to.

    #45424
    Dáithí
    Participant

    Thanks, it’s starting to become clear. So then to convey bringing:

    “Níorbh fhéidir liom an obair bhaile a thabairt anseo.” or Ní raibh mé álbalta an obair bhaile a thabairt anseo.”

    or, as I finally grasp Cúnla’s use of “liom” in the first response in this thread:

    “Níorbh fhéidir liom an obair bhaile a thabairt liom.”

    Follow up question: Why isn’t it “obair an bhaile?” I thought the rule was that when you have a definite article with a set of nouns, it comes before the second noun – the noun functioning as the possessor in this sentence. But is “an obair bhaile” idiomatic and so an exception?

    Corrections welcomed and appreciated.

    #45425
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    Thanks, it’s starting to become clear. So then to convey bringing:

    “Níorbh fhéidir liom an obair bhaile a thabairt anseo.” or Ní raibh mé álbalta an obair bhaile a thabairt anseo.”

    thabHairt (pronounced /ho:rt’/)

    Follow up question: Why isn’t it “obair an bhaile?” I thought the rule was that when you have a definite article with a set of nouns, it comes before the second noun – the noun functioning as the possessor in this sentence. But is “an obair bhaile” idiomatic and so an exception?

    it’s a set phrase, just as you say “homework” in English and not “home’s work” or “the work of the home” or whatever 🙂

    #45426
    Dáithí
    Participant

    Go raibh maith agat as do chuidiú. Tuigim anois.

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