SSi Forum

Confused about the past tense


I’ve been working my way (be it slowly) through the Old course, where I think there is more time on both future and past tense. But I’m a little confused when to use Nes i and when to use Oedd (is it O’n i?). And when I’m writing I’m never sure to use Roedd/Oedd or to just use the spoken way o’n i?


Hi @jen

There are a group of verbs which use the ‘was’ tense to create the past tense. They tend to be verbs which imply a state of mind, for example…

Meddwl - to think
Gwybod- to know (something)
Nabod- to know (someone)
Eisiau or moyn- to want
Hoffi - to like
Gobeithio - to hope
Caru- to love
Casau- to hate
Swnio- to sound

They are called stative verbs.

I think with writing it’s based upon what the reader expects. They are all correct - it is just a question of the level of formality which might be situation dependent (eg exam question, letter to the council versus email to a friend)

Rich :slight_smile:


Regarding oedd versus o’n, just to clarify, it depends on whether it’s “he/she was” or “I was”. They’re not interchangeable.

O’n i’n… I was…
Oeddet ti’n… you were…
Oedd o’n / oedd hi’n… he was / she was…
Oedden ni’n… we were…
Oeddech chi’n… you (plural/formal) were…
oedden nhw’n… they were…

As to whether to use the imperfect (was) tense or the perfect (did), the Welsh tenses don’t always quite match the English. In English you’d say, “I lived in Manchester when I was young,” but in Welsh that would be, “O’n i’n byw…”


Thanks that makes sense.