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Habitual Past Tense

Habitual Past Tense

AIMSIR GHNÁTHCHAITE – BRIATHRA RIALTA

Affirmative Statements

In making affirmative statements in the habitual past, changes are made at both the beginning and the end of the verb. The changes made at the beginning of the verb are the same as in the past tense. (See previous lesson.) Please refer to the samplaí (examples) in the chart below. First, identify the root of the verb as follows:

1. For the majority of the First Conjugation (usually one syllable) verbs, the entire verb is the root. Please refer to the samplaí (examples) in the chart below. An exception is when the verb ends in “igh.” In that case, if there is an accented vowel immediately before the “igh,” simply drop the “igh” to expose the root. In all other cases, delete the “igh” and replace it with an “í”. Please refer to the samplaí (examples) in the chart below. Also, be aware that there are a few two syllable verbs in the First Conjugation which maintain two syllables in the root. Please refer to the samplaí (examples) in the chart below.

2. For the Second Conjugation (usually multi-syllable) verbs, part or all of the end of the verb is generally removed to reveal the root. Whenever these verbs end in “(a)igh” (the most common type), simply drop that syllable. Please refer to the samplaí (examples) in the chart below. In most other cases, squeeze the vowels out of the last syllable and tack the remaining consonant(s) onto the end of the first syllable. For example, with the verb “codail,” squeeze the “ai” out of the second syllable and add the remaining “l” to the end of the first syllable to make the root “codl…”. Please refer to the samplaí (examples) in the chart below.

Second, to the root add these endings:

1) For First Conjugation verbs, add:

If last vowel in root is 

‘e’ or ‘i’

a’, ‘o’ or ‘u’

I would…

…inn

…ainn

You (singular) would…

…teá

…tá

*He/She/We/You (pl.) would*…

…eadh

…adh

They would…

…idís

…aidís

2) For Second Conjugation verbs, add:

If last vowel in root is 

‘e’ or ‘i’

a’, ‘o’ or ‘u’

I would…

…ínn

…aínn

You (singular) would…

…íteá

…aíteá

*He/She/We/You (pl.) would*…

…íodh

…aíodh

They would…

…ídís

…aídís

Negative Statements and Questions

Negative Statements and Questions are constructed in the habitual past tense by making these changes to the affirmative statement form:

  • 1) Negative Statements – Add “” before the verb, and séimhiú (lenite) the initial consonant in the verb where possible.
  • 2) Direct Questions – Add “An” before the verb, and úrú (eclipse) the initial consonant in the verb where possible.
  • 3) Negative Questions – Add “Nach” before the verb, and úrú (eclipse) the initial consonant in the verb where possible.If the verb begins in a vowel, add “n-” in front of the vowel.

*Note: These endings are followed by specific pronouns (sé, sí, muid and sibh) or by personal names. The rest are combined forms and the pronoun is dropped. Example: “Bhuailinn” (I used to strike) already contains the subject.

Please refer to the samplaí (examples) in the chart below.

Habitual Past Tense – Examples


Aimsir Ghnáth Caite – Briathra Rialta
Habitual Past Tense- Regular Verbs

Réimniú
Conjugation
Samplaí
Examples
A 2 D’athraíodh Lúcas a chuid éadaí gach bliain. Lúcas used to change his clothes every year.

Ní athraíodh sé… An athraíodh sé…? Nach n-athraíodh sé…?
B 1 Bhuaileadh Seán a chat agus seisean ar meisce. Seán used to beat his cat when he was drunk.

Ní bhuaileadh sé… An mbuaileadh sé…? Nach mbuaileadh sé…?
C 2 Chodlaíodh sé mar a bheadh rón ann. He used to sleep like a log (Literally, like a ‘seal’).

Ní chodlaíodh sé… An gcodlaíodh sé…? Nach gcodlaíodh sé…?
D 2 Dhúisíteá taibhsí le do srannach. You used to awaken ghosts with your snoring.

Ní dhúisíteá… An ndúisíteá…? Nach ndúisíteá…?
E 2 D’éirínn leis na héin. I used to rise with the lark.

Ní éirínn… An éirínn…? Nach n-éirínn…?
F 1 D’fhágaidís bronntanais cois na tine. They used to leave presents beside the fire.

Ní fhágaidís… An bhfágaidís…? Nach bhfágaidís…?
G 1 Ghlanadh Pádraigín a haghaidh le héadach. Pádraigín used to clean her face with a cloth.

Ní ghlanadh sí… An nglanadh sí…? Nach nglanadh sí…?
I 2 D’insíodh sí scéal maith, roimh an timpiste. She used to tell a good story, before the accident.

Ní insíodh sí… An insíodh sí…? Nach n-insíodh sí…?
L 2 Labhraíteá amach go hard ar son na hÉireann. You used to speak out loudly for Ireland’s sake.

Ní labhraíteá… An labhraíteá…? Nach labhraíteá…?
M 2 Mharaídís iad fhéin ag obair. They use to kill themselves working.

Ní mharaídís… An maraídís …? Nach maraídís …?
N 1 Niteá soithí as uisce salach chuile lá. You used to wash dishes in dirty water every day.

Ní niteá… An niteá…? Nach niteá…?
O 1 D’ólainn pionta beorach gach oíche. I used to drink a pint of beer every night.

Ní ólainn… An ólainn…? Nach n-ólainn…?
P 1 Phósadh daoine go hóg ar an oileán fadó. People used to marry young on the island long ago.

Ní phósadh daoine… An bpósadh daoine…? Nach bpósadh daoine…?
R 1 Rithteá timpeall na háite cosnochta. You used to run around the place barefoot.

Ní rithteá… An rithteá…? Nach rithteá…?
S1 1 Sheasadh Máirín ar leathchos sa bpairc. Máirín used to stand on one foot in the field.

Ní sheasadh sí… An seasadh sí…? Nach seasadh sí…?
S2 1 Shroichidís an baile roimh titim na hoíche. They used to reach home before nightfall.

Ní shroichidís… An sroichidís…? Nach sroichidís…?
S3 2 Smaoinínn go raibh an Ghaeilge furasta a fhoghlaim. I used to think that Irish was easy to learn.

Ní smaoinínn… An smaoinínn…? Nach smaoinínn…?
T 1 Thaispeánadh sibh gliomaigh don uaisle. You (plural) used to show lobsters to the nobility.

Ní thaispeánadh sibh… An dtaispeánadh sibh…? Nach dtaispeánadh sibh…?
U 2 D’ullmhaíodh Síle drámaí beaga don stáitse. Síle used to prepare little plays for the stage.

Ní ullmhaíodh sí… An ullmhaíodh sí … Nach n-ullmhaíodh sí …?