Foreigner Teaching Tagalog (Lesson 7): “Maka-” and “Makapag-” Verbs

If you are trying to learn Tagalog you will often bump into verbs that, instead of having the -um- or the mag- affixes, begin with maka- or makapag-.

Basically these verbs are used to express ability.

For example, if I say tumayo ako (past=tumayo, present=tumatayo, future=tatayo), I mean “I stand”. If, however, instead of um I use maka and turn the tumayo into makatayo, what I mean is that I am able to stand (maybe because I am young and healthy). Past, present and future are formed like this: nakatayo, nakakatayo, makakatayo

If I say magbasa ako (past=nagbasa, present=nagbabasa, future=magbabasa) I mean “I read”.

If, instead, I say makapagbasa ako I mean that I am able to read (perhaps because I have some free time to do so). Past, present and future are formed like this: nakapagbasa ako, nakakapagbasa ako, makakapagbasa ako.

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