Short forms in Imperfect/Conditional

I have been trying to read a bit in Welsh, but am a bit confused about some of the grammar.

I understand that the short form of the imperfect tense, ‘he was sitting…etc’, uses the same endings as the conditional, so ‘eisteddai’ would mean he/she/it was sitting. Is this correct?

Also, I was wondering how/if you’d use short form conditionals, so how would you say ‘I would sit’ for example other than ‘byddwn/baswn i’n eistedd’?

There’s a chance I’ve got this all wrong, so any clarification would be appreciated!


I think that’s pretty much correct, at least in some forms of written Welsh.

The way I think of it is that in some forms of English, we do almost the same thing, so instead of writing:

“…in summer he used to sit by the river and watch the boats go by…”, we could also write
“in summer, he would sit by the river and watch the boats go by…”

…with more or less the same meaning. However, if you just look at that “would sit” in isolation, it looks like a conditional, but the meaning here is clearly “imperfect” (i.e. past continuous).

Just stick the conditional (also known as “unreality” ) endings on.

“Eisteddwn i”

(But note that the ending goes on the stem of the verb, and the stem isn’t always obvious, e.g.
for “chwerthin”, the stem is “chwardd”, so it would be “chwarddwn i”


Thanks for your help! :slight_smile:

So, if both short form imperfect and conditionals use the conditional endings, is there any way to distinguish between them in their written forms, or is it just about context? Couldn’t ‘Eisteddwn i’ mean ‘I would sit’ and ‘I was sitting’?

While doing a few moments of further reading on this, I came across the phrase:

As you can imagine, I had to browse away and look at some pictures of kittens for a while until the panics left me.


Wow, I enjoy dipping my toes into grammar, but that’s enough to frighten anyone off! :scream:

(I don’t even know how to begin to pronounce that, never mind what it means…)

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It just means ‘habitual imperfect’ - isn’t it pompous? :slight_smile:

@robbruce 's kitten strategy is really the only sensible response :confused:


This is the sort of post that makes me think I should give up now because it’s all too complicated and everyone is better than me :stuck_out_tongue:

(I won’t really … I keep reminding myself that if Glyn from Big Brother in 2007 can do it, so can I.)


Ahem. Snap.

[So worth carrying on for a while yet, at least… :slight_smile: ]

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Hmm … maybe I’ll struggle on for a bit then :slight_smile: