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Two questions about the 'Can & When' unit.

The 'Can & When' unit introduces the adverb byth , but the 'Tip and Notes' section does not mention how to tell whether it means 'never' or 'ever'.
In the only exercise sentence I found so far that contains byth, the negative construction was used, and byth  stood in place of ddim. For instance:

  • Dyw e ddim yn chwarae golff. = He does not play golf.

  • Dyw e byth yn chwarae golff. = He never plays golf.

So I imagined that by turning the question into the interrogative form, byth  could mean 'ever':

  • Ydy e'n chwarae golff? = Does he play golf?

  • Ydy e byth yn chwarae golff? = Does he ever play golf?

Is this correct?


A second question is about the adverb expressions dair gwaith  and bedair gwaith  (both mutated). In a Welsh grammar I found online (✱) they both seem to be spelt as one word, i.e. dairgwaith  and bedairgwaith.
Does the spelling affect in some way their use and/or their meaning, or is it a free choice to spell them as one or two words?
In the latter case, would Duolingo's exercises accept both spellings?

Thanks in advance!

(✱) 'Modern Welsh: A Comprehensive Grammar', by Gareth King, page 124

1 year ago

2 Comments


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Yes, byth is used for both 'ever' and 'never', depending on the context. In the meaning 'never' it is usually in conjunction with a negative verb.


In making the compound word, tair gwaith becomes teirgwaith, with a vowel change a - e. You will see both forms being used. Unwaith and dwywaith are the usual forms. 'Four times' and more is usually just pedair gwaith, pum gwaith, etc, and then usually it is canwaith (100x) and milwaith (1000x) but miliwn gwaith.

For examples, look in the GPC and Geiriadur yr Academi

When used as an adverbial expression of time there is usually a soft mutation - Dw i'n mynd yno [deirgwaith/dair gwaith] y mis.

1 year ago

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Thanks as usual for the clear explanation!

1 year ago