Caibidil a Dó: The Adjective (an Aidiacht)

Usage of adjectives

predicative adjectives
attributive adjectives
adjectives as an adverb
pronominal adjectives

Descriptive adjectives can be used predicatively (Tá an bhean mór = The woman is big) or attributively (an bhean mhór = the big woman). Besides that, one can turn them into adverbs (Tá an bhean ag obair go maith = The woman works well)

the predicative adjective (an aidiacht fhaisnéiseach)

Adjectives used predicatively are unchanged (as in German), e.g.:
Tá an fear mór - The man is big.
Tá an bhean mór - The woman is big.
Tá na fir mór - The men are big.
Tá na mná mór - The women are big.
Adjectives used predicatively are mostly used with the verb (present: tá)[1], less commonly with the copula (present: is)
an fear mór - The man is big.
Is mór é an fear - The man is big.
Some subjective adjectives of assessment take the adverbial partigle go when used with the verb bí
(they're kind of seen as "adverbs of the verb bí")
Tá an fear go maith - The man is good.
Tá an cailín go hálainn - The girl is beautiful.
Tá an lá go deas - The day is nice.
Tá an aimsir go dona - The weather is bad.
Tá an samhradh go haoibhinn - The summer is splendid.
Tá an rós go breá - The rose is pretty.
Tá sé go holc - It is evil.
Tá sí go hiontach - She is wonderful.
    Go is omitted in the presence of additional adverbs e.g.:
Bíonn beoir maith i gcónaí - Beer is always good.
Bhíodh sí riamh álainn - She was always beautiful.
Tá an lá réasúnta deas. - The day is reasonably nice.
Bhí an aimsir sách dona inné - The weather was rather bad yesterday.
    Go does not appear with the copula
an lá go deas - The day is nice.
Is deas é an lá - The day is nice.
The attainment of a quality (e.g "becoming good ") is expressed with the verb éirigh (= to rise) (use of go as above)
Tá sé ag éirí mór - He is becoming big.
Éireoidh go maith - I will become good.
éiríonnsean - If you become old.
D'éirighgo hálainn as sin amach = She became beautiful since then.

One may also use other verbs in conjunction with predicative adjectives, (e.g. déan = do ):

Rinne sé an scian géar = He made the knife sharp.
Rinne sé na sceana géar = He made the knives sharp.

Not the difference to the attributive use! (adj. is then flexible, e.g. lenited after fem. noun: ghéar)
Rinne sé an scian ghéar = He made the sharp knife.
Rinne sé na sceana géara = He made the sharp knives.
For inofrmation on the predicative use of the comparative see there.

Some additional adjectives can only be used predicatively, and not attributively (e.g. féidir = possible, fiú = worth, iomaí = many . These also only appear with the copula, not with bí or other verbs. e.g. Is féidir é sin = that is possible; Is fiú é = it is worth it

the attributive adjective (an aidiacht aitreabúideach)

Attributively used adjectives agree with the noun in case, number and gender.
Depending on the gender, case, number, they are declined and, if necessary, lenited.
They always come after the noun being modified (as opposed to German or English).

the big man = an fear mór,
of the big man = an fhir mhóir,
the big woman = an bhean mhór,
of the big woman = na mná móire,
the big women = na mná móra.
Adjectives are not declined... Adjectives not agreeing in number Preceding the noun, adjectives are only rarely possible

Order of attributes:

adjectives als adverb (aidiachtaí mar dhobhriathar)

One can not only be quick , one can also work quickly ; in the latter case quick is no longer an adjective, but an adverb, because it modifies a verb and not a noun. In German one does not notice the difference, in Irish it's easy: the particle go appears. Go requires an h-prefix preceding a vowel
Other than that, the adverbs don't change very much.


form examples
go + adjective go maith, go cliste, go sciobtha
go + adjective (starting in a vowel) go hiontach, go hard

Tá mé sciobtha - I am fast. (predicative)
D'oibrigh mé go sciobtha - I work fast. (adverbial)



pronominal adjectives (aidiachtaí forainmneacha)

Pronominal adjectives do not modify a noun, but imply a classification, closer division or (oppositely) a generalisation.
Principally, the article is an example of a pronominal adjective. Also numbers, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns and interrogatives are used as pronminal adjectives. On the other hand, many pronominal adjectives serve together with general nouns in place of a substantivised pronoun (e.g.: duine éigin = some person > somebody ).
Some adjectives like many, such are replaced by nouns. See also indefinite pronouns

Pronominal adjectives are always used attributively. They are not declined and mostly also not lenited (though eclipsis occurs often). Some of these adjectives come before (e.g. gach fear = every man), some after the noun(e.g. fear éigin = any man)

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[1] : Once it was the rule of thumb that only adverbs could appear with the verb bí, always. ("adverbs with bí, adjectives with is")
Today this only is the case for a few adjectives (see above), while the predicative use of adjectives with bí is possible and has become common.