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How To Say – No in Irish (VIDEO)

Some of the easiest words in English have more than one way of being used in Irish. If you remember our blog post and video about How to say “Yes” in Irish, you know what we’re talking about. Saying “No” in Irish “falls” into the same category we described above so we thought it would be a good idea to teach you How to say “No” in Irish.

Of course we’ll be using an Irish pronunciation video and yes, of course we’ll provide you with more details!

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How to say – No in Irish (Pronunciation Video)

There are no words in Irish for “yes” and “no”.  In the present tense, there are two different ways of answering no, as there are two different types of question structures.

“An” + noun

An Meiriceánach tú?
/On Mer-ih-cawn-okh too?/
Are you an American?

Ní Meiriceánach mé.
/Nee Mer-ih-cawn-okh may/
I’m not an American.

Ní hea
/Nee ha/
It’s not

“An” + verb

An bhfuil tú ann?
/On wil too awn/
Are you there?

To be

An bhfuil tú?
/On wil too?/
Are you?

Níl mé
/Neel may/
I am not

SHORT ANSWER: You answer no by using the negative form of the verb used to ask the question.  Dia duit! Siobhán here from Bitesize Irish. I speak a Connacht dialect.

More details on How to say – No in Irish

Video transcriptThere are no words in Irish for “yes” or “no”. Today I will focus on saying no. In the present tense, there are two different ways of answering no, as there are two different types of question structures.

The first type begins with the Irish word “an” and is followed by a noun. For example “An Meiriceánach tú?”, “Are you an American?” Meiricéanach is the noun.

To answer no to this question, you say “Ní Meiriceánach mé” or the short version is Ní hea.

The second type of sentence structure also begins with “an” but is followed by a verb. For example, “An bhfuil tú ann?” Are you there? The word “bhfuil” in the sentence is a form of the verb “bí”, meaning “to be”.

To answer no to the question “An bhfuil tú ann?” you say “Níl mé” which means “I am not.”

In short, you answer no by using the negative form of the verb used to ask the question.

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8 thoughts on “How To Say – No in Irish (VIDEO)”

  1. Great post! I’m always looking for ways to improve my Irish language skills, and this video was incredibly helpful in learning how to say “no” in Irish Gaelic. The pronunciation guide is spot on, and I love how the video breaks down the different variations of the word. Thank you for sharing!

  2. michael murray

    “Chan amháin gur chuala mé tú – ach thuig mé tú fosta.” = “Ní amháin, 7rl, Gaeilge na Rosann (Dh na nG)- 7 Alba. “Fosta” = freisin.

    Ráth Dé ar do chuid oibre, a Shiobháin.

    ó Ghaeilgeóir a bhfuil measartha cleachtaidh i nGaeilge na Rosann cé go bhfuil mé de bhunadh na Déise. (Déise = old name for the area extending out from what is now Waterford taking in Sth Kilkenny/Tipperary/Sth Wexford also. synonymous now with Waterford Gaelic games teams.)

  3. What about Sea and Ni for yes and no? I know there not official replies for these words, more like slang… but could you explain how and when to use them? Can they be used for any question or are there conditions for their use?

    1. Hi Neil,

      You could use sea and hí hea for yes and no if the question you were asked is formed using this structure: ‘an (noun) é/í?’.
      See the question below as an example:

      Question: An Meiriceánach tú?
      Response: Ní hea / Sea

      ‘Sea’ can also be used in conversation as a sign of showing someone that you are listening. In English you might say ‘mmhmm’ or ‘yes’.

      ‘Ní’ would never be used on it’s own to say no. ‘Ní’ must be followed by the negative form of the verb e.g. Ní bhíonn. ní dhéanann sé etc.

      Le beannacht,