Caibidil a Seacht:

The personal pronouns (na Forainmneacha Pearsanta)

subject form
object form
copula form
polite form
emphatic forms
the neuter pronoun ea
prepositional pronouns
muid + sinn, tú + thú
the order of the pronouns
agreement in gender and number
emphatic suffixes


    subject form object form copular form
normal emphatic normal emphatic normal emphatic
1st I    mise  mé  mise  mé  mise
2nd you     tusa  thú  thusa  tú  tusa
3rd he     seisean  é  eisean  é  eisean
she     sise  í  ise  í  ise
it   -  -  -  -  ea  eadhon
1st we   muid
2nd you   sibh  sibhse  sibh  sibhse  sibh  sibhse
3rd they   siad  siadsan  iad  iadsan  iad  iadsan

and appear occasionally (fitting to the rather short pronunciation) as me or mi and tu without an accent (as by mise and tusa)
The genitive form of the personal pronoun is the possessive pronoun.
The terms "subject form" and "object form" are contradictory. Better terms would be subjunct form (for subject form) and disjunct form (for object form), but these terms are used seldomly. The term "copular form" is used here, since this form is not always identical to the object form.

The subject form (foirm ainmneach)

The object form (foirm chuspóireach)

The copula form (foirm chopaileach)

The polite form (foirm an ómóis)

Emphatic forms (foirmeacha tréise)

The neuter pronoun (an forainm pearsanta neodrach)

ea (old script form eadh), pronunciation: [a:] (Standard and Munster), [æ:] (in Connacht).
It is mostly bound to is to make sea, spoken: [òa:] or [òæ:].
It is known as the "neuter" pronoun ("it"), a leftover of the (today otherwise obsolete) neuter.
It can only be used with the copula and also only:

In other uses only sé/é orsí/í is used, depending on the antecedent, for what the it stands. If the gender of the antecedent is unknown or a subordinating clause, then one uses or. é, and never ea.
The same applies for the usage of a "impersonal it": Tá sé ag cur baistí = It's raining.

eadhon (eadh + ón, -ón is the old emphatic suffix in the neuter)
It is used in written language still as the replacement for the abbreviations like "which is called", "namely" or "that is" (Latin"id est", i.e., in Irish often .i. abbreviated, also in English "viz.").
In Irish, the pronoun stands alone, the copula (is) is omitted.

amhlaidh is a remaining prepositional pronoun out of amhail = like and eadh = it (lit.: "like it").
Today mostly used as an adverb in the meaning "so": Tá sin amhlaidh = So it is
is amhlaidh is + comparative appeard in the usage "so", "the..." , esp. in combination with the abstract noun (see there)
Often, is amhlaidh is also similarly used like is ea.

prepositional pronouns (forainmneacha réamhfhoclacha)

With many prepositions there are compound forms with the personal pronouns, i.e. the prepositions are, so to say, conjugated.
e.g. ag : agam, agat, aige, aici, againn, agaibh, acu.
see overview

muid / sinn:

tú / thú:

Generally, tú is the subject- and copular form and thú is the object form, but in both cases there are too many exceptions, so that this had to be appended:

An unlenited tú/tusa is used:

A lenited thú/thusa is used:

the order of the pronouns:

In German/English the 1st person ("I") always comes last, at least it should. In Irish it is the other way around.
If there should follow more than one pronoun after another, the following applies:

  1. 1st person (mé, muid/sinn)
  2. 2nd person (tú, sibh)
  3. 3rd person (é í, iad and nouns)
    in a list, a pronoun of the 3rd person comes after a noun
Bhí mise is tusa is eisean ann = He, you and I were there.
Bhí mise agus mo chairde in Éirinn anuraidh = My friends and I were in Ireland last year
an múinteoir agus eisean = he and the teacher

agreement in gender and number:

Usually, pronouns of the 3rd person (sé = he, sí = she) agree in number and gender with the appropriate noun.
Pertaining to the gender, there are exceptions only in the cases of

In number there are exceptions made in the case of

Emphatic suffixes (iarmhíreacha tréise)

I -sa/-se
you -sa/-se
he -san/-sean
sie -sa/-se
we -na/-ne/-e*
ihr -sa/-se
sie -san/-sean

The forms -se, -sean, -ne come after a slender final sound, the forms -sa, -san, -na after a broad final sound.
*: -e is used after a double-n: sinn-ne > sinne, againn-ne > againne

These suffixes are mentioned here, because they are closely related to the personal pronouns.
Thes serve as contrast and emphasis
They are used only in reference to persons, not in reference to inanimate things or animals.
If a person is repeatedly mentioned in a sentence, the suffix can only be used the first time (e.g. Nímse mé féin = I wash myself)
They can be added to the following parts of speech:

According to the origin, they are weakend forms of the demonstrative pronouns: seo (> sa/se), sin (> san/sean). -ne is a shorthand form of the personal pronoun sinn (or the older form sni). "Sinne" is also actually a double "sinn".

Alternatively to that, the pronouns féin (e.g.: mé féin, tú féin, é féin) or, in the 3rd person, the demonstrative pronouns seo, sin, siúd may be used (e.g.: é sin, í sin, iad sin). These alternatives are also to be found in usage.

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© Lars Braesicke 1999 / 2000

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[ 1 ] Graiméar na Gaedhilge leis na Bráithreachaibh Críostamhla, 1906:
in reference to muid: "On no account should this corruption be imitated by the student"