How To Say No In Tagalog: A Simple Guide For 2021

August 30, 2021

Have you been wondering how exactly do the locals say no in Tagalog? Suppose you have been asking online or reviewing the talasaltiaan (or dictionary in English). In that case, there is really no direct translation for this word, but the Filipinos have many ways to imply that they are saying no. This post will walk you through some of the best ways to use each, depending on the formal and casual pattern. If you are up for that, then let's start learning!

When it comes to Filipinos, you might be surprised by how complex their language is and how each word may look the same but may have different meanings. For instance, you might have come across sentences that end with the word "no," but it has different meanings depending on the context. Take note of some of the examples below to help you get precisely what we mean.

  • Kumain ka na, no(English translation: You have eaten already, right?" This use of no simply asks for an agreement, and it basically works like the Spanish "no" to turn the sentence into a question form.
  • Ang Ganda ko kaya,  no! (English translation: I am pretty, okay!) In this statement, the "no" is used to make a point and is mainly said by the speaker with the hopes that the hearer will agree with him/her.
  • Anong no mo? (English translation: What's your number?) This question is only used when conversing via messages or online, and this is the Tagalog abbreviation for the word number.

By now, you are probably thinking... what then is the word that Filipinos use to say a resounding "no," right? Please read on below to find out exactly how it works.


The 9 Best Ways To Say No In Tagalog Language

No, just like in the English language, it can be understood in a variety of ways depending on the speaker's tone, word choice, and situation. For this case, we have identified 9 basic ways to say no and three main contexts: informal, formal, and informal-polite.

HindiNo (as a negative answer)CasualWhen speaking with people the same age as you or with your friends. 
Hindi poNo (as a negative answer)FormalThis is the best way to sound respectful especially when speaking with the elderly and your family.
Hindi hoNo (as a negative answer)Casual- politeYou can try using this when conversing with people you do not know but are older than you.
HuwagNo (to reprimand)FormalSince the word "no" can also be used as a negative command, the formal Tagalog counterpart is huwag.
WagNo (to reprimand)CasualThis is the informal version of "huwag"
TutolNo (to protest)FormalWhile this is extremely formal, you can use this to express your deep protest or objection about something. 
LabanNo (to argue)CasualWhile this may not be a direct answer to a yes or no question, this means an earnest objection about something. 
WalaNo (to say that there is nothing left)CasualThis is the direct translation for "nothing" in the English language. 
AyokoNo (a command to say you do not want something)CasualThe word no and not are the two English words that indicate a strong sense of negation. The word "ayoko" can be used as a form of "do not"

*Note: The Filipino people love reading expressions! With this being said, we highly advise that you add a quick ngiti or smile and a tango or nod as you say any of these in order not to sound rude.


Sample Scenarios

saying no politely

Let's say your Filipino boss shows up at your door for a quick conversation. Conversations between people in positions of authority and their subordinates can be structured in the following way.

Boss: How are you?Boss: Kumusta ka?
You: I'm good. Thank you for asking. You: Mabuti naman po. Salamat po.
Boss: Do you know when Sarah will be back in the office?Boss: Alam mo ba kung anong oras ang balik ni Sarah sa opisina?
You: Oh! I do not know. You: Naku! Hindi ko po alam. 

A formal setting can be inferred from the table above. We arrived at this conclusion because of the following signifiers: (1) the other speaker used the word "po", (2) the speaker made use of the formal version of "no" in the Tagalog language.



say no in tagalog language

As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to know the best translations for the word "no" and the good ways to add it in your sentences. Did you enjoy this post? Let us know in the comment section below and give us your ideas on what other language topics in Tagalog do you want to learn. In the meantime, we also invite you to check out our previous posts too, like the basic Filipino breakfast, Tagalog cooking terms, and the best Filipino desserts to try out today!

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