Learn the Verb "To Be" in Scots Gaelic: Beginner Lesson

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Tha e Furasda! It’s Easy!

Some aspects of Gaelic grammar are incredibly easy – so let’s start with one.First of all, there’s no verb conjugation: the verb form stays the same no matter who’s doing the action.For example, the following list shows the verb “tha” [ha]= to be(positive) used with the personal pronouns.

Tha [ha] = To Be (Positive Meaning)

tha [ha]= to be(positive)

I am= tha mi[ha mee]

you are (singular)= tha thu[ha oo]

he/it is= the e[ha e]

she/it is= tha i[ha ee]

we are = tha sinn[ha shin]

you are(plural or polite)= tha sibh[ha shiv]

they are= tha iad[ha iyat]

Other Forms of the Verb

There are separate forms for the negative meaning ("… is not") and for asking questions, as shown below. Note that the character X has been used to transliterate the sound of “ch” in the Scottish “loch” or German “ach”.

Chan Eil

chan eil [Xan yil] = to be (negative)

I’m not = chan eil mi

you’re not = chan eil thu

he isn’t = chan eil e

she isn’t = chan eil i

we aren’t = chan eil sinn

you aren’t (pl or polite)= chan eil sibh

they aren’t = chan eil iad

Question Forms

A’ bheil [a vil] (+ pronoun) = Am I…? Are you…? etc.

Nach eil [naX il] (+ pronoun) = Am I not…? Aren’t you…? etc.


Are you tired? = A’ bheil thu sgìth? (See below for adjectives.)

Aren’t you busy? = Nach eil thu trang?


The easiest way to complete these sentences is with an adjective, so here are a few to choose from:

beag [bek] = small

mòr [as English “more”] = big

blàth [bla:] = warm, hot

fuar [foo ar] = cold

sgìth [skee] = tired

leisg [layshk] = lazy

trang [trang] = busy

We can also add glè [glay] (meaning “very”) before the adjective.

First Sentences

I’m tired. = Tha mi sgìth.

I’m very tired. = Tha mi glè sgìth.

Are you cold? = A’ bheil thu fuar?

She isn’t very busy. = Chan eil i glè trang.

Aren’t they small? = Nach eil iad beag?


Get this vocabulary as a download.