Dèan (irregular verb)

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The irregular verb dèan means "to do" or "to make". Dèan is one of 11 irregular verbs in Gaelic.

Summary of forms

  • Independent forms of the verb dèan are used without any particles.
  • Dependent forms of the verb dèan are used after an, nach, gun and other particles
context independent Dependent
basic forms active past1 rinn d'rinn or do rinn
Future dèan
Relative Future1 ---
impersonal1 past rinneadh do rinneadh
future nithear dèanar
relative future --- nithear
Conditional Mood active dhèanadh1
(dhèanainn2 in 1st sing)
(dhèanamaid2,3 in 1 pl)
(dèanainn2 in 1st sing)
(dèanamaid2,3 in 1 pl)
impersonal dhèante dèante
Imperative Mood 1st person singular dèanam2 ---
plural dèanamaid2
2nd person singular dèan2
plural dèanaibh2
3rd person dèanadh
verbal noun dèanamh


  • 1 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)
  • 3 rare and archaic.

Non Conditional Moods (indicative, interrogative, negative)

Active Voice

Past tense

Declarative Question Negative Negative Question embedded
1 rinn mi an d'rinn mi cha d'rinn mi nach d'rinn mi gun d'rinn mi
2 rinn thu an d'rinn thu cha d'rinn thu nach d'rinn thu gun d'rinn thu
3 masc rinn e an d'rinn e cha d'rinn e nach d'rinn e gun d'rinn e
3 fem rinn i an d'rinn i cha d'rinn i nach d'rinn i gun d'rinn i
1 pl rinn sinn an d'rinn sinn cha d'rinn sinn nach d'rinn sinn gun d'rinn sinn
2 pl rinn sibh an d'rinn sibh cha d'rinn sibh nach d'rinn sibh gun d'rinn sibh
3 pl rinn iad an d'rinn iad cha d'rinn iad nach d'rinn iad gun d'rinn iad

Present tense

As is common in Gaelic, there is no present tense form of the verb. When a simple present meaning ("I do something") or a progressive meaning (I am doing 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' dèanamh
be.pres 1s prog do.vn
I'm doing/I do

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 nì mi an cluinn mi cha chluinn mi nach cluinn mi a nì mi
2 nì thu an dèan thu cha dèan thu nach dèan thu a nì thu
3 masc nì e an dèan e cha dèan e nach dèan e a nì e
3 fem nì i an dèan i cha dèan i nach dèan i a nì i
1 pl nì sinn an dèan sinn cha dèan sinn nach dèan sinn a nì sinn
2 pl nì sibh an dèan sibh cha dèan sibh nach dèan sibh a nì sibh
3 pl nì iad an cluidèannn iad cha dèan iad nach dèan iad a nì 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 and declarative 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. Chualas can be best translated as "someone heard". Use of a pronoun is completely optional. So "Chualas" is a completely well-formed sentence. When used with a pronoun, the pronoun represents the logical object of the verb. So "chualas mi" means "Someone heard me". This is often translated as "I was heard", hence the typical "passive" label.

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 heard, not the hearer).

Past tense

Declarative Question Negative Negative Question
1 rinneadh mi an do rinneadh mi cha do rinneadh mi nach do rinneadh mi
2 rinneadh tu1 an do rinneadh tu cha do rinneadh tu nach do rinneadh tu
3 masc rinneadh e an do rinneadh e cha do rinneadh e nach do rinneadh e
3 fem rinneadh i an do rinneadh i cha do rinneadh i nach do rinneadh i
1 pl rinneadh sinn an do rinneadh sinn cha do rinneadh sinn nach do rinneadh sinn
2 pl rinneadh sibh an do rinneadh sibh cha do rinneadh sibh nach do rinneadh sibh
3 pl rinneadh iad an do rinneadh iad cha do rinneadh iad nach do rinneadh 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. We leave this blank here

Future tense

Declarative Question Negative Negative Question Relative Future1
1 nithear mi an dèanar mi cha dèanar mi nach dèanar mi a nithear mi
2 nithear thu an dèanar thu cha dèanar thu nach dèanar thu a nithear thu
3 masc nithear e an dèanar e cha dèanar e nach dèanar e a nithear e
3 fem nithear i an dèanar i cha dèanar i nach dèanar i a nithear i
1 pl nithear sinn an dèanar sinn cha dèanar sinn nach dèanar sinn a nithear sinn
2 nithear sibh an dèanar sibh cha dèanar sibh nach dèanar sibh a nithear sibh
3 pl nithear iad an dèanar iad cha dèanar iad nach dèanar iad a nithear 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 dhèanainn1 an dèanainn cha dèanainn nach dèanainn
2 dhèanadh tu2 an dèanadh tu cha dèanadh tu nach dèanadh tu
3 masc dhèanadh e an dèanadh e cha dèanadh e nach dèanadh e
3 fem dhèanadh i an dèanadh i cha dèanadh i nach dèanadh i
1 pl dhèanadh sinn (dhèaneamaid3) an dèanadh sinn (an dèaneamaid3) cha dèanadh sinn (cha dèaneamaid3) nach dèanadh sinn (nach dèaneamaid3)
2 pl dhèanadh sibh an dèanadh sibh cha dèanadh sibh nach dèanadh sibh
3 pl dhèanadh iad an dèanadh iad cha dèanadh iad nach dèanadh 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.


Declarative Question Negative Negative Question
1 dhèante mi an dèante mi cha dèante mi nach dèante mi
2 dhèante thu an dèante thu cha dèante thu nach dèante thu
3 masc dhèante e an dèante e cha dèante e nach dèante e
3 fem dhèante i an dèante i cha dèante i nach dèante i
1 pl dhèante sinn an dèante sinn cha dèante sinn nach dèante sinn
2 pl dhèante sibh an dèante sibh cha dèante sibh nach dèante sibh
3 pl dhèante iad an dèante iad cha dèante iad nach dèante 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 "Do!". 1st and 3rd person imperatives translated loosely as "Let me do", "let us do", "let he/she/them do". The 1st person plural and third person imperatives are the same as the conditional forms except without lenition

person form
singular 1 dèanam1
2 dèan1
3 masc dèanadh e
3 fem dèanadh i
plural 1 dèanamaid1
2 dèanaibh1
3 dèanadh iad


  1. The 1st and 2nd person forms are used without subject pronouns.


  • 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. http://www.savagepublishers.com/138.html
  • Lamb, William (2003) Scottish Gaelic. 2nd edition. Munich: Lingcom Europa