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Sentence Formation - Parts of a Sentence

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In Tagalog, the word order for sentences is usually reversed from what you'd expect in English.

Let's take two simple sentence constructions as examples:

  • 1.) Simple describing sentences
  • 2.) Simple verb + actor sentences


Simple Descriptive Sentence Structure

To describe something in Tagalog you can use this structure:
"[Adjective] ang [item]."
Notice how in Tagalog the adjective comes before the item you're describing in the sentence, which is the reverse of English.
In English you'd say "The cat is fat," but in Tagalog you'd say "Fat is the cat."
Markup
Examples:
The cat is fat.
Matabâ ang pu.
The dog is smart.
Matalino ang aso.
The tree is big.
Malakí ang pu. Play audio #3548
The food is delicious.
Masaráp ang pagkain. Play audio #3547
Markup
Examples:
The cat is fat.
Mataba ang pusa.
The dog is smart.
Matalino ang aso.
The tree is big.
Malaki ang puno. Play audio #3548
The food is delicious.
Masarap ang pagkain. Play audio #3547
To describe a named person you use the same structure, but use "si" instead of "ang":
Markup
Examples:
Jane is nice.
Mabaít si Jane.
Martin is ugly.
Pangit si Martin.
Isko is skinny.
Payát si Isko.
Jose is smart.
Matalino si Jose.
Markup
Examples:
Jane is nice.
Mabait si Jane.
Martin is ugly.
Pangit si Martin.
Isko is skinny.
Payat si Isko.
Jose is smart.
Matalino si Jose.
Inverted Form: Ay

So far you've seen sentences with their word order in the reverse order from what you'd expect in English.

However, there is a way to say the same sentences in the same word order as you'd say in English, using the word "ay," which is called an "inversion marker."

Sentences like this are used much less commonly in Tagalog, and are mostly used for stylistic reasons to create variation in a person's writing style. You'll also see it used more often in formal prose and less often in casual speech.

Even though this form is less common and is something you should stay away from as a beginner learner, you should know how it works for when you encounter it in texts and speech in the real world:
Markup
Examples:
The tree is big.
Ang puno ay malakí. Play audio #3542
The food is delicious.
Ang pagkain ay masaráp. Play audio #3541
Jose is intelligent.
Si José ay matalino. Play audio #3540
The children are happy.
Ang mga bata ay masayá. Play audio #3539
Markup
Examples:
The tree is big.
Ang puno ay malaki. Play audio #3542
The food is delicious.
Ang pagkain ay masarap. Play audio #3541
Jose is intelligent.
Si Jose ay matalino. Play audio #3540
The children are happy.
Ang mga bata ay masaya. Play audio #3539
Markup
Examples:
The child is playing.
Ang bata ay naglalarô. Play audio #3545
Max and Anton are talking.
Si Max at Antón ay nag-uusap. Play audio #3543
Wilson is reading.
Si Wilson ay nagbábasa. Play audio #3544
Markup
Examples:
The child is playing.
Ang bata ay naglalaro. Play audio #3545
Max and Anton are talking.
Si Max at Anton ay nag-uusap. Play audio #3543
Wilson is reading.
Si Wilson ay nagbabasa. Play audio #3544

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Next: Subject and Predicate Drill

Section Home:
Sentence Formation


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