How to do the past tense: New version of my old video

Hi All,

I got the coloured pens out this morning to make a new and simpler version of my old famous “past tense” video. Hope this of help to anyone confused at the moment with it.


Diolch yn fawr iawn. Excellent video, Nicky and I’ve passed it on to the Delaware Welsh Society meet up group, as we were discussing this question a week ago.

You’re a global sensation :smile:


I totally agree, very good video! I always seem to understand Nicky’s videos. :hugs:

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Very nice summary @Nicky.


Always lovely to see a new Nicky video! :star: :star2:

One quick point - the short-cut of connecting siaradais i to I spoke and wnes i siarad to I did speak will hold up okay in general, but it’s a case of the languages not matching to each other - in Welsh, those two options are equivalent to each other, and which you use is about tone/register/personal preference, not about different meaning.

So if you’ve learnt ‘wnes i siarad’ with SSiW, you don’t have a gap in your Welsh because we haven’t taught you ‘siaradais i’ - they’re the same thing in Welsh (although if you happen to know people who prefer to say siaradais i, you’ll probably end up doing the same).

In the same way, if you’ve learnt ‘dwedodd o’ (or ddudodd o or wedodd e or whatever) with SSiW, that doesn’t mean you also need to learn ‘wnaeth o ddweud’ - yup, they’re the same thing, it’s just personal choice.

What’s happening here (which doesn’t exist in English, hence the mismatch) is that Welsh has what we call a ‘long form’ and a ‘short form’ of each verb.

The long form is when we add ‘gwneud’ - wnes i ddweud, wnaeth o redeg, wnaethon ni chwarae (or when we add ‘roedd’ for things like o’n i’n, but I’ll skip that) - the short form is when we conjugate the verb, so dwedais i, redodd o, chwaraeon ni and so on.

In the old courses, I tried to play catch up in Course 3 by introducing all the short forms at once (which is why so many people find themselves choking back the tears as they labour through Course 3).

In the new Levels, I chose to introduce verbs in the form I felt you were most likely to hear - whether short or long - from the very beginning - so ‘ddudes i’ but ‘wnes i siarad’ - usage patterns vary from person to person and place to place (and time to time!), but speak/hear/do/see/go are all pretty high likelihood for you to hear the short form.

As ever, this isn’t something to worry about - once you can pick up on the general meaning, you’ll find that grammatical niceties gradually fall into place as you get yourself into more and more conversations… :slight_smile:


Indeed, its a lovely weird scenario because when people learn “wnes i…” as “I did…” it then puts them off saying “Wnes i siarad” because they think it means “I did speak”, which can sound wrong in English, but is a perfectly valid and great sentence in Welsh! :smiley:


Why not tell people that to find the stem of the verb is easy as this. Take off the last vowel. If the verb ends in ed or eg, take those off.
eg. Canu = Can ais i
eg Rheddeg = Rhed ais i
eg Cerdded = Cerdd ais i


To be honest, it would’ve made it too long for a video aimed at very early stage learners. I was hoping to make the video about 5 mins, which went wrong! Like your thinking though.

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Diolch. Helped a lot.

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Great, helped a lot, thanks!

Thanks Aran, great help

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The first Nicky vide I have seen, and it really helped. Diolch!


Diolch Nicky. I needed that


I should have asked if you have any more videos like that ? Especially using the Negative Past tense ?

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Hi Elizabeth, I’ve done a fair few videos on my channel. The mix is roughly 33% videos helping learners, 33% travelling videos, 33% random stuff.

Have a look on there, if I haven’t already, I’d be more than happy to do one!

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Great video, very helpful and clearly explained. ‘The verbulator’ - :grinning:
have you got a similar video for the future tense?



Hi David,

Not as of yet. I suspect over the weekend I may do a past and future one rolled up into one, clearing up any confusion - I purposely didn’t do mutations on this one, as I thought people interested in it might not have even done them yet and it could cause more confusion - but i’ve actually had messages off a few confused people because they were expecting mutations!

Can’t win them all :smiley:


This is a fantastic video! Nobody has ever explained it to me in such clear and simple terms. Diolch!


Really helpful video, thanks. Can you do some more videos summarising all the other main tenses in Welsh, i.e. present, future, conditional, imperative/command form, etc? It would be great if you could!

Also, how about compound tenses such as ‘I had spoken’, ‘I would have spoken’, ‘I will have spoken’, ‘I have been speaking’, ‘I had been speaking’, ‘I would have been speaking’, ‘I will have been speaking’, etc. I’m not sure how much these are used in Welsh, but it’d be useful to know which of these exist and how much they’re used.

Finally, a summary of modal verbs would be awesome too, in different tenses, eg ‘I want/wanted’, ‘I need/needed’, ‘I have to/had to’, ‘I can/could’, ‘I have/had’, etc? I think the way you describe things is very clear, and seeing the pattern of each tense in your videos really helps consolidate what we learn with ‘SSI Welsh’ I think.

I’m also curious whether the verb tense patterns you describe are the same in both southern and northern Welsh? I’ve been doing the southern course so I don’t know how much northern Welsh differs as of yet.

I have found your other videos now. They are a great help for reminding me. Diolch yn fawr iawn. I hope you have fully recovered from your accident .I will carry on watching your videos and look out for new ones. Hwyl am y tro. Beth