March 20, 2020

Tagalog | Affixes

Changing a word based on it's affix.


Um affix and doubled syllable rules.

Some of this information I have taken from here.

Also, here's a link to a huge list of verbs and their proper tense affixes:

Past Tense

If the word starts with a consonant you, you split the first consonant and vowel with -um-. If the root word starts with a vowel you prefix it with -um-.

Future Tense

You double up the first syllable.

Present Tense

It's a combination of past and future tense to get the present tense. See chart below:

root word past future present
kain kumakin kakain kumakain
inom uminom iinom umiinom

Mag vs Nag

This should be pretty easy, but mag/nag has other implementations outside of tense. Like turning a noun into a verb. In the sense of tense though: mag is future, nag is present.

root word future present
kain mag-kain nag-kain
unon mag-iinom nag-iinom

The different uses between using mag/nag and um is kinda wishy-washy. I seem to find different answer as to which is proper. In the end, they both kinda do the same thing, but using mag/nag can sometimes change the word's meaning altogether. This thread had a pretty good breakdown though.

Ma- and Pa-

Changing a noun into an adjective/adverb/verb. Information summarized from this post here.


When attached to a noun, it changes the noun into an adjective/verb. Then in some cases provide a tense to a verb making it infinitive or future tense. See examples below.

Root word English Adjective-Verb English
Tulog Sleep Matutulog ka Go to sleep
ligo Bath maligo ka Go take a bath
ganda beauty maganda beautiful (full of beauty)
tabat fat matabat fatso (full of fat)
lakas strength malakas strong


Pa is used to politely ask to perform an action. Information summarized from here.

Root Example English
abot Paabot ng suka Kindly hand me over the vinegar
lagay Palagay diyan Kindly put it there.

Pa can also be used as still or yet when followed up by an action.

Example English
nagluluto pa ako I'm still cooking
merong pa There's still some (more)