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11  Gwneuthur -- 'To Do, To Make'

11.1  This table has the indicative forms that occur in Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed and Branwen Ferch Lyr. Compare it with the full paradigms in GMW 130ff.
Presentgwnaf--gwna: gwnawngwnewchgwnant
Imperfect----gwnei: ----gwneint
1 Preteritegwneuthumgwnaethostgwnaeth: gwnaethom--gwnaethont / gwnaethant
2 Preterite----gorug: ----gorugant
Remember that the letters gwn- are a cluster, not a syllable. Read through all the forms of the present and imperfect. Every one is a monosyllable.

Note 1: Preterite just means "simple past". Another possible term might be "aorist".

Note 2: The second preterite tense shows the Indo-European root we see in Greek '(w)erg-', English 'work', Latin 'urge-'. The rest of the verb comes from something quite different and not wholly clear.


  1. "Minneu a wnaf hynny," heb ynteu.
  2. "Beth a wnaf i i'm cyfoeth?"
  3. "Sef fal y gwnaf . . ."
  4. "Mi a wnaf a thi gydymdeithas."
  5. "Mi a wnaf anglod gwerth can carw."
  6. "Ti a wely a wneuthum i."
  7. "O gwneuthum gam, mi a brynaf dy gerennydd."
  8. "Ansyberwyd, gwneuthur a wneuthum iti."
  9. "A wnaethost," heb ef, "Duw a'i talo it."
  1. The word sef originally meant 'it is' (ys + ef). It has become just a way of continuing a narrative. Often it can be ignored in translation; sometimes it is a sort of explanation -- 'namely'.
  2. o -- 'if', our first meeting with this conjunction. Take care not to confuse it with the preposition o -- 'from'.
  3. A formula containing a subjunctive talo -- 'may God repay it to you, may God reward you for it'. Subjunctives will be dealt with in Chapter 26.
11.3  The most frequent use of gwneuthur is as an auxiliary verb with a verbal noun. This is a common way of forming a narrative past tense, e.g.
cyfodi a orughe rose ('did a rising')
dihunaw a wnaethhe woke
eistedd a wnaethantthey sat
There is a close analogy here to the way in which English formed verbs like he did think, she does swim. These are not used now except for certain forms of emphasis, or for asking questions -- does she swim?


  1. Trannoeth, yn ieuenctid y dydd, cyfodi a orug.
  2. Cyrchu y llys a orug ynteu.
  3. Pawb cyfarch well a wneint.
  4. Ac ar hynny cyrchu y bwrdd a orugant.
  5. Ac eistedd a wnaethant fal hynn -- y frenhines o'r neill parth, a'r iarll o parth arall.
  6. Ac ymddiddan a wnaeth ef a'r frenhines.
  7. A dechreu ymddiddan a wnaeth ef a'r frenhines.
  8. Treulaw a wnaethant bwyd a llyn.
  9. Treulaw y flwyddyn a wnaeth trwy hela.
  10. Ymchwelud a orug ef.
  11. Ymchwelud ei wyneb a orug ef.
  12. Ymchwelud ei wyneb at yr erchwyn a orug ef.
  13. Cyntaf a wnaeth ef ymddiddan a'i wreig.
  14. A meddyliaw a wnaeth y frenhines.
  15. A gwedi y meddwl hwnnw, dihunaw a wnaeth ef.
  16. Ac yna menegi yr holl gyfranc a wnaeth.
  1. Remember the literal structure -- 'he made a beginning of conversing'.
  2. menegi: the verbal noun ending -i causes affection in two preceding syllables of manag-.
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All text copyright © 1996 by Gareth Morgan. Online layout copyright © 2001 by Daniel Morgan.