Irish Language Blog

An Aimsir Láithreach – The Present Tense Posted by on Apr 22, 2021 in Grammar, Irish Language

An Aimsir Láithreach – The Present Tense 

Photo from Pixabay, CCO.

When conjugating Irish verbs in the present tense, there are two categories: “1st conjugation” and “2nd conjugation” verbs. 1st conjugation verbs have one syllable and 2nd conjugation verbs have two or more syllables. It’s important to remember this because they have different conjugations.
Also, it is important to remember: in Irish every vowel is broad (leathan) or slender (caol). You look at the last vowel  in the verb to determine this. This will change the endings for both 1st conjugation verbs and 2nd conjugation verbs.

Leathan: a, o, u. Caol: e, i.

Remember, broad goes with broad, slender goes with slender. We will see this below.


1st conjugation endings 

1st Conjugation verbs have one syllable and the endings will be added to the verb.

Some examples of verbs that are 1st conjugation: rith (to run), dún (to close), bris (to break), and fan (to wait).

Slender endings: im, eann, imid

rith – to run

rithim – I run

ritheann tú/sé/sí – you/he/she runs

rithimid – we run

ritheann sibh/siad – you all/they run


bris – to break

brisim – I break

briseann tú/sé/sí – you/he/she breaks

brisimid – we break

briseann sibh/siad – you all/they break

Broad endings: aim, ann, aimid

dún – to close

dúnaim – I close

dúnann tú/sé/sí – you/he/she closes

dúnaimid – we close

dúnann sibh/siad – you all/they close


fan – to wait

fanaim – I wait

fanann tú/sé/sí – you/he/she waits

fanaimid – we wait

fanann sibh/siad – you all/they wait

2nd conjugation endings 

2ns conjugation verbs have two or more syllables. If they end in igh, or aigh, remove those letters, and add the endings from the list below. If they end in il, ir, in, or is, the second syllable is condensed, before adding the appropriate ending.

Some examples of 2nd conjugation verbs are: éirigh (to get up), ceannaigh (to buy), eitil (to fly), freagair (to answer).

Slender endings: ím, íonn, ímid

éirigh – to get up

éirím – I get up

éiríonn tú/sé/sí – you/he/she gets up

éirímid – we get up

éiríonn sibh/siad – you all/they get up


eitil – to fly

eitlím – I fly

eitlíonn tú/sé/sí – you/he/she flies

eitlímid – we fly

eitlíonn sibh/siad – you all/they fly

Broad endings: aím, aíonn, aímid

ceannaigh – to buy

ceannaím – I buy

ceannaíonn tú/sé/sí – you/he/she buys

ceannaímid – we buy

ceannaíonn sibh/siad – you all/they buy


freagair – to answer

freagraím – I answer

freagraíonn tú/sé/sí – you/he/she answers

freagraímid – we answer

freagraíonn sibh/siad – you all/they answer


Here’s a list of some more Irish verbs. Can you tell if they are 1st or 2nd conjugation verbs, broad or slender, and then conjugate them in the comments? Good luck, ádh mór!

Féach – to look

Éist – to listen

Déan – to do

Buail – to hit

Glan – to clean

Scríobh – to write

Caith – to throw

Ith – to eat

Féach – to look

Éist – to listen

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.

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