Tagalog Lessons (Lesson 4): the “Mag-” and the “-Um-” Verbs

When the one doing the action is the focus of the sentence and, as I mentioned in my previous post, I am using the ako, ikaw, siya, tayo/kami, kayo, sila pronouns or the ang before the noun or the si before proper names, usually the verbs take the um form or the mag form. These are the two main focus verbs, there are also other affixes like maka, makapag, magpa but, for the sake of simplicity, I will limit myself, for now, to mentioning these two.

In the mag verbs you have to put mag before the root word. An example is the verb to throw: the root word is tapon, therefore the verb is magtapon.

Now, if you are talking about the past (completed aspect), the mag becomes nag and I threw is nagtapon ako.

If you are talking about the present (incompleted aspect) you still use nag instead of mag and you double the first syllable of the root word thereby forming nagtatapon ako (I am throwing).

In the future (contemplated aspect) you return to mag and you double the first syllable of the root word and the verb is magtatapon ako (I will throw).

Other examples of mag verbs are:

To read: magbasa (nagbasa ako ng aklat (book), nagbabasa ako ng aklat, magbabasa ako ng aklat), to cook: magluto (nagluto ako ng pancit, nagluluto ako ng pancit, magluluto ako ng pancit).

As for the um verb, it is constructed by putting um between the first consonant and the first vowel of the root (or before the root if the root begins with a vowel). For example the verb to drink is um+inom:

Past=uminom ako ng gin

Present=umiinom ako ng gin

Future=iinom ako ng gin

Another example is the verb tumayo meaning to stand”:

Past=tumayo ako

Present=tumatayo ako

Future=tatayo ako

Here, as you can grasp from the examples, the rule is:

  1. um+root word to form the past
  2. um+root word+double the first syllable of the root word to form the present
  3. remove um and double the first syllable of the root word to form the future

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