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Possessive pronouns
Alternative constructions

Personal pronouns

Formally, Irish distinguishes between neutral and emphatic personal pronouns. The neutral group comprises a paradigm with six positions, three in the singular and three in the plural just as in English. The subject forms of these are:

Common case personal pronouns

  Sg. Pl.
1 sinn, muid(e)
2 sibh
3 , siad

Common case emphatic personal pronouns
  Sg. Pl.
1 mise sinne
2 tusa sibhse
3 seisean, sise siadsan

The third person has s-less forms (eisean, ise, iadsan) which have the same distribution as those of the neutral personal pronouns, i.e. they are used anywhere except in immediately post-verbal position.

An bhfuil sibhse ag dul go Gaillimh freisin?
‘Are you going to Galway too?’
Is tusa an duine is measa eatarthu.
‘You are the worst one of them.’
Eisean an fear atá ag teastáil uainn.
‘He’s the man we need.’

Emphatic suffixes are also added to nouns in order to give them rhematic prominence.

Cá bhfuil mo pheannsa? ‘Where’s my pen?’

Objective case personal pronouns

The ‘objective’ case is what is traditionally called the ‘accusative’ case, i.e. it is the case of direct objects of verbs. For nouns, the objective has the same form as the common case (hence the latter label). For most pronouns it is also identical, but the second person singular pronoun is permanently lenited when the object of a verb, e.g. Chonaic mé thú inné ‘I saw you yesterday’.

The third person personal pronouns lose their initial s- /s-/ when in the objective case, e.g. Thuig sí é ‘She understood him’. They also occur in s-less forms when they do not immediately follow a verb. There are many instances where this happens, e.g. with ‘subordinating and’ structures (also found in Irish English) like the following: Chonaic mé an fear agus é ag teacht amach ón teach ‘I saw the man and he coming out of the house’.

  Sg. Pl.
1 sinn, muid(e)
2 thú sibh
3 é, í iad

Possessive pronouns

  Sg. Pl.
1 mo ár
2 do bhur
3 a (+ Ø, + L) a (+N)

mo chabhróir do ghluaisteán a cheacht a ceacht
‘my helper’ ‘your car’ ‘his lesson’ ‘her lesson’
ár dtír bhur gcruachásanna a gcúis  
‘our country’ ‘your worries’ ‘their reason’  

Where mo and do occur prevocalically or before a lenited /f/ they are reduced to m’ and d’ respectively:

m’áthas d’fhocal
‘my joy’ ‘your word’

Alternative constructions

In Irish there are other means of expressing possession or relevance to the speaker than using possessive pronouns. To express possession a partitive construction with chuid ‘part, portion’ is common:

Ar bhfaca tú mo chuid eadaí? ‘Did you see my clothes?’

A common alternative to the possessive pronouns when expressing association (rather than actual possession) is to use a prepositional pronouns based on ag ‘at’ (this prepositional pronoun is found with tá in similar verbal constructions).

An baile seo againne [the town here at-us] ‘Our town’


Irish has a distinction between cardinals and ordinals as in English. The expression of numerical fractions is shown by examples in the third table below.


0 náid 10 a deich 20 fiche
1 a haon 11 a haon déag 30 tríocha
2 a dó 12 a dó deag 40 daichead
3 a trí 13 a trí déag 50 caoga
4 a ceathair 14 a ceathair déag 60 seasca
5 a cúig 15 a cúig déag 70 seachtó
6 a sé 16 a sé déag 80 ochtó
7 a seacht 17 a seacht déag 90 nócha
8 a hocht 18 a hocht déag 100 céad
9 a naoi 19 a naoi déag 1000 míle
        1000 000 milliún


1st an chéad + L 10th an deichiú
2nd an dara + N 11th an t-aonú N déag
3rd an tríú + N 12th an dóú N déag
4th an ceathrú + N 13th an tríú N déag
5th an cúigiú + N  
6th an séú + N 20th an fichiú
7th an seachtú + N 30th an tríochadú
8th an t-ochtú + N 40th an daicheadú
9th an naoú  


1/2 leath 3/4 trí cheathrú 1/20 fichiú
1/3 trian 5/6 cúig shéú 1/50 caogadú
1/4 ceathrú 2/8 dhá ochtú 1/70 seachtódú
1/5 cúigiú 4/9 ceithre naoú 1/100 céadú