0. Contents

  1. Syntax
  2. Semantics

This page is about the non-leniting, dative-governing preposition air. Many of its properties are already described on the page about prepositions.

1. Syntax

a. Unlike most other dative-governing prepositions, air can be immediately followed by a form of the definite article (in other words, it has no definite variant).

For example:
  • air a' bhòrd (on the table), air na bùird (on the tables), cf. air bòrd (on a table), air bùird (on tables).
  • air an eilean (on the island), air na h-eileanan (on the islands), cf. air eilean (on an island), air eileanan (on islands).

b. The complete set of conjugated prepositions for air is as follows:



For example:
  • ort is used instead of *air thu (on you).
  • oirbh is used instead of *air sibh (on you).

c. There is also a set of emphatic conjugated prepositions:



d. Unusually for a dative-governing preposition, there are no possessive prepositions for air:

For example, there is no variant for the following phrases:
  • air mo thaigh (on my house).
  • air ar n-eileanan (on our islands).

However, one may occasionally see the non-standard syncopated written form orra instead of air do. Examples from Colin Mark's dictionary are:
  • Orra shocair! (Take it easy!), for Air do shocair!
  • Gabh sinn orra chùram! (Take us into your care!), for Gabh sinn air do chùram!

For information about the use of air with a verbal complement (i.e. perfect tenses), see here.

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2. Semantics

2.1. Space

Bha tubaist anns a' mhadainn an-diugh air an A82 eadar Drochaid an Aonachain agus Inbhir Garadh. (There was an accident this morning on the A82 between Spean Bridge and Invergarry.)

2.2. Time

2.3. Others

a. Disadvantageous physical conditions:
  • Tha an t-acras orm. (I'm hungry)
  • Tha am pathadh ort. (You're thirsty)
  • Tha an cnatan air. (He has a cold)
  • Tha an t-eagal oirre. (She is afraid)
  • Tha cabhag oirnn. (We are in a hurry)

b. Wearing clothes:
  • Tha còta snog oirre. (She is wearing a nice coat)
  • Tha peitean air Iain. (John is wearing a jumper)
  • Tha brògan àrda orra. (They are wearing boots)
  • Tha ad air. (He is wearing a hat)

c. Naming:
  • Dé an t-ainm a tha ort? (What is your name?)
  • C' ainm a tha ort? (What is your name?)
  • Is e Iain (an t-ainm) a tha orm. (John is my name)

d. Dislikes:
  • Is beag air Màiri feòil. (Mary dislikes meat)
  • Is beag air Seumas còcaireachd. (James dislikes cooking)
  • Is beag orm an leabhar sin. (I dislike that book)
  • Is lughaair Anna ball-coise. (Ann dislikes football)

e. Hurrying
  • Greas ort! Greasaibh oirbh! (Hurry up!)

What about collocations / phrases such as air bhoil, air chrith, air mhisg, etc. which express a state?

Chluich sinn gèam air a' choimpiutair. (We played a game on the computer)
Bha mi a' cluich air a' choimpiutair. (I was playing on the computer)

Thàinig iad dhachaigh aig còig uairean air a' bhus. (They came home at five o'clock on the bus, by bus?)

Dè do bheachd oirre? (What is/was your opinion of her? What do/did you think about her?)

Dè a bhios air clàr-gnothaich na Pàrlamaid? (What will be on the agenda of the Parliament?)

Cò na buill a bhios orra (air na comataidhean)? (Which members will be on them (the committees)?)

Tha na h-oifisean aca air an dàrna ùrlar de thogalach nam ball, còmhla rin càirdean Tòraidheach a rinn cùisean cho doirbh dhaibh. (Their offices are on the second floor of the members building, along with the Tory friends who made things so difficult for them)

English note: "on Saturday" is just "Disathairne".

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