Filipinos are some of the most sensitive when it comes to proper grammar and accent of the English language. As the fifth-largest English-speaking nation in the world and the 27th in English competency according to Education First’s 2020 English Proficiency Index (2nd in Asia, only next to Singapore), we live and breathe English on a day-to-day basis. We even equate English fluency to intelligence and having inadequate knowledge of it is considered a pet peeve. But do we also have the same reaction when we encounter Filipino grammar mistakes?
Recently, award-winning documentarist and reporter Kara David trended for her educational TikTok videos about avoiding Filipino grammar mistakes. Although some practical linguists do not fully approve of David’s approach in teaching Filipino grammar, this sets the tone on how equally important it is to be critical of our native tongue too. If we’re so keen on bashing people who interchangeably use “they’re, their, your,” and “you’re,” then we might as well do it with “ng” and “nang.”
@iamkaradavidNatutuhan o Natutunan? ##learnfilipino ##fyp ##tiktokph ##filipino ##grammar♬ original sound – iamkaradavid
Think you know Filipino grammar? Well, let’s see if you really do. Here are 8 of the most common grammar mistakes you’re probably guilty of.
Ng vs. nang
This is one of the most common mistakes we commit, and up to this day, it haunts us. However, all we need is a little practice, and we’ll get used to this.
Let’s begin with ‘nang‘ because let’s admit it, between the two, it’s the least-used word. According to National Artist Virgilio Almario, the adverb nang is used when it answers the following five questions:
- when = Naglalaro lang kami sa kalsada nang bigla siyang nahimatay.
- why = “Hindi ka na niya mahal. Isipin mo ‘yan nang matauhan ka.”
- how = “Ang mamatay nang dahil sa’yo.”
- contraction of “na” + “ng” = “Sobra nang hirap ang pasakit na dinulot ng COVID-19 sa mundo.”
- joins repeated words = “Pagsapit ng Bagong Taon, tumalon ka nang tumalon para tumangkad ka naman.”
“Ng,” on the other hand, connects the verb to its object or actor. It is used when in the following situations:
- Connects the verb to its object = “Kapag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay.”
- Literally means “of” = “Siya ang kapatid ng asawa ng pamangkin ng kapitbahay namin.”
Kumusta vs. kamusta
Originating from the Spanish phrase, “como esta” which means “how are you doing,” this contraction word should begin with ‘u’ and not ‘a.’ Although we might have been hearing “kamusta” normalized in daily conversations, it still pays to use the correct term “kumusta” not only because it’s correct, but it also shows we are aware of our history.
Wrong: Nabalitaan ko ‘yung nangyari kay Carlo? Kamusta na kaya siya?
Correct: Kumusta na kaya siya?
Din vs. rin / daw vs. raw / doon vs. roon / dito vs. rito
If you think these adverbs (pang-abay) are arbitrarily used depending on whichever comes first in your mind, there’s actually more technicality on it. ‘Din/daw/doon’ is used if the word that precedes it ends with a consonant. On the other hand, ‘rin/raw/roon’ is used if the word that precedes it ends in a vowel and soft vowel-like consonants ‘w’ and ‘y.’
For words ending in a consonant:
- din = Malalaman din ni Carlo ang totoo.
- daw = Mainit daw ang panahon ngayon sa Maynila.
- doon = ‘Wag doon, masyado malayo.
- dito = Bakit dito mo nilagay?
For words ending in a vowel, u, y:
- rin = May araw rin ‘yan sa’kin.
- raw = Buhay raw ‘yung kalabaw.
- roon = Saan ba ilalagay ‘yan? Hindi ba roon?
- rito = Halika rito.
Parin, narin, palang, nalang, nanaman
PSA: There are no words like these in the Filipino language. If you really care about proper grammar, you should have at least show some effort to put a space between “pa” and “na” and the words that you often attach to it. Everyone needs space. (luh)
Wrong to correct usage:
- parin = Mahal pa rin kita.
- narin = Hindi na rin siguro.
- palang = Nandito pa lang ako sa MRT.
- nalang = ‘Wag na lang, pagod na ako.
- nanaman = Nandito ka na naman?
Kung vs. kapag
Simply put, “kung” is used to refer to uncertain events while “kapag” is for certain events.
Wrong: Kapag hindi ako makakapasa sa exam, baka bumagsak ako sa buong subject.
Correct: Kung hindi ako makakapasa sa exam, baka bumagsak ako sa buong subject.
Wrong: Saka ka na bumalik dito kung malaki ka na.
Correct: Saka ka na bumalik dito kapag malaki ka na.
‘Kakagaling, kakagising, kakarating, etc.’
It’s so easy to express an action that’s been recently done in Filipino, you just repeat the first syllable of the word. But the question is, which one do we repeat—the prefix “ka” or the root word? A common mistake is to repeat the prefix, but a more proper way to do this is to actually repeat the first syllable of the root word.
Wrong: Kakagising ko lang nung alas siete ng umaga kaya na-late ako sa klase.
Correct: Kagigising ko lang nung alas siete ng umaga kaya na-late ako sa klase.
(The same goes for other words)
‘Pang, pan, pam’
If you think these three prefixes are also randomly selected, you’re entirely wrong. It’s actually fascinating how our brains, as native speakers, automatically choose which one to use depending on the ending of the words that precede it. But for first-time learners, this could hold you back for a second.
Use “pang” before words that start with vowels (a, e, i, o, u), g, h, k, m, n, ng, w, or y
- e.g.: pang-abay, panggabi, panghati, pangkalahatan, pangmalakasan, pangwalis, pangyupi
Use “pan” before words that start with d, l, r, s, or t
- e.g.: pandalubhasa, panlalawigan, panregalo, pansabon, pantakip
Use “pam” before words that start with b or p
- e.g.: pambansa, pampanitikan
Sila vs. sina / nila vs. nina
Believe it, a difference between the usage of ‘n’ and ‘l’ in these pronouns makes a huge difference.
Use “sila” and “nila” when referring to two or more persons without mentioning their proper nouns/names.
- Wrong: Dumating na sina kanina pang umaga. Inabot nina ‘yang regalo kanina.
- Correct: Dumating na sila kanina pang umaga. Inabot nila ‘yang regalo kanina.
Use “sina” and “nina” when referring to two or more persons while mentioning their proper nouns/names.
- Wrong: Dumating na sila Jeremy at Pia kanina pang umaga. Ginalaw nila Jeremy at Pia ang baso.
- Correct: Dumating na sina Jeremy at Pia kaninag pang umaga. Ginalaw nina Jeremy at Pia ang baso.
Are you guilty of these Filipino grammar mistakes? Which among these do you always forget?