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Tagalog for Beginners - Part 2

Part Two

Lesson 6: Demonstrative Pronouns, Word order, Possessives, Possessive Pronouns

Demonstrative Pronouns

itó - this (closer to speaker)
iyán - that (closer to listener)
iyón - that (further from both)


Batà itó. - This is a child.
Mabúti itó. - This is good.
Hindî itó mainít. - This is not hot. ( ! Note the word order!)

Tahímik na sanggól iyán. - That is a quiet baby.
Mabaít na babáe iyán. - That is a good woman.
Hindî iyán malakíng isdâ. - That is not a big fish.

Mahabà iyón. - That is long.
Pángit na lamók iyón. - That is an ugly mosquito.
Hindî iyón magandáng áso. - That is not a pretty dog.

Plural Forms of the Demonstratives

In Tagalog, you need to add "ang mgá" before these pronouns to show the plural.

Note: The "ma-" adjectives can repeat the initial syllable of its root to form the plural, however in official Tagalog grammar, it is not compulsory:

mabúti (singular) ⇒ mabubúti (plural)

singular form: Mabúti itó. = This is good.
plural form: Mabubúti ang mgá itó. = These are good.

Word Order

Tagalog would sound boring if there was only one word order. There is another way of saying the same thing without having any of the meaning of the whole sentence altered. And this is by using one of the ligatures "ay" which acts as a linker. Study the following phrases below carefully.

Malulusóg ang mgá matatandáng babáe. ⇒ Ang mgá matatandáng babáe ay malulusóg. = The old women are healthy.

malusóg - healthy
matandâ - old (animate)

What the ligature "ay" does is step in between the predicate or the verb and the subject, and then swap them around:

[Malulusóg] [ang mgá matatandáng babáe] ⇒ [Ang mgá matatandáng babáe] ay [malulusóg]

Note: Very frequently, in spoken Tagalog, the ligature "ay" becomes "' y" and is attached to the word ending in a vowel:

Itó ay pagkáin. ⇒ Itó'y pagkáin. = This is food.


To say "the book of the mother/the mother's book" in Tagalog, you simply use " ng":

ang aklát ng iná = the book of the mother / the mother's book
ang lápis ng batà = the pencil of the child / the child's pen
ang báhay ng gurò = the house of the teacher / the teacher's house

ang magasín ng mgá laláki = the magazine of the men / the men's magazine

But when you use a person's name, you must use "ni" (Note: "nina" when using more than one name):

ang páaralán ni Maria = the school of Maria / Maria's school
ang mgá káma nina Miguel at Maria = the beds of Miguel and Maria

Possessive Pronouns

Do you remember this set of possessive pronouns?

 Singular Plural
 1st person  ko  my  natin
 our (including the listener)
 our (excluding the listener)
 2nd person  mo, ninyó  your (informal)  ninyó  your (formal, polite)
 3rd person  niyá  his, her  nilá  their

There is another set of the same pronouns:

 Singular Plural
 1st person  ákin  my  átin
 our (including the listener)
 our (excluding the listener)
 2nd person  iyó  your (informal)  inyó  your (formal, polite)
 3rd person  kanyá  his, her, its  kanilá  their

The only difference between these two sets of pronouns is that the words in the latter go before the possessed:

Ang kaniláng kótse ay mabágal.
Ang kótse nilá ay mabágal.

= Their car is slow.

Note: When the pronoun goes before the noun, the ligature "-ng" must be used.


Exercise A:
Now try and change the word order of the following sentences below and then translate into English. And don't forget ay!

1) Masayá ang sanggól.
2) Malamíg ang malakíng kapé.
3) Kumakantá ang mgá maliliít batà.
4) Uminóm ang pagód na pusà ng malamíg na túbig. (pusà - cat)
5) Babása akó ng aklát itó.

Exercise B:
Now omit the ligature in these sentences and change the word order. Then translate into English.

1) Ang matandáng laláki ay sumusúlat.
2) Ang álak ay mabúti.
3) Itó ay hindî maíngay.
4) Iyán ay masaráp na tinápay.
5) Ang mgá isdâ ay hindî masamâ. (masamâ - bad)


Solution of Exercise A:
1) Ang sanggol ay masaya. The baby is happy.
2) Ang malaking kape ay malamig. The large coffee is cold.
3) Ang mga maliliit na bata ay kumakanta. The small children are singing.
4) Ang pagod na pusa ay uminom ng malamig na tubig. The tired cat drank cold water.
5) Ako ay babasa ng aklat ito. I will read this book.

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Sumusulat ang matadang lalaki. The old man is writing.
2) Mabuti ang alak. The wine is good.
3) Hindi ito maingay. This is not loud.
4) Masarap na tinapay iyan. That is delicious bread.
5) Hindi masama ang mga isda. The fish are not bad.

Lesson 7: Using Adjectives, How to Say "Very", "Ma-" Prefix, Another Very, Adverbs

Using Adjectives

Adjectives you have learned so far:

 mabúti  good (condition)
 malínis  clean
 mahíap  poor, difficult
 malakí  big, large
 maliít  small, little
 malungkót  sad
 malakás  strong
 pángit  ugly
 magandá  beautiful, pretty, handsome
 tahímik  quiet
 maíngay  noisy
 matabâ  fat
 mayáman  rich
 matandâ  old (animate)
 masayá  happy
 pagód  tired
 mahabà  long
 mainít  hot, warm
 malamíg  cold, cool
 masaráp  delicious, tasty
 mabaít  good (quality), kind, friendly
 masamâ  bad
 malusóg  healthy
 mahál  expensive, dear
 mabangó  fragrant
 malayò  far
 matalíno  intelligent, learned
 malî  wrong
 tamà  right (opposite of 'wrong')
 yamót  bored
 antók  sleepy
 mabágal  slow

New adjectives:

 bágo  new
 lumà  old (inanimate)
 mataás  high
 mababà  low
 tamád  lazy
 múra  cheap
 matangkád  tall
 sariwà  fresh
 marumí  dirty
 mabilís  fast, quick
 payát  thin
 matamís  sweet (with food)
How to Say 'Very'

In Tagalog, when using 'very' with an adjective, you need to drop the prefix "ma-" from the adjective if it has one and then add the prefix "nápaka-":

magandá ⇒ -gandá ⇒ nápakagandá = very beautiful

However if the adjective lacks the prefix "ma-" then just add "nápaka-":

tamád ⇒ nápakatamád = very lazy

Note: This prefix can also mean 'too' as in 'too lazy', etc.

Nápakagandá ng pelíkula. - The film is very good.
Nápakabaít ni Luisa. - Luisa is very kind.
Nápakaíngay ng mgá áso. - The dogs are very noisy.

Note that this prefix can only be used with the "ng (mgá) / ni(na)".

"Ma-" Prefix

"Ma-" Prefixed Adjectives

You may be wondering why the majority of adjectives have this prefix. Well, this prefix causes the root word to become an adjective. Think of the English suffix "-ful" which is added to the noun turning it into the adjective (= beauty ⇒ beautiful) this is because the English suffix comes from the word full so think of beautiful as being full of beauty (she is full of beauty = she is beautiful). Well in Tagalog, the prefix "ma-" comes from the word "may" which literally means 'there is/are'. As you can see, there are a few adjectives that don't actually have this prefix: this means that they are irregular.

Did you know???

The capital of the Philippines, Manila, is originally made up of two separate words "may" and "nila" which literally means "there are mangroves" (the mangrove is a plant that grows on the river banks), because the main river that runs through Manila is heavily covered in mangroves!

Another Very

Another way of saying 'very'

There is another way of expressing this in Tagalog. That is to repeat the adjective but the ligature must be inserted between as well as a hyphen when appropriate:

magandáng-magandá - very pretty/beautiful/handsome/good
malakíng-malakí - very big
malusóg na malusóg - very healthy
mabilís na mabilís - very fast/quick


Adverbs in Tagalog are very easy to form. They are formed by using the ligatures "na" and "-ng":

Mabágal na kumakáin si Pedro. - Pedro eats slowly.
Tahímik na kakáin ang kápitbahay. - The neighbour will sing quietly.
Ang iná ko ay magandáng sumusúlat. - My mother writes beautifully.


Exercise A: Write the opposite of the following words below. Translate to English:
1) mataás
2) múra
3) mabilís
4) payát
5) masayá
6) malínis
7) malamíg
8) mayáman

Exercise B:
Now change or add the prefix of/to these adjectives in bold in the sentences below so that they all have the meaning emphasised or more forceful, and then translate into English:

1) Ang báhay ay malínis.
2) Múra ang áking aklat.
3) Hindî mabilís ang kanyáng kótse.
4) Itó ay malakíng áso.
5) Pángit ang payát na babáe.


Solution of Exercise A:
1) mababa
2) mahal
3) mabagal
4) mataba
5) malungkot
6) marumi
7) mainit
8) mahirap

Solution of Exercise B:
1) Napakalinis ng bahay. The house is very clean.
2) Napakamura ng aking aklat. My book is very cheap.
3) Hindi napakabilis ng kanyang kotse. His/her car is not very fast.
4) Ito ay napakalaking aso. This is a very big dog.
5) Napakapangit ng payat na babae. The thin lady is very ugly.

Lesson 8: Comparisons


Making comparisons in Tagalog: equative

In English, when we make an equative comparison, we are using the construction: "[noun(s)/person] and [noun(s)/person] are (of) the same (degree of) [noun]", for example, "Tina and Maria are of the same degree of beauty".

In Tagalog, this is done by using the prefix "magkasing-" before the root:

magandá ⇒ -gandá ⇒ magkasinggandá

Magkasinggandá sina Tina at Maria.

This prefix is only used when both nouns are in focus. That is when both of them are your points of the sentence.

If you want to use one of the compared objects as your only point then use a different prefix as demonstrated here. Study carefully:

Kasinggandá si Tina ni Maria. = Tina is as beautiful as Maria.

Notice in the Tagalog translation that Tina follows the marker "si" and Maria "ni". This is because the marker "si" causes Tina to be the main point of your conversation while Maria, preceded by "ni", is not.

There are other ways of comparing in exactly the same way as the prefix "kasing-" and they are "parého" or "gáya". They are not affixes but single words.

Mataás gáya ang simbáhan ng páaralán. - The church is as tall/high as the school.
Pángit parého ang iyóng dalandán ng ságing ko! - Your orange is as bad as as my banana!

Note: "Kasing-" can be reduced to simply "sing-". "Kasing-" becomes "kasin-" before d, and "kasim-" before b.

Making comparisons in Tagalog: comparative

Comparative is when you want to say that something has more of a quality than something else for example: "Tina is prettier than Maria".

In Tagalog, this is formed by using either of the words "lálo" (which comes before the adjective and another word "káysa" must be used after the adjective) and "káysa" (which comes after the ligatured adjective):

Lálong malakí ang báka káysa sa kámbing. - The cow is bigger than the goat.
Malakíng káysa sa kámbing ang báka.

Note that the object that has more quality must follow "ang" and the object of lesser degree must follow "sa".

Lalóng matabâ si Tina káysa kay Maria. - Tina is fatter than Maria.
Matabáng káysa kay Maria si Tina.

Note that the person's name that is of lesser degree must follow "kay".

Making comparisons in Tagalog: superlative

This is easy and straightforward. Just add the prefix "pinaká-" to the adjectives (no need to drop the prefix "ma-")!

pinakámagandá - most beautiful
pinakapángit - ugliest

Pinakapángit si Maria pero pinakátamád si Tina. - Maria is the ugliest but Tina is the laziest.

Lesson 9: More Personal Pronouns, Mag- Verbs, "Um" Verb, "In" Verb

More Personal Pronouns

This set of pronouns is used when talking about something happening to someone. In languages with case system, this is called the accusative. A bit like the English 'to me', 'to you', etc.

 Singular Plural
 1st person  sa ákin  to me  sa átin
 sa ámin
 to us (including the listener)
 to us (excluding the listener)
 2nd person  sa iyó  to you (informal)  sa inyó  to you (formal, polite)
 3rd person  sa kanyá  to him, to her, to it  sa kanilá  to them

Sumusúlat ang amá ng líham sa kanyá. - The father is writing a letter to her.

If you are using a noun as the direct object, then simply use "sa".

Ang iná ng batà ay dadálaw sa gurò bukás. - The child's mother is visiting the teacher tomorrow.

If you are using a person's name as the direct object, then use "kay". For more than one name, use "kina".

Sumúlat akó kay George. - I wrote to George.

More examples:

Siyá'y lálong magandá káysa sa ákin. - He is more handsome than I am.
Ang mgá estudyánte ay matalínong káysa sa kanilá. - The students are more intelligent than them.

Mag- Verbs

There is another group of verbs that act in a similar way as "-um-" verbs do. This category is called the "mag-" verbs.

There is a very small difference between those two groups. The affix "-um-" usually indicates the frequency of action.

But basically the main purpose of those two affixes is the same - to emphasise that the subject is in focus (main point of the sentence).

Some verbs only go with "-um-" while others go with just "mag-". A few verbs can use either.

Here is a list of "mag-" verbs:

 magsalitâ  to speak
 maglutò  to cook
 maglarô  to play
 magbilí  to sell
 mag-áral  to learn
 maglínis  to clean

Note: When this prefix goes before the initial vowel of the root, a hyphen appears to indicate the glottal stop in the pronunciation.

Remember that in Tagalog, the verb tense is divided into three aspects - past, present, and future.

infinitive: magsalitâ
past: nagsalitâ
present: nagsasalitâ
future: magsasalitâ

Note that in the past and present, the initial "m" changes to "n" and in the present form, the first syllable of the root is duplicated. In the future tense, the initial letter of the prefix is changed back to "m" but the duplication remains.

Magsasalitâ akó sa iyó bukás. - I will speak to you tomorrow.

infinitive: mag-áral
past: nag-áral
present: nag-aáral
future: mag-aáral

The process is just the same as though it was a root with a consonant (plus a vowel) being the initial because the vowel by itself still counts as a syllable.

Did you know???

Tagalog employs agglutination. This means that a root word can be agglutinated with several affixes to form new but related words. The very basic root "áral" gives the meaning of learning. Add the prefix "mag-" to it and you have a verb. The word "páaralán" which means 'school' (literally: place where you learn) comes from this root.

Now we will demonstrate how "um" and "in" affixes work in the simplest way:

"Um" Verb

Kumagat ang aso ng lalaki.
The dog bit the man.

In the example above, 'ang' (coloured green) marks the subject while 'ng' marks the direct object. 'Um' signals that the actor/doer of the verb is in focus because of 'ang' that stands in front of the actor/doer.

"In" Verb

Kinagat ng aso ang lalaki.
The dog bit the man.

Here, 'ang' (coloured blue) marks the direct object while 'ng' marks the subject. 'In' signals that the recipient of the verb is in focus because of 'ang' that stands in front of the recipient.

The reason for the existence of the verbal affix system is to provide information about the role and relationship between words in the sentence. Without them, it is impossible to tell which is even the subject and which is the direct object if the function of putting something in focus is used.

End Of Part Two

This is the end of part two.

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