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Going somewhere? 'Go' or 'go dtí'?

easy grammar tips

If you want to say in Irish that you are going to a particular place should you use ‘go’ or ‘go dtí’ to mean to?

The simple answer is that if you are going somewhere with another word before it, for example ‘the’ or ‘my / your etc.’ , or ‘every’ (e.g. ‘the shop’, ‘the office’, ‘the bank’, ‘his house’, ‘your office’) then use ‘go dtí’. If the place you are going doesn’t have another word before it then use ‘go’ (e.g. Dublin, London, Cork).


Seo cúpla sampla:

Here are a couple of examples:


Chuaigh sé go Páras inné

He went to Paris yesterday

Tá mé ag dul go Gaillimh anois

I am going to Galway now

An bhfuil tú ag dul go dtí an siopa anois?

Are you going to the shop now?

An ndeachaigh sé go dtí do theach inné?

Did he go to your house yesterday?

Bíonn sé ag dul ó áit go háit

He moves around a lot (lit. He does be going from place to place)

Tá Mary ag dul go hAlban

Mary is going to Scotland

(Aside: notice that if the word after ‘go’ begins with a vowel then the letter ‘h’ comes at the start of the word. This is just to aid pronunciation. It is easier to say ‘go háit’ than ‘go áit’. e.g Chuaigh sé go hÁth Luain inné (he went to Athlone yesterday)).


Countries / na tíortha

Notice the difference in the way countries are named in Irish and English.

In Irish we put the word ‘the’ before many of the countries. Consider it part of the name. In English we would say ‘I am going to France next summer’, whereas in Irish what we actually say is ‘I am going to the France next summer’! This means that very often we must use ‘go dtí’ when we are talking of going to a particular country.

Not all countries have ‘the’ before them. Féach ar an liosta thíos / Look at the list below

France              An Fhrainc

Italy                  An Iodáil

Germany         An Ghearmáin

England           Sasana

Ireland             Éire

Canada            Ceanada

Belgium           An Bheilg

Spain               An Spáinn


How would you say the following sentences in Irish:

(The answers are below the picture - no peeking!)


1. He went to France last year and to England the year before that.

2. I will go to Belgium in July and to Canada in August

3. I go to Italy every summer.



1.Chuaigh sé go dtí an Fhrainc an bhliain seo caite agus go Sasana an bhliain roimhe sin

2. Rachaidh mé go dtí an Bheilg i mí Iúil agus go Ceanada i mí Lúnasa

3. Téim go dtí an Iodáil gach samhradh.

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