The “Magpaka-” and the “Magpa-” Affixes in Tagalog

Apart from the various verbal affixes that are used in Tagalog to change verbal focus like mag-, -um-, -an, ma- etc., there are a couple of affixes that are very common in Tagalog and that have nothing to do with verbal focus (as far as I know at least): these affixes are magpaka- and magpa-.

The affix magpaka- conveys the idea of “striving to do or be something”.

For example, a Filipina mother may say to his child something like “magpakabait ka”. Because the root word bait conveys the idea of “goodness”, “magpakabait ka” means something like “be good”, “strive to be good”.

Another example with magpaka- is:

“Magpakarunong ka”=“strive to be wise”.

The affix magpaka- must not be confused with a similar affix being magpa-.

Magpa- conveys the idea of getting someone to do something for you.

A typical example is when somebody in the Philippines goes to the gupitan or “barber shop”. He will say: “magpapagupit ako”. Gupit means “hair cut” and so magpagupit means “to get the barber to cut your hair”.

A mother may say to his child something like: “anak, magpaturo ka sa akin”=“my son, let me teach you”.

So, magpaka- means “to strive to do or be something”, magpa- means to “allow (or to get) someone to do something for you”.

Tagalog is really full of affixes…..

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