Mga Aspekto ng mga Pandiwang MAG na may Pokus sa Aktor

In my previous posts, I talked about translating English verbs with different tenses to Filipino. Strictly speaking, instead of tense, the Filipino language has what linguists would call the verbal aspect. The verbal aspect indicates whether an action or event has begun, is still in progress, has been completed, or has yet to begin. This is accomplished by changing the root word by reduplication and affixation.

According to Maria Sheila Zamar in Filipino: The Essential Grammar (2023), the four aspects of Filipino verbs are infinitive, completed, incompleted, and contemplated. Schachter and Otanes in Tagalog Reference Grammar (1972) identify the three aspects of the Tagalog verb system as perfective, imperfective, and contemplated. However, according to Ramos and Bautista in Handbook of Tagalog Verbs: Inflections, Modes, and Aspects (1986), the infinitive form of the verb (the imperative form of the verb) does not imply an aspect.

In Filipino, these three aspects of verbs (mga aspekto ng pandiwa) are called aspektong perpektibo, aspektong imperpektibo, and aspektong kontemplatibo. The perfective or completed aspect describes an action or event as started and completed or terminated (e.g, kumain). The imperfective or incompleted or progressive aspect describes an action or event that has begun but is not yet completed or terminated; it is still in progress (e.g., kumakain). Finally, the contemplated aspect describes an action or event that has not begun but is expected to happen (e.g., kakain).

I have seen that the terms aspektong perpektibo, aspektong imperpektibo, and aspektong kontemplatibo are interchanged with the terms aspektong pangnagdaan or aspektong naganap (past), aspektong pangkasalukuyang or aspektong nagaganap (present), and aspektong panghinaharap or aspektong magaganap (future), respectively. As a result, verbal tense is often associated with verbal aspect even though they are different concepts in the study of linguistics.

Distinguishing tense from aspect is a bit confusing. I would say that when we talk about tense, we use the terms past tense, present tense, and future tense. (In English, tenses would be categorized as past and non-past.) We tend to talk about the event or action relative to the a past, present, or future time, as if we are placing or containing it in those three time categories. When we talk about aspect, we tend to describe time as a feature of the event or action. Aspect answers the questions Has the event or action started? Did it just begin? It is still in progress? Is it repeated or habitual? Did it just end? Has it ended?

When the doer or performer of the action described by the verb is the subject or focus of the sentence, the verb is said to have the actor focus (AF), sometimes called agent focus. Actor focus verbs in Filipino have the prefixes MAG, UM, or MA. Some verbs can take both affixes MAG and UM (e.g., magbalik, bumalik). The verbs with the prefix KA, as in the word kaluluto, are said to belong to another verbal aspect called recent perfective or perpektibong katatapos.

Filipino verbs with the actor focus are conjugated differently from verbs with the object focus (OF). Let’s look at examples of AF verbs with the prefix MAG in the four different verbal aspects as described by Zamar. The verbal aspects of the actor focus MAG verbs are formed as described below. Let’s use the root word aral (to study) and bayad (to pay).

1. Infinitive aspect (pawatas): Add the prefix mag- to the root word. If the root word begins with a vowel (A, E, I, O, or U), write a hyphen after the prefix.

Examples: mag-aral (mag- + aral), magbayad (mag + bayad)

Mag-aral kayo nang mabuti para sa pagsusulit bukas. = Study well for the test tomorrow.

Magbayad ka ng labindalawang piso sa drayber ng dyip. = Pay twelve pesos to the driver of the jeep.

2. Completed or perfective aspect (aspektong perpektibo): Add the prefix nag- to the root word. If the root word begins with a vowel (A, E, I, O, or U), write a hyphen after the prefix.

Examples: nag-aral (nag- + aral), nagbayad (nag + bayad)

Nag-aral kami para sa pagsusulit ngayon. = We studied for the test today.

Nagbayad ako ng pamasahe. = I paid the fare.

3. Incompleted, imperfective or progressive aspect (aspektong imperpektibo): Reduplicate the first syllable or first consonant-vowel (CV) pair of the root word, then add the prefix nag-. If the root word begins with a vowel (A, E, I, O, or U), the vowel is the first syllable. If the root word begins with a vowel, write a hyphen after the prefix.

Examples: nag-aaral (nag- + a + aral), nagbabayad (nag + ba + bayad)

Nag-aaral ang mga bata sa kanilang kuwarto. = The children are studying in their room.

Nagbabayad ako para sa kuryente kada buwan. = I pay for the electricity each month.

4. Contemplated aspect (aspektong kontemplatibo): Reduplicate the first syllable or first consonant-vowel pair of the root word, then add the prefix mag-. If the root word begins with a vowel (A, E, I, O, or U), the vowel is the first syllable. If the root word begins with a vowel, write a hyphen after the prefix.

Examples: mag-aaral (mag- + a + aral), magbabayad (mag + ba + bayad)

Mag-aaral kami sa silid-aklatan sa Biyernes. = We will study in the library on Friday.

Magbabayad kami ng renta para sa buwan ng Nobyembre. = We will pay the rent for the month of November.

There are a lot of verbs in the table below. Click on Next below the table to see the other verbs. Click on Previous to view the previous verbs. Use the Search bar to search a particular root word or English translation. Click the UP arrow in a column header to order the items alphabetically from A. Click the DOWN arrow to reverse the order.

Don’t worry! There’s a downloadable PDF file below the table. This would be a good resource for teachers who want to make exercises, quizzes, tests, or assignments on conjugating Filipino verbs.

Verbal Aspects of Filipino Actor-Focus MAG Verbs

abotto hand over
aksayato waste or
alagato take care ofmag-alaganag-alaganag-aalagamag-aalaga
alalato worrymag-alalanag-alalanag-aalalamag-aalala
alisto removemag-alisnag-alismag-aalismag-aalis
almusalto eat breakfastmag-almusalnag-almusalnag-aalmusalmag-aalmusal
aralto studymag-aralnag-aralnag-aaralmag-aaral
awayto fight
or quarrel
ayosto organize
or arrange
babato bring downmagbabanagbabanagbababamagbababa
bakasyonto go on a
balatkayoto disguise
balikto come back
or return
balitato report
bantato threatenmagbantanagbantanagbabantamagbabanta
bantayto guardmagbantaynagbantaynagbabantaymagbabantay
basato readmagbasanagbasanagbabasamagbabasa
batito become friends
bawalto forbidmagbawalnagbawalnagbabawalmagbabawal
bayadto paymagbayadnagbayadnagbabayadmagbabayad
bentato sellmagbentanagbentanagbebentamagbebenta
bigayto givemagbigaynagbigaynagbibigaymagbibigay
bihisto get dressedmagbihisnagbihisnagbibihismagbibihis
bilangto countmagbilangnagbilangnagbibilangmagbibilang
biroto jokemagbironagbironagbibiromagbibiro
bukasto open
burato erasemagburanagburanagbuburamagbubura
daanto passmagdaannagdaannagdaraanmagdaraan
dagdagto add more
or increase
dalato bringmagdalanagdalanagdadalamagdadala
dasalto praymagdasalnagdasalnagdarasalmagdarasal
dayato cheatmagdayanagdayanagdarayamagdaraya
diligto water plantsmagdilignagdilignagdidiligmagdidilig
gamotto cure or healmaggamotnaggamotnaggagamotmaggagamot
hagisto throwmaghagisnaghagisnaghahagismaghahagis
halalto electmaghalalnaghalalnaghahalalmaghahalal
haloto mixmaghalonaghalonaghahalomaghahalo
handato preparemaghandanaghandanaghahandamaghahanda
hatidto drop off
or bring
hilamosto wash
one's face
hintayto waitmaghintaynaghintaynaghihintaymaghihintay
hiwato cut
or slice
hiwalayto separate from
one another
hugasto washmaghugasnaghuguasnaghuhugasmaghuhugas
ingayto make noisemag-ingaynag-ingaynag-iingaymag-iingay
initto heat
something up
iponto collect
or save
isipto thinkmag-isipnag-isipnag-iisipmag-iisip
iwanto leave behindmag-iwannag-iwannag-iiwanmag-iiwan
kamayto eat with
one's bare hands
kitato meetmagkitanagkitanagkikitamagkikita
kuwentoto tell a storymagkuwentonagkuwentonagkukuwentomagkukuwento
labato wash clothesmaglabanaglabanaglalabamaglalaba
labasto take or
bring out
lagayto place
lakadto walkmaglakadnaglakadnaglalakadmaglalakad
lakbayto journey
or travel
lakoto peddle
or sell
lakwatsato wander
laroto play
a game
ligpitto put awaymagligpitnagligpitnagliligpitmagliligpit
linisto cleanmaglinisnaglinisnaglilinismaglilinis
lipatto move or
transfer something
lutoto cookmaglutonaglutonaglulutomagluluto
mahalto lovemagmahalnagmahalnagmamahalmagmamahal
manehoto drive a
manoto raise an elder's
hand to your
nakawto stealmagnakawnagnakawnagnanakawmagnanakaw
paalamto ask permission
or say goodbye
pahingato restmagpahinganagpahinganagpapahingamagpapahinga
palitto change
or replace
pasyalto take a stroll
or tour
patayto slaughter
(an animal)
pintato paintmagpintanagpintanagpipintamagpipinta
plantsato iron or pressmagplantsanagplantsanagpaplantsamagpaplantsa
punasto wipemagpunasnagpunasnagpupunasmagpupunas
punoto fill up
a container
puntato go tomagpuntanagpuntanagpupuntamagpupunta
regaloto give a giftmagregalonagregalonagreregalomagreregalo
sabito saymagsabinagsabinagsasabimagsasabi
salitato talk
or speak
sarato closemagsaranagsaranagsasaramagsasara
saulito return
sayato be happymagsayanagsayanagsasayamagsasaya
sayawto dancemagsayawnagsayawnagsasayawmagsasayaw
sikapto strivemagsikapnagsikapnagsisikapmagsisikap
sipilyoto brush
one's teeth
sugalto gamblemagsugalnagsugalnagsusugalmagsusugal
sukatto try the fit of
some clothing
suklayto comb
one's hair
sulatto write or
sunogto burnmagsunognagsunognagsusunogmagsusunog
suotto wearmagsuotnagsuotnagsusuotmagsusuot
tagoto hide oneselfmagtagonagtagonagtatagomagtatago
takipto covermagtakipnagtakipnagtatakipmagtatakip
tanimto plantmagtanimnagtanimnagtatanimmagtatanim
tanongto ask a questionmagtanongnagtanongnagtatanongmagtatanong
taponto throwmagtaponnagtaponnagtataponmagtatapon
taposto graduatemagtaposnagtaposnagtataposmagtatapos
tayoto erect
or build
tindato sellmagtindanagtindanagtitindamagtitinda
trabahoto workmagtrabahonagtrabahonagtatrabahomagtatrabaho
turoto teachmagturonagturonagtuturomagtuturo
ulitto redomag-ulitnag-ulitnag-uulitmag-uulit
usapto conversemag-usapnag-usapnag-uusapmag-uusap
usisato investigate
or inquire
utosto give an ordermag-utosnag-utosnag-uutosmag-uutos
uwito bring homemag-uwinag-uwinag-uuwimag-uuwi
walisto sweepmagwalisnagwalisnagwawalismagwawalis

Click the link below to download a PDF file of the table above. This PDF file is for personal and classroom use only. Uploading it anywhere on the internet is not allowed. Commercial use and mass distribution is strictly prohibited.

In the next post, I will give a list of the actor focus UM verbs.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Dido Miranda

    Very interesting!
    In praise of PRECISION

    I will try to go over your article as time permits.
    From what little I have read so far, I think I can see you are very PRECISE.
    I was born and raised in Pampanga and, up to now, I am saddened
    by what I consider as imprecision in the use (esp. spelling) of the language.

    I prefer the Bacolor Script (q or c) – instead of k: Capampangan instead of Kapampangan
    But the powers that be seem to clearly prefer spelling with K … which, for one, practically
    obliterated the word QNG (Qng, qng) that I believe is beautiful and unique.

    Thank you for your time and efforts.

    Dido, a grandpa to nine grandkids

    1. samutsamotmom

      Hello, Lolo Dido! Welcome back! It’s nice to see that you’re still a subscriber. Thank you for your compliments. The Filipino language is changing in a pace faster than we old timers would like. Yes, the Spanish greatly influenced the Filipino language and the latter underwent more transitions and adaptations before settling in its current form. There’s always a lot of debate around which spellings should be retained or adopted, even among academicians. In reality, language is at the mercy of the masses and what is used most often becomes the norm. I agree, QNG is unique. It also looks like something the youth will opt to use in their textspeak (the language used in text messaging). Cheers!

Leave a Reply