Note: The following grammar notes are taken from Modern Tagalog grammar by Teresita Ramos and Resty Cena, published by the University of Hawaii Press.

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Simple sentences

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. John ran.

The Subject

The subject can be a noun, a pronoun, a demonstrative, an adjective, a verb, or a prepositional phrase.
Noun Subject In 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. These are common nouns and any inanimate nouns including what, in English, are considered as proper nouns, such as names of places, buildings, books, etc.


Marker Nouns

Ngumiti ang dalaga.

Malungkot ang Noli Me Tangere

Kin terms and civic terms are marked by either ang or si. Ang is less personal and a bit more respectful.

Marker Kin Terms

Dumating si / ang Tatay.

Marker Civic Terms

Darating si / ang Presidente.

The plural of personal nouns is formed by replacing the marker si with sina. The plural of non-personal nouns is formed by adding mga (pronounced manga) to ang.


Noun Markers

Singular Plural

Personal si sina

Non-personal ang ang mga


Kumain ang mga bisita.

Namasyal sina Donna. (Donna and others)

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 si.


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 when plural.

Maganda ang Marilyn. The (name) Marilyn is pretty.

Magaganda lahat ang mga Marilyn. All the Marilyns are pretty.


Pronoun Subject The forms of pronoun subjects are distinguished according to person: first, second, or third, and number: singular or plural. In the first person plural, an added distinction is made between exclusive (excluding the hearer) and inclusive ( including the hearer). Pronouns are not preceded by ang or si.

Pronoun Subject Set

Singular Plural

1st Person ako kami (exclusive)

tayo (inclusive)

2nd Person ikaw/ka kayo

3rd Person siya sila

Matipid siya.

Magpipiknik tayo.

Ikaw usually occurs initially while ka occurs elsewhere.

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 saw you."

Kita nga e mag-usap. Let’s the two of us talk.

Mag-usap nga kita. Let’s the two of us talk.

Nakita kita = Nakita ko ikaw. I saw you.

Ipagdadasal kita. I’ll say a prayer for you.


Demonstrative Subject Demonstratives indicate the relative distance of objects from the speaker and the listener.

Demonstrative Subject Set

ito this

iyan that

iyon that yonder

In rapid speech, the I- of the demonstrative is dropped. The plural forms are constructed by adding ang mga before the demonstratives.

Singular Plural

Demonstrative Demonstrative

Subject Subject

Itapon mo ito. Itapon mo ang mga ito.

Basahin mo iyan. Basahan mo ang mga iyan.

Adjective Subject The form of the basic Tagalog adjectives is ma + root.


Prefix Root

ma + hirap mahirap

ma + dali madali

When used as subject, adjectives are preceded by the subject marker ang.


Adjectives 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 ang.


Adjective Subject

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.

Correct Incorrect

Na-gong ang mga pangit. Na-gong ang mga *papangit.

Nauntog ang mga pandak. Nauntog ang mga *papandak.

Verbal Subject Verbs can also be used as subject. They are preceded by the subject marker ang, and additionally by mga when plural.

Singular Plural

Verb Subject Verb Subject

Naubusan ang natulog. Naubusan ang mga natulog.

Naghanda na ang lalangoy. Naghanda na ang mga lalangoy.

Prepositional Phrases as Subject Prepositional 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.

Explicit Plural

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.

Verbal Predicate

Nahulog si Bill.

Tinamaan ang ibon.

Lalangoy sila.

Adjectival Predicate

Batugan si Bill

Malabsa’ ang kanin.

Nominal Predicate

Boksingero si Mike.

Nars ang girlfriend niya.

Prepositional Predicate

Nasa kusina si Rafael.

Bukas ang laro.

Time expressions like bukas, mamaya, kahapon, etc. are treated as prepositional phrases, although they do not show a preposition-like marker.

C. Subjectless Sentences

The ang 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.

Gusto Sentences

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.

Non-Subject Non-Subject

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.

Ibig and nais are synonymous of gusto. Avoid the stilted nais. The negative of gusto is ayaw.

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. It rained.

Umulan nang malakas. It rained hard.

Other roots in this class are:

araw sun Umaaraw na!

ambon drizzle Umambon kanina.

kulog 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 affix nag-.

Nagdilim sa salas. Nagdilim ang salas.

Phenomenal roots, when inflected as -in-verbs, 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- affix.


Lumiwanag ang mukha ni Joaquin.

Dumilim ang pag-asa ni Grant.

Sentences that refer to time or phrases of the day are also subjectless.

Tanghali na.

Katanghalian na

Alas-tres na pala.

Gabi na naman.

Similarly, when inflected as -in- verbs, they require a subject.

Ginabi si Mario.

Inumaga si Damian sa madyungan.

E. Sentences with ka- Verbs

Ka- 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 started.

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 is!

Ang takbo ni Ben! How Ben ran!

To turn a simple sentence into an exclamation sentence:

l Replace the subject marker with a non-subject marker

Mahusay ang mekaniko --- ng mekaniko.

l Remove the affixes of the adjective or verb modifier

Mahusay ang mekaniko --- husay ng mekaniko.

l Introduce the sentence with an exclamation marker.

Mahusay ang mekaniko Ang husay ng mekaniko.

Adjectives are the most common word bases in this construction. Adverb and verb word bases also occur.

Adverb Base

Mabilis tumakbo si Bjorn. Ang bilis tumakbo ni Bjorn.

Mabagal lumakad si Josefa. Ang bagal lumakad ni Josefa.

Verb Base

Tumakbo si Kurt. Ang takbo ni Kurt!

Umiyak si Martin. Ang iyak ni Martin!

When the focused word is an adjective or an adverb, the marker anong and kay 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 ni Nina.

*Ang mabilis usad ni Nina.

To express the strongest exclamation, reduplicate the adjective root, prefix it with pagka -, and introduce the sentence with anong.

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- to the root. The subject marker is replaced by the appropriate non-subject marker. Thus:

l Replace the subject marker with a non-subject marker

Mahusay ang mekaniko. -- ng mekaniko

l Replace the affixes of the adjective or verb modifier with napaka-

Mahusay ang mekaniko. Napakahusay ng mekaniko.

Masaya ang piknik. Napakasaya ng piknik.

H. The Existential Sentence

May / mayroon sentences are often identified as existential sentences. Existentials express:

l the existence of something:

May Diyos. God exists; or, There is God.

l the existence of something somewhere:

May giyera sa Asya. There is war in Asia.

l the existence of something owned or possessed:

Mayroon siyang pera. He has money.

Mayroon is a combination of may and roon, the letter being a locative demonstrative. Wala is the negative form of may / mayroon. It means non-possession or non-existence.

Walang Diyos. There is no God.

Walang giyera sa Asya. There is no war in Asia.

Wala siyang pera. He has no money.

May is always followed immediately by the object phrase. With mayroon, the object phrase may occur before or after the possessor.

May alipunga si Alberto.

May masamang alipunga si Alberto

The possessor is always an ang phrase.

May konsiyensiya ang Gobernador.

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 (Actor-focus verb has no subject)

May biniling mangga si Dante (Object-focus 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:

* completed, for action started and terminated.

* contemplated, for action not started.

* incompleted, for action started but not yet completed or action still in progress.

The form of the verb that does not imply any aspect is the neutral or infinitive form. Ka- verbs, discussed 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- verb is constructed by placing -um- before the first vowel of the verb or base. The completed aspect is similarly formed.

Root langoy to swim

alis to go away

Neutral lumangoy (-um- inserted before first vowel of root)


Completed lumangoy (-um- inserted 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.

Contemplated lalangoy (The first CV or first V of root is

aalis reduplicated)

In the incompleted aspect, the first (consonant)-vowel of the root is reduplicated, and then the affix -um- is inserted before the first vowel of the reduplicated base.

Incompleted lumalangoy (-um- 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.

Root laba to wash

Neutral form maglaba

The completed aspect is formed by changing m- of the prefix to n-.

Completed naglaba

The contemplated aspect is formed by reduplicating the first syllable of the root and prefixing mag- to the base.

Contemplated maglalaba

The incompleted aspect is formed by prefixing nag- to the verb root and reduplicating its first syllable.

Incompleted naglalaba


Root Neutral Completed Contemplated Incompleted

dala magdala nagdala magdadala nagdadala

tanim magtanim nagtanim magtatanim nagtatanim

3. The ma- Verb

The ma- verb follows the same aspect formation as does the mag- verb. N- replaces the m- of hte prefix for the started action and the first consonant- vowel or vowel of the root is reduplicated for action not terminated.

Root tulog to sleep

Neutral matulog to sleep

Completed natulog slept

Incompleted natutulog sleeping

Contemplated matutulog will sleep

4. The mang- Verb

The mang- affix undergoes the same m- to n- 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, b, or d are initial sounds of the root or base.

mang + b => mam


mang + t => man


mang + k => mang


mang + buli mamili

mang + pulot mamulot

The consonant h, g, the semivowels y and w, and the vowels do not influence the final nasal of the prefix mang- to change.

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 forms.

Neutral mamili

Contemplated mamimili

Incompleted namimili

Where no changes occur, the first syllable of the root is reduplicated.

Neutral manggulo

Contemplated manggugulo

Incompleted nanggugulo

Verb bases having initial consonants l and a few with d 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.

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.

Actor Focus

The verbal affixes that indicate that the actor, doer, or the originator of the action is in focus are -um-, mag-, mang-, and ma-.

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.

You sleep.

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 -an and the prefix i-.

Verb Affix Verb Actor Object (subject)

-in Pukpukin mo ang pako.

(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 The neutral form of the -in verb is formed by suffixing -in to 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 before 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

aalis babasa (Reduplicate first consonant-vowel,

inaalis binabasa then insert -in- 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

alisin basahin (Attach -in at end of root,

aalisin babasahin then reduplicate first consonant-vowel)

The I- Object-Focus Prefix The neutral aspect of the I- verb is formed by prefixing I- to the verb root. To this neutral form, insert the infix -in- before 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- is inserted 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- becomes ni- before vowels and the consonants h, y, n, l.

Locative Focus

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, and

Locative Affix Verb Actor Locative Subject

-an Punasan mo ang mesa.

-in Balibagin mo ang mangga. Pagsabihan mo si Belen.

-An and -in follow a consonant sound, and -han and -hin 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

Neutral punasan balibagin pagsabihan

Completed pinunasan binalibag pinagsabihan

Contemplated pupunasan babalibagin pagsasabihan

Incompleted pinupunasan binabalibag pinagsasabihan

A couple of things to note: The locative suffix -in is dropped in the completed aspect, and the incompleted aspect infix -in- is inserted in the reduplicated CV in both the -an and -in verbs.

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.

Benefactive Focus

The verbal affixes that indicate that the beneficiary of the action is the subject are generally I- or ipag-.

Verb Actor Beneficiary-Subject Goal/Object

I- Ibili mo ang Nanay ng sapatos.

You buy a pair of shoes for Mother.

ipag- Ipaglaba mo ang maysakit ng damit.

You wash clothes for the sick one.

The ipag- verbs behave like the I- verbs 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

Instrumental Focus

The verbal affix that refers to anything used or acted upon to bring about the action as subject is ipang-, usually shortened to I-.

Verb Actor Instrument-Subject Goal

ipang Ipanghiwa mo ang kutsilyo ng mangga.

You use the knife to cut the mango.

The ipang- verb is inflected in the same manner as the ipag- verb. In addition, its final nasal undergoes the same sound changes mang- undergoes.

ipang + tahi

Neutral ipangtahi, ipanahi

Completed ipinangtahi, ipinanahi

Contemplated ipangtatahi, ipananahi

Incompleted ipinangtatahi, ipinananahi

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 five participants.

Binasag (verb, broken)

ni Sandro (actor, by Sandro)

sa kusina (location, in the kitchen)

ang alkansya (object, the piggybank)

para kay Dan (benefactor, for Dan)

sa pamamagitan ng martilyo. (instrumental, 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 alkansya. The subject word is introduced or marked by ang or si. 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 ng

Based on their markers, these phrases are grouped into two: those marked by ni and ng-phrases, thus the actor, goal, and instrument phrases; and those marked by kay and sa, called the sa-phrases, which include the location and beneficiary phrases.

The ng and sa-phrases have pronoun and demonstrative counterparts. The following chart also gives the ang set that marks the subject of the sentence.

Noun Markers

Non -Subject Subject

Non-Personal (sg.) ng sa ang

(pl.) ng mga sa mga ang mga

Personal (sg.) ni kay si

(pl.) nina kina sina


Non-Subject Subject


(sg.) 1 ko (sa) akin ako

2 mo (sa) iyo ikaw, ka

3 niya (sa) kaniya siya

(pl.) 1 inclusive namin (sa) amin kami

exclusive natin (sa) atin tayo

2 ninyo (sa) inyo kayo

3 nila (sa) kanila sila


Non-Subject Subject

Object near speaker nito dito ito

Object near listener niyan diyan iyan

Object away from niyon doon iyon

speaker and listener


Expansion by Modification

Noun Modification

Single-Word Modifiers 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 / -ng. The linker -ng is attached to the first word if it ends in a vowel, or the linker -g is attached to if it ends in -n. The linker na occurs when the word before it ends in a consonant.

adjective + linker + noun noun + linker + adjective

lumang libro librong luma

paling na linya kalang bago

mabait na bata gulong na malambot

sapin na makapal supot na malaki

Phrase Modifiers 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 Modifier

locative ang nasa kusinang bisita

ang bisitang nasa kusina

possessive ang kay Pedrong libro

ang librong* para sa bata

informational ang tungkol kay Fe na libro

ang librong tungkol kay Fe

*Note the absence of the linker before the possessor phrase ni Pedro.

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) in mourning

ang babaing naka-asul the woman (who is) in blue

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 ‘clean’

Verbal Constructions as Modifiers Verbs can be used as the basis of a modification structure after nouns.

Ang batang umiiyak.... The child (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.

Verbal Modification

Except for adverbs indicating time or duration of time, verbal modification is marked by the occurrence of the linker na / -ng between the modifier and the verb or by the adverbial marker nang when the modifier follows the verb.

Ma- Modifiers 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 verb subject

Madalas (na) magsimba si Lolita.

Marunong (na) magtrabaho si Dante.

The linker na in this construction is often dropped, but not that linker -ng.

Verbal Modifiers 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 form.


Modifier Verb

Umiiyak na umalis si Susan. Susan left crying.

Humihikbing natulog si Juliet. Juliet slept sobbing.

Intensified Modifiers Modifiers of verbs may be intensified by reduplication or by the addition of adverbial intensifiers to the modifier.

(+ ubod) Tumakbo siya nang ubod nang bilis.

He ran very fast.

(+ napaka-) Tumawa siya nang napakalakas.

He laughed very loudly.

(+ base reduplication) Lumakad siya nang dahan-dahan

He walked very slowly.

(+ base reduplication Nagbihis siya nang magandang-maganda.

and linker) She dressed very beautifully.

(+ pagka- and base Umiiyak siya nang pagkalakas-lakas.

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), (kaysa) kay

Superlative pinaka-

Equality To express the same degree of equality in nouns or verbs being compared, the adjective root is prefixed by magkasing- or kasing-.

Magkasingtaas si Karla at si Frank (sina Karla at Frank).

Non-Equality 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.

Mas is more common: higit is on the formal side. Kay or sa may be omitted, leaving behind kaysa.

Superlative Degree The superlative degree of the adjective is expressed by the affix pinaka- prefixed to the ma- adjectives or to the adjective roots that do not need the ma- affix.

maganda pinakamaganda

popular pinakapopular

The superlative adjective usually occurs before the modified noun.

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.

Intensified Adjectives To express high intensity of the quality, the adjective roots are preceded by the following:

Adjective Intensifiers

sukdulan nang sukdulan nang ganda

ubod nang ubod nang ganda

napaka napakaganda

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.


at and

ni... ni neither... nor

pero, subalit, ngunit, datapwat but


ikaw at ako you and I

ikaw o ako you or I

ni ikaw ni ako neither you nor I

tanyag pero walang-kapararakan famous but worthless

Events, participants, and modifiers may be compounded.

Compound Events

Lumundag at kumokak ang palaka.

Pumikit at kumindat ang mama.

Compound Participants

Lumangoy sina Pete at Abra. (compound actors)

Compound Modifiers

Kumita nang malaki ang matindi at madamdaming pelikula.

IV. Changes in the Basic sentence

Inverted Sentences

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 ay sundalo.

Matamis ang atis. Ang atis ay matamis.

Negative Statements

To convert an affirmative sentence into a negative, the negative particle hindi is placed before it.

Affirmative Negative

Pilipino si Joyce. Hindi Pilipino si Joyce. 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. He is not busy.

In the inverted order, hindi always follows ay and precedes the predicate.

Subject Predicate

Si Jorge ay hindi Pilipino.


Yes-No Questions

Yes-no questions are usually formed by inserting the question marker ba 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 Jorge?

However, when the subject is the pronoun ka or any one-syllable pronoun, then ba follows the pronoun.

Matipid ka. Matipid ka ba?

To construct negative yes-no questions, ba is inserted after hindi in negative statements.

Negative Yes-No Question

Matulungin si George Hindi ba matulungin si George?

The single-syllable pronoun ka precedes ba 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? He’s an actor, isn’t he?

Response Patterns to Yes-No Questions

Affirmative Response

Question Afirmative Response

Sundalo ba si Jorge? Oo, sundalo si Jorge. Yes, 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."

Negative Response In cotrast to a negative sentence, the negative response has two occurrences of the particle hindi.

Negative Question Negative Response

Hindi siya sundalo, ano? Hindi, hindi siya sundalo

No, he’s not a soldier.

Questions with Interrogative Words

The common interrogative words are:

sino who alin which

ano what ilan how many

saan where kangino whom

kailan when papaano how

bakit why

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 To invert a question, the ang phrase is shifted to initial position in the sentence, which is followed by the question marker ba, the inversion marker ay, and then the interrogative word. The question words sino, ano, alin, and kailan allow inversion.

Ang abogado mo ba ay sino?

Ang pangalan mo ba ay ano?


Affirmative Commands 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. You clean the house.

Goal Kunin mo/ninyo ang damit. You get the clothes.

Negative Commands Hwag instead of hindi is used in negative commands.

Huwag kang tumayo. Don’t you (sg.) stand.

Huwag mong inumin ang gatas. Don’t you (sg.) drink the milk.

Note the inversion of the pronoun and the verb in negative commands:

Affirmative command: Inumin mo ang gatas.

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 mo/ninyo forms.

Pakiabot mo nga ang libro. You (sg.) please hand over the book.

Note the occurrence of mo before nga and ninyo after nga. 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 actor-focus and natin for goal-focus verbs. This imperative construction is equivalent to the English constrction introduced by "let’s."

Kumanta tayo. Let’s sing.

Linisin natin ang kotse. Let’s clean the car.

The use of nga or naman adds meaning of politeness or mild suggestion to the exhortation.

Kumain naman tayo sa labas. Let’s (this time) eat out.

Bumili nga tayo ng pop. Let’s buy pop.


Kaya’ ‘perhaps’ indicates uncertainty.

Tumawag kaya’ siya sa amin. Perhaps 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. Cook rice.

4. Magsaing na kaya tayo. What if we cooked rice now?

Perhaps we should cook rice now.

More Functions of the Verb


The maka- or makapag- 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- and makapag- affixes. The following charts give examples of the maka- and makapag- sets.

Maka- Set

Focus Verb Actor Object/ Goal

actor Makabubuhat siya ng kotse.

He can/ is able to lift a car.

goal Mabubuhat niya ang kotse.

The aspect forms of the maka-/ma- verbs are as follows, illustrated for the root basa ‘to read.’

Aspect Actor Focus Object/Goal Focus

Infinitive makabasa mabasa

Completed nakabasa nabasa

Contemplated makababasa mababasa


Incompeted nakababasa nababasa


Makapag- Set

Focus Verb Actor Object/Goal

Actor Makapagdala kaya kayo ng pagkain.

He was able to bring food.

Goal Madala mo kaya ang pagkain.

The aspect forms of makapag- and ma- -an verbs are as follows.

Aspect Actor Focus Object/Goal Focus

Root handa ‘to prepare’

Infinitive makapaghanda mahandaan

Completed nakapaghanda nahandaan

Contemplated makapaghahanda mahahandaan


Incompeted nakapaghahanda nahahandaan


Note that verbs having an -an goal focus affix (e.g. laban) get a ma-... -an compound affix instead of just ma-. Note, too, that the -ka- of the affix maka- or makapag- may be reduplicated instead of the first syllable of the word base or root.

Maka- usually occurs with verb roots that take the -um- and ma- affixes, whereas makapag- usually occurs with verb roots that take the mag- affix.


Maki- is the actor-focus counterpart of the prefix paki- which makes the verb base a request form. Unlike paki-, however, maki- 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 marker.

Actor Object

Pakiabot mo nga ang asin.

Pakiabot nga ng asin.

Note the differences in the use of maki- in the following exampes.

Request Makibili nga ako ng kartolina sa tindahan.

Makikuha nga ako ng tubig.

Permission Makitawag nga sa telepono ninyo.

The various aspects may also be expressed with the maki- and paki- 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- and paki- 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.) normally occur after the first full word of the sentence. In a sentence with more than one enclitic, the normal order is as follows:

1. nga affirmation marker

2. kaya speculation marker

3. daw, raw reported speech marker

4. din, rin ‘too’

5. lang, lamang ‘only

6. na ‘already’

7. pa ‘still’

8. pala surprise marker

9. sana optative marker

10. yata uncertainty marker

11. naman ‘instead’

Nga when added to the sentence indicates affirmation, assertion, or emphasis.

Pupunta nga siya sa party. (You’re right.) he is going to the party.

Gwapo nga siya. He certainly is handsome.

Tama nga nanay. Mother is definitely right.

Ikaw nga ang nasa parada. You (for sure) were the one in the parade.

Kumanta nga ang artista. The actress did sing.

Daw Daw/raw marks indirect discourses. It means ‘according to; it is said.’ Daw indicates that the sentence represents what someone other than the speaker said. Raw, a variant form of daw, occurs after vowels.

Maganda raw si Aleli. It is said that Aleli is beautiful.

Realization: pala 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 other enclitics.

Dumating pala si Romulo. So Romulo arrived.

Pala is also used to signal change of topic in a conversation.

Siyanga pala, umalis na siya. And by the way, he left.

Rejoinder: din/rin Din is commonly 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 In general, na denotes completed section or action about to be performed while pa denotes non-completed, continuous, resumptive action, or action in addition to other actions, or action to be performed sometime in the future. Pa and na usually follow the first word in the predicate.

With non-verbal sentences beginning with time expressions, na 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 denotes immediate performance of an action, pa denotes resumption or continuation of the action.

Kumain ka na. Eat now.

With verbs in the contemplated aspect, na and pa 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. I’ll eat now (I haven’t eaten yet).

With verbs in the incompleted aspect, na denotes completion of an action, sometimes unexpectedly prior to another action, while pa denotes an action performed in addition to a past action.

Kumain pa ako. I have already eaten.

With adjectives, na indicates a non-existent quality before, whereas pa indicates a continuing quality.

Maganda na siya. She’s pretty now (she wasn’t before).

With existentials (may, mayroon, wala), na indicates the existence of something which was non-existent before, whereas pa indicates the continuing existence of something. Na with wala means non-existence of something which existed before. Pa with wala means non-existence yet.

May pera na siya. He now has money (he didn’t before).

Wala na siyang pera. He has no more money.

May pera pa siya. He still has money.

Wala pa siyang pera. He doesn’t have money yet.

Lang The degree marker lang and 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.

Naman Naman 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).

Sana Sana is commonly used to express a hope.

Umaaraw sana bukas. I hope the sun shines tomorrow.

Speculation: kaya’ Kaya expresses speculation usually in questions.

Darating kaya siya? Do you suppose he’s coming?

V. Complex Sentences: Conjoining


Conjoining can be as simple as joining the sentences using a conjunctor with hardly any change at all in the combined sentences.

Simple Sentences: Hinawakan ni Ben ang lapis. Sumulat siya

Conjunction: Hinawakan ni Ben ang lapis at sumulat siya.

Ben held the pencil, and he wrote.

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 is effect. Here’s an example:

Effect: Napatid ang lubid, kaya’ nahulog si Angela.

The rope snapped, so Angela fell down.

The conjunctor kaya’ makes explicit the fact that the second event is a direct result of the event expressed in the first conjunct.

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. (effect)

Life takes on a nasty twist, when liquor stores close early.


The Conjunctors

In conjoining, the relationship between the clauses is expressed by the conjunctor.

Clause Conjunctor Clause

Bumuhos ang ulan kaya (Effect) nabasa si Jane.

Mag-jogging ka para (Purpose) lumakas ang katawan mo.

Enclitic particles may occur in these constructions. Some of these particles are optional. Both kasi and tuloy in the example below are optional.

Awkward: Matanda na si Doug, pero mahilig siyang magdisko.

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, naman puts the second clause in contrast with the first clause.

Neutral: Nagsigarilyo si Pepe, at nagtabako si Daniel

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.


Conjunctor: at 'and'

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 close proximity.

Naglagas ang mga dahon at nalaglag ang mga bunga.


Conjunctor: at 'and'

Example: Salamat sa Diyos at dumating si Digna.

The conjunctor at is also used to introduce an explanatory clause. At here is roughly equivalent to English that in the sentence "Good that you have arrived." Here is an example:

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):

Nagsisisi regrets

Natutuwa, nagagalak glad

Nagtataka wonders

Nasusuya, nabubuwisit upset, furious

Nahihiya shy

Nalulungkot sad

Nagagalit angry

Nanghihinayang feeling angry


Conjunctors: at…naman in contrast; meanwhile

Samantalang… naman


Nagduktor si Cutis at nag-abogado naman si Dante.

Nakikain si Dwayne samantalang nakitulog naman si Paul.

The second clause is in direct contrast to the first clause. Samantalang… naman expresses a stronger contrast than at… naman.

Inubo si Curtis at na-flu naman si Alfonso.

Nagmatigas si Igor, samantalang nagtapat naman si Natasha.


Conjunctor: (at) and what's more

Particles: na (first clause)

Pa (second clause)

Example: Binaha na nga ang Maynila, at nilindol pa.

The second clause expresses the idea that the even "adds insult to injury," so to speak. The use of na… at… pa is 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 at is optional, and in fact, is typically left out.

Nalugi na nga si Damian, at iniwanan pa ng asawa.


Conjunctors: at saka and also

At gayon din and likewise

At… rin and… too

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 sa Makati.

Humusay si Esper sa History, at gayon din, humusay siya sa Math.

At gayon din is formal; avoid it.


Conjunctors: kaya (tuloy) so therefore; so now

Kaya (nga ba)

Kaya (ngayon)

Particle: kasi (first clause)

Example: Matiyaga (kasi) si Dindo, kaya (tuloy) yumaman siya.

The second clause expresses the effect of the first clause. Kasi is optional, but if it occurs, it must follow the first constituent of the first clause. The particles tuloy, nga ba, and ngayon optionally occur after the conjunctor kaya.


Conjunctor: kasi because

Dahil kasi, dahil sa

Kung dangan kasi

Papaano 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 and palibhasa'y are 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.

Cause Conjunction

Nahuli ako (effect), kasi (cause conjunction) naplatan kami (cause).

Effect Conjunction

Naplatan kami (cause), kaya (effect conjunctor) nahuli ako (effect).


Type A Counter-expectation

Conjunctors: pero but




gayon (pa) man

Particles: na (first clause)

Pa (second clause)

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.

Possible 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, and subali't are too formal for use in everyday speech.

Type B Counter-expectation

Conjunctor: at and

Particle: pa (second clause)

Example: Dumating si Oscar kahapon, at nakakotse pa!

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 instead of

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 na mabuti.

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 siya.

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 sa laro.

Assumption: Bata pa siya.

Counter-Assumption: Matanda na siya.

Maganda pa si Digna, gayong pito na ang anak niya.

Assertion: Maganda si Digna.

Assumption: Kakaunti ang anak niya.

Counter-Assumption: Marami na siyang anak.

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)) so that

Upang (noon / sa gayon (ay))

At nang (noon / sa gayon (ay))

Example: Magpraktis kang mabuti, para humusay ka.

The second clause serves as a purpose for carrying out the first clause.

The linker ay may be contracted to 'y or entirely omitted.

Kumain ka ng marami, para noon hindi ka gutumin.

Magtiyaga tayo, at nang sa gayo'y bumuti ang buhay natin.

Upang and sa gayon are infrequent in informal speech.


Conjunctor: o or

O kung hindi man or if not

Example: Sumulat ka, o tumawag ka ng long distance.

The second conjunct is offered as an alternative to the first. The particle kaya occurs optionally in one or the other clause.

Pupunta ako sa inyo, o kung hindi man magpapasabi ako.

Sa Fabian ang gawin nating presidente, o kaya si Angelo.


Conjunctors: (ka)pag if; just in case


Kung (saka-) sakali (man) at

Sa sandaling the moment

Oras na

Basta't as long as

Tuwing every time

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 ko siya.

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 ako.

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 simultaneously.

Simultaneous start

Conjunctors: mula nang/ mula pa noong since

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.

Simultaneous ongoing

Conjunctors: habang while



Magtiis mamaluktot habang maikli ang kumot.

Nag-volunteer si Ali, samantalang wala siyang trabaho.

Simultaneous termination

Conjunctor: hanggang (sa) until

=habang hindi while not


Dumito ka muna, hanggang sa makakita ka ng trabaho.

Dumito ka muna, hanggang hindi ka nakakakita ng trabaho.

Sequential The event in the second clause occurs after the event in the first clause.

Conjunctors: bago (pa) even before

Nang when

At pagkatapos and afterwards


Sunog na ang bahay nang dumating ang mga bumbero.

Nagsalita si Deo, at pagkatapos, tumutol si Martin.

Nasa daan na si Max, nang bumuhos ang malakas na ulan.

Reverse sequential The event of the second clause occurs before the event of the first clause.

Conjunctor: pagkatapos after


Inaantok na bigla si Ester, pagkatapos niyang uminom ng gatas.


More on Conjoining

Clause Invertibility

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 mga dahon.

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 malakas.

Dahil sa umulan nang malakas kaya binaha ang Maynila.

The following is a list of conjunctors that allow or do not allow clause inversion.

Invertible Non-Invertible

Sa halip na, imbis na at (saka, nang, etc.)

Kahit kaya (tuloy)

Gayong pero

Bagama't nguni't

Kapag datapwa't

Kung subali't

Kung (saka-) sakali (man) (at) gayun (pa) man

Sa sandaling o

(sa) oras na o kaya

basta't o kung hindi man

tuwing samantala (contrast, counter-assumption)

sapul nang

mula nang

buhat nang

buhat pa noong



habang hindi

bago (pa)

samantalang (temporal)

kaysa (sa)

Conjunctors that allow inversion with optional or obligatory occurrence of conjunctors in the second clause.

Para… (kaya)

Upang… (kaya)

Nang… (at saka)

Kung… (at saka)

Pagkatapos (reverse sequential) … (at saka)

Kasi… kaya

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 with conjunctors.

Alalaong baga (ay) In other words

Alalaong baga'y bumuti na siya.

(Ang) akala ko ba (ay) I thought

Akala ko ba'y umuwi ka sa Pilipinas.

Ang tutuo (nito) (ay) The truth of the matter is

Ang tutuo, naubusan na rin ako ng pera.