Sentence structure

Hi everyone, I was just reading something and it looked wrong to me so can anyone explain why “bod” is before “wedi” in this sentence. Ddylech chi ddim bod wedi dweud celwydd.




Hi Steve,

I believe it’s an exception that proves the rule kind of situation whereby the ‘would’ve, should’ve, could’ve’s have ‘bod wedi’ rather than a wedi to make them perfect (ha, ha).

I understand that whilst it isn’t always used in speach the absence of the ‘bod’ sounds incomplete to a first language speaker.

Rich :slight_smile:


This is a subtlety rather than breaking any rules. Don’t worry about it - it’ll come naturally as you get more and more experience with your Welsh! But basically it’s something like this:

Ddylech chi ddim - bod - yn grac / flin = You shouldn’t - be - angry

Ddylech chi ddim - bod - wedi dweud celwydd = You shouldn’t - be - having told a lie = You shouldn’t have told a lie

The “wedi” structure approximates to the “have” of the past in English, but it doesn’t work in exactly the same way, which is why this structure seems odd to you.

Dwi - wedi dweud celwydd means something a bit more like “I am - having told a lie”

Change where bod is and you’ll change the meaning subtly:

Ddylech chi ddim - wedi bod - yn dweud celwydd = You shouldn’t - having been - telling lies = You shouldn’t have been telling lies.

If you can tell me very simply what the difference is between the two sentences in English (if there is one!), then I shall allow you to be concerned about not understanding the subtleties of the structure. But I suspect that this level of complexity is probably something that people would struggle with in their first language, so really really don’t worry about it. It will come when it’s ready!


How interesting!..I’ve asked a couple of first language speakers before and they have said ‘just because’! (Which I’m ok with at this stage actually as long as it’s not everything!)

I suppose it’s not a 2sec answer is it so that might be why (!) - and as I’ve discussed it it’s one of those things I remember ( I wish everything worked that way!) - but it seems like missing out the ‘bod’ would ‘plain wrong’ as opposed to most people include it?

( I promise to think about something else after this question!)

Rich :slight_smile:


Yes, I guess the thing here is that in Welsh we often say that you are “in a state of being”, which is what bod really means. As you (and the other Welsh speakers you know) say, it’s just not right without the bod.


Ah, be being? I like that. A mimister friend of mine keeps saying thats what the word “be” in the bible really means. :grinning:


I think I’m in a state of being - but I can’t be certain…


Because dylwn i (etc) requires a VN to follow it, and the dweud there doesn’t count because it’s attached instead to the wedi.

In other words, there are two separate ideas here:

  1. that you shouldn’t (do something) - ddylech chi ddim
  2. that the thing you shouldn’t do is already done - wedi dweud

Idea 1) is incomplete without a VN, so bod is used as a dummy.

Does that help?

It definitely sounds incomplete without the bod, as @rich mentions.


Yep! Thanks!

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