Irish language

Getting to know you, getting to know all about the irregular verbs in Irish

GET BACK: Phrases like faigh ar ais, like faigh suas or faigh amach are like the sound of nails on glass to Irish speakers as they are perfect examples of Béarlachas, a term the Bluffer will explain next week
Robert McMillen


Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad míle fáilte isteach chuig the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

Well, were back with the super-duper, can’t-get- by-without-them,  irregular verbs and today’s is a good one - faigh meaning get.

However, getting in English has sooooo many meanings that you have to be careful when you translate things to Irish.

Faighim is I get, ní fhaighim - I don’t get and an bhfaighim - do I get.

Faigheann tú/sé/sí/muid/sibh/siad - you/he/she/we/you (pl)/they get.

“So what about some examples, Bluffer” the cry goes up.

An bhfaigheann tú an Irish News gach lá? - Do you get the Irish News every day? Faighim - I do.

(There is another older way of saying faighim and that is gheibhim followed by gheibh sé, gheibh sí etc and you will hear that quite often but we’ll stick with standardised Irish for the time being and we can look at variations at a later date.)

As you can see, because there is no yes or no in Irish, you repeat the verb so try a few more examples by volunteering someone to ask or answer questions like do you get tuarastal maith - a good salary or do chuid éadaigh ag Primark - your clothes at Primark although this might cause offence to some fashionistas – and btw, it is officially pronounced Pry-mark!

Righty-ho, the past tense goes fuair mé/tú

etc - I/you etc. got, ní bhfuair mé – I didn’t get and an/go/nach bhfuair mé - did i get, etc.

This is used a lot in Irish.

This verb faigh is only used in the sense of receiving something so you would never say fuair mé suas  or fuair mé tinn - I got sick although it is an easy mistake to make.

There are numerous meanings to the word get in English which aren’t translated into Irish by using faigh

These are often used phrases like get out, get a grip, to get someone to do something, to get someone back, to get to bed or even in the words of Stanley Holloway in My Fair Lady, Get Me to the Church on Time. 

“C’mre ye cheeky wee get” is another meaning altogether!

But you could say fuair mé ardú pá - I got a payrise or ní bhfuair sé do théacs - he didn’t get your text or fuair Peadar léine úr - Peter got a new shirt.

As well as an bhfuair - did you get you can ask other questions like cá bhfuair tú sin? Where did you get that?

Now, back to the future as Marty McFly would say and a glimpse at the slightly weird way Irish is spelt.  

One word – gheobhaidh - followed by mé, tú, sé, sí etc. tells someone will get something, whether it’s a winning a lottery ticket or a kick on the backside.

Gheobhaidh mé sin duit amárach - I’ll get you that tomorrow is one example.

Won’t get is ní bhfaighidh - yep, bhfaighidh is pronounced wee and it’s the same with an/go/nach bhfaighidh.

An bhfaighidh tú post úr? Will you get a new job?

Ní bhfaighidh - I won’t.

So that’s another irregular verb under your belt. If you find them tough, join a class in September.


faigh (fy) - get

faighim (fy-im) - I get

ní fhaighim (nee iam) - I don’t get

an bhfaighim (un wyam) - do I get

Faigheann tú/sé/sí etc (fyan too/shay/she) - you/he/she/we/you (pl)/they get

An bhfaigheann tú an Irish News gach lá? (un wyan too un irish news gakh laa) - Do you get the Irish News every day? 

Faighim (fy-im) - I do

tuarastal maith (toorastal my) - a good salary

do chuid éadaigh ag Primark (daw khusge aydee in prymark) - your clothes at Primark 

fuair mé/tú etc (foor may/too etc) - I/you etc. got 

ní bhfuair mé (nee woor may) - I didn’t get

an/go/nach bhfuair mé (un/gaw/nakh/ woor may) - did i get, etc.

fuair mé ardú pá (foor may ardoo pie) - I got a payrise 

ní bhfuair sé do théacs (nee woor shay daw haycks) - he didn’t get your text 

fuair Peadar léine úr (foor padder laynyee oor) - Peter got a new shirt

Gheobhaidh mé sin duit amárach (yoee may shin amaarakh ditch) - I’ll get you that tomorrow

ní bhfaighidh (nee wee) - I won’t get 

An bhfaighidh tú post úr? (un wee too pust oor) - Will you get a new job?

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