go back home!
Get Fluent CD-ROMs
CMC t-shirts
Welsh music
where to learn
cheat sheets
how to learn
Welsh song lyrics
teachers and courses
CMC news
short stories
papers and magazines
join the CMC email list
keep updated
who is Suw?
contact us
help us
give us money
press room
legal stuff

making comparisons

Let’s say that your car is fast. If you’re comparing your car to someone else’s, you could say that it’s as fast, faster, or the fastest.

‘Fast’ is the basic word, and is called the positive form. ‘As fast’ tells us that it moves at the same speed as the other car. ‘As fast’ is called the equative form. ‘Faster’ tells us that the first car moves more quickly than the second car, but that there are other cars which might move quicker still. ‘Faster’ is called the comparative form. ‘Fastest’ tells us that no other cars can move more quickly than this car. ‘Fastest’ and is called the superlative form.

Short adjectives
In Welsh as in English, when you have a short adjective of one or two syllable, you can create these forms by adding a suffix to the stem of the positive form:

positive fast - cyflym
equative as fast add -ed cyflymed
comparative faster add -ach cyflymach
superlative fastest add -af cyflymaf (sometimes the f is dropped)

When the positive form ends in -b, -d, -g, -dl, -dn, -dr, -gr these change to -p, -t, -c, -tl, tn, -tr, -cr before the suffix is added. Sometimes, internal vowels change - w and aw become y and o - and sometimes -n and -r are doubled. There are other irregularities, but you will learn these exceptions as you go along.

The equative form is often used with ‘cyn’ preceeding it, which causes soft mutation (not of rh or ll), e.g. cyn wynned, as white.

Here are some examples of of adjectives and their different forms:

positive equative comparative superlative
obvious/clear amlwg amlyced amlycach amlycaf
fragile brau breued breuach breuaf
dirty (N) budr butred butrach butraf
short byr byrred byrrach byrraf
kind caredig carediced caredicach caredicaf
nasty cas cased casach casaf
round crwn cryned crynach crynaf
strong cryf cryfed cryfach cryfaf
lazy diog dioced diocach diocaf
clean glān glaned glanach glanaf
powerful grymus grymused grymusach grymusaf
wet gwlyb gwlyped gwlypach gwlypaf
tenacious gwydn gwytned gwytnach gwytnaf
white gwyn gwynned gwynnach gwynnaf
nice, pleasant hyfryd hyfryted hyfrytach hyfrytaf
full llawn llawned llawnach llawnaf
sweet melys melysed melysach melysaf
pure pur pured purach puraf
important pwysig pwysiced pwysicach pwysicaf
cheap rhad rhated rhatach rhataf
likely tebyg tebyced tebycach tebycaf
fair teg teced tecach tecaf
poor tlawd tloted tlotach tlotaf
pretty tlws tlysed tlysach tlysaf
heavy trwm trymed trymach trymaf
light (in weight) ysgafn ysgafned ysgafnach ysgafnaf

Some borrowings add -ied, -iach, -iaf, especially in the North: e.g. braf, brafied, brafiach, brafiaf also neis, ffres, cwl, crand, nobl.

Of course, some adjectives are irregular:

positive equative comparative superlative
near, close agos nesed nes nesaf
(less correctly:   agosed agosach agosaf)
difficult anodd anhawsed anos anhawsaf
(less correctly: anodded anoddach anoddaf)
small, little bach,
(occ: bychaned)
Ilai lleiaf
soon buan buaned buanach buanaf
early cynnar cynted cynt cyntaf
good da cystal gwell gorau
bad drwg cynddrwg gwaeth gwaethaf
occ: (in sense
of naughty)
dryced drycach drycaf
valuable gwerthfawr gwerthfawroced gwerthfawrocach gwerthfawrocaf
easy hawdd hawsed haws hawsaf
(less correctly:   hawdded hawddach hawddaf)
old hen hyned hy+n
(less correctly: hynach)
long hir cyhyd hwy hwyaf
(less correctly:   hired hirach hiraf)
young ieuanc ieuanged iau/ieuangach ieuaf/ieuangaf
young ifanc ifenged/ifanged ifengach ifengaf
low isel ised is isaf
wide llydan lleted/cyfled lletach lletaf
big mawr cymaint mwy mwyaf
high uchel uched/cyfuwch uwch uchaf

Long adjectives
Where you have adjectives of two or more syllables, these are used with the different forms of ‘more’, (mor, mwy, mwyaf), instead of using endings. Mor is followed by soft mutation, but does not affect rh and ll.

Note that those irregular adjectives in the table above cannot be used with ‘mwy’. Also, adjectives of exactly two syllables can use either method.

Here are some examples:

positive equative comparative superlative
brotherly brawdol mor frawdol mwy brawdol mwyaf brawdol
stubborn cyndyn mor gyndyn mwy cyndyn mwyaf cyndyn
disgraceful gwarthus mor warthus mwy gwarthus mwyaf gwarthus
cowardly llwfr mor llwfr mwy llwfr mwyaf llwfr
reasonable rhesymol mor rhesymol mwy rhesymol mwyaf rhesymol

As big as a house…
To say that something is ‘as… as…’, use the equative plus â: ‘cyn… -ed â…’ when you have a short adjective that uses the endings, or ‘mor… â’ when you have a long adjective which uses the forms of ‘mwy’.

Some examples:

as heavy as cyn trwmed â
as happy as cyn hapused â
as beautiful as cyn hardded â
as funny as mor doniol â
as comfortable as mor cyfforddus â
as interesting as mor diddorol â

Remember that â causes aspirate mutation to the word that follows, and changes to ag when a vowel follows.

Faster than a speeding bullet…
To say that something is ‘-er than’, use the comparative plus na: ‘-ach na …’ or ‘mwy… na …’.

weaker than gwannach na
faster than cyflymach na
cheaper than rhatach na
more anxious than mwy pryderus na
more disgraceful than mwy gwarthus na
more reasonable than mwy rhesymol na

Remember that na causes aspirate mutation to the words that follows, and changes to nag when a vowel follows.

The quickest fox…
When using the superlative, and saying that something is ‘the -est’, you have to use the identification sentence structure which puts ‘bod’ towards the end. When you say that this mountain is the highest, you have to say ‘y mynydd ‘ma ydy’r uchaf. You must not use mae with a superlative.

get the text document


© suw charman 2002, 2003 unless otherwise stated

[Get Fluent] [CMC t-shirts] [buy Welsh music] [where to start] [cheat sheets]
[how to learn] [Welsh lyrics] [teachers and courses] [ratw] [CMC news]
[short stories] [interviews] [features] [weblogs] [books] [papers and magazines]
[audio] [chat] [join the email list] [keep updated] [links] [who is Suw?]
[contact us] [help us] [give us money] [press room] [legal stuff] [thanks] [home]

Legal warning notice: The material on this site is protected by copyright laws. Use of this site is strictly subject to our current terms which may change from time to time. Please also read our privacy policy and security statement.