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Suffixes En and N in Ilocano - Learn How to Use These Suffixes With Verbs, Adjectives and Nouns

Precy enjoys helping others learn to speak and appreciate the Filipino and Ilocano language. She also writes about Filipino culture.

Learn how to use the -en and -n in Ilocano.

Learn how to use the -en and -n in Ilocano.

Used as the counterpart of the English adverb now and already, -en and -n suffixes are very much used in Ilocano just like it's counterpart na in Filipino/Tagalog. That I mentioned as many Filipino speakers who are learning Ilocano find it easier when they know the Tagalog counterpart. Words like balayen, awanen, addan, and mabisinen are just four examples of using these suffixes.

Attached at the end of the word, -en and -n are used with nouns, verbs, adjectives, and even with pronouns. And since I've written articles tackling verbs and forming simple sentences, it's time I should write about these suffixes too and make Ilocano learning a little bit more easier.

-En with Nouns

Let's start first with -en. This suffix is used not only with verbs and adjectives but with nouns as well. Let's tackle that in here with more examples both in English and Filipino.

Use this suffix with nouns ending in consonants. Balay is one for example, it means house. With -en now attached to it, balayen means already home/home now. Refer to the table below for more.

Nouns + enEnglishTagalog


already home/home now

bahay na


already/now in the vehicle

sasakyan na


already/now morning

umaga na

-En With Adjectives

You'll see or hear this suffix too with adjectives. Two examples that you've probably heard amongst speakers are dakkelen and baketen. The first one means already big and the second one means already old (someone who have aged). Removing the suffix -en will give you the adjectives.

Examples of Ilocano adjectives together with the suffix -en to mean already/now.

Adjectives with -en EnglishTagalog


already big/big now

malaki na


already old (female)

matanda na (babae)


already old (male)

matanda na (lalaki)


already a young lady

dalaga na


small now

maliit na


already dirty

marumi na


already soft

malambot na


already ripe/ripe now

hinog na


already cold

malamig na


smells bad now

mabaho/mabantot na


already afraid

takot na


beautiful now

maganda na


already clean

malinis na

Changing O to U

Adjectives with the letter o as second to the last letter, changes to u with the suffix. The adjective nadalos which means clean has the letter o. Now with the suffix -en, nadalusen, noticed the change from o to u — nadalus(en). With adjectives like this, change o to u before adding suffixes.

Using the Suffix -En With Verbs

Nanganen and naturugen are just two examples of using the suffix with verbs. The first verb means already ate while the second example means already went to sleep. While both are in the past tense, -en is used as a suffix regardless of the verb tense. Now, when it comes to forming the tenses, it is another topic which I went more into details on my other article Ilocano Tenses of Verbs, Pronouns and How to Construct Simple Ilocano Sentences.

-En with different tenses of verbs.



already time to eat

kakain na


already eating

kumakain na


already ate

kumain na


time to sleep/going to sleep

matulog/matutulog na


already sleeping

natutulog na


already went to sleep

natulog na


already removed

natanggal na


already hidden

itinago na

-N for Verbs, Nouns, and Adjectives Ending in Vowels

Since we've covered the -en suffix and how to use it, let's get to the next one. If a verb, adjective, or a noun ends in a vowel, the -n takes the place of the suffix -en. Rabii which means evening, or gabi in Tagalog ends in a vowel. Rabiin means already evening. Notice how the suffix -n is used.

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The noun kwarta or money as our second example also ends in a vowel, letter a. Chances are you've heard Ilocano speakers say awan kwartan. Awan means none or no (insert noun) and knowing what the -n means which is attached at the end of the noun kwarta, this means "Don't have money now" or "Already out of money."

Nothing changed when it comes to verbs. These two examples are too common you've probably heard these as well. Naluton, with the suffix -n in is used when referring to whatever dish that is already cooked. For Tagalog speakers, the counterpart of this in Tagalog is luto na. Nagluton is another example that although this shares the same verb, nagluton is referring to whoever cooked the meal or the dish — Nagluton ni Gelai. Gelai already cooked.

Agbasbasa is another verb which means attending school or studying. To mean that someone is now attending school or already attending school — Agbasbasan.

Verbs and Pronouns With the Suffixes

This agglutination in Ilocano can be observe with pronouns as well where, for example, a verb, pronoun and either of the suffixes is used. One good example of this is naturugakon. I already went to sleep. Also for the record, naturugak means I went to sleep. It is without the suffix but still the pronoun is attached to the verb. Now, regardless of the tense, the verb always comes first followed by the pronoun, and then the suffix. Maturugakon. I'm going to sleep now. Also using the pronoun I like these examples, notice the -on now instead of -en. Refer to the table below for more examples.


I already took a shower/bath


Naligo na ako

I already ate


Kumakin na ako

I already cleaned


Naglinis na ako

I already bought (the said item)


Bumili na ako

Suffixes with Pronouns

The agglutination process isn't always the case with verbs and pronouns. While all were clumped together in our previous examples like naturugakon or I already went to sleep, it's not the case with naturog danThey already went to sleep. Da is the Ilocano pronoun for they, dan with the suffix -n, since it ends in a vowel. The same goes with other pronouns aside from the pronoun I when speaking of an action done by you, the speaker. Another example for this is naturog isunanShe/He already went to sleep. Isuna is the Ilocano pronoun for he/she.

The same goes when asking a question. Naturog dan? The same verb was used, naturog, but notice that the -n suffix is now attached to the pronoun da or they, making it to dan, which is separated from the verb. Nangan kan? Did you eat already? Another example where the suffix goes with the pronoun and without using agglutination like the previous examples.

Now that we're done with both suffixes, I want to share more examples to widen your vocabulary. Maybe some on the table below already looks familiar or something that you already heard said or used by Ilocano speakers. Also keep the rules in mind regarding when to use -en and -n and observe while reading the words below.

Time of Day with Suffixes -En and -N


It's already/now morning


Umaga na

It's now/already noon time


Tanghali na

It's already/now afternoon


Hapon na

It's already/now evening


Gabi na


Preeti from India on July 07, 2020:

Awesome work, keep sharing languages

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on July 06, 2020:

I love linguistics. This is a fascinating topic.

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