Subjective form: Taswn i, faswn i, baswn i.What is the difference between them?

Dear Everyone

This is my first post so I hope it meets the approval of this jolly forum !

I am reading for the 2nd time, the hilarious book for learners ‘Sgwp’ by Lois Arnold.
It’s quite easy and the narrative flows well and there are useful idioms and contemporary expressions.

However, I keep coming across ‘baswn i’, ‘taswn i’ and ‘faswn I’.

I realise it is a subjunctive form, but can’t determine why each one is used. I realise the faswn is probably the treigladd of baswn in context, but ‘taswn l’ floors me.

The example: “Ond taswn i’n edrych am gariad…wel”

The heroine was dumped by her previous boyfriend and is very focussed on her future career as an award winning reporter… but she fancies the paper’s photographer

Thank you very much

Monima O’C


Croeso to the forum, a fantastic first post. SSiW covers this in depth, I forget which challenges.
Baswn i = Mi faswn i - yep it’s a mutation. = I would. You will also see Byddwn i / Mi fyddwn i , which means the same thing.
Taswn i / Tasa i = If i were
It works a bit differently to the English, but you’ll get used to it.
Ond taswn i’n edrych am gariad,wel = Yet if i were looking for love…well
Sgwp is fantastic,


Hello, I’m a learner myself and I don’t know the correct grammatical names, but I remember that in the old course 2 lesson 10 there was a structure: taswn, mi faswn (baswn) or taset ti, mi faset ti, and this is: if I (did something)… I would ( …)or taswn i ddim, faswn i ddim : if I (did something) I wouldn’t (…). so : taswn i, taset ti, tasai fo etc means something like:
if I (did something) if you (did something)

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Hi Monima,

Great post! Welcome.

Baswn i is ‘I would…’

Faswn is the same thing but with a soft mutation - eg if it’s a question or negative (or after Fe or Mi if they are put first in a statement).

Taswn i is different - it has a condition or an ‘if’ built in - ‘if I were to’



Helo, croeso!

How are you finding it? I’ve been looking at buying either E-Ffrindiau, Ffenestri or Sgwp! and I’m not sure which to get. Have you read any of the others, and if so, which do you think is best as a first read?

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They often go hand in hand. Taswn is the subjunctive mood, “If I were…” and you frequently see it with “Baswn” (I would).

“If I were… I would…”

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Thank you to everyone who replied. Very clear now :+1:
I have only read SGWP and enjoyed it so much I am running through it again as it helps enormously.
Looking forward to linking up on SLACK in due course in the evenings when I can.


Always great to see someone jumping in with the first post - a very warm welcome to the forum, Monima!.. :slight_smile: :star2:

Croeso :heart_eyes:

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Technically, I don’t think it is a subjunctive in Welsh. Welsh has a subjunctive, but I think it’s only really
encountered in literary Welsh, and the occasional set phrase in conversational Welsh.

I must admit that I think of “If I were…” in English as one of the few residual uses of the subjunctive in English, so I know where you are coming from.

You will find the term “unreality endings” (of verbs) used a lot in some grammar books, e.g. those by Gareth King and I think that’s what’s being used in the taswn, faswn, baswn (and in the corresponding other persons) verbs.

We are lucky enough to have Gareth King occasionally popping into the forum and we benefit enormously from his expert knowledge. If I tag him like so, @garethrking he might very kindly feel like jumping in here to give his view on taswn, faswn, baswn, and their chums.


It’s not a subjunctive, it’s a conditional. The baswn set mean ‘would be’ (N equivalent of byddwn set in the S, pretty well), and the taswn set mean ‘if…were’ (S equivalents include pe byddwn and pe bawn)

I like baswn / taswn mainly because both sets are very distinctive in sound, and so that’s what I used to teach people. But the hwntws sometimes got a bit shirty… :wink:


Thank you!
From Latin, I always understood subjunctive as an imaginary statement.
How is a subjunctive form defined in a Welsh context?

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The subjunctive is a bit of a catch-all phrase anyway. Even in Latin, one of its main uses was to indicate reported speech (like the German Konjunktiv I, by the way) - nothing to do with imaginary. In Welsh the actual subjunctive in form is fossilised now, and I think it’s easier to simply regard the baswn / taswn sets as simply conditional, and part of the tense array. A few other verbs also have the unreality endings, of course… :slight_smile:


Thank you again.:slight_smile:

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Could you manage to buy all three?

E-Frindiau is probably the easiest to get started, but I still haven’t got round to finishing it because I found other books more interesting. Ffenestri is a collection of short stories graded from Mynediad to Canolradd levels. I found them all very interesting, so much so that I went through to the end even though the later ones were a bit difficult for me. Sgwp! is an excellent story, highly recommended. It is funny, but also has tension and a serious story for our young journalist.

That doesn’t answer your question. I suggest Ffenestri. The first story very cleverly brings in the sort of questions and answers that a learner would know, but in an amusing context.
(Or E-Frindiau, or Sgwp! You can’t go wrong with any of them.)



Thanks Sue. I was kind of hoping you’d say Ffenestri as that was the one I thought looked most suitable (I saw some reviews that said Sgwp! was quite difficult for beginners) but I was torn by the other two.

I have a birthday coming up, so I’ll stick all three on my list!

I’m intrigued by the N/S distinction - what I remember from SSiW Gog is “Byddi di’n helpu ni 'set ti’n medru, faset ti?” Have I misremembered, or is there some more subtle difference between byddwn & baswn? Or, indeed, no difference at all other than just what happens to come out at the time?
ETA: I think I meant Byddet ti’n helpu ni 'set ti’n medru, faset ti?

If you enjoy the short stories by Lois Arnold then you could consider moving on to “Cysgod yn y coed”.

I have a shelf full of books awaiting attention. Some are way beyond me at present.

That triggered “Byddi di’n helpu ni 'set ti’n gallu, yn byddet?” in my mind from SSiw De. I may not have that quite right…
I think that the old material did baswn/taswn.


Forgot to say for all we West Wales learners, that after reading SGWP ! for the first time and keen to read more, on a recommendation for a really funny book for learners, I bought Cwcwc by Marlyn Samuels. She is from Ynys Môn and I really struggled with the unfamiliar words.
One in; one for the dictionary.

I opted to stay with our area authors until I am more proficient.