On i'n ? or not

I’m just back after being away for a while and now there are the new lessons I’m getting confused about ‘on i’n’. I don’t think that I had come across it before. ‘On’i’n trio siarad’ = I was trying to speak - Yes? Have we stopped using ‘wnes i trio siarad’ = I did try to speak…

I’m sure someone else can explain this better, but as I understand it, they are two different forms of the past tense. Wnes i has the sense of something that happened at a moment in time, where o’n i has the sense of something that happened over a period of time. Wnes i adael - I left (at that point in time), but O’n i’n meddwl amdano fe - I was thinking about it (for some time).


Anna is quite right here.

Wnes comes from the verb Gwneud, to do/make.
I did try, I tried. A once off event.

O’n comes from the verb Bod, to be.
O’n i’n trio. I was trying.

I had a teacher who told us there were 5 things we needed to get our heads around to become good Welsh speakers. One (because I can’t remember them all) was the verb Bod. And there’s a heck of a lot of it.


Thanks for the extra clarification, Margaret.

I think that’s an understatement! :wink: :slight_smile:

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Thanks both. The penny has just dropped - i think. ‘On i’n’ is a short form of oeddwn i’n (or roeddwn i’n) But just hearing it and not realizing from whence it came is confusing. Diolch.


Yep, this is a good explanation. Roughly speaking, wnes i siarad corresponds to “I spoke” while o’n i’n siarad corresponds to “I was speaking”. However as always with languages, things don’t always map precisely to one another, so don’t worry if you sometimes come across a situation where Welsh seems to use one and English would use the other :slight_smile:


Hi Anne!

Welcome back! It’s always good to hear of someone who takes a break and then gets back to it. Too many people take a break, call it “giving up” and then never build on what they’ve already learned. So, I’m really glad you’re back and obviously moving on.

One quick question: What lesson are you doing? I’m trying to see if o’n i’n has appeared out of sync (ie before being explained).



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Iestyn, I jumped in to 3. I have since looked in a BIG dictionary and not just my beginners book and there clearly under ‘bod’ it states - colloquial;affirmative & interrogative. But I obviously missed the lesson with an explanation Nice to be back…

That was helpful. Thanks Margaret.

Aha - that explains it! And the forum came to the rescue when you had a question.

Sounds like you’re doing really well with your return. Da iawn, a dal ati - Well done, and keep it up!

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I’m back on the ‘on’n i’n’ At my coffi a chlonc today, i used on i’n moyne and on i’n trio and was told NO. That on i 'n is only used for the interrogative. Confused!!!

Was it a tutor that told you this, by any chance…?

The textbooks say to use ‘ron i’n’ for statements, and ‘on i’n’ for questions. But in the real world lots of people say ‘on i’n’ for statements and everybody understands them. Question: do people (up north, say) say ‘mi on i’n’? That would be technically correct - and then dropping the ‘mi’ would leave the ‘on i’n’ - just as my Gog partner will say ‘mi ges i’ and I’ll just say ‘ges i’ (whereas technically it should be ‘ces i’ without anything to force a mutation). Perhaps I’ve always been wrong, but I’ve never been misunderstood or had people looking at me strangely. Apart from that one tutor that time…


I had the very same conversation with a tutor when i was at a welsh meeting last month. Others in the group were wondering why i said oedd o, o’n i’n, and nes i. They were all using roedd o, roeddwn i’n and mi wnes i.

I explained that this is what i had been taught on ssiw and in all fairness the tutor said i sounded more natural.

But then i am not trying to pass an exam!


that expression ending in bant might be a handy one to use here??

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Haha. I do feel like using at one welsh meeting i go to where people keep speaking in english!

Yes thanks Petermescall a Sarapeacock. I understand. It is just so frustrating when i use something I’ve learned on SSiW to have it corrected all the time.And Toffidl … I don’t know what you mean !!!


oh well that would open up a whole host of expressions that you would definately wouldn’t want to use on here - most of them make me cringe just reading them!

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This might explain why I was a little disappointed with my mark in the speaking section of my Welsh exam :wink:

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Yes, that must be hugely frustrating, and it’s very poor tutoring - they shouldn’t be correcting people in a chat session at all, really, unless they can’t actually understand. Technically it’s true that dropping the ‘r’ (or the mi, as Sara said) should only happen for an interrogative - but practically speaking, apart from in formal speech, you hear it without the R far more often than with…


In saith seren no one has used the r… Maybe we are all using Ssiw!

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