The Past Tense - Irregular Verbs

As you discovered in a continuous action in the past is expressed by using the past tense of the verb To Be with the present participle :
Bha e a' cluich anns a' phirc fad an l an-d - He was playing in the park all day yesterday

To express a single completed action in the past you must use the past tense (or finite) of a verb. Fortunately, this corresponds very closely in meaning with the finite verb in English.

There are only 10 irregular Gidhlig verbs, and fortunately not all are irregular through all their tenses. They are presented in a table analogous to the one in lessonbl.gif (1632 bytes)two.gif (1009 bytes)three.gif (1008 bytes) for the Past Tense of the Regular Verbs

Verbal Noun Root Independent Dependent
breith - bearing /
catching / grasping
beir rug d'rug
cluinntinn - hearing cluinn chuala cuala
danamh - doing /
dan rinn d'rinn
dol - going rach chaidh deach
faicinn - seeing faic chunnaic faca
faighinn - getting /
faigh fhuair * d'fhuair
rdh - saying abair thuirt tuirt
ruigsinn - reaching /
ruig rinig d'rinig
tighinn - coming thig thinig tinig
toirt - taking /
giving (+ preposition do)
thoir thug tug

* the initial fh of fhuair is not silent but is voiced as h.
the vestigial d' is optional.
‡ ruighinn and ruigheachd are alternative verbal nouns.

As with the regular verb add either Cha / Chan (before a vowel), An / Am or Nach to the dependent form to get the negative and interrogative forms of the verb. Remember Cha / Chan will lenite words beginning with b, f, m, p, c or g.

Example Uses :
Rug i orm - She grasped me
Cha d'rug i orm -  She didn't grasp me
An d'rug i orm? -  Did she grasp me?
Nach d'rug i orm? -  Didn't she grasp me?
Chuala tu * - You heard
Cha chuala tu - You didn't hear
An cuala tu? - Did you hear?
Nach cuala tu? - Did you not hear?
Rinn mi - I did / made
Cha d'rinn mi - I didn't do / make
An d'rinn thu? - Did you do / make?
Nach d'rinn thu? - Did you not do / make?
Chaidh mi - I went
Cha deach mi - I didn't go
An deach thu? - Did you go?
Nach deach thu? - Did you not go?
Chunnaic thu - You saw
Chan fhaca tu - You didn't see
Am faca tu? - Did you see?
Nach fhaca tu? - Did you not see?
Fhuair mi - I got
Cha d'fhuair mi - I didn't get
An d'fhuair thu? - Did you get?
Nach d'fhuair thu? - Did you not get?
Thuirt mi - I said
Cha tuirt mi - I didn't say
An tuirt thu? - Did you say?
Nach tuirt thu? - Did you not say?
Rinig mi - I arrived / reached
Cha d'rinig mi - I didn't arrive / reach
An d'rinig thu? - Did you arrive / reach?
Nach d'rinig thu? - Did you not arrive / reach?
Thinig mi - I came
Cha tinig mi - I didn't come
An tinig thu? - Did you come?
Nach tinig thu? - Did you not come?
Thug mi - I took
Cha tug mi - I didn't take
An tug thu? - Did you take?
Nach tug thu? - Did you not take?

* use tu instead of thu with both the dependent and independent forms of the past tense of the verb cluinn
use tu instead of thu with the dependent forms of the past tense of the verb faic
faca changes to fhaca after the dependent particle nach

With the Dependent Clause
Some examples are given below.
The pattern is the same as the verb To Be (see lessonbl.gif (1632 bytes)one.gif (974 bytes)five.gif (1001 bytes)) :
Tha e ag rdh gun cuala e - He says that he heard
Tha e ag rdh nach cuala e - He says that he didn't hear
Tha e ag rdh gum faca e - He says that he saw
Tha e ag rdh nach fhaca e - He says that he didn't see

faca changes to fhaca after the negative relative particle nach

The Assertive Verb and The Relative Clause
Some examples are given below.
The pattern is the same as the verb To Be (see lessonbl.gif (1632 bytes)two.gif (1009 bytes)one.gif (974 bytes)) :
Is mise a chaidh - It's I who went
Is mise nach deach - It's I who didn't go
'S ise a rinn sin - It's she who did that
'S ise nach d'rinn sin - It's she who didn't do that

The Interrogative Pronouns

Some examples are given below.
The pattern is the same as the verb To Be (see lessonbl.gif (1632 bytes)two.gif (1009 bytes)two.gif (1009 bytes)) :
D rinn thu leis a' phipear is glaodh? - What did you make with the paper and glue?
C thuirt sin? - Who said that?
Carson a thug e airgead dhut? - Why did he give you some money?
Ciamar a rinn thu sin? - How did you do that?
Cuin a thinig iad? - When did they come?
Cit an d'fhuair thu sin? - Where did you get that?

With Conjunctions

Some examples are given below.
The pattern is the same as the verb To Be (see lessonbl.gif (1632 bytes)two.gif (1009 bytes)three.gif (1008 bytes)) :
Thuirt mi an naidheachd ris nuair a chunnaic mi e - I told him the news when I saw him
Sgioblaich mi an taigh mus d'rinig iad - I tidied the house before they arrived
Bha sinn toilichte ged nach tinig i - We were happy (even) although she didn't come
Tha e air a dhigh on a fhuair e an cr r - He is overjoyed since he got the new car
Mura tug thusa air falbh e, c thug? - If you didn't take it away, who did (take)?


glaodh (m) - glue
fuaim (f) - noise, sound

beir, breith (air) - bear, catch, grasp dan, danamh - do, make
ruig, ruigsinn - reach, arrive sgioblaich, sgioblachadh - tidy

Verbal phrases
Tha mi air mo dhigh - I am overjoyed Tha sinn air ar digh - We are overjoyed
Tha thu air do dhigh - You are overjoyed Tha sibh air ur digh - You are overjoyed
Tha e air a dhigh - He is overjoyed Tha iad air an digh - They are overjoyed
Tha i air a digh - She is overjoyed

EXERCISE 1 Translate into English
1.Am faca sibh c bha anns an talla? Chunnaic 2.Thug mi an dideag air falbh bhuaipe
3.Cha tinig iad gus meadhan-oidhche
4.Rug i leanabh bidheach
5.Nach d'rinig thu an taobh eile? Rinig 6.Chaidh sinn sos dhan trigh an-d
7.An d'rinn sibh dnnear dhaibh? Cha d'rinn 8.Cit an cuala tu an sgeul sin?
9.C fhuair taigh r? 10.Nach tuirt e gun deach i air falbh a-raoir? Thuirt

EXERCISE 2 Translate into Gidhlig
1.He came in late last night 2.I caught / grasped him on the hand
3.Did you see that film? No 4.When did you arrive yesterday?
5.I gave the book to my brother when I saw him 6.We saw an eagle in the sky
7.Who got a letter from them? 8.Why didn't they say they were tired?
9.We heard a terrible noise 10.I was happy before he came

1.Did you see who was in the hall? Yes 2.I took the toy away from her
3.They didn't come until midnight 4.She bore (gave birth to) a beautiful baby
5.Didn't you reach the other side? Yes 6.We went down to the beach yesterday
7.Did you make dinner for them? No 8.Where did you hear that tale?
9.Who got a new house? 10.Didn't he say that she went away last night? Yes

1.Thinig e a-staigh anmoch a-raoir 2.Rug mi air an limh air
3.Am faca sibh an dealbh sin? Chan fhaca 4.Cuin a rinig thu an-d?
5.Thug mi an leabhar do mo bhrthair nuair a chunnaic mi e 6.Chunnaic sinn iolaire anns an speur
7.C fhuair litir bhuapa? 8.Carson nach tuirt iad gun robh iad sgth?
9.Chuala sinn fuaim uabhasach 10.Bha mi toilichte mus tinig e

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