Beir (irregular verb)

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The irregular verb beir means "to catch" or "give birth". Beir is one of 11 irregular verbs in Gaelic.


  • can mean "bear"
  • Can mean give birth to
  • Rug + air "catch"/catch up

The verb beir is easily confused with the future and conditional independent forms of the verb thoir (i.e. bheir e He will take). They look similar, so watch out for these easily confused forms.

Summary of forms

  • Independent forms of the verb beir are used without any particles.
  • Dependent forms of the verb heir are used after an, nach, gun and other verbal particles (except cha).
  • Cha takes dependent forms but lenites the verb.

context independent After Cha Dependent
basic forms active past1 rug do rug
Future beiridh bheir beir
Relative Future1 --- bheireas1
impersonal1 past rugadh do rugadh
future beirear bheirear beirear
relative future --- bheirear
Conditional Mood active bheireadh1 (bheirinn2 in 1st singular) beireadh1 (beirinn2 in 1st sing)
impersonal bheirte beirte
Imperative Mood 2nd person singular beir2 ---
plural beiribh2
verbal noun beirsinn or breith


  • 1 with the past tense, relative future and impersonal forms of this verb, the pronoun tu is used instead of thu
  • 2 these forms are not used with any subject, they contain the subject in the inflection of the verb (Pro-Drop)

Non Conditional Moods (indicative, interrogative, negative)

Active Voice

Past tense

Declarative Question Negative Negative Question embedded
1 rug mi an do rug mi cha do rug mi nach do rug mi gun do rug mi
2 rug thu an do rug thu cha do rug thu nach do rug thu gun do rug thu
3 masc rug e an do rug e cha do rug e nach do rug e gun do rug e
3 fem rug i an do rug i cha do rug i nach do rug i gun do rug i
1 pl rug sinn an do rug sinn cha do rug sinn nach do rug sinn gun do rug sinn
2 pl rug sibh an do rug sibh cha do rug sibh nach do rug sibh gun do rug sibh
3 pl rug iad an do rug iad cha do rug iad nach do rug iad gun do rug iAd

Present tense

As is common in Gaelic, there is no present tense form of the verb. When a simple present meaning ("I catch something") or a progressive meaning (I am catching something is intended, the periphrastic construction is used with the present tense of the verb bi (be), i.e., tha, along with the verbal noun.

Tha mi a' breith ...
be.pres 1s prog
I'm catching/I catching ...

Future tense

The future tense in Gaelic is used to express the idea that an event will happen sometime after the speech time. Unlike English, the future tense can also be used with a present tense meaning, to express the idea that an action is habitual.

Declarative Question Negative Negative Question Relative Future1
1 beiridh mi am beir mi cha bheir mi nach beir mi a bheireas mi
2 beiridh tu2 am bheir thu cha bheir thu nach beir thu a bheireas tu2
3 masc beiridh e am beir e cha bheir e nach beir e a bheireas e
3 fem beiridh i am beir i cha bheir i nach beir i a bheireas i
1 pl beiridh sinn am beir sinn cha bheir sinn nach beir sinn a bheireas sinn
2 pl beiridh sibh am beir sibh cha bheir sibh nach beir sibh a bheireas sibh
3 pl beiridh iad am beir iad cha bheir iad nach beir iad a bheireas iad


  1. the relative future is used after certain particles such as ma or the particle used with questions a.
  2. Note that in the relative future the pronoun tu is used in lieu of thu.

Impersonal/Passive Voice

Gaelic verbs don't technically have a Passive verb form. Instead the passive is typically represented through a periphrastic construction using the verbs Rach or Tha + the passive marker air. It does, however, have an impersonal form. The Impersonal is used to indicate an indeterminate subject. Rugadh can be best translated as "someone caught". Use of a pronoun is completely optional. So "rugadh" is a completely well-formed sentence. When used with a pronoun, the pronoun represents the logical object of the verb. So "rugadh mi" means "I was born" or "someone birthed me"

Since Gaelic doesn't distinguish between subject and object pronouns (unlike it's sibling Modern Irish), it is very difficult to determine if these pronouns are subjects or objects. We list them here as if they were subjects, with the understanding that the pronouns in the following tables represent the logical objects of the verb (the person who was caught or born, not the catcher or the parent).

Past tense

Declarative Question Negative Negative Question
1 rugadh mi an do rugadh mi cha do rugadh mi nach do rugadh mi
2 rugadh tu1 an do rugadh tu cha do rugadh tu nach do rugadh tu
3 masc rugadh e an do rugadh e cha do rugadh e nach do rugadh e
3 fem rugadh i an do rugadh i cha do rugadh i nach do rugadh i
1 pl rugadh sinn an do rugadh sinn cha do rugadh sinn nach do rugadh sinn
2 pl rugadh sibh an do rugadh sibh cha do rugadh sibh nach do rugadh sibh
3 pl rugadh iad an do rugadh iad cha do rugadh iad nach do rugadh iad


  1. The pronoun tu is used here instead of thu

Present tense

The use of a passive in the present tense is odd, even in English, so we'll skip it here.

Future tense

Recall that the pronouns here are the notional objects, so "beirear mi" means "I was born"

Declarative Question Negative Negative Question Relative Future1
1 beirear mi am beirear mi cha bheirear mi nach beirear mi a bheirear mi
2 beirear thu am beirear thu cha bheirear thu nach beirear thu a bheirear thu
3 masc beirear e am beirear e cha bheirear e nach beirear e a bheirear e
3 fem beirear i am beirear i cha bheirear i nach beirear i a bheirear i
1 pl beirear sinn am beirear sinn cha bheirear sinn nach beirear sinn a bheirear sinn
2 beirear sibh am beirear sibh cha bheirear sibh nach beirear sibh a bheirear sibh
3 pl beirear iad am beirear iad cha bheirear iad nach beirear iad a bheirear iad


  1. the relative future is used after certain particles such as a the particle used with questions, or ma "if".

Conditional Mood


Declarative Question Negative Negative Question
1 bheirinn1 am beirinn cha bheirinn nach beirinn
2 bheireadh tu2 am beireadh tu cha bheireadh tu nach beireadh tu
3 masc bheireadh e am beireadh e cha bheireadh e nach beireadh e
3 fem bheireadh i am beireadh i cha bheireadh i nach beireadh i
1 pl bheireadh sinn (bheareamaid3) am beireadh sinn (am beireamaid3) cha bheireadh sinn (cha bheireamaid3) nach beirinn sinn (nach beireamaid3)
2 pl bheireadh sibh am beireadh sibh cha bheireadh sibh nach beireadh sibh
3 pl bheireadh iad am beireadh iad cha bheireadh iad nach beireadh iad


  1. The 1st person singular form is never used with an overt pronoun, the verb contains the pronoun already.
  2. The pronoun tu is used here instead of thu
  3. The 1st person plural has a special inflected form, which like the first person singular is never used with a pronoun. This 1st person plural form is rarely used anymore.


Recall that the pronouns here are notional objects so bheirte mi means "I would be born".

Declarative Question Negative Negative Question
1 bheirte mi am beirte mi cha bheirte mi nach beirte mi
2 bheirte thu am beirte thu cha bheirte thu nach beirte thu
3 masc bheirte e am beirte e cha bheirte e nach beirte e
3 fem bheirte i am beirte i cha bheirte i nach beirte i
1 pl bheirte sinn am beirte sinn cha bheirte sinn nach beirte sinn
2 pl bheirte sibh am beirte sibh cha bheirte sibh nach beirte sibh
3 pl bheirte iad am beirte iad cha bheirte iad nach beirte iad

Imperative Mood

The Imperative mood is used when giving a command. 2nd person imperatives are the most common. In English these are translated with by just the verb "Catch!".

  • Beir (singular)
  • beiribh (plural)


  • Black, Ronald (2006) Cothrom Ionnsachaidh Peebles: Self-published.
  • Byrne, Michel (2002) Gràmar na Gàidhlig. Eilean Leòdhais: Stòrlann-Acair.
  • Deiseal Earranta tta (2006) Reference Cards: Sealbhairean Roimhearach/Riochdairean Roimhearach.
  • Mark, Colin (2004) The Gaelic-English Dictionary/Am faclair Gàidhlig-Beurla. London: Routledge
  • Mark, Colin (2006), Gaelic Verbs: Systemised and Simplified" 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Steve Savage Publishers.
  • Lamb, William (2003) Scottish Gaelic. 2nd edition. Munich: Lingcom Europa