Simple Sentences

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.

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.
Lumundag si Tagpi.
Ngumiyaw si Muning.

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 Non-Personal Noun
Ngumiti ang dalag.
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.

Singular Noun Markers Plural Noun Markers
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 Personified Common Noun
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.

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)
2nd Person ikaw/ka kayo
3rd Person siya sila
  • Matipid siya.
  • Magpipiknik kami.

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.

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 Demonstrative Subject
Itapon mo ito.
Basahin mo iyan.
Plural Demonstrative Subject
Itapon mo ang mgaito.
Basahin mo ang mgaiyan.

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.

Singular Adjective 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.

Correct: Incorrect:
Na-gong ang mga pangit. Na-gong ang mga *papangit.
Nauntog ang mga pandak. Nauntog ang mga *papandak.

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

Singular Verb Subject
Naubusan ang natulog.
Naghanda na ang lalangoy.
Plural Verb Subject
Naubusan ang mga natulog.
Naghanda na ang mga lalangoy.

Prepositional phrases can also be used as subject.

  • Nahulog ang nasa kusina.
  • Nabasag ang kay John.

These 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 kuhon.

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.