I before a verb - when to use

Just finished the 3rd lesson but I go to classes and have finished Sylfaen.
Does anyone know why i is sometimes used and sometimes not.
In the past tense they say: nes i drio mynd but nes i drio i brynu etc

‘Nes i drio i brynu’ is not used; ‘i’ usually means ‘to’ and appears when a noun follows it e.g. dw i’n mynd i’r siop’ and sometimes a verb e.g. dw i’n mynd i brynu dillad’. Neither of the examples you give should involve ‘i’ with the use of ‘nes i’ in the past tense.‘To’ is implied in this case e.g. ‘nes i drio mynd’ and 'nes i drio brynu.'The use of ‘i’ after ‘nes’ is simply ‘I’ as in the first person singular.It’s often just a matter of absorbing structural patterns, which are unique to each language. Dal ati.

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Sometimes it could sound as if someone is saying “nes i drio i brynu” but what they’re in fact saying is “nes i drio ei brynu” - where the “ei” and “i” sound exactly the same. The “ei” stands for “it” so it would mean “I tried to buy it”. You could also say it as “nes i drio ei brynu fe/fo” but the “fe/fo” is optional and might be left off if the “ei” is obvious.


Shwmae pawb :slight_smile:

This I think leads on to a question that I have on the use of the preposition ‘i’ (to / for) between verbs: I have heard it used after ‘mynd’ near always I believe (e.g. dw i’n mynd i gysgu), and also after ‘dod’, so have been assuming that for coming and going it is used (i.e. in relation to movement); also I have heard it after ‘barod’ (which I would see as related to time) I recall (dw i’n barod i fynd), so am wondering if there are definite occasions (e.g. time / motion) for the use of ‘i’ between verbs, or is it not so rigid.

Diolch, SImeon

Diolch yn fawr. Yours is the explanation I needed. On the lesson, the English is: I tried to buy it. It now all makes sense. Cofion. Matt


Hello, New poster here, so first of all, many thanks to all on the SSiW team. The course is a real joy. The i question is one I have puzzled over too (Just started on Level 2). May I ask how this works in a sentence like, I am stopping to talk opposed to I am stopping talking. Dw i’n stopio siarad. I thought maybe an extra i before siarad might help - but I’ve lots to learn! Diolch

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Some verbs are always followed by - i - such as mynd. There is a list but I cannot remember it. In most cases there is no need for the - i - except where it means - in order to.

I seem to remember (from one of the early Course 1 lessons) that the rule of thumb in Welsh is that verbs can be strung together without intervening words.

e.g. trio gorffen yfed … try to stop drinking…

penderfynu dechrae cynllunio … decide to start planning

However, some verbs, like mynd, can take a preposition. If you learn what those are, then by and large, you don’t have to worry about the others.

…found a real life example of verb-stringing-together:

Dwi di bod yn trio gorffen peintio

“I have been trying to finish painting …”

(“di” is short for “wedi”: “dw i wedi bod…” - "I have been … " )

Hi Everyone, I’m new to the forum and just want to say thanks to Aran and Catrin and everyone at SSiW!
My question is along the lines in this thread… I’m working on lesson 13 and having a problem with “mewn” versus “i fewn”. First of all, my hearing isn’t great and I’m never entirely sure what I’m hearing. Sometimes I think I’m hearing “i fewn” but once in a while I could swear I’m hearing “i mewn” which just doesn’t seem right. Is there ever a use for “mewn” that would be “i mewn” rather than “i fewn”? Diolch!

Shouldn’t the combination “trio gorffen yfed” be prohibited in Welsh and any other language :yum: ?


I’m sure you could dig out some patterns along those sort of lines if you did a very extensive overview of use cases - but I strongly suspect you’ll find it much easier/faster for the time being just to notice/use a small number of structures that often trigger a following ‘i’ - your collection of mynd i, dod i, barod i is plenty to be going on with!

A warm welcome to the forum, and thank you very much for your very kind words!

This particular example isn’t really about the ‘i’, it’s more about how words don’t always map neatly - in English, those two ‘stoppings’ are subtly different - one of them is ‘stopping+verb (talk)’, the other is ‘stopping+implied verb (move)’ - in Welsh, we’d cheerfully use ‘stopio siarad’ for the second, but we’d be unlikely to use ‘stopio’ to express the first one (what would be more natural in Welsh would depend a bit on the context, but there are a range of possible options).

Generally speaking, I always suggest not worrying too much about this kind of detail - it works itself out naturally (and much more easily) the more conversations you get yourself into… :sunny:

Welcome to the forum, Laura - lovely to see you here, and thank you very much! :sunny:

Problems with ‘mewn’ and ‘i fewn’ - you and plenty of other Welsh speakers…:wink: I’m sure I’ve read that the grammatically correct form should always be ‘i mewn’, but you’ll hear first language speakers softening it all the time - it’s just too tempting a mutation!

But mutation aside, mewn/i mewn is a very fine detail - the kind, as with my answer to Ar Graig, that you ‘get’ best from exposure. In case it’s any help, here’s a sample shift in meaning:

Dwi’n aros i mewn heno - I’m staying in tonight.
Dwi’n aros mewn tŷ - I’m staying in a house.

But it’s the kind of thing that will make even first language speakers’ heads start to spin if they think too much about it, so don’t get yourself caught in the overthinking vicious circle… :sunny:

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Dear @aran, I know “Dewch i mewn” as “Come in.” (I am not sure what is “Come in!” when speaking to a ‘ti’ person!!) In that phrase, it seemed to me that ‘i mewn’ means ‘inside’. Yes? No?

I’m not really sure what you’re asking here… If you’re hoping that ‘i mewn’ is a perfect match for ‘inside’, then I’m going to have to disappoint you - sorry! But yes, there is a sense of that - as there is with the English ‘Come in’ in that context, too…

[It would be ‘tyrd i mewn’ (northern) or ‘dere i mewn’ (southern) for the informal].

I found out why ‘mewn’ doesn’t soften (technically speaking) the other day. Apparently it comes from an Irish word, so as a loan word it doesn’t mutate (like gêm and garej and golf don’t lose their ‘g’).

Probably doesn’t matter to 90% of people, but it helps me!


Interesting, but I’m not absolutely convinced.(First of all, It’s certainly got cognates in Irish, but I don’t think it’s cut and dried that it comes from Irish rather than common Celtic. (eg, according to John Morris-Jones). Even if it were, surely such things would normally be so entrenched as to undergo soft mutation.
I would have thought any inclination for it not to mutate probably comes from the fact it originally had a vowel in front of it - “ymywn”?
However, the mutation into “fewn” does seem, as far as I can see, to be pretty accepted as alternatives in grammars and such. Apparently it’s even in the Bible! (But I haven’t actually read that, so no one spoil it for me by telling me the ending.)

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Incidentally, just noticed John Morris-Jones mentions that “i mewn” is only used as an adverb, so that might be one way of looking at it. Or not :wink:

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Careful, it’s gory. People getting nailed to stuff and so on - I couldn’t read any further…:wink:


Not to mention darkly comic. My favourite bit is when all the dinosaurs turned down Noah’s offer and built their own ark. The action hinges on the “air holes” action point on the whiteboard, and a poorly placed Diplodocus tail.


And I too will sleep better at nights, no longer worrying about that.


Thanks for your reply. This has been a really useful thread, like lots I have read before. I see now (I think) how the verb to stop has that subtle difference, which can lose its meaning when applied to another language. Taking up the drinking references; if I notice a pub and say dw’ i’ n moyn stopio i yfed, my confused friend will drive past, but if I say dw i’n moyn stopio yfed, he may well pull in and nominate me as the designated driver. Anyway, I’ll not get bogged down with these things and enjoy the SSiW journey. Not being in Wales, it’s a bit harder to get out and talk, but I can see how that experience really helps. Diolch yn fawr iawn.