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For a definition of preposition see the page Demonstratives (definition)

Demonstratives in Gaelic can occur in Pronomial, Adjectival, and Adverbial forms. An interesting feature of Demonstratives in Gaelic, is that they can be used to indicate spatial as well as temporal distance. Furthermore, they can occur in both a transitive and intransitive forms, and can take a tense particle.


Pronoun Adj ADVmovement ADVlocation English
Proximate seo seo an-seo an-sheo this
Distal sin sin an-sin an-shin that
Far Distal siud ud an-siud an-shiud yonder

Spatial and Temporal Distance

Scottish Gaelic marks demonstratives in reference to distance from the speaker in three degrees:

(i) proximate - 'here'
(ii) distal - 'there'
(iii) far distal - 'yonder'

Demonstratives can be used to indicate distance in an abstract, temporal manner. When the 2nd degree 'sin' is used in reference to come temporal concept ("an latha sin" 'that day') it is meant to indicate that there is some day in the future that is being discussed, and that the day is specific. Whereas if the speaker uses the 3rd degree 'ud' in reference to a day in the future ("an latha ud" 'some day (in the future)') it is meant that the day is hypothetical.

Furthermore, the Far Distal demonstrative adjective (ud) is used to describe a noun which refers to an entity which is out of sight for both the speaker and the listener.

The 2nd degree demonstrative adjective (sin), on the other hand, marks the noun in question as being something far away but within sight.

Demonstrative Adverbs of Movement and Location

Demonstrative Adverbs contrast between movement and Location

Movement - an-sin - 'We went there'

Location - an-shin - 'We were there'


Demonstratives in Gaelic, just like those found in other languages, can be used in two different ways: transitively or intransitively. Intransitive demonstratives are used on their own without any other elements such as in example (1). Transitive demonstratives, on the other hand, are always collocated with a noun as demonstrated in example (2).

1) this is mine

2) this book is mine

Transitive demonstratives in Gaelic are created by combining an article, a noun, and a demonstrative particle, in that order. There are three demonstrative particles: seo proximate (this), sin distal (that), siud or 'ud or siud far distal (yonder).


an seo
the dog this
'this dog'


an sin
the dog that
'that dog'


an 'ud/siud
the dog yonder
'yonder dog'

If the noun is modified by an adjective, the adjective comes before the demonstrative particle:


an mòr seo
the dog big this
'this big dog'

Intransitive demonstratives in Gaelic do not need any other elements such as an article and a noun.


Thoir dhomh seo
give this
'Give me this'


Thoir dhomh sin
give that
'Give me that'


The pairing of tense and demonstratives results in the function which introduces referents which play a role in the following discourse. (Lamb)


Demonstrative Pronouns - distribute like common nouns, but unlike pronouns they do not combine with prepositions
Demonstrative Adjectives - distribute like other adjectives such that they follow the noun they modify
Demonstrative Adverbs - distribute like adverbs (?)


  • Lamb, William (2003) Scottish Gaelic. 2nd edition. Munich: Lingcom Europa