The following are common ways to ask someone how they are, or to ask them if they are keeping well.
Cad é mar atá tú?
How are you? - to one person (
Cad é mar atá sibh?
How are yous? -to more than one person- (
Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?
How are you? (Conemara Irish)
Conas atá tú?
How are you? (
An bhfuil tú go maith?
Are you well?
Cad é mar atá tú? How are you? - to one person (
Cad é mar atá sibh? How are yous? -to more than one person- (
Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú? How are you? (Conemara Irish)
Conas atá tú? How are you? (
An bhfuil tú go maith? Are you well?
Note that different dialects can sometimes use different ways of asking the same question. You should be aware of this, but try not to let the scaremongers dishearten you with their claims that the dialects are incomprehensible to each other. They have more in common than they have differences, and many of the differences follow patterns that can be easily picked up. For example ‘cad é mar’, ‘conas’ and ‘cén chaoi’ all mean ‘how’ in English, and each of the dialects tend to use one or the other, over and over again. After a while, you will become familiar with them all, even though you will mostly use one version yourself. This course will be mainly in Ulster Irish, while staying within the broad outlines of national standard Irish. Some examples from other dialects will also be introduced so that the learner will be familiar and comfortable with some basic differences.
To reply to the above questions you may say one of the following:
Tá mé go maith I’m well.
Go maith, go raibh maith agat well, thankyou.
To be mannerly you normally follow your reply up by asking how the other person is himself/herself:
... agus tú féin? and yourself?
...agus cad é mar atá tú féin? and how are you yourself?
The person replying to this question may instinctively avoid repeating the ‘go maith’ answer if the first person used it, and may say something a little different:
Tá mé go breá. I’m fine.
Additional responses to inquiries about how you are could include:
Níl mé go holc I’m not bad
Níl mé go maith I’m not well
Níl caill orm I can’t complain (lit. There’s no loss/damage/harm on me)
Tá mé go measartha I’m middling
Tá mé ag streachailt liom I’m struggling along
Tá mé beo liom I’m alive and kicking (if you haven’t met in a long time)
Tá mé tuirseach I’m tired
Possible responses pertaining to illness (whether self-inflicted or not!)
Tá mé tinn I’m sick
Tá biseach orm I’m feeling better (after an illness)
Tá biseach ag teacht orm I’m getting better (lit. Improvement is coming on me)
Tá mé ag teacht chugam féin I’m coming around (lit. I’m coming to myself)
Tá mé ar mo sheanléim I’m better again (lit. I’m back to my old jump/spring)
Tá póit orm inniu I have a hangover today
Tá tinneas póite orm I have a hangover (There’s a hangover sickness on me)
Tá póit an diabhail orm I have a brutal hangover (lit. The hang of the devil is on me)
Tá póit mhillteanach orm I have a terrible hangover
To ask someone how a family member or a friend is keeping, you can simply say:
Cad é mar atá Deirdre? How is Deirdre?
Cad é mar atá na páistí? How are the children?
Replies to this could be:
Tá sí go maith She’s well
Níl sí go holc She’s not bad
Tá siad go breá They are fine
Tá siad tinn They are sick
There are also some additional ways of asking how someone is:
Cén dóigh (atá ort)? How’s things (with you)? (Lit. what state/condition is on you?)
Cad é mar atá an saol agat? How’s life treating you? (Lit. how’s life with/at you?)
Bhuel, aon scéal (agat)? Well, any craic / news?
An bhfuil a dhath ag dul? Anything happening? (lit. Is there anything going?) Ulster
Cad é mar atá cúrsaí leat? How are things with you? (Ulster)
Cén chaoi a bhfuil cúrsaí leat? How are things with you? (Connacht)
Conas atá cúrsaí leat? How are things with you?
Cad é mar atá gach rud sa bhaile? How’s everything at home? (‘achan rud’ in Ulster)