Irish Study Card

Part 2

In this section, you will find easy-to-understand explanations of each grammar table to help you get the most out of your Irish Study Card.


You will find explanations of the layout, the content, and the grammar points with examples.


The Irish Study Card 2 displays nouns and adjectives as well as pronouns. Understanding what they are in the English language, will make it easier for you to understand the particular changes that happen in the Irish language. For more information about the definition of these grammar points, check the Glossary section here.


The Irish Card part 2  displays 25 independent tables with grammar content.   


The 3 main shades of colours used for pronouns and verbs in Part 1, are also used on Part 2.


If you have read the colour explanation for the Irish card part 1, you may want to skip this section.


The Subject Personal Pronouns determine the three main colours used throughout the card.


Always think of the Subject Personal Pronouns as the persons who do the action. In English, they are the words I, you, he, she, it, we, you, and they.


They are divided into first, second and third persons, in singular and plural.


Think of the first person as the most important for you. They are the pronouns that include you on your own, or with someone else. I, we.


The second most important person is the one you are talking to, you.


The third most important person is whoever is not in the room, she, he, it, they.


Singular Pronouns

1st person: I

2nd person: youtú/thú

3rd persons: he, she and itsé/é


Plural Pronouns

1st person: wemuid/sinn

2nd person: you sibh

3rd person: they siad/iad


The singular personal pronouns (I, you, he, she, it )are represented in a light shade of yellow, purple and green.


The plural personal pronouns (we, you, they) are represented in the same colours but in a darker shade.

The 3 main shades of colours used for pronouns and verbs in Part 2 are used in tá__ agtá__ ar tables.

Each colour indicates the word needed for each person. Remember that the light and dark shades represent the singular and plural pronouns respectively.

The colours green and orange are used in the same way as in your Irish card Part 1. They help you identify when séimhiú or urú takes place.

This change pulls words together to make speaking more natural.

These are the colours used in the in the Irish Card Part 2.



You will be able to easily identify the type of case the word is in by these three colours.


You will find more explanations about the cases further down.

This section is intended to be a general explanation on grammar created for you to understand the layout of your card to take full advantage of it. By no means should this section be considered a course on its own. While it is possible to group certain rules, Irish has many exceptions, which are not contained in this section.

  • To say to have in Irish, you need to use  and the preposition ag. You need to use the different prepositional pronouns for the different persons: agam, agat, aige, etc.

You will find these prepositions at the back of the card.

Your card shows the different prepositional pronouns in the colour coded system for easy studying.

With this structure, you can say things such as:

I have a brother. –  Tá deartháir agam.

 I have a cat. –  Tá cat agam.


Your table gives you a few examples in the Past, Present and Future.

The Part 1 card shows you the irregular verb in different tenses.

  • You can also say to have in Irish by using  and the preposition ar. However, this structure is used when you want to talk about emotional and physical feelings.

Get used to thinking of feelings and emotions like they are something that’s on you. I have hunger on me: Tá ocras orm.

Your table gives you the different forms of bí so that you can use it in Past, Present and Future.

The Part 1 card shows you the irregular verb in different tenses.

The declensions are the groups that follow a common pattern to help you make these changes. The tables in the card give you some examples of the different changes grouped in the 5 declensions.

Remember that there are exceptions to the rules.

The layout of all the declension tables in the card is divided into Nominative and Genitive in Singular and Nominative and Genitive form in Plural

When you want to change a noun in the plural form, or in the genitive form, the noun in Irish changes. Check how the word pen changes in both English and Irish:

  1. the pen – an peann
  2. the pens – na pinn
  3. the tip of the pen – barr an phinn
  4. the cost of the pens– costas na bpeann


These examples show you what kind of changes can happen to the noun. The changes depend if the noun is:

  • masculine or feminine
  • singular or plural
  • If it’s in the Nominative, Genitive or Vocative case
  • if there is an article or preposition before the noun.

If you look at the noun peann, two types of changes occur, some at the beginning of the word: phbp, and others at the end of the word: peann – pinn. 


Irish becomes less overwhelming when you learn to identify these changes.

  • Séimhiú and urú changes happen at the beginning of the word for pronunciation purposes.

In the Irish card part 2, in the third page, on top, there’s a table specifically designed to indicate the séimhiú and urú changes in nouns after the articles an and na (the).


  • The changes at the end of the word happen when you change a noun from singular to plural, or from the nominative to the genitive case in singular or plural.


First Declension

  • The first declension nouns are masculine.

  • Most nouns end in a broad consonant: rós, cat.

  • To form the Genitive in the singular, an i is placed before the last consonant or caolú is used to make the last consonant slender.


cat – cait

  • Weak plurals usually end in: -(a)igh, –a, or –e
  • Strong plurals usually end in: -(e)anna, –ta, –te, –tha, –the, -(a)í, -(e)adh, -(a)í, í, -(e)acha, –lte, –lne. They can also be formed by syncopating the ns and adding –e or –a.


This topic can be overwhelming for some, but if you already know a few words and their plurals in Nominative and Genitive, try to imitate the changes, chances are the plural for the word you are trying to form in the plural is formed in the same way.


Know that in weak plurals the Genitive plural is the same as the Nominative singular. And in strong plurals, all the plural forms are identical; the Genitive plural is the same as the Nominative plural and the Vocative plural.


  • The weak plural in the Nominative form is the same form as in the Genitive.


 cait  cait 


  • The weak plural in the Genitive form is the same form as in the Nominative.


 cat  cat


  • Strong plurals in the Nominative and the Genitive form are the same.


 rósanna  rósanna


Second Declension 

  • Second declension nouns are feminine (except for 3 nouns: im, sliabh and teach).

  • They end in a broad or slender consonants: clann, aisling.

  • Other common endings are –óg, (-e)ach, –eog, –lann: fuinneog.


  • To form the Genitive singularif the noun ends in a broad consonant, use caoulú and add to the noun.


clann – clainne

  • If it ends in a slender consonant,  add e to the noun.


aisling – aislinge

  • To form the plural (weak), add +a or +e to nouns ending in –óg, –each, –eog, –lann


clann – clanna

  • The weak plural in Genitive is the same as the Nominative in singular.


clann – clann

  • Strong plurals have strong endings like –anna, –acha, –eacha, –ta, –the, –tha.


áit – áiteanna

  • Strong plural nouns in Genitive are the same as the strong plural in the Nominative.


áiteanna  áiteanna


Third Declension 

  • Third declension nouns are masculine and feminine.
  • They end in a broad or slender consonant: rud, dochtúir.
  • To form the Genitive singular, if they end in a broad consonant, add a to the noun.


rud – ruda

  • If they end in a slender consonant, use leathnú and add a. 


buachaill – buachalla


  • To form the plural for masculine nouns ending in -aeir, -éir, -eoir, -úir, add +í.


péintéir – péintéirí


  • For feminine nouns ending in –áintúint, –irt, add + í.



canúint  – canúintí


  • The Genitive plural is the same as the Plural in the Nominative.


canúint  – canúintí

Fourth Declension 

  • Fourth declension nouns are masculine and feminine.

  • Most end in a vowel and in the diminutive –ín: dalta, cailín.

  • The Genitive singular is the same as the Nominative.

  • To form the plural in both the Nominative and in Genitive, change -le to –lte and -a/-e to –/-í.



baile – bailte

dalta – dalt

  • Add –í to the nouns ending in –ín.


coinín – coiníní


Fifth Declension 

  • Most of the fifth declension nouns are feminine.

  • Most end in a slender consonant (-il, –in, –ir) or in a vowel: traein, pearsa.

  • To form the Genitive singular, make the noun broad and sometimes you also need to add ach or each.


cathaoir – cathaoireach

cabhail – cabhlach


  •  If the noun ends in a vowel, add  –d, or –n.



pearsa – pearsan


  • To form the plural in the Nominative, add a to the Genitive singular.


pearsan – pearsana


  • Most of the Genitive plural nouns are the same as the Nominative in the plural form.


traenach– traenacha

This table indicates when you need to aspirate (séimhiú) or eclipse (urú) the nouns after the article an / na.

The colours for the cases are also shown in this table for easy reference. Some examples are given to highlight the changes.




  • Words have specific functions within a sentence.


Sean broke the window.

If we analyse this sentence, we have somebody who did an action, Sean, the performed action, broke, and something that was affected by the action, the window.


  • The person or thing that does the action in a sentence is called the subject. The person or thing affected by the action is called the object. 

  • If your noun plays these parts in a sentence, it should be in the Nominative. 

Bhris Seán an fhuinneog.  Sean broke the window.


  • The Nominative is also used in the Predicate of the Copula. Check the explanation of the Copula in Part 1.
  • Just as with the Nominative, identifying what part the noun plays in the sentence makes it easier to know how the noun needs to change.

The Genitive is usually associated with possession (Mary’s house); however, in Irish, the Genitive form is used when the noun plays other parts in the sentence.

  •  With the ing form ag + verbal noun.


ag scríobh leabhair – writing a book.


  • Also, after prepositions that are made up of more than one word.


ar fud na cathrach – throughout the city


  • After specific prepositions such as chun, cois, mórán, among others.

  • With quantities.


go leor ama – enough time

  • When there are two nouns together.


barr an chnoic – the top of the hill. The second noun takes the genitive form.

The ending of the noun and whether it is feminine or masculine determines how the changes occur.

  • You use the vocative case when people or things are being addressed directly.

  • You place an a before the noun and use séimhiú. Some masculine nouns are made slender:


Shin, tar anseo. Seán, come here.

  • Chomle is like asas in English.


Tá Liam chom cliste le Pól.  Liam is as clever as Paul.

It shows similarities between two people, things or places. Add an if the adjective begins with a vowel.

Look at the following sentences:

  1. Paul is taller than Mark.
  2. Paul is the tallest in the class.

The first sentence represents the comparison between the two men. The second sentence represents the structure for the superlative. 

Strictly speaking, comparison in Irish is different from English, in the sense that Irish only compares.

It doesn’t have the superlative form like in English. Depending on the context, the comparative expresses the superlative as well. But it’s not a superlative form on its own. However, having an English association makes it easier for students to understand this form, and that’s why most textbooks separate it into two categories:

níos…ná – comparative form (er)

is + adjective – the comparative form that expresses the superlative (..est)


Tá Ebhard nios deise  Cían. Edward is nicer than Cian.

Is é Ebhard  an duine is deise sa chlann sin. Edward is the nicest person in the family.


  • The Genitive feminine form of the adjective is used for comparisons.

deas – deise

  • Adjectives in Irish can be attributive and predicative. Look at the following examples:

  1. An fear mór. – The big man.
  2. Tá an fear mór. – The man is big.

In Irish, the sentences might look almost identical; however, when you analyse the meaning in English, you can spot the differences.

  • In the first sentence, the big man, the adjective big is linked to the noun man. This is a sentence with an attributive adjective.

  • In the second sentence, man and big are not linked directly; they need is (tá). This is a sentence with a predicative adjective.

  • Predicative adjectives don’t need to agree with the noun.

  • Attributive adjectives need to agree with the noun.

To agree with a noun means that if your noun is in the singular form, your adjective needs to be in the singular as well, if it’s in feminine, the adjective needs to be in feminine too. It needs to agree or have the same properties.

  • The attributive adjectives in Irish have to agree with the noun in number, gender, and case. 

If you are familiar with romance languages, like French or Spanish,  you will find that adjectives, nouns and in this case, articles, also have to agree in number and gender.

Like in Spanish:

la casa blanca

 el carro blanco

 las casas blancas

 los carros blancos   

Look at your card to see how the adjectives change depending on whether they are masculinefemininesingular, plural in the Common form or in the Genitive case.

dubh– black (Common form singular)

dubha (Common form plural)

duibh  (Genitive singular masculine)

duibhe (Genitive singular feminine)

This table shows some handy common regular and irregular adjectives in the comparative form needed for the structure níos.. na  and is + adjective. 


maith (good) –  níos fearr (better) – is fearr (best)

mór (big) –  níos mó (bigger) – is mó (biggest)

  • When a preposition like to and a pronoun like you, come together: to you, they are replaced by a prepositional pronoun.  


chuig (to) +  (you) = chugat (to you)

le (with, by, as) +   = liom (with me)

This chart displays 16 different propositions with the prepositional pronoun for each person (112).

The colour system makes them easy to identify. For example, if you want to focus only on the third person singular (he, she, it), just refer to the prepositional pronouns in light green.


This table indicates the séimhiú and urú changes needed in the nous after some specific single prepositions.





do Mhícheál –  for Michael ( séimhiú)

i gCorcaigh – in Cork  (urú)

le hAnna – with Anna (+ h with noun beginning in a vowel)

in oifig an phoist – in a post office  (i changes to in with noun beginning in a vowel)

d’oifig an phoist – from a post office (in spoken Irish, de changes to d’ with noun beginning in a vowel)

This table shows the séimhiú and urú changes that happen to the noun when a specific preposition with the article precedes it. The colours green and orange make it easier to identify the changes.



ar an mbus – on the bus  ( urú)

san fhuinneog – in the window (séimhiú)

leis an tslat – with the road (+t )

ag na haerfoirt – at the airport (+h)

This table shows how some preposition change when the article an or na is added to it.


de (of) + an (the sing.) = den ( of the)

den úll (of the apple)

i (in) + na (the pl.) = sna (in the)

Bráithre sna airm ( Brothers in (the) arms)

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