Changes in the Basic Sentence

Other Types of Sentences

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
predicate Subject
Sundalo si Ricardo.
Matamis ang atis.
Inverted Order
Subject ay Predicate
Si Ricardo ay sundalo.
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 are usually formed by inserting the question marker ba after the first full 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?

Ba also follows one-syllable particles such as na and pa.

Umuwi ka na. Umuwi ka na ba?
Malakas pa ang ulan. Malakas pa ba ang ulan?

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?

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?

Unlike in English, there is no affirmative tag question in Tagalog. Usually, negative statements are followed by the tag question ano.

Negative Statement Tag Question
Hindi Pilipino si Art, ano? Art isn't a Filipino, is he?

Affirmative Response

Question Affirmative 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 contrast 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.

The common interrogative words are:

Tagalog English
sino who
ano what
saan where
kailan when
bakit why
alin which
ilan how many
kangino whom
papaano how
  • Sino ang dumating?
  • Sino ang abogado mo?
  • Ano ang gusto mo?
  • Alin ang ayaw mo?
  • Ilan ang ang babae?
  • Saan siya pumunta?
  • Kailan siya dumating?
  • Kangino bumili si Eleanor?
  • Bakit umalis si Dorotea?
  • Papaano nililinis ang isda?

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?


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.

Huwag instead of hindi is used in negative commands.

Huwag kang tumayo.
  • Don't you (singular) stand.
Huwag kayong tumayo.
  • Don't you (plural) stand.
Huwag mong inumin ang gatas.
  • Don't you (singular) drink the milk.
Huwag ninyong inumin ang gatas.
  • Don't you (plural) drink the milk.


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 (singular) please hand over the book.
Pakiabot nga ninyo ang libro.
  • You (plural) 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 construction 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 the first sentence below and the most indirect way of giving a command is the fourth sentence.

  1. Magsaing ka.
    • Cook rice.
  2. Magsaing ka nga.
    • Please cook rice.
  3. Magsaing ka tayo.
    • Let's cook rice.
  4. Magsaing na kaya tayo.
    • What if we cooked rice now?
    • Perhaps we should cook rice now.