Here is a guide to words that are commonly confused by beginning students of the Irish language. You may find it helpful to print this list out and keep it handy while reading or translating passages in Irish.


a is used before a noun (e.g., a name) to address someone or something.

A Sheáin...Seán,...
A chara...(Dear) Friend,...
Féach, a Mhamaí!Look, Ma!

a is also used before a noun to indicate possession.

a charahis friend
a caraher friend
a gcaratheir friend

a is also used before a number when counting.

a haon, a dó, a trí, two, three...

a is also used before a verbal noun when the direct object precedes it.

Tá mé sásta míle a shiúl.I am willing to walk a mile.

a is also used before a verb in a relative clause.

Feicim an fear a bhí sásta.I see the man who was satisfied.
Feicim an bord a bhfuil an leabhar air.I see the the table which the book is on.

an, an-

an can mean "the".

Feicim an sagart.I see the priest.

an is also used to form a question.

An bhfuil sí anseo?Is she here?

an- is a prefix meaning "very", "excellent", or "great".

Tá Máirtin an-mhór.Máirtin is very big.
Tá an-charr ag Máirtin.Máirtin has an excellent car.


ann can mean "there" or "in it", or simply to complete a sentence with the verb .

Tá teach ann.There is a house (there).
Tá sé seomra ann.There are six rooms in it.

ann can also mean "able".

Tá an crann in ann fós.The tree is able to grow.


aon can mean "one" or "any".

Tá aon charr amháin ag Cáit.Cáit has one car.
Níl aon charr ag Cáit.Cáit hasn't any car.

cathaoir, cathair, ceathair

cathaoir means "chair".
cathair means "city".
ceathair means "four".

ceann, céanna, cheana

ceann means "head", "roof", "end" or "one".
céanna means "same".
cheana means "already" or "previously".

dá, dhá

(dhá) is used in the conditional mood to mean "if".

Dá mbeadh Máirtín anseo...If Máirtín were here...

(dhá) can also mean "to/for his/her/its/their".

Thug sé dá cháirde iad.He gave them to his friends.
Thug sé dá cáirde iad.He gave them to her friends.
Thug sé dá gcáirde iad.He gave them to their friends.

dhá can also mean "two", when followed by a noun.

dhá chapalltwo horses

do, dó

do can mean "your".

do chótayour coat

do is also used to "to" or "for".

Tá mé ag scríobh litir do Cháit.I am writing a letter for Cáit.

can also mean "to/for him/it".

Tabhair an leitir seo dó.Give this letter to him.

can also mean "two" (without a noun, e.g., when counting).

a haon, a dó, a trí, two, three...

also means "burning".

fear, féar, fearr

fear means "man".
féar means "grass".
fearr means "better".

fuair, fuar

fuair means "got".
fuar means "cold".


is means "is", "am", "are".

Is mé an dochtúr.I am the doctor.

is also means "and".

muinteoir, muintir

muinteoir means "teacher".
muintir means "people".

nó, ná, na

means "or".
means "nor", "neither".
na is the article in the plural and feminine singular genitive.

post, pósta

post means "job" or "post".
pósta means "married".

can mean he, it, or six.

Tá sé láidir.He is strong.
Tá sé chapall anseo.There are six horses here.

siúl, súil

siúl means "walk".
súil means "eye".