In my previous posts, I have listed the verbal aspects of actor-focus Filipino verbs with the prefix MAG and those with the prefix or infix UM. Another group of such verbs have the prefix MA. However, not all MA verbs are actor-focus verbs. Filipino verbs with the prefix ma- are of various types and express different things. An easy way to categorize MA verbs is to classify them as transitive verbs or intransitive verbs.
In Filipino, transitive verbs are called mga pandiwang palipat, verbs that need a direct object (tuwirang layon) to complete its meaning. A direct object (DO) is a noun or noun phrase (pangngalan o pariralang pangngalan) that represents a person or object that receives the action expressed by the verb. Intransitive verbs are called mga pandiwang katawanin, verbs that do not need a direct object to complete its meaning.
Transitive verbs cannot be used alone. They describe an action being done to or exerted on a person or object, which is the direct object. Using them in a sentence requires that the direct object is mentioned so that the sentence makes sense. On the other hand, intransitive verbs can be used alone. They do not require a direct object for the sentence to make sense.
Filipino Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
Some examples of Filipino MA transitive verbs are makita (to be able to see), makuha (to be able to get), and mabasa (to be able to read). The verbal aspects of makita are nakita, nakikita, and makikita. Each sentence below uses a transitive verb, and the direct object (DO) is indicated. The subject in each sentence is underlined and the verb is boldfaced.
1. Nakita ko ang pitaka mo sa sopa./Ang pitaka mo ay nakita ko sa sopa. = I saw your wallet on the sofa. [transitive verb, completed aspect = nakita; subject and DO = ang pitaka mo]
2. Nakikita namin ang bundok mula dito./Ang bundok ay nakikita namin mula dito. = We see/can see the mountain from here. [transitive verb, incompleted aspect = nakikita; subject and DO = ang bundok]
3. Makikita mo ang mga bisikleta sa garahe./Ang mga bisikleta ay makikita mo sa garahe. = You will see the bicycles in the garage. [transitive verb, contemplated aspect = makikita; subject and DO = ang mga bisikleta]
Without the direct objects, each sentence above does not make a complete thought unless there was previous context.
4. Nakita ko. = I saw.
5. Nakikita namin. = We see.
6. Makikita mo. = You will see.
It is important to note that a transitive verb is an object-focus verb if the direct object is the subject of the sentence.
The table below lists several MA verbs that are transitive verbs and that may be used as object-focus verbs if the direct object is the subject of the sentence. MA verbs express the capacity or ability to do or perform. These transitive verbs must be used with their direct objects in the same sentence in order to express a complete thought.
|to be able to reach for something
|to be able to remember something
|to be able to know something
|to be able to smell something
|to be able to fix or arrange something
|to be able to change something
|to read something
|to be able to take something back
|to be able to buy something
|to be able to open something
|to be able to form something
|to be able to bring something
|to be able to hear something
|to be able
|to be able to treat an illness
|to be able to do something
|to be able to mess something up
|to be able to eat something
|to be able to see something
|to be able to get something
|to be able to notice something
|to be able to tear something or be torn
|to become full of something
|to be able to say something
|to be able to break something
|to be able to stop or suppress something
|to be able to write something
|to become covered with something
|to be able to accept something
|to be able to fulfill something
Some examples of Filipino MA intransitive verbs are matulog (to sleep), maligo (to take a bath), and maupo (to sit down). These verbs describe the action being done BY an agent (a doer or actor), not an action being done TO an object or person (the direct object or the receiver of the action).
7. Si Jose ay matutulog. / Matutulog si Jose. = Jose will sleep/will be sleeping.
8. Si Jose ay matutulog sa kuwarto. = Jose will sleep/will be sleeping in the room.
Jose is the one doing the sleeping action, it is not done TO him or the room. Neither Jose nor the room is the direct object of the verb matutulog, so the verb is not a transitive verb. Matutulog is also an actor-focus verb because the subject Jose is the one doing the sleeping action.
It is important to note that intransitive verbs are actor-focus verbs if the doer of the action (the actor/agent) is the subject of the sentence.
Identifying Actor-focus MA Verbs
How can we tell if a verb is an actor-focus verb? Given a sentence with a verb, try the steps below.
a. Look for the subject of the sentence. It is usually a noun phrase that begins with any of the Filipino articles SI or ANG (for singular subjects) or SINA or ANG MGA (for plural subjects).
b. Look for the verb in the sentence. It’s the word with the affix and/or reduplication.
c. Who did the action? Is the verb describing an action that was done, being done, or will be done by the subject? If the answer is yes, then the verb is most likely an actor-focus verb.
d. Was the action done willingly? If the subject is a living thing, did the subject perform the action (described by the verb) as a result of its own decision or as a natural act? This includes non-living things controlled by a person, such as vehicles. In other words, the subject (or the one operating it) has total control over the action that it does. If the answer is yes, then the verb is definitely an actor-focus verb. If the answer is no, go to the next step.
e. Does the action describe an experience that the subject has undergone, is undergoing, or will be undergoing? If the subject has little or no control over the action expressed by the verb, then the verb is an experiencer-focus verb, not an actor-focus verb. There may be some confusion over whether a verb can be labeled as an experiencer-focus verb if the subject is a non-living thing or an inanimate object. I’ll discuss this on my post on experiencer-focus verbs.
To summarize, a verb is an actor-focus verb if the subject in the sentence is the one doing the action on purpose. Let’s compare an actor-focus verb to an object-focus verb and experiencer-focus verb. In each sentence, the subject is underlined, and the verb is boldfaced.
9. ACTOR-FOCUS VERB: Si Miguel ay kumain ng spaghetti. / Kumain si Miguel ng spaghetti. = Miguel ate spaghetti.
The verb kumain is an actor-focus verb because the subject Miguel was the one doing the eating action on purpose.
10. OBJECT-FOCUS VERB: Ang spaghetti ay nakain ni Miguel. / Nakain ni Miguel ang spaghetti. = The spaghetti was eaten by Miguel.
The verb nakain is a transitive verb because it requires the direct object (the spaghetti) and since the DO is also the subject of the sentence, the verb is also an object-focus verb. The eating action, as expressed by the verb nakain, is being done TO the spaghetti.
11. OBJECT-FOCUS VERB: Ang spaghetti ay kinain ni Miguel. / Kinain ni Miguel ang spaghetti. = The spaghetti was eaten by Miguel. OR Miguel ate the spaghetti.
The verb kinain [root word: kain + infix -in- = k(in)ain] is an object-focus verb because the spaghetti is the subject. It is also a transitive verb because its direct object is the spaghetti.
Note that in sentences 10 and 11, Miguel is mentioned as the actor that did the eating but the verbs nakain and kinain are not an actor-focus verbs because Miguel is not the subject of the sentences, the spaghetti is.
12. EXPERIENCER-FOCUS VERB: Si Miguel ay nabusog pagkatapos niyang kumain ng spaghetti. / Nabusog si Miguel pagkatapos niyang kumain ng spaghetti. = Miguel became full after he ate the spaghetti.
The root word of nabusog is the adjective busog, which means ‘satiated or full’, usually as a result of eating. The verb nabusog is an experiencer-focus verb because the subject Miguel is the one experiencing the sensation of being full after eating. The verb nabusog does not describe an action being done to the subject Miguel. He is not the receiver of a particular action. Miguel is not the direct object of the verb nabusog, so the verb is not an object-focus verb. Miguel is also not the doer of the action expressed by the verb nabusog, so the verb is not an actor-focus verb. The verb nabusog has neither a direct object nor an actor or agent. That might be one way to identify some experiencer-focus verbs, having neither a direct object nor actor.
I’ll talk more about experiencer-focus verbs in another post. For now, let’s finish the discussion on the actor-focus MA verbs.
Verbal Aspects of Intransitive MA Verbs
The verbal aspects of the actor-focus intransitive verb maligo (to take a bath) are formed as described below.
Infinitive aspect (pawatas): Write the prefix ma- before the root word.
Example: ma- + ligo = maligo
13. Maligo ka bago ka matulog. = Take a bath before you sleep.
Completed/Perfective aspect (aspektong perpektibo): Write the prefix na- before the root word.
Example: na- + ligo = naligo
14. Si Pedro ay naligo bago siya umalis. = Pedro took a bath before he left.
Incompleted/Imperfective aspect (aspektong imperpektibo): Reduplicate the first consonant-vowel pair of the root word and add the prefix na-.
Example: (a) li + ligo → liligo, (b) na- + liligo = naliligo
15. Ang mga bata ay naliligo sa ilog. = The children are taking a bath in the river.
Contemplated aspect (aspektong kontemplatibo): Reduplicate the first consonant-vowel pair of the root word and add the prefix ma-.
Example: (a) li + ligo → liligo, (b) ma- + liligo = maliligo
16. Si George ay maliligo pagkatapos ng kanyang ehersisyo. = George will take a bath after his exercise.
The table below lists the verbal aspects of several Filipino intransitive MA verbs that may be used as actor-focus verbs if the doer of the action is the subject of the sentence.
To make the actor-focus form of some verbs with root words that begin with the letter B or P, the B or P is changed to M. Then the prefix ma- is added to make the infinitive form. For example, the root word of the verb mamigay (to give out or distribute) is bigay. The letter B in bigay is changed to M to get migay, and the prefix ma- is added to make mamigay.
|to go boating
|to live in a certain place
|to be different from others or to be set apart
|to bear fruit
|to lie down
|to sleep soundly
|to be late or be last
|to take a nap
|to be left behind
|to take a bath
|to go to the market
|to ask for gifts during Christmas season
|to take a stroll
|to boast or brag about something; to flap one's wings
|to rest in peace
|to be critical of other’s mistakes or faults
|to sit down
Verbs that look like MA Verbs
To make the actor-focus form of some verbs with root words that begin with the letter P, the P is changed to M. For example, the verbal aspects of the root word panalig (faith or trust) are the following: INFINITIVE = manalig, COMPLETED or PERFECTIVE = nanalig, INCOMPLETED or IMPERFECTIVE = nananalig, and CONTEMPLATIVE = mananalig. Unlike the MA verbs, the prefix ma- was not attached to the root words. I included them here since they look like MA verbs, though I do not think they are.
|to take up residence
|to have faith
|to go downstairs
|to give birth
|to preach, give moral or religious advice
|to dream or aspire
|to be first or to lead
|to believe or trust
|to pledge or to swear in
Below is the link to the PDF file that have the tables shown above. This PDF file is for personal and classroom use only. Uploading this document anywhere on the internet is not allowed. Commercial use and mass distribution (that is, more than the usual number of students that a teacher may have) is strictly prohibited.
If you think that a word should not be included in any of the tables above, please leave a comment below.