Common Filipino Grammar Mistakes (That Even Pinoys Make!)

Common Filipino Grammar Mistakes (That Even Pinoys Make!)

Common Filipino Grammar Mistakes (That Even Pinoys Make!)

It can be argued that love for your native language equates to the honor, respect, and value you give to their identity. While we certainly don’t get any thorny debate about Philippine languages—fraught as they are with our complicated colonial and regional history—what is beyond debate is that Filipino is one of our two national languages. Communicating to Filipinos? Fluency in Filipino is a must.

Nang or ng’, ‘Kamusta or Kumusta’, ‘Din or rin’--these are just a few of the most commonly used Filipino words. But did you know that these are also among the words that most Pinoys use incorrectly?

Don’t sound like a foreigner in your native land. Speak and write the Filipino language fluently by learning the rules to avoid the most common Filipino grammar mistakes. This article provides some useful tidbits for you to live the language by understanding some basic Filipino grammar rules.

The Filipino Language in a Nutshell: 

“Filipino” vs. “Tagalog”

According to Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World, “Filipino” is the official name of Tagalog. 

The best word to describe today’s Filipino language is “Tagalog-based”. In this context, to use the term “Filipino” is to metaphorically refer to all Philippine languages--and not just Tagalog alone. 

Within the Philippines, citizens call the Filipino language as Tagalog to differentiate it from other Philippine languages. But the Filipino language is called Filipino when differentiating it from other countries’ languages.

How Well Do You Know the Filipino Language?

How Well Do You Know the Filipino Language?

You think you know Filipino well? Think again. There are basic Filipino grammar rules that you might have already forgotten about.  Here are the most common Filipino grammar mistakes that will make you regret not taking your Filipino course seriously.

Most Common Filipino Grammar Mistakes that You May be Guilty Of:

1. Usage of ‘nang’ and ‘ng

Wrong: 
Natuwa ako ng makita ko sila.
Bilisan mo ng maka-uwi na tayo.
Pumila ng maayos.
Tulog ng tulog ang bata.

Correct: 
Natuwa ako nang makita ko sila.
Bilisan mo nang maka-uwi na tayo.
Pumila nang maayos
Tulog nang tulog ang bata.

How?: 
Nang is used to replace “noong” and “para” or “upang”, to connect an adverb (pang-abay), and to connect two repeating verbs (pandiwang inuulit)

Ng is used to point out an object and to express ownership.

2. Usage of ‘din’ and ‘rin’’

Wrong: 
Tapos na din siyang kumain.
Doon rin ako nagpunta.
Sumigaw din si Juan.
Nag-away din silang dalawa.

Correct: 
Tapos na rin siyang kumain.
Doon din ako nagpunta.
Sumigaw rin si Juan nang.
Nag-away rin silang dalawa.

How?: 
Din is used when the preceding word ends with a consonant letter except w and y.
Rin is used when the preceding word ends with a vowel letter, w, and y.

3. Usage of ‘kung’ and ‘kapag’’

Wrong: 
Pumunta tayo doon kung umaga na.
Paano kapag mali ang sagot?

Correct: 
Pumunta tayo doon kapag umaga na.
Paano kung mali ang sagot ko?

How?: 
Kung is used if unsure. (‘if’ in english)
Kapag is used if sure. (‘when’ in english)

4. Telling an action that just happened

Wrong: 
Kakagising ko lang.

Correct: 
Kagigising ko lang.

How?: 
Repeat only the first syllable of the root word.

5. Usage of ‘bukod’ and ‘liban

Wrong: 
Bukod sa isa, lahat ay umalis na.
Liban sa siya ay matangkad, mataba rin siya.

Correct: 
Liban sa isa, lahat ay umalis na.
Bukod sa siya ay matangkad, mataba rin siya.

How?: 
Bukod sa is used if implying about other than something (‘aside from’ in english)
Liban sa is used if implying about something that is excepted from others (‘except from’ in english)
Liban kung is used if giving conditions. (‘unless’ in english’)

6. Usage of ‘pang’, ‘pan’, at ‘pam

Wrong: 
Ilagay mo doon ang mga gamit na pangbahay.
Ginamit niya ang kanyang libro bilang pamwalis ng kalat.
Ito ang mga damit na pangtulog ko.
 

Correct: 
Ilagay mo doon ang mga gamit na pambahay.
Ginamit niya ang kanyang libro bilang pangwalis ng kalat.
Ito ang mga damit na pantulog ko. 

How?: 
Pang is used preceding the words that end with a letter g, h, k, m, n, ng, w, or y.
Pan is used preceding the words that end with a letter d, l, r, s, or t.
Pam is used preceding the words that end with a letter b or d.

7. Usage of prefix “de-”

Wrong: 
Sila ay gumagawa ng mga telang de kalidad.
Ang pangsara ng pintuan ay de susi.

Correct: 
Sila ay gumagawa ng mga telang de-kalidad.
Ang pangsara ng pintuan ay de-susi.

How?: 
The prefix “de-” is used when expressing a level or standing (“de-kalidad”) or indicating function of an object ("de-susi").
Hyphens should also be added when using the prefix “de-

8. Usage of “sila” and “sina

Wrong: 
Nakita ko sila Karlo at Risa.

Correct: 
Nakita ko sina Karlo at Risa.

How?: 
Use “sila” if referring to two or more people without naming them. (“they/them”)
Use “sina” if referring to two or more people with names. (“sina” + names)

9. “Kaganapan” vs “Pangyayari

Kaganapan means totality, fulfillment, or completeness.
Example: Hindi ko alam ang kaganapan ng istorya.

Pangyayari refers to events. 
Example: Hindi ko alam ang mga pangyayari doon.

10. “Kumusta” vs “Kamusta

Kumusta is formal, while Kamusta is in formal.
The word “Kumusta” originated from Spanish “Como esta” which means “How are you?”

11. “Samot-sari” vs  “Samu’t-sari”

There’s no Filipino word “Samu”.
Samot means sari.
Samot-sari, sari-sari, and samot-samot are all correct.

Master Your Own Tongue: 3 Ways You Can Improve Your Filipino Language

Master Your Own Tongue: 3 Ways You Can Improve Your Filipino Language

  • Read Filipino Classic Literature

Like how you study and master any other languages, reading classic literature written in Filipino will greatly help improve your use of your language--verbal and nonverbal. If you want an extensive and in-depth study of your language, you can always opt for textbooks that teach Filipino language.

  • Write and Speak (Correct) Filipino More Often

After gaining all these knowledge, it would be almost useless if you don’t or barely apply them. Practice your own language by writing and speaking in Filipino correctly and frequently. It’s one way of being extra mindful of common grammar mistakes you commit. 

  • Subscribe to Pages that Teach Tagalog.

Tje Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, together with the Commission on the Filipino Language, is doing a good job in propagating facts and information about the correct use of Filipino and promoting the language via social media where Pinoys are always active. Follow their social media page WIKApedia on Facebook.

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