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Linking Adjectives to Nouns in Filipino With Na and -Ng

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Precy loves reading about Filipino folklore. She also enjoys helping others speak and appreciate the Filipino and Ilocano language.

Ways of using na and -ng as Tagalog linkers for adjectives.

Ways of using na and -ng as Tagalog linkers for adjectives.

There's more to learn in Filipino about adjectives. There are two linkers in Tagalog used to link adjectives to nouns being described. These are na and -ng. Unlike in English where we just say the adjectives and nouns like blue petals and talkative woman, na and -ng are the linkers you will need in Tagalog but that depends on what letter the adjective ends with.

On this article, I will be discussing the uses of these two linkers. Table of examples are included as well for an easy reference.

-Ng as Linker

Attached at the end of adjectives ending in vowels (a, e, i, o, u). Had something tasty for a meal? Tasty food. While it is simply describe like that in English regardless if the adjective ends in a vowel or a consonant, in Filipino/Tagalog, -ng is needed to link the two. Malasa means tasty while pagkain means food. Since the adjective ends in letter a, which is a vowel, -ng needs to be attached at the end of the adjective. Malasang pagkain.

On the table below are more adjectives and nouns linked together using -ng. Bago means new. But to describe a noun, the -ng is needed and is placed at the end of the adjective. Bagong cellphone.

Adjectives linked to nouns using -ng.

EnglishTagalog

new cellphone

bagong cellphone

new pet

bagong alaga

green dahon

berdeng dahon

tasty food

malasang pagkain

stale fish

bilasang isda

weak signal

mahinang signal

cunning friend

tusong kaibigan

fussy girlfriend

maarteng nobya

Na - Linking Adjectives to Nouns

Na is used to link a Tagalog adjective to the noun being described if the adjective ends in a consonant. As an example, let's have the English adjective and noun soft pillow. The Tagalog adjective which means soft ends in a consonant, malambot which is letter t. Unan means pillow. Linking the two by using na as the linker, that will give us malambot na unan. More examples are on the table below.

Adjectives linked to nouns using na.

EnglishTagalog

spoiled bread

panis na tinapay

grumpy audience

masungit na manonood

rude fan

bastos na tagahanga

delicious food

masarap na pagkain

noisy neighbor

maingay na kapitbahay

heavy rain

malakas na ulan

strong wind

malakas na hangin

tall tree

mataas na puno

hot weather

mainit na panahon

crunchy fruit

malutong na prutas

shallow water

mababaw na tubig

Not all adjectives ending in consonants are linked to nouns with the na linker. If this is the case, just like with the adjective matulin which means fast, only the letter g is added — matuling. Matuling sasakyan. Fast vehicle.

Kalawangin. The Filipino word for rusty is another example as it ends with the n as well. It will become kalawanging. With letter g attached to it now all you need is the noun to describe. Kalawanging hawla. Rusty cage.

Na and -Ng as Linkers With Intensified Adjectives

Even with intensified adjectives, na and -ng still do their role as linkers. Aside from the need to repeat the adjective to intensify it, nothing changed with the rule of when to use na and -ng as linkers.

Taking one example from the table above for linker na, malakas or strong, it has to be repeated to be intensified — malakas na malakas. This now corresponds to saying to/so/very strong. Na is used with the intensified form since the last letter of the adjective is a consonant.

The same goes if an adjective ends in a vowel where -ng is used before repeating the adjective. Bagong bago. So new. You can use the table below for more examples and when you're confident enough, you can try on your own with the adjectives you already know. For more to practice with, I already talked more about them including simple Tagalog adjectives on my article Simple and Common Tagalog Adjectives: Describe People, Places and Things With Filipino Adjectives.

Intensified Tagalog adjectives using na and -ng.

EnglishTagalog

so delicious

masarap na masarap

very noisy

maingay na maingay

so strong

malakas na malakas

very tall

mataas na mataas

very hot

mainit na mainit

very shallow

mababaw na mababaw

so new

bagong bago

so green

berdeng berde

very tasty

malasang malasa

too stale

bilasang bilasa

too weak

mahinang mahina

too cunning

tusong tuso

too fussy

maarteng maarte

Linking Intensified Adjectives to Nouns

When linking an intensified adjective to a noun, na and -ng as linkers need to be repeated as well. Masarap na masarap na pagkain. Notice how both the adjective and na as a linker was repeated. Masarap na masarap means very delicious. With the noun pagkain or food and linked by na, now it means very delicious food.

Now with an adjective ending in a vowel, the same needs to be done as well before connecting it to a noun. Let's have the adjective bago which means new and kotse or car as noun. The linker -ng has to be repeated on both adjectives — bagong bagong. Saw a car that is so new? It might sound unusual in English but not in Tagalog. Bagong bagong kotse.

TagalogEnglish

Bagong bagong laptop.

A laptop that is so new.

Maarteng maarteng babae.

A woman that is too fussy.

Mainit na mainit na sopas.

A soup that is too hot.

Berdeng berdeng dahon.

A leaf that is so green.

Linking Intensified Adjectives to Proper Nouns

This is where si, which is a marker comes into play. Used after adjectives and before names. Magandang maganda si Belle. Belle is so beautiful. Also notice that with a name, only one of the repeated adjectives has the -ng. Si is used before names ragardless of the last letter of the adjective.

The intensified adjective kyut na kyut which means too cute is our next example for an adjective that ends in a consonant. Kyut na kyut na bata — A very cute kid. Kid is a common noun, but with a name, si replaces the linker na. Kyut na kyut si Rex. Rex is too cute.

Masarap na masarap na ulam — Very delicious dish. Ulam means dish and it could be any dish. Replace ulam with any dish to be specific. Masarap na masarap na chicken barbecue. A very delicious chicken barbecue. Also notice that na is still used this time. Remember, si is only used with names.

Switching Adjectives and Nouns

Adjectives and nouns can be switched. Isn't that cool? Masarap na pagkain. Delicious food. But the noun can come first. Applying the same rule of-ng for adjectives ending in vowels and na for consonants — Pagkaing masarap. It means the same. Delicious food.

Let's switch another one from the previous examples above. Bagong laptop. New laptop. Laptop na bago.

Intensifying Switched Nouns and Adjectives

Again, the same rule applies even when switching intensified adjectives and nouns. Taking the same examples above, laptop na bago when intensified will become laptop na bagong bago. Pagkaing masarap na masarap. A very delicious food.

Quiz Time!

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Belle is too happy. The adjective for happy is masaya. The correct intensified form is below.
    • Masaya si Belle.
    • Masayang masaya si Belle.
    • Masaya na masaya si Belle.
  2. Too loud. The noun to connect it with is kaklase or classmate.
    • Maingay na maingay na kaklase.
    • Maingay na maingay si kaklase.
    • Maingay na maingay.
  3. Letter g is added only if an adjective already ends in letter n.
    • Yes that's true.
    • False.
    • Na is still used.
  4. A woman at the train station is too fussy. How would you say that?
    • Maarteng babae.
    • Maarteng maarteng babae.
    • Maarteng maarte.
  5. Malakas na hangin.
    • Heavy rain.
    • Strong air.
    • Strong wind.
  6. Malakas na ulan.
    • Heavy snow.
    • Strong wind.
    • Heavy rain.
  7. Si is a marker that comes before names.
    • True.
    • False.
    • It can be used with common nouns too.
  8. Masarap na ulam when intensified is?
    • Masarap na ulam.
    • Masarap na masarap na ulam.
    • Ulam na masarap.
  9. A friend of yours is scared to cross the river, but the water is too shallow. How would you say too shallow?
    • Mababaw na mababaw.
    • Mababaw.
    • Both are correct.
  10. Mataas na puno. What is the correct one if this is intensified and switched, noun first?
    • Punong mataas na mataas.
    • Mataas na mataas na puno.
    • Mataas na mataas.

Answer Key

  1. Masayang masaya si Belle.
  2. Maingay na maingay na kaklase.
  3. Yes that's true.
  4. Maarteng maarteng babae.
  5. Strong wind.
  6. Heavy rain.
  7. True.
  8. Masarap na masarap na ulam.
  9. Mababaw na mababaw.
  10. Punong mataas na mataas.