Explanation needed: pwy, sydd, sy'n

Hi pawb,

I’m on Lesson 25 of Course 2, but the correct usages of pwy, sydd, sy’n have eluded me. I’ve been unable to grasp the logic of when each is applicable. And seemingly every time out I try to guess it I get the wrong one.

Is anyone able to shed any light on how I can identify which to use?

Diolch in advance!

Hi Jason:

pwy means ‘who’
sydd is a form of ‘bod’ (to be)

So, for example ‘Dw i’n gwbod pwy sydd yn dod’ (I know who is coming)
sy’n is just a contraction of ‘sydd yn’ You can use it or not as you feel comfortable.

I think what might be confusing Jason here is that both can sometimes be translated into English using the word “who”:

Who are you? - Pwy wyt ti?
Someone who speaks Welsh - Rhywun sy’n siarad Cymraeg

In the first sentence, “who” effectively means “which person”. This is what pwy means (and is also why you use pwy in the sentence dw i’n gwybod pwy sy’n dod).

In the second sentence, English is using the word “who” as a synonym of “that”. “Someone who speaks Welsh” means the same thing as “Someone that speaks Welsh”. This is the situation in which you’d use sydd.

(For the grammatically inclined: sydd is used to introduce relative clauses. And yes, I know that calling it a ‘synonym of “that”’ is kind of a dodgy definition because “that” has an even wider variety of uses, but trying to give people a feel for grammar without using grammary terminology isn’t always easy ;-))


So, can I just check that sy’n and sydd yn are entirely interchangeable? I’ve jus finished challenge 16 of Level 1 and sometimes they say sy’n and sometimes sydd yn (at least I think that’s what it is - for a while I thought it was something completely different, since it sounded as though it ended with ‘en’, not ‘yn’).

But I am just hearing a contraction of sydd yn, right?

Any help would be most appreciated!

Yes, that’s absolutely correct. Exactly the same as (for example) ‘do not know’ and ‘don’t know’… :sunny:

Thanks :smile:

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Ooh, I remember getting stuck on this. It eventually makes sense - just like the other bits that are at first troublesome. Pob lwc with the rest of the Course!