The goal of this website is to get you understanding, speaking, and reading some basic Filipino (Tagalog) in a fun and creative way. So we're not going to focus on a lot of grammar rules. Here, however, are some simple rules that will build upon what you already know and help you easily form sentences.
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The Filipino alphabet is very similar to the English alphabet -- the 26 letters of the English alphabet plus ñ and ng.
✎ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n ñ ng o p q r s t u v w x y z
For the most part, the pronunciation is similar to Spanish (for example, j is pronounced h) and English (for example, g is a hard g, like in girl).
There are no long vowels. The vowels are pronounced:
✎ a as in apple
✎ e as in elephant
✎ i as in igloo
✎ o as in octopus
✎ u as in moon
✎ I = AKO
✎ YOU = IKAW
✎ HE/SHE = SIYA or S'YA (pronounced SI-YA OR SHA)
✎ WE = TAYO
✎ YOU = KAYO (plural and formal)
✎ THEY = SILA
✎ ME = AKIN
✎ YOU = IYO
✎ HIM/HER = KANIYA
✎ US = AMIN
✎ YOU = INYO (plural and formal)
✎ THEM = KANILA
✎ MY = KO
✎ YOUR = MO
✎ HIS/HER = NIYA
✎ OUR = NAMIN
✎ YOUR = NINYO (plural and formal)
✎ THEIR = NILA
THE = ANG
✎ THE house
✎ ANG bahay
✎ THE horse
✎ ANG kabayo
This is probably the easiest grammar rule in the entire langauge. The verb TO BE conjugates to AY no matter who or what the subject is.
IS/ARE = AY
✎ The child IS happy.
✎ Ang bata AY masaya.
✎ I AM tall.
✎ Ako AY mataas.
✎ You ARE smart.
✎ Ikaw AY matalino.
In fact, the use of TO BE is so simple, you don't even have to use it at all!
✎ The child is happy.
✎ Masaya ang bata.
✎ I am tall.
✎ Mataas ako.
✎ You are fast.
✎ Mabilis ka. (Note: IKAW (you) becomes KA in the short version.)
In the negative, NOT is HINDI and you can place it after the verb or at the beginning of the sentence for the short version.
NOT = HINDI
✎ The child IS NOT happy.
✎ Ang bata AY HINDI masaya.
✎ HINDI masaya ang bata.
A couple of notes on I and YOU in the negative short version:
In the negative of the short version of I AM and YOU ARE sentences, HINDI is placed before the pronoun and both are moved to the beginning of the sentence.
IKAW (you) becomes KA.
✎ HINDI ako mataas.
✎ HINDI KA mabilis.
ADJECTIVES describe people, places, and things.
Subject (personal pronoun) + ay (is/are) + ADJECTIVE.
ADJECTIVE + subject (personal pronoun).
✎ I am SMALL/SHORT.
✎ Ako ay MALIIT.
✎ MALIIT ako. (Note: IKAW (you) becomes KA in the short version.)
The + subject (place or thing) + ay (is) + ADJECTIVE.
ADJECTIVE + the + subject (place or thing).
✎ The elephant is BIG.
✎ Ang elepante ay MALAKI.
✎ MALAKI ang elepante.
The + plural subject (places or things) + ay (are) + ADJECTIVE.
ADJECTIVE + the + plural subject (places or things).
To make a noun plural, add MGA (pronounced MANGA) in front of the noun.
You can also make the ADJECTIVE plural, but we'll keep it simple in this lesson and have it stay the same for now.
✎ The elephants are BIG.
✎ Ang mga elepante ay MALAKI.
✎ MALAKI ang mga elepante.
✎ WHO = SINO
✎ WHAT = ANO
✎ WHEN = KAILAN
✎ WHERE = SAAN or NASAAN
✎ HOW = PAANO (plural and formal)
✎ WHY = BAKIT
✎ HOW MANY = ILAN
✎ HOW MUCH = MAGKANO
Just like in many other languages, there are several ways to ask the same question. We're going to keep it simple here so that you can start asking some questions sooner rather than later.
Let's start with the short version of TO BE questions -- Who is...? What is...?
Remember that in the short version of TO BE sentences, we drop the AY (IS).
✎ WHO + (IS) + THE + president?
✎ SINO + (--) + ANG + presidente?
✎ WHERE + (IS) + THE + bathroom?
✎ NASAAN + (--) + ANG + baño?
✎ HOW MUCH + (ARE) + THE + shoes?
✎ MAGKANO + (--) + ANG + mga sapatos?