An Easy Guide To Tagalog Adjectives: 3 Major Tips

June 21, 2021

Wondering how pang-uri or Tagalog adjectives work as compared to their English counterparts? In today's content, we will walk you through the critical points to remember about this grammatical lesson and walk you through the most commonly used adjectives to describe people, places, and things. We believe that it is essential for you to master this since it is one of the first words you'll ever have to learn when learning a totally new language. Ready for the challenge? Let's get learning!

Same as in English, there are also nine major parts of speech in the Tagalog grammar, including nouns (pangalan), verbs (pandiwa), adverbs (pang-abay), pronouns (panghalip), prepositions (pang-ukol), conjunctions (pangatnig), particles (ingklitik), adjectives (pang-uri), and ligatures (pang-angkop). If you are just starting to master this, we highly recommend that you start by mastering adjectives in order to express your thoughts and describe an object or a feeling.

This is particularly important too if you want to give compliments. You can use adjectives to modify or describe a quality like the examples below:

  • Siya ay maganda and matangkad! (She is beautiful and tall)
  • Matalinong bata si Mario! (Mario is intelligent!)
  • Mabilis tumakbo si Beng! (Beng runs fast!)

To help you get started on how the adjectives work in Tagalog grammar, continue reading below.

 

Structure Of Tagalog Adjectives

Tagalog adjectives can take many forms, and this is something that you have to get used to. At times, it can be used to describe nouns and pronouns, but you can use it as an adverb or as a replacement for a noun or predicate. Take the case of the example sentences below:

  1. Matitipid and mga Caviteño (The Caviteños are thrifty).
  2. Mabuti na bata si Pihu (Pihu is a good kid).
  3. Ang masama ay hindi magtatagumpay (The bad will not succeed).
  4. Mabagal na naglakad and making kaibigan (My friend walked slowly).

Forms Of Tagalog Adjectives

There are four adjective forms to follow, and this includes the simple (payak), affixed (maylapi), repeating (inuulit), and compound (tambalan). Thankfully, differentiating the four is pretty easy! Below are the examples:

Tagalog AdjectiveWhat to RememberExampleTranslation
PayakRoot wordMali Wrong
MaylapiRoot word with affixesMagulangRoot word is gulang (age).
InuulitRepetition of root wordBasang-basaRepetition of root word basa (very wet)
CompoundCombination of two words Usad-pagongCombination of usad (movement) and pagong (turtle)

Degree Of Comparison In Tagalog Adjectives

Tagalog grammar is heavily based on English adjectives which is why you can also expect three degrees of comparison here, such as the positive (lantay), comparative (pahambing), and superlative (pasukdol). The comparative degree also has two major types known as similar (magkatulad) and sisimilar (di-magkatulad), which compare two nouns or pronouns. If the comparative form is dissimilar, you may use palamang (to show supremacy over the other thing compared to) or pasahol (to show a lack of supremacy).

Below is an example of how it works:

LantayMagkatuladPahambing na PalamangPahambing na PasaholPasukdol
Maganda (beautiful)Kasing- ganda (as beautiful as)Mas maganda (more beautiful)Di-masyadong maganda (not that beautiful)Ubod ng ganda (most beautiful)
Mataba (fat)Magkasing-taba (as fat as)Mas mataba (fatter)di-gaano mataba (not that fat)Sobrang taba (very fat)
Mabango (fragrant)magkasing-bango (as fragrant as)Higit na mabango (more fragrant)di-gaano mabango (not that fragrant)Saksakan ng bango (most fragrant)

 

3 Tips To Remember About Tagalog Adjectives

Learning Tagalog languages is not as easy as it looks. However, it is not entirely impossible not to master it on your own. Here are a few tips which can help you out in remembering the Tagalog Adjectives.

Tip #1: Remember that the basic Tagalog word form for adjectives uses "ma" as a prefix
PrefixRoot wordResultMeaning
maingaymaingaynoisy
malawakmalawakwide
matamismatamissweet
mahabamahabalong
malalimmalalimdeep
malinismalinisclean
Tip #2: Tagalog adjectives have separate singular and plural forms
SingularPluralMeaning
mabigatmabibigatheavy
makulaymakulaycolorful
masarapmasasarapdelicious
malakasmalalakasstrong
maliitmaliliitsmall
Tip #3: Tagalog adjectives can differ based on the number of what is being described
OneTwoMany
Kapatid ko siya (he is my sibling)Magkapatid kami (we are siblings)Magkakapatid kaming tatlo (we three are siblings)
Kasintahan ko siya (she is my partner)Magkasintahan kami (we are partners)sila ay magkakasintahan (they are partners) 
Magaling siya (he is good)kapwa magaling (both of them are good)Magkakasing-galing sila (all of them are good)

 

Examples Of Commonly Used Tagalog Adjectives

Interested to learn more about the most common adjectives used by Filipinos? We have compiled here and listed below all the commonly used words that you can try out when describing or modifying a statement. Most of these can be used for all the forms that we have discussed early on, so be sure to review the explanations above before using them.

Tagalog AdjectivesEnglish Translation
MabilisFast
MahalExpensive
MaikliShort
MalakiBig
LumaOld
TahimikSilent
MuraCheap
ManipisThin
MaliitSmall
BagoNew
BataYoung
PogiHandsome
MagandaBeautifuk
MainitHot
MalamigCold
MaarteFussy
MataasTall / high
MagaanLightweight
MababawShallow
MalalimDeep
Marumi Dirty
SingkitChinky eyes
BastosRude
Kaakit-akitattractive

 

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