Adjectives in Tagalog

An adjective describes a noun

Adjectives are words like beautiful, awesome and any other word that gives some information about the thing, the place, the person, the idea or the animal described by a noun.

In Tagalog there are adjectives that are formed by a root word+an affix (like maganda=beautiful) and adjectives that don’t require an affix (like bobo=stupid).

Here is a list of affixes that are used to form compound adjectives

1 ma– having a certain quality
Example: maganda=beautiful

2. maka- having a certain inclination
Example: makalaman=fleshly

3. maka- having a certain ability
Example: makadurug-puso=having the ability to break one’s heart

4. mala- being like
Example: malasibuyas=like an onion

5. mapag- having a certain habit
Example: mapagbiro=having the habit to joke

6. mapang~ mapan~ mapam~ one who does on a regular basis the thing described by the root word
Example: mapang-away= one who regularly engages in a quarrel

7. pala- one who is constantly doing the thing described by the root word
Example: palaisip=always thinking

8. pang-~ pan-~ pam– instrumental
Example: pampatibay=encouraging

9.-an~ han one who possesses the quality described by the root word to a large extent
Example: duguan=inclined to a large extent toward bloodshed

10. in- like the thing described by the root word
Example: sinampalok=like a tamarind

11. in/-hin one who easily catches the thing described by the root word
Example: lagnatin=one who easily catches the flu

12. ma- -in/-hin one who possesses the quality described by the root word to a large extent
Example: maawain=full of mercy

Foreigner Teaching Tagalog: Adjectives, Comparatives and Superlatives

As I’ve already mentioned, adjectives in Tagalog are usually formed by putting the affix ma- before the root word. For example, in order to form the adjective beautiful starting from the root word ganda, you need to combine ma with ganda and, therefore, form the adjective maganda.

Not all adjectives, however, are formed that way: sometimes there are adjectives that don’t require any affix, such as: payat (slim), bobo (stupid) and so on.

If you want to say that something is more, let’s say, beautiful than something else, you need to use the following structure: mas maganda kaysa (example: ang Pilipinas ay mas maganda kaysa sa Italya=the Philippines is more beautiful than Italy).

If you want to say that something is the most, let’s say, beautiful among a group you use the affix pinaka- instead of ma- before the root word (example: ang Pilipinas ay ang pinakamagandang bansa sa mundo=the Philippines is the most beautiful country in the world).

If you want to say that something is very beautiful you can use the napaka- affix instead of ma- (example: ang Pilipinas ay napakaganda).

Hope this helps….