Do'n i ddim / wnes i ddim

bit muddled about the difference- I saw that d’on i ddim is for a past but ongoing action and wnes i ddim for completed action - but bit confused as to how “I didn’t want” is different to “I didn’t know?” I know the tale language tutors teach about “I was walking along the street when a piano fell on my head” to demonstrate the different actions but am stumped about d’on i ddim yn moyn- makes me think I may not guess correctly the different negative verbs - is it just a case of wait and learn as you go along?

This distinction just takes a bit of practice. I think of it as being in a state of being something. I was in a state of not knowing, I was in a state of not wanting. As opposed to, say, understanding - I didn’t in that moment understand the thing I was told. It’s a subtle and awkward distinction, not aided by the fact that some verbs can be used both ways. “I watched” versus “I was watching”, for instance.

As I say, it just takes some practice. Besides, people will still understand you if you flub it. I’ve definitely used the wrong one on at least one occasion, but the person I was talking to understood what I was trying to say and responded accordingly.

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cheers Alan!

Not sure if this is helpful or even correct, but “ro’n/o’n/do’n” are often paired with “arfer” - used to - which leads me to think they are for longer, past states, and “Nes i ddim…” would be for a more momentary action.

Eg “Do’n i’n (arfer) gwybod ei enw o” vs “Nes i ddim medru gofio ei enw o”

I use a variation of the falling piano in my classes too :wink:

diolch - ( my French teacher used the piano sentence back in the 80s but i hear it’s still in use!)

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It’s a classic! Although I use a bolt of lightning instead of a piano :rofl:

Btw I may have got my last post wrong as i’ve just read this, which uses “roedd” for a brief past action:

No, you were right. The ‘roedd’ in that sentence isn’t referring to the brief action (dod), it’s referring to the ongoing state (rhaid - having a need/necessity/obligation). At least, that would be my reading of it.


Yup, spot on with that Alan :smiley:

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I’d also be surprised if there weren’t exceptions. Like in Spanish we have two verbs that mean “to be”: “ser” for permanent states, and “estar” for feelings and temporary states.
Yet we say “estar muerto”, and last time I checked, being dead was a fairly permanent thing!

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Or is it?
(horde of zombies come shambling towards you)


sounds like my local at chucking out time :wink:

I’ve always thought that was a bit weird :joy:

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I have no idea how accurate this is, but when I try to translate it in my head, wnes i ddim is ‘I didn’t’ and do’n i ddim is ‘I hadn’t’. So ‘I didn’t talk to you yesterday’ is finite [edit: as in restricted to yesterday] (wnes i ddim), but ‘I hadn’t known you speak Welsh’ is every point in time up until I found out (do’n i ddim).

ah diolch!

‘I didnt want’ is not different from ‘I didnt know’.
I didnt want, do’n ddim eisiau.
I didn’t know, do’n ddim yn gwybod.
Gwnes i, gwneud, is to do something or make something. Wnes i ddim would not be used with gwybod.
Gwnes i gacen, I made a cake.

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