Existentials and Negation in Tagalog: “May”, “Mayroon”, “Hindi” and “Wala”

There are two words to negate something in Tagalog: hindi and wala

HINDI

The word hindi, meaning no or not, and the word wala, indicating non-existence or absence.

Hindi is the opposite of oo meaning yes, and it is also used to talk about what a person or something is not

Examples

Pilipino ka ba? (are you Filipino?)

Two possible answers: Hindi ako Pilipino=I am not Filipino; hindi=no

Hindi ako Amerikano=I am not American

Hindi siya maganda=she is not beautiful

Gusto mo bang pumunta sa Jollibee?=would you like to go to Jollibee?

Answer: hindi=no

WALA

Wala is the opposite of mayroon meaning there is (example mayroon maraming Pilipino sa Roma=there are many Filipinos in Rome) or to have (mayroon akong panahon ngayon=I have time today).

Here are few examples:

Wala maraming Pilipino sa mga maliit na bayan ng Italya=there are not that many Filipinos in small Italian towns

Wala akong pera=I haven’t got any money

nasa kusina ba ang TV?=is the TV set in the kitchen?

Answers: wala=no; wala sa kusina ang TV=the TV set is not in the kitchen

MAY/MAYROON

To talk about the existence of something, Filipinos use may or mayroon (sometimes Filipinos use the more colloquial form meron).

Difference between may and mayroon

Mayroon, must be followed by an adverb of place or a personal pronoun

For example, if I am using the personal pronoun ako immediately after mayroon, I can’t use may

I can say mayroon akong pera but I can’t say may akong pera. If I want to use the may instead of mayroon I have to move the personal pronoun to the end of the sentence and say: may pera ako

Mayroon is a full word that can standalone, while may has to be followed by a noun, verb, adverb, adjective.

For example, if I ask the question:

May pera ba si Mario?

I can answer with mayroon siya

If I wanted to use the may instead, I would have to say may pera si Mario

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