Caeth vs Oedd for has/was

Hi, doing SSIW and Duo Lingo. SSIW has got me comfortable with oedd in the past tense for was etc. But recently my Duo lingo lessons has been using caeth and cafodd for was. I understand caeth for has. But it seems to be using it for ‘has been’ and ‘was’.

For example:
The parsnips were arrested =
Caeth y pannas eu harestio

From my oedd practice. I would assume this to be:
Oedd y pannas yn harestio, or something to that effect.

What is the rule when to use less vs caeth etc? Or am I missing something entirely.


1 Like

Yes, what you have here is the passive voice… the parsnips were arrested. The way Welsh does it is kind of like saying “The parsnips were getting their arresting” → Caeth y pannas eu harestio (some people use cafodd instead, both forms are valid).


As Hendrik said, “The parsnips were arrested” is passive. “Oedd y pannas yn harestio,” means the parsnips were arresting… So that’s not a complete sentence and needs an object. For example, “Oedd y pannas yn harestio’r afalau.” (The parsnips were arresting the apples.)


That’s a very good example of the sort of sentences you get in Duolingo… bless them…