The Comparison of Adjectives

First Level Comparison : Similes

There are two constructions for forming similes, both use the word CHO meaning SO :

1. cho in combination with the preposition ri.  The pattern is: cho + adjective + ri + dative noun :
Tha am falt aige cho dubh ri fitheach - His hair is as black as a raven
Tha mi cho sgth ri c - I'm as tired as a dog

Or with prepositional pronoun.  The pattern is: cho + adjective + prepositional pronoun of ri :
Chan eil Calum cho sean rium - Calum is not as old as me
Chan eil Miri cho spocach riut - Miri is not as mean as you

2. cho in combination with the relative clause. The pattern is: cho + adjective + 's a + relative clause :
Tha e cho m-mhodhail 's a bha e a-riamh - He's as rude as he ever was
Falbhaidh sinn cho luath 's a bhios tu deiseil - We will leave as soon as you are ready
Gheibh thu a-staigh cho fad 's a tha do bhrgan glan - You will get in as long as your shoes are clean

† fad is used here in preference to fada

An important exception to using cho is when saying as much as or as many as or so many. For these you need to use either an uiread de or na h-uiread de.

Following pattern to 1 above :
Cha robh na h-uiread de dhaoine ann an-diugh - There weren't as many people there today

Following pattern 2 above :
Cha robh na h-uiread de dhaoine ann 's a shaoil mi - There weren't as many people there as I thought
Tha na h-uiread de dh'airgead aige 's a tha agamsa - He has as much money as I do (I have)
Tha na h-uiread de chiall aig c 's a tha aigesan - A dog has as much sense as him (he has)


Second Level Comparison : Comparatives and Superlatives

1. Regular Formation

The form for both the comparative and the superlative is the same in Gidhlig.  The easiest way to find this for regular adjectives is to find the feminine genitive singular adjective (see ). Polysyllabic adjectives also add the terminal -e, although in spoken Gidhlig this is often elided. Remember a number of important adjectives will undergo internal vowel modifications :
Feminine Genitive Singular Adjective Second Level Comparison
na beinne irde - of the high mountain irde
na beinne cudromaich - of the important mountain cudromaiche
na beinne fiadhaich - of the wild mountain fiadhaiche
na dreasa deirge - of the red dress deirge
na dreasa guirme - of the blue dress guirme

An important group are the polysyllabic adjectives where :
the final syllable has only the vowel i after slenderisation or
the final syllable ends in il after slenderisation or
with final syllable -ainn
This group shows a reduction or loss of the final vowel group before a terminal -e is added :
Feminine Genitive Singular Adjective Second Level Comparison

na dreasa bidhich - of the beautiful dress

bidhche

na h-aibhne domhainn - of the deep river

doimhne

na mn dlis - of the loyal woman

dlse

na mn uasail - of the noble woman

uaisle


Using the Second Level Comparison to Form Comparatives

For the comparative use the verb To Be, adding :
nas for the present and future tenses
na bu (na b' before vowels and lenited f) for the past and conditional tenses

A useful word to know at this point is na meaning than :

Tha Miri nas irde na Calum - Miri is taller than Calum

Tha Miri nas irde na mise - Miri is taller than me
Tha Miri a-nis nas bidhche na bha i a-riamh - Miri is now more beautiful than she ever was
Tha an c seo nas fhiadhaiche na am fear eile - This dog is wilder than the other one
Bha an taigh sin na bu bhidhche na am fear seo - That house was more beautiful than this one
Bha Miri na bu toilichte na mise - Miri was happier than me

Pronouns are emphatic following na
Adjectives beginning with f are always lenited nas
Adjectives are lenited after na bu, although adjectives beginning with d and t resist lenition

Literally what is being said is :
Tha an c seo nas fhiadhaiche na am fear eile - This dog is the thing that is wilder than the other one
Bha an taigh sin na bu bhidhche na am fear seo - That house was the thing that was more beautiful than this one

It is not uncommon in spoken Gidhlig to hear and use nas instead of na bu with the meaning coming from the tense of the main verb :
Bha an taigh sin nas bidhche na am fear seo - That room was more beautiful than this one

The comparative can be used adverbially in the same way as a common adjective :
A bheil thu nas toilichte a-nis? - Are you happier now?
Tha thu a' coimhead nas toilichte - You are looking happier
Bha iad a' faireachdainn na bu toilichte - They were feeling happier


Using the Second Level Comparison to Form Superlatives

For the superlative use the Assertive Verb, adding :
as for the present tense
a bu (a b' before vowels and lenited f) for the past/conditional tense
Care is needed here as the Assertive verb can convey the comparative with the meaning derived from the context :
'S mise as ige anns a' chlas - I am the youngest in the class
Bu mhise a b' ige anns a' chlas - I was the youngest in the class
'S mise as ige den dithis - I am the younger of the two

The Assertive Verb has only served here to emphasise and the meaning is obviously comparative. Generally, however, you will use it in a superlative manner :

Is mise as glice anns a' chlas - I am the wisest in the class

B' e Sm a bu ghlice - Simon was the wisest

An e Calum a b' irde ? - Was Calum the tallest?

Nach mise a bu toilichte? - Is it not I who was happiest?

Adjectives are lenited  after a bu, although adjectives beginning with d and t resist lenition
As stated in unless stress is required then usually only the present tense of the Assertive Verb need be used

You might recognise the forms as and a bu as relative forms of the Assertive Verb. So what is literally being said is :
'S mise as ige anns a' chlas - It is I who is the younger/youngest in the class
Bu mhise a b' ige anns a' chlas  - It was I who was the younger/youngest in the class

General Rules of Usage

If you are unsure which form to use then a good rule of thumb when describing a noun directly (attributely) is :
An Indefinte Noun Uses Nas / Na Bu A Definite and Proper Noun Uses  As / A Bu

duine nas irde / duine na b' irde

an duine as irde / an duine a b' irde

c nas ige / c na b' ige

an c as ige / an c a b' ige

baile nas bidhche / baile na bu bhidhche

am baile as bidhche / am baile a bu bhidhche
 
'S e duine nas irde a tha sinn ag iarraidh - We want a taller man. lit It's a taller man that we want
'S e an duine as irde a tha sinn ag iarraidh - We want the tallest man. lit It's the tallest man that we want
'S e Dleas an c as ige - Dleas is the youngest dog
'S e c nas ige a tha dhth orm - I want a younger dog. lit. It' s a younger dog that I want
'S e Glaschu am baile as bidhche - Glasgow is the most beautiful town

You could drop the noun and simply have :
'S e Dleas as ige - Dleas is the youngest
'S e Glaschu as bidhche - Glasgow is the most beautiful


2. Irregular Formation

There are a number of common irregular Second Level Comparisons :
Basic Form Second Level Comparison
beag - small lugha
cumhang - narrow cuinge

dona, olc - bad

miosa
duilich - difficult, sorry duilghe

fada - long

fhaide
furasta - easy fhasa
goirid - short giorra

lidir - strong

treasa & regular lidire
leathan - broad leatha
math - good fherr

mr - big

motha, m
reamhar - fat reamhra
tana - thin, narrow taine
teth - hot teotha

 

Some Common Idioms Using the Second Level Comparison

When directly describing an action after the Assertive Verb :
'S e Calum am fear as irde a leumas - Calum jumps the highest
lit. Calum is the one who is the highest that jumps
'S tusa a bu mhaille (mall=slow) a bhruidhinn - You spoke the slowest
lit. It's you who was the slowest that spoke
'S ann leamsa a tha an cr a bu luaithe a ruith - I own the car that ran the fastest
lit. I own the car which was fastest that ran

Using :
mar + second level comparative + relative clause, 's ann   + second  level comparative + relative clause :
Mar as fhaide a choisich e, 's ann as sgthe a dh'fhs e - The further he walked the more tired he became
Mar as irde a streapas tu, 's ann as taine a bhios an t-adhar - The higher you climb, the thinner the air will be


NEW WORDS

Adjectives

cudromach - important

cumhang - narrow, thin
furasta - easy leathan - broad, wide
rag - stiff ruadh - red, auburn

sgiobalta - neat, tidy

spocach - mean, miserly
tana - thin tapaidh - smart, clever, robust
uasal - noble

Nouns

cidsin (m) - kitchen

fitheach (m) - raven

flr (m) - flower

gnomh (m) - act, deed
iarann (m) - iron srbh (m) - straw
togalach (m) - building

Gidhealtachd (f) - Gidhlig speaking area

fiacail (f) - tooth

fiodh (f) - wood, timber

gualainn (f) - shoulder
troigh (f) - foot stilinn (f) - steel

Verbs
tagh, taghadh - choose, elect

EXERCISE 1 Translate into English

1.Tha e cho mr ri each

2.Chan eil e cho glic rithe

3.Tha an togalach sin cho rd ri beinn 4.Tha i cho bidheach 's a bha i a-riamh
5.'S urrainn dha ruith nas luaithe na thusa 6.Is leamsa a' chathair as cofhartaile anns an rm
7.B' e sin an l a b' fhliche a chunnaic mi a-riamh 8.'S i Miri an t as tapaidhe anns an sgoil
9.Tha an semar agamsa nas sgiobalta na an semar agadsa 10.Tha stilinn nas cruaidhe na iarann
11.'S e an cidsin an rm as glaine anns an taigh agam 12.Bha na fiaclan aice cho geal ris an t-sneachd
13.'S e Calum as miosa de na brithrean 14.Tha an abhainn nas cuinge faisg air an drochaid
15.Thagh mi an srbh as giorra 16.C am fear as treasa dhiubh?
17.Is ise as lugha den teaghlach ach an neach as sine 18.'S ann aigesan a tha na troighean as motha a chunnaic mi a-riamh

19.Tha mo thaigh-sa nas motha na do thaigh-sa

20.Bha a' cheist sin na b' fhasa na an t eile

EXERCISE 2 Translate into Gidhlig

1.She is as quiet as a mouse

2.Her hair is as black as coal
3.He is the most industrious person that I know 4.The room was a lot warmer when we had a coal fire
5.Where will I find the most beautiful girl in the world? 6.His hair was as white as snow
7.It's in the highlands that you'll find the tallest tree 8.I was much thinner when I was a young boy
9.His hair is much more auburn than his younger sister 10.It's heather that has the most fragrant flower

11.The room was hotter with a coal fire

12.He has much broader shoulders than his brother
13.They have the smallest garden that I ever saw 14.The glen road was longer than I remembered
15.He committed (did) the most evil act 16.The main road was wider than this one
17.Steel is stronger than wood 18.I was much thinner when I was young
19.Edinburgh is the busiest city in Scotland 20.Calum ran the mountain the fastest
21.The further we swam the colder the sea became 22.The older she grew the stiffer she was

ANSWERS - EXERCISE 1
1.He is as big as a horse 2.He isn't as prudent as her
3.That building is as high as a mountain 4.She is as beautiful as she ever was
5.He can run faster than you 6.I possess the most comfortable chair in the room
7.That was the wettest day I ever saw 8.Miri's the smartest one in the school
9.My room is tidier than your room 10.Steel is harder than iron
11.The kitchen is the cleanest room in my house 12.Her teeth were as white as the snow
13.Calum is the worst of the brothers 14.The river is narrower near the bridge
15.I chose the shortest straw 16.Who's the strongest (man) of them?
17.She's the smallest of the family but the oldest 18.He has the biggest feet I ever saw
19.My house is larger than your house 20.That question was easier than the other one

ANSWERS - EXERCISE 2
1.Tha i cho smhach ri luch 2.Tha am falt aice cho dubh ri gual
3.'S esan an duine as deanadaiche as aithne dhomh 4.Bha an semar fada (mran) na bu bhlithe nuair a bha teine guail againn
5.Cit am faigh mi a' chaileag as bidhche anns an t-saoghal? 6.Bha am falt aige cho geal ris an t-sneachd
7.'S ann air a' Ghidhealtachd a gheibh sibh a' chraobh as irde 8.Bha mi mran na bu chaoile nuair a bha mi nam bhalach g
9.Tha am falt aige mran nas ruaidhe na falt a pheathar as ige 10a.'S ann aig an fhraoch a tha am flr as cbhraidhe
10b.'S e flr an fhraoich as cbhraidhe
11.Bha an rm na bu teotha le teine guail 12a.Bha a ghuailnean fada na bu leatha na a bhrthair
12b.Bha na guailnean aige fada na bu leatha na a bhrthair
13.'S ann aca a tha an grradh as lugha a chunnaic mi a-riamh 14.Tha rathad a' ghlinn nas fhaide na chuimhnich mi
15.Rinn e an gnomh a bu mhiosa 16.Bha a' phromh rathad na bu leatha na am fear seo
17.Tha stilinn nas treasa na fiodh 18.Bha mi fada na bu taine nuair a bha mi g
19.'S e Dn ideann am promh bhaile as trainge ann an Albainn 20.'S e Calum as luaithe a ruith a' bheinn
21.Mar as fhaide a shnmh sinn, 's ann as fhuaire a dh'fhs a' mhuir 22.Mar as sine a dh'fhs i, 's ann as raige a bha i

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