When to use Yn before a verb

Hi there,

I’m new to the forum so I’d like to say hello to everyone.

I started learning Welsh (North Version) with SSIW about 2-3 months ago. It is the most amazing course!!! I’m finding it very effective and easy to learn. There is a clear structure so I never feel lost. It is a pleasure to listen to the recordings whilst doing household chores or getting ready in the morning :slight_smile: .Then to be able to practice what I’m learning with people in the community. They are amazed at how fast I’ve picked it up and how clearly I can pronounce the words. They actually assume I know a lot more Welsh than I do, and they often start to waffle on before I have to explain that I’ve not been learning for long. So what I’m learning really is high quality! Thank you so much for all of the hard work that has gone into creating this course and offering it to us for free. It really is brilliant and will help me to keep up with my children who are also learning Welsh in school.

It is the first time I’ve posted on such a forum, so I’m not sure how to search to check if anyone else has already asked this question.

I have completed Level 1 and now I’m making my way through Course 1. But what I’m struggling a little with at the moment, is knowing when to use ‘yn’ before a verb. It seems to change depending on past tense, whether there is ‘dim’ in the sentence. I’d be very grateful for an overview on the rules.

Thank you so much again for giving us the opportunity to speak Welsh.


The default answer here is to not worry about it; you’ll get used to it.

However, if you want a little more detail, Welsh is a Verb Subject Object language, as compared to English which is Subject Verb Object (it’s fairly simple - in English we would say “The subject verbs the object” while in Welsh the order is “Verbs the subject the object”). “Dw i” is quite literally “I am”. Most verbs have a couple of ways they can be said: the “to” version (to be, and so on) is the one you hear after “yn” (usually), and this pattern is roughly equivalent to “I am verbing” (mostly). Now “eisiau” and “angen” are a little different, and I have absolutely no idea why. All I can say regarding those is that you’ll get used to it. However, with those two exceptions aside, any time you use “Dw i”, you’ll put an “yn” in front of the verb that follows.


Hi @Andrear, welcome to the forum. I don’t have any advice to add other than that you have above, but would like,to reiterate the don’t worry about it and also Welcome to the Forum! :slight_smile:


Croeso, Welcome from me too, and no yn after dim, as well as no yn before isio or angen. I guess dim/ddim negate yn. But dwi ddim isio is I don’t want and dwi isio is I want, so I. like Hector, have no idea why no yn in that case!! It just is like that - I bet there are a load of things in every langauge that don’t follow rules! Probably because they got picked up from yet different languages!!

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Welcome to the forum @Andrear! :slight_smile: And well done for getting off to such a great start… :star2:

At this stage, most of the uncertainty here is probably because ‘isio/eisiau’ doesn’t take ‘yn’ - perhaps coupled with some ‘past tense doesn’t need yn’…


Dwi’n cerdded - your standard pattern - if in doubt, stick the yn in like this and most of the time you’ll be right.

But… dwi isio, dwi angen… just happen not to take it.


Wnes i gerdded - no need for yn with this particular construction.

But… o’n i’n cerdded - there it is, ‘oeddwn i yn cerdded’…

Key point: I can’t think of an example, off the top of my head, where using/not using ‘yn’ would stop you being understood, so Don’t Worry About It… :slight_smile:

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Well, not exactly…

Dw i ddim yn siarad - I am not speaking.
O’n i ddim yn siarad - I was not speaking
Wnes i ddim siarad - I didn’t speak

No yn in the Wnes i pattern, but there is in the others :slight_smile:


Jeff’s rule: If the first verb is a form of “bod” (“to be”) then use “yn” before any following verbs.

Exception: no “yn” before “isio” or “angen” (I think there’s some story about how “isio” and “angen” weren’t originally considered verbs)

So, “dw i”, “ti”, “o’n i”, “sydd” etc (“I am”, “you are”, “I was”, “who is”): yup - use “yn”
examples: “dw i’n trio”, “ti’n cerdded”, “o’n i’n siarad”, “sydd yn nabod” / “sy’n nabod”
(and just to be clear, the “yn” has been shortened to “'n” in most of my examples)

But, “nes i”, “fedra i ddim”, “liciwn i”, etc (“I did”, “I can’t”, “I’d like”): nope - no need for “yn”
examples: “nes i wylio”, “fedra i ddim amarfer”, “liciwn i siarad”

Full disclaimer: Jeff probably stole his “rule” from Gareth King …


I just wanted to say thank you all very much for the wonderful replies!!! It is really helpful and will save me scratching my head in relation to this subject. I will also happily take on board the advice ‘not to worry too much’ in future ’ :smile: :

Thank you for making me feel very welcome here on the forum and I look forward to sharing notes with you in future :smile:+1: