Hiya! I am on lesson 13 of course 1, and no matter how much progress I make, I am still having trouble remembering when to use which forms of yes and no. Oes and Nag oes is easier for me, because it is part of the question, but otherwise, I tend to mix things up! Does anyone have any helpful tips for remembering? (And please forgive me if this question is answered elsewhere!) Diolch!

It’s fairly common. I’ve sat in classes where loads of people are getting confused over the various tenses. It’s just a case of repeating and repeating until it sticks in your head. The best thing is not to just leave it to lesson time. Try running things over in your head whenever you have a spare moment and eventually it will stick.

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“Do” and “Naddo” aren’t too bad as you just use them with anything in the past. For the other forms, one of the best tips I’ve come across is not to think of it as Yes or No at all. Just think whether you want to answer, “I am” “We are” “He isn’t” “They don’t” etc and that becomes your answer, but it does tend to need a lot of practice to become natural. I’ve mentioned in another thread somewhere that I tend to practise by sticking the correct form on the beginning of statements when I’m going through a lesson by pretending I’m answering a question. For example if the English is “I saw the young cat last night” I imagine I’m answering the question “Did you see the young cat last night?” and I come out with the Welsh for “Yes, I saw the young cat last night”. You don’t hear it in the response that comes back, but I still find it helps to practise saying them.


Diolch! Both excellent tips! I will try. I’m glad to know that it’s a common issue, and not just me!

Keep tips for this subject coming, because they are very welcome - the yesses and noes come across as a major difference between Welsh and English, which means that they can cause a lot of confusion, and loss of confidence (or excuse to not use your Welsh this time… Come on, we’ve all done it!). So by all means, practice, and try to get the things to flow naturally in your learning time.

BUT (and it’s a big but!), in real life, go large. You are going to make plenty of mistake, so make them confident mistakes, and move on. You will never be misunderstood in using the “wrong” yes or no - as long as you use a no for no and a yes for yes! - so please don’t check and double check during conversation. Using ydy when it “should” be oes, or naddo when it should be na fydd may cause a second’s hesitation on the part of your conversation partner, but that is the sum effect of what may seem to you to be a massive gaffe. And if you can move on confidently ignoring (and literally not caring about) any mistakes, you will very quickly find that people relax in your company and you have a whole lot more Welsh conversations.


Just think of yes and no in English. Welsh is very simple by comparison. How many times when we use yes or no do we really mean, I do, I do not, I will, I will not, I can (am able to) I cannot (not able to), i would, I would not etc. Just use the verb construction in Welsh as the yes or no. Remember there is a different verb form for I, you (singular) he/she/it, we, you (plural), they. It eventually makes sense but mistakes are so easy, but don’t worry, I still make them all the time… Do and naddo and oes and nag oes are the easiest to learn as has already been said.

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what throws me a lot is not understanding when to use na and ie…

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Same here though I know that if some one asks me: Wyt tin mynd i Gillingham yfory, Dinas? I would reply - Ydw/Nag dw!
But, if they asked: i Gillingham wyt ti’n mynd yfory, Dinas? I’d reply - Ie/Na!
Can’t explain why…

Ie and Nage are used when giving a positive or negative reply to an emphatic statement/question.

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Although you may hear na and ie used more casually, for example:

Oes gynnoch chi blant? - Na, sgynnon ni ddim plant eto
Gest ti amser da neithiwr? - Na, ches i ddim!




One of my “favourite” mistakes is to think of “oes” to mean (literally) “yes”, because it simply sounds a bit like “yes”, at least in my head, and so I am tempted to use it when it is just not appropriate.

So, for example, I will answer a question that implies past with “oes”, then think about it, and correct myself with “do”. I’ve done this so many times …

I think it’s (possibly) more correct to think of “oes” as meaning “is” (as in “there is” or maybe “it is…” etc. and “nag oes” as “not is” (or “isn’t”), and is therefore the correct answer when “is” (or “is there…” etc) was in the question.

There is almost certainly more to it than this though (there usually is in Welsh…)


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This is how I think of it;

It’s not that there are many ways of saying “Yes” in Welsh, but rather that there simply is no translation for “Yes”.

Since there is no Welsh “Yes” you have to answer the actual question with “I do” (Yndw) or “there is” (Oes) or “they did” (Do) or whatever else is appropriate.

I guess this runs afoul when you come to appropriate uses of ie, but I find it causes much too much gear-turning to stop and think “what Yes do I use now?”


I seem to remember in the seventies one of the radio DJs had a phone-in quiz, in English, and based on something that had been done elsewhere before, called The Yes No Interlude. The contestant had to answer a series of questions without saying yes or no. How they struggled! I wonder if Welsh contestants found it easier.
I’ve just googled it and found the original in a tv show called take your pick

It’s obviously hard to do in English, so I’ll give myself a pat on the back for ocasionally getting it right in Welsh.

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This is the most important part of this discussion - the people who end up with the most natural usage for Yes/No in Welsh are almost always the people who jump in and communicate as much as possible without worrying about being ‘right’ - just focusing on being understood. If you use nothing but ‘Ia’ and ‘Na’ but talk Welsh on a regular basis, you’re doing superbly :sunny:

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in an exam situation such as Mynediad or Sylfaen where questions are fired at you to respond with the right answer, I found it easier to listen out of the start of the question to get the right answer.
E.g. Ydyn nhw’n dod heno? - ydyn / nag ydyn
Are they coming tonight?
Oes cath 'da ti? -oes/ nag oes
Do you have a cat?
Roedd hi’n oer ddoe? - Oedd/ nag oedd
Was it cold yesterday?
Real life is a bit different i don’t think I ever use those answers correctly! I tend to answer with phrases such as wrth cwrs, yn bendant, 'falle, gobeithio etc. that seems to work!


It’s true, Tricia!!! :smile:

And it’s not restricted to your second language. Use of yes and no in my English tends to be quite emphatic, while if i’m not 100% sure, I tend to use another phrase. Your own mileage may vary, of course.

Did you have a good time yesterday? : Well, in parts…
Are you making the tea? : I suppose I could…
Is it raining outside? : I think it might be…
Do you fancy going down the pub? : Yes!


Actually I’m always rather pleased that I don’t take milk or sugar in tea so I can just answer “Dim diolch” when someone asks “Siwgr?” or “Llaeth?” If I had to say “Yes please” I think I’d just say the “Plîs” and forget about trying to Yes :slight_smile:


Oes, ond dim diolch…

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Here’s a challenge then: how would you render “Vicky Pollard”'s “yeah but no but yeah but no but” …?