Use of 'i' with verbs

Help appreciated!

I’m struggling to get it right when ‘i’ is used before a verb. Because, for example, ‘gwneud’ is the verb ‘to do’ I am assuming it already carries the ‘to’ with it, but in sentence like ‘mae nhw’n moyn ni i gwneud yn siwr…’ it appears before the verb. Can anyone clarify it for me in a way that will be easy to recall on the spot please? x

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Hi, there’s a other similarly named topic on here somewhere which is really helpful. From what I remember, you can use the “I” in Welsh, when you could use " in order to" in English.

So you could say I did x in order to make sure. But you wouldn’t say, I’m in order to making sure.

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that’s ideal - thanks!

John is right in saying that i+verb can often be read as “in order to”, but in your example, that’s not what you’re hearing - it’s ‘mae nhw’n moyn i ni gwneud yn siwr…’. This is because in Welsh we are literally saying here “they want for us to make sure…” (even though we translate it as “they want us to make sure”). It’s a different " i -clause " to the one that John describes.


Rhybudd! Warning :warning:

Data Dump Ahead :joy:

I causes soft mutation[1] and often, but by no means always, corresponds to English ‘to’.

It is possibly the most frequently used preposition in the spoken Welsh language.

I corresponds to English ‘to’ in the following senses:

  1. Motion towards or into a place
  2. Dych chi’n mynd i’r dre heddiw? – ‘Are you going to town today?’
  3. Used with the indirect object (giving something to somebody). Note that English can (and often does) omit this preposition but Welsh always requires i .
  4. Roddes i’r llyfr i Fred – ‘I gave the book to Fred’
  5. Elli di ddangos hwnna i mi am eilliad? – ‘Can you show me that a moment?’
  6. Equates to English ‘to’ with the sense of ‘purpose’ or ‘in order to’ when followed by a verbal-noun:
  7. Fe adawodd y ddwy onyn nhw’n gynnar i ddal y bws – ‘They both left early to catch the bus’
  8. Ddaethon ni â’r pris lawr i ddenu mwy o bobol – ‘We brought the price down to attract more people’

In this sense the compound preposition er mwyn ‘in order to’ is often used as an alternative… er mwyn dal y bws…* and …er mwyn denu mwy o bobol , etc.

Other common uses for i which do not correspond to ‘to’

  1. English ‘for’
  2. Mae gen i lythyron i chi – ‘I’ve got some letters for you’
  3. Nes i’r holl waith paratoi i ti bore 'ma – ‘I did all the preparation for you this morning’
  4. Arhoswch funud - na i llnau nhw i chi – ‘Wait a minute - I’ll clean them for you’ [ llnau is a colloquial contracted form of glanhau ‘to clean’]
  5. I can denote possession – especially when gyda/gan is not possible due to the nature of the sentence:
  6. Mae’r bobol 'na’n ffrindiau i mi – ‘Those people are friends of mine’ [lit. ‘friends to me’]
  7. Used after verbs of making or causing:
  8. Paid gwneud i Eleri chwerthin wrth iddi fwyta – ‘Don’t make Eleri laugh while she is eating’
  9. Yr unig esboniad a roddwyd oedd mai taro rhewfryn a achosodd iddi suddo – ‘The only explanation given was that it was hitting an iceberg that caused her to sink’
  10. Used after conjunctions (usually of time) to introduce the subject:
  11. …cyn i mi fynd – ‘…before I go’
  12. …er mwyn iddo ddeall – ‘so that he can/could understand’
  13. Means ‘that’ in past tense sentences + subject + verbal-noun:
  14. Dw i’n eitha siwr iddi ffonio rywbryd ddoe – ‘I’m pretty sure (that) she phoned some time yesterday’

When i follows a verb its meaning usually parallels English but the English preposition can often be omitted.[1] The word gofyn ‘to ask’ must also take i which may be unexpected by English speakers.

  1. Gofynnwch iddo fo ydy o’n dod – ‘Ask him if he is coming’ [lit. ‘ask to him…’]
  2. Efallai y byddwch chi eisiau gofyn i’r plant am eu syniadau nhw – ‘Perhaps you will want to ask the children for their ideas’

The idiom rhoi gwybod i means ‘inform’ or ‘let… know’

  1. Rhowch wybod i mi os glywch chi rywbeth – ‘Let me know if you hear anything’

The idiom yn dal i is used to mean ‘still …ing’

  1. Mae Seren yn dal i deimlo’n sâl – ‘Seren is still feeling ill’
  2. Mae’n dal i fwrw – ‘It’s still raining’

Even though i can cover ‘into’ ( i’r tŷ ‘(in)to the house’; i Gymru ‘(in)to Wales’ etc.) the expanded form i mewn i (and rarely i fewn i ) can be used where this is the central idea or where it is emphasised:

  1. Drychon ni o amgylch yr ardd, wedyn mynd i mewn i’r tŷ ei hun – ‘We had a look around the garden, then we went into the house itself’

Inflected forms of i

The table below gives the inflected forms of i with their accompanying pronouns:[1]

Singular Plural
First Person i mi, imi; i fi i ni, inni
Second Person i ti i chi
Third Person Masculine iddo fe/fo iddyn nhw
Feminine iddi hi

  1. i mi and i fi are interchangeable but i fi is much more common in the South.
  2. An older form of the 2nd pers. pl. iwch is still heard in the expression Nos dawch!, 'sdawch! ‘Good night!’ (contraction of nos da iwch ‘good night to you’) and is heard in the North.
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i am sure I should know the answer but why is it Wnes ti mynd and not wnes ti fynd - short form past?

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Yes, that’s it Di, the short form (preterite) in all positive tenses (past, present & future) causes a mutation to the verb following.

It is wnest ti fynd, @DiMatthews . Where did you see/hear it as Wnest ti mynd?

Ah, sorry - didn’t read Di’s question properly (got it completely inside out in fact!). Hope my answer didn’t cause too much confusion.