'What did you do?' - 'Wnest ti' form vs 'wnest ti gwneud'

I’ve been watching the episodes of ‘Now You’re Talking’ on Youtube and in episode 28 they teach the question ‘What did you do?’ as ‘Beth wnest ti?’.

I was wondering about this. I thought that ‘wnes i’, wnest ti’ etc are simply an indication that you’re using the simple past in Welsh, and although they correspond to the English ‘I did’ / ‘you did’ / ‘did you?’ etc, this has nothing to do with the verb ‘to do’ but simply ‘did’ as is in ‘I did eat’, ‘you did speak’, etc, also equivalent to ‘I ate’, ‘I spoke’ etc (simple past).

So following that logic, shouldn’t the question ‘What did you do?’ be ‘Beth wnest ti gwneud?’ instead of ‘Beth wnest ti?’ Or are both forms valid? Where does the verb ‘gwneud’ come into the question ‘Beth wnest ti?’ ?

The questions ‘What did you do/have you done/were you doing (today, yesterday, last week, etc)?’ are extremely important to know in any language because they’re something we ask all the time, and are in fact great open ended questions to launch into a conversation in any language.

So thinking about it, might it be better to use any of these forms:

‘What did you do (today/yesterday/last week)?’ - ‘Beth wnest ti gwneud heddiw/ddoe/wythnos diwethaf?’

‘What did you do (today/yesterday/last week)?’ - ‘Beth wnest ti heddiw/ddoe/wythnos diwethaf?’

‘What have you done (today/yesterday/last week)?’ - ‘Beth wyt ti wedi gwneud heddiw/ddoe/wythnos diwethaf?’

‘What were you doing (today/yesterday/last week)?’ - ‘Beth o’t ti’n gwneud heddiw/ddoe/wythnos diwethaf?’ (* not sure of the spelling of this one - do we use ‘ti’n’ here afyer o’t?)

Are the above all correct, have I missed any forms of these out, and would these sound natural in everyday Welsh conversations?

Gwneud can act both as an auxiliary verb in short form (i.e without a form of ‘bod’) and as a verb in its own right (“to do”), so you don’t have to use it twice to say “what did you do”, although you could, and you could also use it twice if you wanted emphasis (“what did you do”)


It’s actually considered (certainly by purists!) to be incorrect to say ‘beth wnest ti wneud?’ - the understanding is very much that the ‘do’ is part of the ‘did’…

But you’ll certainly hear people doubling up on this in natural speech - you’ll also hear it in normal speech in a way the purists would approve of…

So ‘beth wnes ti?’ - ‘correct’ and common usage
‘Beth wnes ti wneud?’ - common usage


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Just to pick up on this - if you do double up in normal speech, it’s far, far more likely to behave as if it was a normal verb following a past tense, and mutate - so ‘beth wnest ti wneud’ rather than ‘beth wnest ti gwneud’ :smile:

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Diolch! I really should know that verbs for the past tense mutate following wnest ti etc, considering I’ve done all the lessons of SSI Welsh now! I think I do this instinctively in speech so don’t really consciously think about it, but I still need to improve my reading and writing in Welsh and remember the mutations apply for these too.

Thanks for clearing this point up anyway - it’s often little things like this that can trip us up when learning a language I think, so it’s great to have a forum like this to help clarify these things.