Confused about iddo fo/iddi hi

After Bootcamp I realised I had a lot more work to do on Lessons 17 - 25, Course 2. I had done these lessons countless times, but thought one more run through might help. However, I am still getting all sorts of stuff wrong.

I have used the 80% rule but I think I may have been a bit liberal in using it… and have missed one or two important points.

The main issue is the use of ‘iddo fo/iddi hi’.

Sometimes in the middle of a sentence I want to use ‘mae o’ or ‘mae hi’ but Aran and Catrin actually use ‘iddo fo/iddi’ hi or vice versa.

Also, I sometimes I hear in a sentence ‘that he’ so I automatically go for ‘fod o’ only to find that the correct pattern is ‘iddo fo’.

Please could someone give me a bit of a hand here? I am clearly missing something important but have listened so often to the lessons that I am becoming a bit ‘deaf’ to them. What are the rules?

Many Thanks

Andy :slight_smile:

I would say that as long as you are aware of what’s going on (sometimes you get it wrong, but you know what you’ve done as soon as you hear the correct version) then you’re pretty much there. The only way from here that you’re going to become more comfortable with the patterns is by moving on and using your Welsh in both the listening and speaking (mistakes and all) senses. It’s this that will eventually really cement the pattern in your head.

If you can help it, it’s worth steering clear of ‘rules’. Nothing stops a conversation dead in its tracks as effectively as someone having to do a mental lookup of grammar three or four times a sentence. Much better, as you probably found at bootcamp, just to plough on, have fun, and communicate.

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I know about ignoring grammar but also - well, I’d like to know the grammatical answer myself! I think - and I could be completely wrong here - you’d use the “iddo fe” and “iddi hi” stuff if the thing you’re about to say after it is in the past, e.g.

“Mae’n amlwg IDDO FE gwpla y gwaith” - “It’s obvious that he finished the work”

I got that example from my bbc grammar book, suitably De-ified, I hope :slight_smile:

does that sound right?

I agree that it is worth steering clear of rules because like you say Rob, “Nothing stops a conversation dead in its tracks as effectively as someone having to do a mental lookup…”

I did wonder the same as you Amy, in your example I would often use ‘fod o’ instead of ‘iddo fo’ and did wonder if the use of ‘iddo fo’ implied he had done it.

I suppose this is just one of those areas where the Welsh doesn’t map directly over to the English. I mean, if you want to say “I bought you something”, it’d be “Dw i wedi prynu rhwybeth i ti”; even though you’d normally use “i” for “to”. It’s all right though; a bit more practice, and you’ll forget you ever had trouble with it - it’ll just be “what sounds right”.

"even though you’d normally use “i” for “to”.

I hadn’t thought of that, I guess that kind of proves the point about not worrying about it but it is frustrating to keep getting it wrong…

Edited because I forgot to say Thank you!


I agree with Chris - this doesn’t seem to map directly. And I don’t think it is really to do with tenses. I use iddi hi/iddo fo only where I would otherwise put “i ti, i chi, or i ni” etc.

So, “it is obvious to you…” would be "Mae’n amlwg i ti…
I think Amy’s sentence is one of those where is could be said in a number of ways, either using ‘fod’ or not - the that is sort of implied in there. I think I would have gone for "Mae’n amlwg (ei) fod o’n gorffen y gwaith (Northern). Or I might put a ‘wedi’ in there, to emphasise that he has finished the job, rather than is finishing the job - if it’s not clear from the context.

There, I’ve confused myself - just shows what thinking about rules does for you!

If you want a more grammatical way of looking at it, Gareth King, Modern Welsh - A Comprehensive Grammar, section 460, page 281, (1993 edition) is reasonably helpful, although it starts to go into nitty gritty detail that not everyone might want to bother with.

“iddo” is one of the inflected forms of the preposition “i”, which changes according to the pronoun which follows it, e.g.

i fi (or i mi)
i ti
iddo fo (fe in S),
iddi hi


inni, i ni
i chi
iddyn nhw

He lists about 7 different uses / meanings, with examples.

Relevant here might be:

(f) after conjunctions (usually of time) to introduce the subject:
…cyn i mi fynd - before I go/went
…er mwyn iddo deall …so that he can/could understand
[fo/fe must be understood/implied here, presumably]

(g) that in past tense sentences + subject + VN
dw i’n eitha siwr iddi ffonio rywbryd ddoe
I’m pretty sure (that) she phoned some time yesterday
[“she” must be understood/implied here also)

Another example is given in section 491, but with a noun subject, not a pronoun:

(i + subject + VN): Dw i’n gwbod i’r trên fynd ddwy awr yn ôl
I know (that) the train went 2 hours ago.

(This is given as a less common alternative to a construction using “bod” and “wedi mynd”).

The latter is part of his chapter on complex sentences, which unfortunately starts getting into rather tiresome detail.

Thanks again, it is beginning to make a bit more sense. The beauty of this forum is that just by talking about things you find that the ‘light goes on’. I am going to go through the particular lesson that is confusing me again and see what comes out…

Diolch yn fawr iawn pawb!

It’s helped me too. Thanks!
(Currently on lesson 24, Course 2 - taking the scenic route to learning Welsh).

‘taking the scenic route’ … Me too!!! :slight_smile:

If I remember rightly, I think by this stage of the course several alternative constructions have been presented and, particularly in these lessons, it’s not always at all obvious which one to go for. I think they throw in some “iddo fe”-type constructions that were introduced earlier in course 2, just to remind you that you don’t always have to use bod - after spending so much time ramming it into you!

The mantra, as always, is “don’t worry”! I think I gave up on trying to second-guess exactly what was wanted after a while and just tried to notice the different ways of saying it.

To confuse the picture even more, there is also “wrth”, as in

wrtha i (or wrtha fi)
wrthat ti
wrtho fo/fe
wrthi hi

Section 470 in GT’s A Comprehensive Grammar covers it, but the usage I think we meet most in courses 1 & 2 is to mean to after dweud, i.e. say to, or tell (to) someone.

(there is also our friend “(dw i) wrth 'y modd” - “(I am) delighted”

It seems to have other usages, but, it doesn’t seem as though “wrth” has any “that”-type meaning.

Yikes… Forgot about wrth… Think I will keep that nicely forgotten at the moment and try and just recognise the different patterns as they turn up. Thanks again pawb.

When I first came across this construction, I found it helpful to think of it as equivalent to the English “for X to Y” construction, e.g. “It’d be good idea for me to learn this” - byddai’n syniad da i mi ddysgu hyn.

It’s also commonly used when talking about wanting someone to do something: “I want you to do it” - dw i isio i ti wneud o. The pattern still holds here - you could say it in English as “I want for you to do it”, and it’d still make sense (though it might sound a bit odd).

However, the usual caveat applies about not looking for too much rhyme and reason when comparing languages. As always, structures in Welsh and English don’t necessarily map perfectly onto one another - Amy’s example of mae’n amlwg iddo fe gwpla’r gwaith is a good example of that :slight_smile: But as always, the best advice is to just get a feel for it over time.

What Ifan said.

Just to be sure, I pulled out the heavy grammatical artillery, “The Syntax Of Welsh”, Cambridge, 2007.

Section 3.4.1 Finite i-clauses, talks about the use of an i-clause to indicate the past, as you mentioned, Amy. For present and future, you would use “bod”, not “i”. So you could say “mae’n amlwg iddo fe gwpla’r gwaith ac mae’n amlwg y bydd e’n cwpla ei waith yfory hefyd”

Section 3.4.2 Non-finite i-clauses, talks about the uses of i-clauses in the present/future, with verbs of ‘expectation and volition’, like your example Ifan, with “isio”, and also licio, disgwyl, mynnu, ofni, etc. - but not all verbs in that category, as Section 3.5 Control predicates, explains.

That will learn you to want to know grammar!

That will learn you to want to know grammar!

A little goes a long way, I find. :smile:

I like the idea of “for X to Y” thanks really is helpful, and yes… it will definitely learn me to ask questions!!!

Andy - if “iddo fe / iddi hi” is the biggest stumbling block to your learning, then you really don’t need to do the lesson again now. Move on, keep getting them wrong / mixed up / completely missed out, and you will come accross them in so many different situations over the coming lessons that you will get used to getting them wrong and not worrying about them.

Then go back to the lesson and try a run through, and see how much more often you get them right, just through force of habit.

Of course, if you want to know why, by all means look it up - you may find it helpful, you may not - but remember that formal grammar is at the hobby end of learning a new language, and just as when you are speaking English, the rules are only there for you to feel more important than the other person for getting the language “right”. When you’re writing, then yes, get to know the rules, but in speech, anything goes, and you will be far off with a much wider range of course 3 Welsh, used badly, than with a perfect grasp of course 2 Welsh.

As a bootcamper, you will recognise that I have just ever-so-gently slapped your wrist…!

Yup, your right Iestyn, slapped wrist taken on board…:slight_smile: I should know better!!! I will start the grammar units and revisit when I have finished them.