Difference between don i, nes i and dw i wedi

I can’t work out when it is appropriate to use don i, nes i and dw i wedi and tend to error in their use when talking about the past.

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on i - I was doing
nes i - I did
dw i wedi - I have
on i wedi - I had

(Edited for clarity, because I wasn’t thinking of the negatives.)


Just to clarify that “do’n i” (“do’n i ddim” = “I wasn’t”) is the negative so it should be “o’n i” to mean “I was”. Usually followed by “yn” as per the usual “bod” (to be) structures and rules.


I posted this in another conversation. Thought it might help :slight_smile:

Oedd- o’n i’n and do’n i ddim- comparable to “I was and i wasn’t”
Gwneud - wnes i and wnes i ddim - I did and I didn’t.

The examples Sion gave are where Welsh and English differ. Know and want are more on going. So: do’n i ddim gwybod - I wasn’t knowing (I didn’t know).
O’n i’n gwylio - I was watching
Wnes i wylio - I did watch (I watched).

Welsh also has a way of just using the verb on its own - gwyliais i - I watched. (This is called “short form”)
You do not need to remember this. You can speak Welsh without using it. You could just say “wnes i ddim gwylio” and be perfectly understood. So don’t worry about it :slight_smile:

As you go on, you’ll pick up the short forms more often.

If you wanted to say: I watched the football, but say “I was watching the football” - you’d be understood. So please don’t worry. It seems daunting because you feel you have to learn more but when you have it it gives you more freedom. You can say it in many ways :slight_smile:


You’ve had a good set of answers in here - let me just add that generally not worrying about it will be a good solution - eventually, usage and exposure will give you a more natural set of patterns about which you use when… :slight_smile:


Diolch yn fawr iawn i pawb.

Very useful advice here.

Unfortunately, I’m not likely to get a lot of exposure as I live in Ireland though I do have access to S4C at least :D.

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Meant to say thank-you also for saying not to worry about it. I was getting frustrated at mixing them up but it makes sense that you would be understood. If someone said to me “I was going” instead of “I went” or vice versa I would know what they meant.


That’s a key moment of recognition right there - we allow English learners all sorts of wriggle room without considering for a moment that it means they ‘don’t speak English’ - but we’re always incredibly reluctant to allow ourselves the same room in a target language… :slight_smile:


Thanks for this! Is there anywhere that I could find the Yes/No forms for different tenses?

Try this…welshgrammar_ff_replies.pdf (47.8 KB)

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In addition to that grammar link, the general rule of thumb is to repeat the verb. When I was doing Welsh lessons (Mynediad) they gave us a booklet containing (once I’d finally finished counting!) over 50 words for yes/over 100 words for yes&no. That’s a fair number to memorise :stuck_out_tongue: so if you can get down what’s going on with yes&no, it’ll make your life a lot easier than the rote-memorisation.


Thanks again all. Very useful stuff here.


I work along the lines of ‘imagine you’re playing the Gong Game’ (the one where they chuck questions at you and you’re not allowed to use ‘yes’ or ‘no’ - I think most of the tactics people tend to use for that would work in Welsh). And a big sigh of relief when things go into the past tense and you can use ‘do’ and ‘naddo’ :slight_smile:


Diolch! A Blwyddwyn Newydd Dda.

You are surely not old enough to remember the “Yes No interlude” are you Sara? I’ll bet you heard about it from your grandparents.

Anyway, for those who never saw it (or heard it … I used to listen to the radio version on Radio Luxembourg), prepare to be amazed, or at least amused (and I actually laughed out loud, even though I knew exactly what to expect (we were obviously all a lot less sophisticated back then … :slight_smile: ))

I remember Des O’Connor brought back the show “Take Your Pick” in the mid-late 90’s where this feature still played part of the show.
Although, I really don’t remember the original versions since I was born in the late 70’s.
…but I have heard of them, and seen clips from the show like! :slight_smile: