Note: The following
grammar notes are taken from Modern Tagalog grammar by Teresita Ramos
and Resty Cena, published by the University of Hawaii Press.
Click on the topic of your choice.
Verbal aspect and focus
Basic sentence expansion
Changes in the Basic sentence
Complex sentences: Conjoining
I. Simple Sentences
A. Sentences with a Subject
The typical simple sentence in Tagalog has a subject (or
topic) and a predicate (or comment about the topic). The normal order
of these elements is Predicate then Subject. In contrast, in English
the order is Subject then Predicate.
Predicate + Subject
Tumakbo si John.
The subject can be a noun, a pronoun, a demonstrative,
an adjective, a verb, or a prepositional phrase.
terms of the way they are marked, noun subjects divide into two general
classes: personal names marked by si
versus all other
nouns, which are marked by ang
. Examples of sentences
with personal nouns as subjects:
Marker Personal Noun
Ngumiti si Perla.
Lumaban si Daniel.
The last two examples have subjects which are personalized
names of a dog and a cat. Non-human animate subjects when personalized
are marked by si
Non-personal nouns are marked by ang
are common nouns and any inanimate nouns including what, in English,
are considered as proper nouns, such as names of places, buildings,
Ngumiti ang dalaga.
Malungkot ang Noli Me Tangere
Kin terms and civic terms are marked by either ang
is less personal and a bit more
Marker Kin Terms
Dumating si / ang Tatay.
Marker Civic Terms
Darating si / ang Presidente.
The plural of personal nouns is formed by replacing the
. The plural of non-personal
nouns is formed by adding mga
Personal si sina
Non-personal ang ang mga
Kumain ang mga bisita.
Non-personal proper nouns may also be pluralized, although
the need for it seldom arises.
Magkakasinglaki ang mga San Fernando.
The San Fernando (Towns) are of the same size.
Common nouns may be personified. They take the personal
Marker Common Nouns
Pumasok na si Estudyante.
Personal names can be used as common nouns, in which case
the marker ang
is used, as well as the form mga
Maganda ang Marilyn.
The (name) Marilyn
Magaganda lahat ang mga Marilyn
the Marilyns are pretty.
The forms of pronoun subjects
are distinguished according to person: first, second,
and number: singular
. In the first person plural,
an added distinction is made between exclusive
hearer) and inclusive
( including the hearer). Pronouns are not
preceded by ang
Pronoun Subject Set
1st Person ako kami (exclusive)
2nd Person ikaw/ka kayo
3rd Person siya sila
usually occurs initially while ka
Bumili ka ng saging.
Ikaw ba ang bagong dating?
The form kita (kata
in some dialects), not in the
chart above, refers to the singular hearer and the speaker. It is also
used in place of the subject and the object in sentences lilke "I
Kita nga e mag-usap.
the two of us talk.
Mag-usap nga kita.
the two of us talk.
Nakita kita = Nakita ko ikaw.
say a prayer for you.
the relative distance of objects from the speaker and the listener.
Demonstrative Subject Set
In rapid speech, the I-
of the demonstrative is
dropped. The plural forms are constructed by adding ang mga
Itapon mo ito. Itapon mo ang
Basahin mo iyan. Basahan mo ang
The form of the basic Tagalog
adjectives is ma
ma + hirap mahirap
ma + dali madali
When used as subject, adjectives are preceded by the subject
Kawawa ang mahirap.
Magbabayad ang malupit.
When in the plural, the first consonant and vowel of the
root is reduplicated; mga
is optionally added after the marker
Kawawa ang mga mahihirap
Magbabayad ang mga malulupit.
Roots that can be used as adjectives without adjectival
prefix can only be pluralized by the addition of mga
to the marker.
It is incorrect to reduplicate the first consonant-vowel of the root.
Na-gong ang mga pangit. Na-gong ang mga
Nauntog ang mga pandak. Nauntog ang mga
Verbs can also be used as subject.
They are preceded by the subject marker ang
, and additionally
Verb Subject Verb Subject
Naubusan ang natulog. Naubusan ang
Naghanda na ang lalangoy. Naghanda na ang
Prepositional Phrases as Subject
phrases can also be used as subject.
Nahulog ang nasa kusina.
Nabasag ang kay John.
The phrases can be given both singular and plural readings.
When the subject phrase expresses location, its plurality can be made
explicit by the addition of mga
to the marker.
Nahulog ang mga nasa kusina.
Nabasag ang mga nasa kahon.
B. The Predicate
The Predicate can be a verb, an adjective, a noun, or
a prepositional phrase.
Nahulog si Bill.
Tinamaan ang ibon.
Batugan si Bill
Malabsa’ ang kanin.
Boksingero si Mike.
Nars ang girlfriend niya.
Nasa kusina si Rafael.
Bukas ang laro.
Time expressions like bukas, mamaya, kahapon,
are treated as prepositional phrases, although they do not show a preposition-like
C. Subjectless Sentences
phrase, which serves as the subject of
the sentence, does not occur in a special set of sentences. In these
sentences, none of the participants in the event is subject or focus
of the sentence.
Sentences with gusto
‘like, want,’ followed
by a noun phrase functioning as object or goal, do not require a subject
when the object is indefinite.
Actor Indefinite Object
Gusto ng bisita ng litson.
Gusto ni Dan ng halu-halo.
When the object is definite, it must be the subject.
Actor Definite Object
Gusto ng bisita ang litson.
Gusto ni Dan ang halu-halo.
When a verb is present in the gusto sentence in a construction
similar to the English "likes to eat," or "likes to hike."
the actor-focus verb requires no subject, whereas the object-focus verb
requires a subject. Notice the linker na/-ng after the actor.
Gusto ni Dan na kumain ng litson.
Gusto ni Pedrong kainin ang litson.
are synonymous of gusto
Avoid the stilted nais
. The negative of gusto
Ayaw ng tsuper ng ulan.
Ibig mo ba ng tubig?
D. Phenomenal Sentences
Sentences whose predicates consist of verbs starting certain
acts of nature, when inflected as -um
verbs, don’t show
a subject phrase.
Umulan nang malakas.
Other roots in this class are:
sun Umaaraw na!
drizzle Umambon kanina.
thunder Kumulog kamakalawa.
The last two roots allow some flexibility in that they
may also show a subject phrase.
Dumilim ang panahon.
Lumiwanag ang panahon.
Indeed, they seem to belong to a class by themselves in
that they are the only two roots in this class that accept the verbal
Nagdilim sa salas. Nagdilim ang salas.
Phenomenal roots, when inflected as -in-
require a subject phrase.
Binaha ang Maynila.
Nilindol* ang San Francisco.
*Remember, -in- becomes ni- in roots beginning with
the sound l.
Of course when these words are used in the non-phenomenal
sense, they require a subject phrase even when the -um-
Lumiwanag ang mukha ni Joaquin.
Dumilim ang pag-asa ni Grant.
Sentences that refer to time or phrases of the day are
Alas-tres na pala.
Gabi na naman.
Similarly, when inflected as -in-
verbs, they require
Ginabi si Mario.
Inumaga si Damian sa madyungan.
E. Sentences with ka- Verbs
marks a recently completed action of the verb.
Like the rest of the sentences in this section, it has no subject phrase.
It is often followed by the adverbial particle lang
. The recently
completed aspect is formed by the affix ka-
followed by the reduplicated
first consonant-vowel of the verb root. The reduplication signals action
ka + li + linis
ka + ba + balik lang ni Lourdes. Lourdes just returned.
F. Exclamation Sentences
Sentences in which the predicate or its adverbial modifier
is made the focus of an exclamation have no subject. The focus word
is marked by ang
Ang bilis ng babae!
How fast the woman
Ang takbo ni Ben!
How Ben ran!
To turn a simple sentence into an exclamation sentence:
the subject marker with a non-subject marker
Mahusay ang mekaniko --- ng mekaniko.
Remove the affixes of the adjective or verb modifier
Mahusay ang mekaniko --- husay
Introduce the sentence with an exclamation marker.
Mahusay ang mekaniko Ang husay ng
Adjectives are the most common word bases in this construction.
Adverb and verb word bases also occur.
Mabilis tumakbo si Bjorn. Ang bilis
tumakbo ni Bjorn.
Mabagal lumakad si Josefa. Ang bagal lumakad
Tumakbo si Kurt. Ang takbo ni
Umiyak si Martin. Ang iyak ni Martin!
When the focused word is an adjective or an adverb, the
may be used instead of ang
Anong bilis ni Ben.
Kay yaman ng Sultan.
These markers may not combine with focused verbs.
*Anong takbo ni Ben.
*Kay kain ni Dante.
When a verb has an adverbial modifier, only the modifier
can serve as the focus of the exclamation sentence.
Mabilis umusad si Nina. Ang bilis umusad
*Ang mabilis usad ni Nina.
To express the strongest exclamation, reduplicate the
adjective root, prefix it with pagka
-, and introduce the sentence
Anong pagkabilis-bilis ni Ben!
Anong pagkayaman-yaman ng Sultan!
G. Intensive Sentences
An adjective predicate or an adverbial modifer may be
intensified by dropping their affixes and prefixing napaka-
the root. The subject marker is replaced by the appropriate non-subject
the subject marker with a non-subject marker
Mahusay ang mekaniko. -- ng mekaniko
Replace the affixes of the adjective or verb modifier with napaka-
Mahusay ang mekaniko. Napakahusay
Masaya ang piknik. Napakasaya
H. The Existential Sentence
May / mayroon
sentences are often identified as
existential sentences. Existentials express:
existence of something:
exists; or, There is God.
existence of something somewhere:
May giyera sa Asya.
is war in Asia.
existence of something owned or possessed:
Mayroon siyang pera.
He has money.
is a combination of may
the letter being a locative demonstrative. Wala is the negative form
of may / mayroon
. It means non-possession or non-existence.
is no God.
Walang giyera sa Asya.
is no war in Asia.
Wala siyang pera.
has no money.
is always followed immediately by the object
phrase. With mayroon
, the object phrase may occur before or after
May alipunga si Alberto.
May masamang alipunga si Alberto
The possessor is always an ang
May konsiyensiya ang
When the existential expresses the existence of something
in some location, it is subjectless.
May tao sa silong.
May yelo sa bundok.
When it expresses the existence of something owned or
possessed, it has a subject, which is the possessor.
May libro si Carol.
May kalukohan si Tarcila.
When the object whose existence is asserted is a nominalized
verb, the existential may or may not have a subject depending on the
focus of the verb. An actor focus verb requires no subject, whereas
an object focus verb requires a subject.
May bumili ng saging
verb has no subject)
May biniling mangga si Dante
verb has a subject)
II. The Verb: Aspect and Focus
Aspect indicates, by means of verbal inflection, whether
the action has been started or not, and if started, whether it has been
completed or if it is still continuing. Verbal inflection includes affixation
and/or reduplication. Reduplication is the repetition of parts of the
affix or of the root.
The three aspects of the verbs are:
for action started and terminated.
for action not started.
for action started but not yet
completed or action still in progress.
The form of the verb that does not imply any aspect is
earlier, are sometimes considered to form another aspect category, referred
to as recent perfective.
The closet equivalent in English to the completed aspect
is the past tense, to the contemplated aspect the future tense, and
to the incompleted aspect the progressive.
Verbal inflection to indicate aspect differs according
to the affix class of the verb. The four verb affix classes are -um,
mag-, ma-, and mang-
1. The -um- Verb
The neutral or infinitive form of the -um-
is constructed by placing -um-
before the first vowel of the
verb or base. The completed aspect is similarly formed.
to go away
Neutral lumangoy (-um-
before first vowel of root)
Completed lumangoy (-um-
before first vowel of root)
The contemplated aspect is formed by reduplicating the
first consonant and vowel of the root, or simple the vowel in roots
that begin with a vowel.
first CV or first V of root is
In the incompleted aspect, the first (consonant)-vowel
of the root is reduplicated, and then the affix -um-
before the first vowel of the reduplicated base.
is inserted in the duplicate syllable)
Here are more examples:
Root Completed Contemplated Incompleted
ulan umulan uulan umuulan
takbo tumakbo tatakbo tumatakbo
tanggi tumanggi tatanggi tumatanggi
yakap yumakap yayakap yumayakap
salubong sumalubong sasalubong sumasalubong
2. The mag- Verb
The neutral form of this class of verbs is constructed
by prefixing mag-
to the verb root.
Neutral form maglaba
The completed aspect is formed by changing m-
the prefix to n-.
The contemplated aspect is formed by reduplicating the
first syllable of the root and prefixing mag-
to the base.
The incompleted aspect is formed by prefixing nag-
to the verb root and reduplicating its first syllable.
Root Neutral Completed Contemplated Incompleted
dala magdala nagdala magdadala nagdadala
tanim magtanim nagtanim magtatanim nagtatanim
3. The ma- Verb
verb follows the same aspect formation
as does the mag-
replaces the m-
prefix for the started action and the first consonant- vowel or vowel
of the root is reduplicated for action not terminated.
4. The mang- Verb
affix undergoes the same m-
replacement for started action and reduplication for non-terminated
action, but there are some changes in the final nasal sound of the affix
as it gets influenced by the following initial sound of the root. The
first consonant of the root may drop under certain conditions. These
changes may be represented by the following rule, where p, t, k,
are initial sounds of the root or base.
mang + b
mang + t
mang + k
mang + buli mamili
mang + pulot mamulot
The consonant h, g,
the semivowels y
, and the vowels do not influence the final nasal of the prefix
mang + gulo manggulo
mang + huli manghuli
After the affixed verb form has undergone changes, the
second syllable is reduplicated to form the incompleted and completed
Where no changes occur, the first syllable of the root
Verb bases having initial consonants l
and a few
retain these sounds after the final nasal of mang-
has undergone the sound change.
mang + likum manlikum
mang + loko manloko
mang + lito manlito
Focus is the expression in the verb of the grammatical
role of the subject of the sentence. The role can be one of actor, object,
benefactor, location, instrument, or cause. As in Aspect, this expression
is in the form of verbal affixes. Different roles induce different affixes
on the verb.
When the subject performs the role of an actor, the verb
is in actor focus; when the subject of the sentence is an object, the
verb is in object focus, and so forth. Thus, in addition to these two
focuses, the verb may be in benefactor focus, locative focus, or causative
Focus is similar to voice
, except that in Tagalog,
as shown above, the division would not be limited to the English active
(actor) and passive (object) voices.
The verbal affixes that indicate that the actor, doer,
or the originator of the action is in focus are -um-, mag-, mang-,
Verb Affix Verb Subject Object
-um- Gumawa ang panadero ng tinapay.
The baker made some bread.
mag- Magbili ka ng gulay.
(You) sell some vegetables.
mang- Manghuli kayo ng daga
You catch some mice.
ma- Matulog na kayo.
As observed earlier, each of these focus affixes follow
unique ways of inflecting the aspect.
Object or Goal Focus
Verbal affixes that indicate that the subject of the sentence
is the object or goal of the action include the suffixes -in
and the prefix i-
Verb Affix Verb Actor Object (subject)
-in Pukpukin mo ang
(You) hammer the nail.
-an Huagasan mo ang kotse.
(You) wash the car.
I- Isulat mo ang kuwento
(You) write the story.
The -in Object-Focus Suffix
form of the -in
verb is formed by suffixing -in
the verb root.
Neutral alis + in alisin
basa + in basahin
If the root ends in a vowel, -hin
is suffixed to
the root rather than -in.
With the addition of the suffix -in
there is also a shift in stress to the next syllable toward the
end of the word.
The completed aspect is formed by placing -in
the first vowel of the root.
Completed in + alis inalis
in + basa binasa
In the incompleted aspect, the first syllable of the root
is reduplicated and then the infix is inserted before the first vowel
of the base.
Incompleted in + alis in + basa
before first vowel)
The contemplated aspect is similar to the neutral form
but with the first syllable of the base reduplicated.
Contemplated in + alis in + basa
at end of root,
reduplicate first consonant-vowel)
The I- Object-Focus Prefix
neutral aspect of the I-
verb is formed by prefixing I-
the verb root. To this neutral form, insert the infix -in-
the first vowel of the root and the completed aspect is formed. If instead
the first (consonant)-vowel of the neutral form is reduplicated, the
contemplated aspect is formed. If the first (consonant)-vowel of the
neutral form is reduplicated and then the infix -in-
before the first vowel of this reduplicated syllable, the incompleted
aspect is formed.
Root abot tapon
Neutral iabot itapon
Completed iniabot * itinapon
Contempated iaabot itatapon
Incompleted iniaabot* itinatapon
Remember that the infix -in-
before vowels and the consonants h, y, n, l.
The verbal affixes that indicate that the subject is the
location of the action or that the action is done toward that direction
include -in, -an,
Locative Affix Verb Actor Locative
-an Punasan mo ang
-in Balibagin mo ang
pag...an Pagsabihan mo si
follow a consonant sound, and
a vowel sound. There is also an accompanying
shift in stress to the next syllable with the addition of the suffix.
punas + an balibag + in pag
+ sabi + an
A couple of things to note: The locative suffix -in
is dropped in the completed aspect, and the incompleted aspect infix
is inserted in the reduplicated CV in both the -an
If the verb has a directional meaning, for example, balibag
‘throw something at,’ the focus of the verb is sometimes referred
to as "source" or "goal" depending on the direction
of the action.
The verbal affixes that indicate that the beneficiary
of the action is the subject are generally I-
Verb Actor Beneficiary-Subject Goal/Object
I- Ibili mo ang Nanay ng
You buy a pair of shoes for Mother.
ipag- Ipaglaba mo ang maysakit ng
You wash clothes for the sick one.
verbs behave like the I-
except that the -in-
or the indicator of the action started is
infixed in the prefix rather than in the root.
Neutral ipagluto ibili
Completed ipinagluto ibinili
Contemplated ipagluluto ibibili
Incompleted ipinagluluto ibinibili
The verbal affix that refers to anything used or acted
upon to bring about the action as subject is ipang-,
shortened to I-.
Verb Actor Instrument-Subject Goal
ipang Ipanghiwa mo ang
kutsilyo ng mangga.
You use the knife to cut the mango.
verb is inflected in the same manner
as the ipag-
verb. In addition, its final nasal undergoes the
same sound changes mang-
ipang + tahi
III. Simple Expansions
of the Basic Sentence
Identifying Other Participants
One way to expand a simple sentence is to identify the
other participants in the event, where appropriate. We typically only
report the actor and the object, making assumptions that the other participants
are either understood or inconsequential. In addition to the actor and
object participants, noun phrases may perform the roles of location,
beneficiary, or instrument. Here’s a sentence that includes all
in the kitchen)
para kay Dan
sa pamamagitan ng martilyo.
with a hammer)
As shown earlier, one of the participants is focused as
the subject or topic of the sentence; in the above example, this is
. The subject word is introduced or marked by ang
When not functioning as subject, these phrases retain
their own markings:
Non-Subject Noun Markers
Role Personal Non-Personal
actor ni ng
goal ni ng
location kay sa
beneficiary para kay para sa
instrument sa pamamagitan ni sa pamamagitan
Based on their markers, these phrases are grouped into
two: those marked by ni
-phrases, thus the actor,
goal, and instrument phrases; and those marked by kay
called the sa-
phrases, which include the location and beneficiary
-phrases have pronoun and demonstrative
counterparts. The following chart also gives the ang
marks the subject of the sentence.
Non -Subject Subject
Non-Personal (sg.) ng sa ang
(pl.) ng mga
sa mga ang mga
Personal (sg.) ni kay si
(sg.) 1 ko (sa)
2 mo (sa)
iyo ikaw, ka
3 niya (sa)
(pl.) 1 inclusive namin (sa)
exclusive natin (sa)
2 ninyo (sa)
3 nila (sa)
Object near speaker nito dito ito
Object near listener niyan diyan iyan
Object away from niyon doon iyon
speaker and listener
Expansion by Modification
Adjectives serve as
single-word modifiers of nouns. They may occur by the juxtaposition
of the adjective and noun, but also by the linking of the two words
using the linker na
. The linker -ng
to the first word if it ends in a vowel, or the linker -g
attached to if it ends in -n
. The linker na
the word before it ends in a consonant.
adjective + linker + noun noun + linker
bata gulong na
makapal supot na
Phrases may be used to
modify nouns. Like single-word modifiers, phrase modifiers may occur
before or after the noun modified. As well, the modifier and the noun
are linked by some form of the nasal linker depending on the last sound
of the first word (see above for the rule). Locative, possessive, benefactive,
and informational phrases are some of the kinds of phrases that may
be used as noun modifiers.
Phrase Modifier Noun Phrase
locative ang nasa kusinang bisita
ang bisitang nasa
possessive ang kay Pedrong libro
ang librong* para
informational ang tungkol kay Fe na libro
ang librong tungkol
*Note the absence of the linker before the possessor phrase
Naka- Constructions as Modifiers Naka-
is an adjective prefix which can be followed by nouns (limited to
things or accessories that can be worn or put on) and by verb roots.
ang babaing nakaluksa
the woman (who is)
ang babaing naka-asul
the woman (who is)
Taga- Constructions as Modifiers Taga-,
a prefix that occurs before nouns, also occurs before verb roots
to mean "one whose occupation, work, or duty is the one expressed
by the verb."
ang sundalong tagalinis ng baril linis
Verbal Constructions as Modifiers
can be used as the basis of a modification structure after nouns.
Ang batang umiiyak....
(who is) crying...
Modification structures involving adjective and phrase
modifiers can be given a complex structure analysis where the modifiers
represent an embedded sentence. Verbal construction modifiers as embedded
sentences are discussed in some detail in a later section.
Except for adverbs indicating time or duration of time,
verbal modification is marked by the occurrence of the linker na
between the modifier and the verb or by the adverbial marker
when the modifier follows the verb.
A limited number of
combinations of ma-
and a base word are used to modify the verb.
They function like adverbs of manner. The verbs occurring after these
adjectives are in the infinitive form (i.e., uninflected for aspect).
ma- modifier linker infinitive
Madalas (na) magsimba si
Marunong (na) magtrabaho si
The linker na
in this construction is often dropped,
but not that linker -ng
Verbal forms may modify
verbs; both the verbal modifier and the modified verb usually have the
same focus. These verbal modifiers are often in the incompleted aspect
Umiiyak na umalis si Susan.
Humihikbing natulog si Juliet.
Modifiers of verbs
may be intensified by reduplication or by the addition of adverbial
intensifiers to the modifier.
) Tumakbo siya nang ubod
He ran very fast.
) Tumawa siya nang
He laughed very loudly.
(+ base reduplication) Lumakad siya nang
He walked very slowly.
(+ base reduplication Nagbihis siya nang
and linker) She dressed very beautifully.
and base Umiiyak siya nang
reduplication) He cried very loudly.
Modifying the Single-Word Modifier
Persons, things, and actions may be compared in terms
of degrees of equality, superiority, or inferiority. These degrees of
comparison are indicated by comparative markers.
Equality magkasing-, kasing-
Non-Equality mas, sa / kaysa (sa),
To express the same degree of equality
in nouns or verbs being compared, the adjective root is prefixed by
Magkasingtaas si Karla at si Frank
(sina Karla at Frank).
When the quality
in one noun being compared is more than the quality in the other, the
phrase markers kaysa
kay or kaysa sa
occurs before the
personal or non-personal noun being compared. The adjective is marked
by mas, lalo
or higit na.
Mas malakas si Jaime kaysa kay Johnny.
is more common: higit
is on the formal
may be omitted, leaving behind kaysa
The superlative degree
of the adjective is expressed by the affix pinaka-
adjectives or to the adjective roots that do not need
The superlative adjective usually occurs before the modified
Pinakamagandang artista siya.
Pinakamagaling na titser si Lydia.
But, to emphasize the modified noun, the order is reversed.
Artista siyang pinakamaganda.
Titser na pinakamagaling si Rhonda.
To express high intensity
of the quality, the adjective roots are preceded by the following:
sukdulan nang sukdulan nang ganda
ubod nang ubod nang ganda
The high intensity of the quality is also expressed when
the adjectives are repeated, the two being joined by a linker.
magaling na magaling
Expansion by Compounding
Two or more syntatically equivalent units can be joined
in a coordinate structure by the use of conjunctors. These conjunctions
may occur betweeen words, phrases, or sentences.
pero, subalit, ngunit, datapwat
ikaw at ako
you and I
ikaw o ako
you or I
ni ikaw ni ako
you nor I
tanyag pero walang-kapararakan
Events, participants, and modifiers may be compounded.
Lumundag at kumokak ang palaka.
Pumikit at kumindat ang mama.
Lumangoy sina Pete at Abra.
Kumita nang malaki ang matindi at
IV. Changes in the Basic sentence
The basic predicate-subject order of Tagalog statements
can be reversed. If the subject is shifted to precede the predicate,
the inversion marker ay
is inserted between the two elements.
Regular Order Inverted Order
Predicate Subject Subject ay Predicate
Sundalo si Ricardo. Si Ricardo
Matamis ang atis. Ang atis ay matamis.
To convert an affirmative sentence into a negative, the
negative particle hindi
is placed before it.
Pilipino si Joyce. Hindi Pilipino
Joyce is not a Filipino.
When the subject is a pronoun, that pronoun is shifted
before the predicate and thus follows hindi.
Abala siya. Hindi siya abala.
is not busy.
In the inverted order, hindi
always follows ay
and precedes the predicate.
Si Jorge ay hindi Pilipino.
Yes-no questions are usually formed by inserting the question
after the first word of a sentence. There are affirmative
yes-no questions and there are negative yes-no questions. A third type
is the tag-question.
Affirmative Yes-No Question
Abala si Jorge. Abala ba si
However, when the subject is the pronoun ka
any one-syllable pronoun, then ba
follows the pronoun.
Matipid ka. Matipid ka ba?
To construct negative yes-no questions, ba
in negative statements.
Negative Yes-No Question
Matulungin si George Hindi ba matulungin
The single-syllable pronoun ka
but pronouns having more than one syllable must follow ba
Hindi ba siya aalis?
Tag Questions Hindi ba
is a negative
tag question in Tagalog. In rapid speech, it is reduced to di ba
Statement Tag Question
Artista siya. hindi ba?
an actor, isn’t he?
Response Patterns to Yes-No Questions
Question Afirmative Response
Sundalo ba si Jorge? Oo, sundalo si Jorge.
Jorge is a soldier.
Plain oo ‘yes’
can stand for the whole
affirmative response. In Tagalog, it is common to agree to a negative
comment by saying oo
followed by the negative statement.
Negative Question Affirmative Response
Hindi doktor si Jorge, ano? Oo,
hindi siya doktor.
Yes, he isn’t a doctor.
In English, of course, a negative response is reinforced
by another-negative expression, e.g., "No, he isn’t a soldier."
In cotrast to a negative
sentence, the negative response has two occurrences of the particle
Negative Question Negative Response
Hindi siya sundalo, ano? Hindi, hindi
No, he’s not a soldier.
Questions with Interrogative Words
The common interrogative words are:
Sino ang dumating?
Sino ang abogado mo?
Ano ang gusto mo?
Alin ang ayaw mo?
Ilan ang babae?
Saan siya pumunta?
Kailan siya dumating?
Kangino bumili si Eleanor?
Bakit umalis si Dorotea?
Papaano nililinis ang isda?
Inversion of Interrogative Sentences
invert a question, the ang
phrase is shifted to initial position
in the sentence, which is followed by the question marker ba,
inversion marker ay,
and then the interrogative word. The question
words sino, ano, alin,
Ang abogado mo ba ay sino?
Ang pangalan mo ba ay ano?
Infinitive forms of
the verbs are used for commands and the actor is limited to the second
person form of the personal pronoun.
Focus Verb Pronoun Complement
Actor Maglinis ka/kayo ng bahay.
clean the house.
Goal Kunin mo/ninyo ang damit.
get the clothes.
Negative Commands Hwag
is used in negative commands.
Huwag kang tumayo.
you (sg.) stand.
Huwag mong inumin ang gatas.
you (sg.) drink the milk.
Note the inversion of the pronoun and the verb in negative
Affirmative command: Inumin mo ang
Negative command: Huwag mong
inumin ang gatas.
The verbal prefix-paki-
and the particle nga
express a request. The verb stem with paki-
takes an object
as the subject of the sentence. The pronoun as actor is limited to the
Pakiabot mo nga ang libro.
(sg.) please hand over the book.
Note the occurrence of mo
. Requests of this form are usually said
with a rising intonation.
An exhortation construction expresses a wish that an action
takes place. It takes the plural pronoun tayo
for goal-focus verbs. This imperative construction
is equivalent to the English constrction introduced by "let’s."
Linisin natin ang kotse.
clean the car.
The use of nga
adds meaning of
politeness or mild suggestion to the exhortation.
Kumain naman tayo sa labas.
(this time) eat out.
Bumili nga tayo ng pop.
‘perhaps’ indicates uncertainty.
Tumawag kaya’ siya sa amin.
she called my home.
Actually, the use of nga, kaya
and the plural pronoun
is an indirect way of giving a command. The most direct command is sentence
1 below and the most indirect way of giving a command is sentence 4.
1. Magsaing ka.
4. Magsaing na kaya tayo.
What if we cooked
Perhaps we should cook rice now.
More Functions of the Verb
affix indicates that
the actor has the ability to do the action named by the verb base. Ma-
is the goal-focus counterpart of both maka-
affixes. The following charts give examples of the maka-
Focus Verb Actor Object/
actor Makabubuhat siya ng
He can/ is able to lift a car.
goal Mabubuhat niya ang
The aspect forms of the maka-/ma-
verbs are as
follows, illustrated for the root basa
Aspect Actor Focus Object/Goal
Infinitive makabasa mabasa
Completed nakabasa nabasa
Contemplated makababasa mababasa
Incompeted nakababasa nababasa
Focus Verb Actor Object/Goal
Actor Makapagdala kaya kayo ng
He was able to bring food.
Goal Madala mo
kaya ang pagkain.
The aspect forms of makapag-
and ma- -an
are as follows.
Aspect Actor Focus Object/Goal
Infinitive makapaghanda mahandaan
Completed nakapaghanda nahandaan
Contemplated makapaghahanda mahahandaan
Incompeted nakapaghahanda nahahandaan
Note that verbs having an -an
goal focus affix
) get a ma-... -an
compound affix instead of
. Note, too, that the -ka-
of the affix maka-
may be reduplicated instead of the first syllable
of the word base or root.
usually occurs with verb roots that take
affixes, whereas makapag-
occurs with verb roots that take the mag-
is the actor-focus counterpart of the prefix
which makes the verb base a request form. Unlike paki-,
can also be used to ask permission to use
or partake of something owned by someone. Where no one is addressed
in a paki-
request, the object may take a ng
Pakiabot mo nga ang asin.
Pakiabot nga ng asin.
Note the differences in the use of maki-
Request Makibili nga ako ng kartolina
Makikuha nga ako ng tubig.
Permission Makitawag nga
sa telepono ninyo.
The various aspects may also be expressed with the maki-
affixes. The following chart illustrates the occurrence
of the different aspect forms with both affixes.
Aspect Maki + Verb Base Paki
+ Verb Base
Infinitive makibili pakibili
Completed nakibili pinakibili
Contempated makikibili pakikibili
Incompleted nakikibili pinakikibili
In both the maki-
forms, the last
syllable of the affix instead of the first (consonant-) vowel of the
base is reduplicated for the contemplated and incompleted aspects.
The Addition of Enclitics
Order of Enclitics
Enclitics (e.g., na, pa, nga, etc.)
after the first full word of the sentence. In a sentence with more than
one enclitic, the normal order is as follows:
3. daw, raw
reported speech marker
4. din, rin
5. lang, lamang
when added to the sentence indicates
affirmation, assertion, or emphasis.
Pupunta nga siya sa party.
right.) he is going to the party.
Gwapo nga siya.
Tama nga nanay.
Mother is definitely
Ikaw nga ang nasa parada.
sure) were the one in the parade.
Kumanta nga ang artista
. The actress
marks indirect discourses.
It means ‘according to; it is said.’ Daw
that the sentence represents what someone other than the speaker said.
, a variant form of daw
, occurs after vowels.
Maganda raw si Aleli.
It is said
that Aleli is beautiful.
The use of pala
in a sentence expresses a
sudden realization or surprise at
an unexpected even or happening. It follows one-syllable pronouns or
Dumating pala si Romulo.
is also used to signal change of topic in
Siyanga pala, umalis na siya.
And by the
way, he left.
Rejoinder: din/rin Din
used to express similarity between two situations. It is usually translatable
by ‘too’ or ‘also’. A variant form is rin
which occurs after vowel sounds.
Maganda si Cora. Si Estrelita rin.
Maganda rin si Estrelita.
Cora is pretty. And so is Estrelita.
Estrelita is pretty, too.
Na and Pa as Time Markers
denotes completed section or action about to be performed
denotes non-completed, continuous, resumptive action,
or action in addition to other actions, or action to be performed sometime
in the future. Pa
usually follow the first word
in the predicate.
With non-verbal sentences beginning with time expressions,
denotes shortness of time, pa
denotes length of time.
Bukas pa ang iksamen.
The exam is still tomorrow (there’s plenty
of time till then).
In imperative or command sentences, na
immediate performance of an action, pa
denotes resumption or
continuation of the action.
Kumain ka na.
With verbs in the contemplated aspect, na
have the same meanings as in the previous paragraph. However, pa
can have a second meaning, that the action expressed by the verb is
an additional one not yet begun, to a series of other actions.
Kakain na ako.
now (I haven’t eaten yet).
With verbs in the incompleted aspect, na
completion of an action, sometimes unexpectedly prior to another action,
denotes an action performed in addition to a past action.
Kumain pa ako.
I have already
With adjectives, na
indicates a non-existent quality
before, whereas pa
indicates a continuing quality.
Maganda na siya.
now (she wasn’t before).
With existentials (may, mayroon, wala)
the existence of something which was non-existent before, whereas pa
indicates the continuing existence of something. Na
means non-existence of something which existed before. Pa
means non-existence yet.
May pera na siya.
He now has
money (he didn’t before).
Wala na siyang pera.
He has no
May pera pa siya.
He still has
Wala pa siyang pera.
have money yet.
The degree marker lang
its variant lamang
mean ‘just, only.’ When modifying
a noun or adjective, lang
has belittling connotation, a depreciation
of someone or someone’s accomplishments. The variant lamang
is seldom used in casual speech.
Gwapo si Dirk, pandak lang
Drik’s good-looking, except he’s short.
is used to express
a contrast between two situations, a shift in role or viewpoint, a mild
reproach (in imperative sentences), or a critical attitude. It is often
glossed as ‘on the other hand’ or ‘instead.’
(Contrast) Kuripot naman si Carmen.
Carmen (on the other hand) is stingy.
(Shift) Kumusta ka naman?
And how are you?
(Reproach) Tumahimik naman kayo.
Do keep quiet.
(Critical) Ang ingay naman dito!
How noisy it is here.
Uncertainty: yata Yata
used in statements
to express uncertainty or lack of conviction
Wala yatang tao.
There seems to be no
one (I’m not sure).
is commonly used to
express a hope.
Umaaraw sana bukas.
I hope the sun
Speculation: kaya’ Kaya
speculation usually in questions.
Darating kaya siya?
Do you suppose
V. Complex Sentences: Conjoining
Conjoining can be as simple as joining the sentences using
with hardly any change at all in the combined sentences.
Simple Sentences: Hinawakan ni Ben ang lapis.
Conjunction: Hinawakan ni Ben ang
lapis at sumulat siya.
Ben held the pencil, and
The simple sentences are joined by the conjunctor at.
The two sentences retain their equal standing syntactically with respect
to one another, that is to say, neither is subsumed under the other.
Here is an example:
Humangin nang malakas at bumagsak ang ulan.
The Function of Conjoining
Why conjoin sentences? What purpose does it serve?
Sentence conjoining allows for a more explicit expression
of certain relation ships between the events contained in the clauses.
These relationships are expressed mainly through the conjunctors, and
sometimes with the help of certain particles. A familiar relationship
. Here’s an example:
Effect: Napatid ang lubid, kaya’
nahulog si Angela.
The rope snapped, so Angela
The conjunctor kaya’
makes explicit the fact
that the second event is a direct result of the event expressed in the
The rest of this chapter is about the range of relationships
between conjoined clauses in Tagalog. But first, let us look at how
some of them are expressed in English. In the examples below, give short
names for these relationships.
The man looked suspicious, so Roberta followed him.
Life takes on a nasty twist, when liquor stores close
In conjoining, the relationship between the clauses is
expressed by the conjunctor.
Clause Conjunctor Clause
Bumuhos ang ulan kaya
Mag-jogging ka para
ang katawan mo.
Enclitic particles may occur in these constructions. Some
of these particles are optional. Both kasi
the example below are optional.
Awkward: Matanda na si Doug, pero mahilig siyang
Better: Matanda na si Doug, pero mahilig
pa siyang magdisko.
In other cases, the enclitics are required to complete
the expression of a particular relationship. In the second example below,
puts the second clause in contrast with the first clause.
Neutral: Nagsigarilyo si Pepe, at nagtabako si
Contrast: Nagsigarilyo si Pepe, at nagtabako
naman si Daniel.
Our focus is the clause that carries the conjunctor; this
is typically the second clause. We start with the neutral case of no
semantic relationships or dependency between the clauses.
Example: Namili ako kahapon at nagpunta
ako sa beach.
The most common use of at
as conjunctor is to express
a neutral relationship between the clauses. It merely expresses the
observation that another event occurred simultaneously in time or in
Naglagas ang mga dahon at nalaglag ang mga
Example: Salamat sa Diyos at dumating
The conjunctor at
is also used to introduce an
explanatory clause. At
here is roughly equivalent to English
in the sentence "Good that you have arrived." Here is an
Mabuti na lang at umalis si Ben.
The second clause can be any declarative sentence. But
the predicate of the first clause appears to be limited to a small set
of "judgment" adjectives, as in the above sentences, and verbs expressing
emotions as in the following list (all in the incompleted aspect):
Nagduktor si Cutis at nag-abogado naman
Nakikain si Dwayne samantalang nakitulog
naman si Paul.
The second clause is in direct contrast to the first clause.
expresses a stronger contrast than at…
Inubo si Curtis at na-flu naman si
Nagmatigas si Igor, samantalang nagtapat
naman si Natasha.
) and what's more
Example: Binaha na nga ang Maynila, at
The second clause expresses the idea that the even "adds
insult to injury," so to speak. The use of na… at… pa
roughly equivalent to the English "on top of it all, and what's more"
as in "John lost his job, and what's more, his wife left him." The conjunctor
is optional, and in fact, is typically left out.
Nalugi na nga si Damian, at iniwanan
pa ng asawa.
Conjunctors: at saka
At gayon din
Example: Nagluto si Karla ng pansit, at saka
gumawa siya ng puto.
The second clause describes an event or states a condition
that supplements the first clause.
Naligo ako sa beach, at saka nagsiyaping
ako sa Ala Moana.
Namili ako sa Mabini, at namili rin ako
Humusay si Esper sa History, at gayon din, humusay
siya sa Math.
At gayon din
is formal; avoid it.
Conjunctors: kaya (tuloy)
therefore; so now
Kaya (nga ba)
Example: Matiyaga (kasi) si Dindo, kaya (tuloy)
The second clause expresses the effect of the first clause.
is optional, but if it occurs, it must follow the first
constituent of the first clause. The particles tuloy, nga ba,
optionally occur after the conjunctor kaya.
Dahil kasi, dahil sa
Kung dangan kasi
Example: Napangiti si Ramon, kasi
naalala niya si Nancy.
The cause clause attributes a cause or offers a reason
or explanation for the event in the first sentence.
Nahuli ako, kasi naplatan kami.
The conjunctors sapagka't
rarely used in casual conversation.
In a cause conjunction, the first clause is an effect
clause, and the second is cause. Conversely in an effect conjunction
(discussed earlier), the first clause is cause and the second is effect.
conjunction) naplatan kami
conjunctor) nahuli ako
Type A Counter-expectation
gayon (pa) man
Examples: Mayaman na siya, pero nagtatrabaho
pa rin siya.
The first clause is a statement that carries certain expectations.
The second clause is not
one of these expectations. It asserts
the opposite of one of the expectations. In the first example, the expectation
is that anyone who has become rich should stop working.
Sentences in context give rise to any number of expectations.
A simple sentence like the following may have any number of expectations.
Nakatayo na si Arthur Handa
na siyang lumakad.
Gusto na niyang umuwi.
Maaabot na niya ang ilaw.
Mas malaki siya kay Ramon.
These expectations may turn out to be false. That is,
their negation may be true, giving rise to counter-expectations.
Nakatayo na si Arthur, pero hindi
pa siya handang lumakad.
Nakatayo na si Arthur, pero ayaw
pa niyang umuwi.
These sentences are much better with the particles na
in the first clause, and the particle pa
in the second clause.
Another set of particles that occurs in counter-expectations is nga
in the first clause and naman
in the second clause.
Luma nga ang bahay, pero maganda naman.
The conjunctors nguni't, datapwa't,
are too formal for use in everyday speech.
Type B Counter-expectation
Example: Dumating si Oscar kahapon, at
As in Type A counter-expectation, the cause clause in
Type B constructions contain a statement that is not expected to occur
with the first clause.
Nagtatakbo si Mario, at lumingon pa!
In speech, the particle pa
in the second clause
is heavily stressed. The expectations are:
Dapat e hindi na lumingon pa si Mario.
Dapat e hindi na sumayaw pa si Ana.
They are the negatives of the second clauses.
A common use of the second clause of an at… pa
conjunction is to express sarcasm. The examples below express the
idea that the speaker does not believe that the person spoken about
is capable of performing the action, or that he considers it wrong or
inappropriate for him to do so.
Aba, at nakakotse pa!
Aba, at naka-Amerikana pa!
Type C Counter-expectation
Conjunctor: imbis na
Sa halip na
Example: Nanuod ng TV si Glenda, sa
halip na magluto.
The second clause states the expectation, but the conjunctor
eliminates it as an occurrence; what actually happened is stated in
the first clause.
Nagwaldas ng salapi si Dante, sa halip na nag-aral
Natulog si Minda, imbis na nagbantay siya.
The expectations are:
Dapat na nag-aral na mabuti si Dante.
Dapat na nagbantay si Minda.
In this type of counter-expectation, the second clause
states the expectation which the conjunctor negates. In the previous
two types discussed, the second clause states the opposite of the expectation.
Conjunctor: kahit (na)
although; in spite
of the fact that
Particles: (pa)(rin)… (na)
(na)… (pa) (rin)
Example: Mabigat si Alejandro, kahit payat
The first clause is a statement with some assumptions,
and the second clause states the opposite of one of the assumptions.
In the example above, the assertion in the first clause that Alejandro
is heavy carries the assumption (at least in the mind of the speaker)
that he could not have a slim physique. The second clause states that
he in fact is slim.
Study the following conjunctions:
Mahilig pa rin si Doug sa laro, kahit
na matanda na siya.
Assertion: Mahilig si Doug
Assumption: Bata pa siya.
Maganda pa si Digna, gayong pito
na ang anak niya.
Assertion: Maganda si Digna.
Assumption: Kakaunti ang
Counter-Assumption: Marami na
Malalim na, samantalang maaga pa.
Assertion: Madilim na.
Assumption: Gabi na.
Counter-Assumption: Maaga pa.
The counter-expectation clause is the assertion in a counter-assumption
conjunction. The counter-assumption clause is the assertion in a counter-expectation
conjunction. This is illustrated in the following sentences.
Counter-assumption: Nagtatrabaho pa rin siya,
kahit mayaman na.
Counter-expectation: Mayaman na siya,
pero nagtatrabaho pa rin siya.
Conjunctor: para (noon / sa gayon (ay))
Upang (noon / sa gayon (ay))
At nang (noon / sa gayon (ay))
Example: Magpraktis kang mabuti, para
The second clause serves as a purpose for carrying out
the first clause.
The linker ay
may be contracted to 'y
Kumain ka ng marami, para noon hindi ka
Magtiyaga tayo, at nang sa gayo'y bumuti
ang buhay natin.
and sa gayon
are infrequent in informal
O kung hindi man
or if not
Example: Sumulat ka, o tumawag ka ng
The second conjunct is offered as an alternative to the
first. The particle kaya
occurs optionally in one or the other
Pupunta ako sa inyo, o kung hindi man magpapasabi
Sa Fabian ang gawin nating presidente, o kaya
just in case
Kung (saka-) sakali (man) at
Example: Kakandidato si Ben, kung hihingin
ng mga tao.
The second clause expresses a condition that must be satisfied
if the first clause is to be true.
Pakakasal ako sa iyo, pag puti ng uwak.
Pupunta ako sa parke, kung hihinto ang ulan.
Pagsasabihan ko si Damian, oras na makita
Umaasim ang sikmura ni Joana, tuwing makikita
niya si Dan.
(Saka) sakali (at)
adds to the remoteness of the
plausibility of the condition.
Tatawagan kita, kung saka-sakali ma't madadaan
uli ako rito.
Babalatuhan kita, kung sakali't palarin
The conditional second clause, when introduced by kung
may be used alone to express a wish.
Kung presidetnte lang sana ako.
Used with the conjunctor at
, the conditional expresses
a dare or a challenge.
At kung hindi ako umalis (, ano'ng gagawin mo)?
These constructions express a temporal relationship between
the events of the component clauses. There are a number of possibilities:
the event of the second clause may have started earlier or later or
simultaneously with the event of the first clause. The conjunction may
focus on the fact that both events are ongoing, or that they will terminate
Conjunctors: mula nang/ mula pa noong
Sapul nang / sapul pa noong
Buhat nang / buhat pa noong
Namayat na si Dindo, buhat nang iwanan
siya ni Tarcilla.
Umunti na ang mga bata dito, sapul pa noong
magkaroon ng elektrisidad.
Bumabang lalo ang tingin ko sa kanya, buhat
nang iwan niya si Virgilio.
Magtiis mamaluktot habang maikli ang
Nag-volunteer si Ali, samantalang wala
Conjunctor: hanggang (sa)
Dumito ka muna, hanggang sa makakita
ka ng trabaho.
Dumito ka muna, hanggang hindi ka nakakakita
The event in the second
clause occurs after the event in the first clause.
Conjunctors: bago (pa)
Sunog na ang bahay nang dumating ang
Nagsalita si Deo, at pagkatapos, tumutol
Nasa daan na si Max, nang bumuhos ang
malakas na ulan.
The event of the second
clause occurs before the event of the first clause.
Inaantok na bigla si Ester, pagkatapos niyang
uminom ng gatas.
More on Conjoining
In many conjunctions, the second clause, together with
the conjunctor, may physically precede the first clause. For example:
Kumain ka ng marami, para lumakas ka.
Para lumakas ka, kumain ka ng marami.
Pumipito pa si Roger, habang naglalakad
Habang naglalakad, pumipito pa si Roger.
Other conjunctions may not be inverted. For example:
Nalagas ang mga dahon, at nalaglag ang mga bunga.
At nalaglag ang mga bunga, nalagas ang
Kabata-bata pa ni Ramon, pero maisip na siya.
Pero maisip na siya, kabata-bata pa ni Ramon.
A third group of conjunctions allows inversion but only
if both first and second clauses are introduced by conjunctors.
Binaha ang Maynila, dahil sa umulan nang
Dahil sa umulan nang malakas kaya binaha
The following is a list of conjunctors that allow or do
not allow clause inversion.
Sa halip na, imbis na at (saka,
Kahit kaya (tuloy)
Kung (saka-) sakali (man) (at) gayun (pa) man
Sa sandaling o
(sa) oras na o kaya
basta't o kung hindi man
buhat pa noong
Conjunctors that allow inversion with optional or obligatory
occurrence of conjunctors in the second clause.
Nang… (at saka)
Kung… (at saka)
(reverse sequential) … (at
Dahil (sa, kasi) … kaya
Papaano kasi … kaya
Sapagka't … kaya
Palibhasa'y … kaya
Sa dahilan … kaya
The following conjunctors are on the formal side and should
be used rarely if at all in casual speech: bagama't, kung saka-sakali
man at, sapul nang, samantalang, nguni't, subali't, datapwa't, gayon
pa man, upang, sapagka't.
Transition Phrases and Introducer Clauses
Transition words, phrases, and clauses connect the ideas
expressed in a series of sentences. Like conjunctors, these devices,
along with certain particles, insure the continuity of the flow of ideas
through the discourse. Although only transition clauses result in complex
sentences, we present all three here because of their functional affinity
Alalaong baga (ay)
Alalaong baga'y bumuti na siya.
(Ang) akala ko ba (ay)
Akala ko ba'y umuwi ka sa Pilipinas.
Ang tutuo (nito) (ay)
truth of the matter is
Ang tutuo, naubusan na rin ako ng pera.