FaclairDictionary EnglishGàidhlig


The best way to go about comparing two things in Gaelic is by using the aptly named comparatives. These would be words like “better/worse,” “bigger/smaller,” etc., in English. Gaelic comparatives are fairly simple, however there are some exceptions! Watch the video below for some helpful tips for using comparatives in Gaelic.

The general rule for forming a comparative out of an adjective is that nas is used before the adjective, the last vowel is slenderised, and “e” is added to the end:

òg → nas òige

young → younger

laghach → nas laghaiche

nice → nicer

eireachdail → nas eireachdaile

handsome → more handsome

There are several common adjectives that are exceptions to this rule.

Math agus donagood and bad

The opposites, math (good) and dona (bad), are two exceptions to the general comparatives rule. Let’s start with math:

math → nas fhèarr

good → better

Tha càise nan gobhar math, ach tha gruth nas fhèarr.

The goat cheese is good, but crowdie is better.

And dona:

dona → nas miosa

bad → worse

Tha sùgh milis dona dha na fiaclan agad, ach tha làn spàin de shiùcar nas miosa.

Sweet juice is bad for your teeth, but a full spoon of sugar is worse.

Mòr agus beagbig and small

Another exception can be found in mòr (big) and beag (small):

mòr → nas motha

big → bigger

Tha am bonnach mòr, ach tha a’ chèic nas motha.

The bannock is big, but the cake is bigger.

beag → nas lugha

small → smaller

Tha sùbh-làir beag, ach tha sirist nas lugha.

A strawberry is small, but a cherry is smaller.

Fada agus goiridlong and short

Fada (long) and goirid (short) are also exceptions:

fada → nas fhaide

long → longer

Tha curran fada, ach tha spaigeataidh nas fhaide.

A carrot is long, but spaghetti is longer.

goirid → nas giorra

short → shorter

Tha forc-chèic goirid, ach tha spàin-tì nas giorra.

A cake fork is short, but a teaspoon is shorter.

Furasta agus doirbheasy and difficult

Finally, furasta (easy) and doirbh (difficult) are exceptions as well:

furasta → nas fhasa

easy → easier

Ma tha thu math air còcaireachd tha e furasta feòil a bhruich, ach tha brot nas fhasa.

If you are good at cooking it is easy to cook meat, but broth is easier.

doirbh → nas duilghe

difficult → more difficult

Tha e doirbh marag dhubh a bhruich, ach tha marag gheal nas duilge.

It is difficult to cook black pudding, but white pudding is more difficult.