Mae vs. Yw?

I am getting very confused about when to use some form of "Mae/Maen" and when to use "Yw/Ydy" and what not. Any sort of information or chart would be welcome. Thank you.

February 14, 2016


Mae = there is/are; he/she is Maen = they are Ydy? = Is/Does he/she? Ydy = yes, he/she does/is

Ydy/Yw = both used emphatically to mean is/are.

Ydy is always used with a question; yw is never used (grammatically) with a question.

February 15, 2016

Take a look at the present tense chart here:

or you may find Mark Nodine's course easier:

You are not specific where the issue arises, but as you mention "mae" and "yw" it is possible you are tripping up on the emphatic constructions.

Consider: mae e'n ddysgwyr = he is a learner


dysgwyr yw e = he is a LEARNER (i.e with emphasis that he is a learner, not something else)

In Welsh the verb belongs at the front of the sentence but if you move something else to the front, you give it emphasis. The problem is that the emphatic verb can change the way it looks. Mae and yw are both the verb "to be" in the present tense, third person. However mae is not used in the emphatic form, but yw is.

I should add that "mae" and "maen" are very irregular forms of "to be". Other forms are not so tricky.

February 15, 2016

Ohhhhhhhk. That makes a lot more sense. It's hard to navigate more formal Welsh grammar sources due to their being so many different small variations on how the language is spoken. For example, the wide number of possible ways to say "I am" based on levels of formality, whether or not it is in the more literary register, and whether or not it is being written or spoken. Thank you.

February 16, 2016

wouldn't you say that if nominative or accusative i.e. She is a teacher, She is Donna, then you would use 'Ydy/Yw' but if others i.e. she lives in Swansea, then you would use 'Mae' as in 'Ble mae hi'n byw?'...Just trying to grasp this....

October 26, 2017
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