Mixing of tenses

I am confused by the apparent mixing of tenses. For example in L2. 13 the English “Did you say that you WANTED to get up”, in translation becomes “Did you say that you WANT to get up”. If just presented with the Welsh version without having seen the English, how would you know the correct translation? However this discrepancy in change of tense appears not always to occur causing me even greater confusion!!

I find that I still select the wrong option 50% of the time (although it does of course mean that I also get it right 50% of the time) when selecting gwnest or oeddet. For example the translation of “Did you read it” uses gwnest and that for “What did you think of it” uses oeddet. Two virtually identical sentences, one a question. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter as both versions would be understood!

In the sentence
"Did you say that you wanted to get up " the Welsh would be "ddides ti bo ti eisiau cael i fyny " which sounds like it translates as "did you say that you want to get up " but the ddides ti at the start of the sentence sets the tone of past tense for the rest of the sentence ( I think I’m right in this )
In terms of nes ti or oeddeti it is usually oeddet when talking about someone’s feelings or thoughts so this is why "what did you think of it " is oeddet and did you read it uses gwnest ti . Hope that makes sense and helps


Diolch! You have taught me something! Now all I have to do is associate the right thing to oeddet and gwnest!

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In general “gwnest ti” is used for something that happened one time and then was over, whereas “oeddet ti” suggests something that happened over a period of time. It is like the difference between “you did” and “you were”
“wnest ti ddarllen y llyfer?” asks “did you read the book?” as in you read it, and are now finished. “oeddet ti’n darllen y llyfer” would have a flavor of “were you reading the book?” as in you did it for a while, and maybe you haven’t even finished.

In general “meddwl”, “eisiau”, “gwybod” end up with “oeddet” while other things more naturally use “wnest”. Follow the course and use the constructions they give and it will start to make sense.


You’re deep enough into the language now to find more and more examples of the huge number of ways in which Welsh just doesn’t work the same way as English.

The best way to deal with it is to accept it, not to worry about it, and to let exposure build your natural sense of what the best thing is to say at any particular point - once you’ve had enough exposure, things that seem almost impossible to explain right now will suddenly feel obvious.

In the meantime, this is absolutely the key point:



Many thanks to all for your helpful replies.


English has a thing called ‘sequence of tenses’, whereby it is correct to say:

Did you say that you wantED to get up?

and other languages have this as well, incidentally. As it happens, in the Welsh version of this:

Ddwedest ti fod ti eisiau codi?

the question of sequence of tenses doesn’t arise, since the bod / fod… construction with ‘that…’ clauses is tenseless anyway (because bod is a verbnoun, and therefore devoid of tense).


Similar question.

If i were to ask the following are they correct

Ddwedest ti y byddet ti isio codi yn gynnar yfory?

Did you say that you would want to get up early tomorrow?

Ddwedest ti y dylet ti godi yn gynnar yfory?

Did you say that you should get up early tomorrow?

is the tense distinction because we are using forms of bydd and dylai?

They’re both okay, I know that.

Sorry, you’re above my pay grade now. [I’d guess yes.]


Haha…i’m just a blagger trying and failing to look like i know what i’m doing!


Yes - there is no issue of sequence of tenses anyway there, because you have to have the conditional/unreality (ie. byddet and dylet) simply because of the meaning required there.


Should and would in English don’t have a tense either.

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