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Dear Bitesize: shortening “Tá mé” and asking how long someone has lived somewhere

Dear Bitesize: shortening "Tá mé" and asking how long someone has lived somewhere

In today’s Dear Bitesize post, I’m answering two questions that came in recently to Bitesize Irish Gaelic. First off, a learner would like to know if “Tá mé” and “Níl mé” can be shortened. Then, we had an Irish language learner who was wondering how to ask how long someone has lived somewhere.

Here we go:

Can “Tá mé” and “Níl mé” be shortened as “I am” is often shortened to “I’m” in English?

The answer is yes! “Tá mé,” which means “I am” can be shortened to “Táim.” It’s opposite, “Níl mé,” which means “I am not,” becomes “Nílim.”

Listen to this voice recording to hear how the standard version and the abbreviated version are pronounced differently:

If you would like to discover more about the verb “bí” (to be), of which “tá” and “níl” is a part of, please peruse the conjugations at the following link at your leisure: Bí on Grammar Wizard.

Now, to the next question:

How do I ask “Have you always lived there?” and “How long have you lived there?”

Here are two ways to ask “Have you always lived there?” The first is “An raibh tú i do chonaí ansin i gcónaí?” You could also use the verb “cónaigh,” which means ‘to reside,’ to ask the same question: “Ar chónaigh tú anseo i gcónaí?”

Here’s how to ask “How long have you lived there?”: “An bhfuil tú i do chónaí ansin le fada?”

Listen to the pronunciations here:


That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading!

If you’ve ever got any grammar questions, don’t hesitate to email info@bitesize.irish.

Le gach dea-ghuí (Best wishes,)


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