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Linking Adjectives to Nouns in Filipino With Na and -Ng

Updated on June 2, 2020
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Precy loves reading about Filipino folklore. She also enjoys helping others speak and appreciate the Filipino and Ilocano language.

Ways of using na and -ng as Tagalog linkers for adjectives.
Ways of using na and -ng as Tagalog linkers for adjectives. | Source

There's more to learn in Filipino about adjectives. There are two linkers in Tagalog used to link adjectives to nouns being described. These are na and -ng. Unlike in English where we just say the adjectives and nouns like blue petals and talkative woman, na and -ng are the linkers you will need in Tagalog but that depends on what letter the adjective ends with.

On this article, I will be discussing the uses of these two linkers. Table of examples are included as well for an easy reference.

-Ng as Linker

Attached at the end of adjectives ending in vowels (a, e, i, o, u). Had something tasty for a meal? Tasty food. While it is simply describe like that in English regardless if the adjective ends in a vowel or a consonant, in Filipino/Tagalog, -ng is needed to link the two. Malasa means tasty while pagkain means food. Since the adjective ends in letter a, which is a vowel, -ng needs to be attached at the end of the adjective. Malasang pagkain.

On the table below are more adjectives and nouns linked together using -ng. Bago means new. But to describe a noun, the -ng is needed and is placed at the end of the adjective. Bagong cellphone.

English
Tagalog
new cellphone
bagong cellphone
new pet
bagong alaga
green dahon
berdeng dahon
tasty food
malasang pagkain
stale fish
bilasang isda
weak signal
mahinang signal
cunning friend
tusong kaibigan
fussy girlfriend
maarteng nobya
Adjectives linked to nouns using -ng.

Na - Linking Adjectives to Nouns

Na is used to link a Tagalog adjective to the noun being described if the adjective ends in a consonant. As an example, let's have the English adjective and noun soft pillow. The Tagalog adjective which means soft ends in a consonant, malambot which is letter t. Unan means pillow. Linking the two by using na as the linker, that will give us malambot na unan. More examples are on the table below.

English
Tagalog
spoiled bread
panis na tinapay
grumpy audience
masungit na manonood
rude fan
bastos na tagahanga
delicious food
masarap na pagkain
noisy neighbor
maingay na kapitbahay
heavy rain
malakas na ulan
strong wind
malakas na hangin
tall tree
mataas na puno
hot weather
mainit na panahon
crunchy fruit
malutong na prutas
shallow water
mababaw na tubig
Adjectives linked to nouns using na.

For adjectives ending in letter n, only the letter g is added.

Not all adjectives ending in consonants are linked to nouns with the na linker. If this is the case, just like with the adjective matulin which means fast, only the letter g is added — matuling. Matuling sasakyan. Fast vehicle.

Kalawangin. The Filipino word for rusty is another example as it ends with the n as well. It will become kalawanging. With letter g attached to it now all you need is the noun to describe. Kalawanging hawla. Rusty cage.

Na and -Ng as Linkers With Intensified Adjectives

Even with intensified adjectives, na and -ng still do their role as linkers. Aside from the need to repeat the adjective to intensify it, nothing changed with the rule of when to use na and -ng as linkers.

Taking one example from the table above for linker na, malakas or strong, it has to be repeated to be intensified — malakas na malakas. This now corresponds to saying to/so/very strong. Na is used with the intensified form since the last letter of the adjective is a consonant.

The same goes if an adjective ends in a vowel where -ng is used before repeating the adjective. Bagong bago. So new. You can use the table below for more examples and when you're confident enough, you can try on your own with the adjectives you already know. For more to practice with, I already talked more about them including simple Tagalog adjectives on my article Simple and Common Tagalog Adjectives: Describe People, Places and Things With Filipino Adjectives.

English
Tagalog
so delicious
masarap na masarap
very noisy
maingay na maingay
so strong
malakas na malakas
very tall
mataas na mataas
very hot
mainit na mainit
very shallow
mababaw na mababaw
so new
bagong bago
so green
berdeng berde
very tasty
malasang malasa
too stale
bilasang bilasa
too weak
mahinang mahina
too cunning
tusong tuso
too fussy
maarteng maarte
Intensified Tagalog adjectives using na and -ng.

Linking Intensified Adjectives to Nouns

When linking an intensified adjective to a noun, na and -ng as linkers need to be repeated as well. Masarap na masarap na pagkain. Notice how both the adjective and na as a linker was repeated. Masarap na masarap means very delicious. With the noun pagkain or food and linked by na, now it means very delicious food.

Now with an adjective ending in a vowel, the same needs to be done as well before connecting it to a noun. Let's have the adjective bago which means new and kotse or car as noun. The linker -ng has to be repeated on both adjectives — bagong bagong. Saw a car that is so new? It might sound unusual in English but not in Tagalog. Bagong bagong kotse.

Tagalog
English
Bagong bagong laptop.
A laptop that is so new.
Maarteng maarteng babae.
A woman that is too fussy.
Mainit na mainit na sopas.
A soup that is too hot.
Berdeng berdeng dahon.
A leaf that is so green.

Linking Intensified Adjectives to Proper Nouns

This is where si, which is a marker comes into play. Used after adjectives and before names. Magandang maganda si Belle. Belle is so beautiful. Also notice that with a name, only one of the repeated adjectives has the -ng. Si is used before names ragardless of the last letter of the adjective.

The intensified adjective kyut na kyut which means too cute is our next example for an adjective that ends in a consonant. Kyut na kyut na bata — A very cute kid. Kid is a common noun, but with a name, si replaces the linker na. Kyut na kyut si Rex. Rex is too cute.

Masarap na masarap na ulam — Very delicious dish. Ulam means dish and it could be any dish. Replace ulam with any dish to be specific. Masarap na masarap na chicken barbecue. A very delicious chicken barbecue. Also notice that na is still used this time. Remember, si is only used with names.

Switching Adjectives and Nouns

Adjectives and nouns can be switched. Isn't that cool? Masarap na pagkain. Delicious food. But the noun can come first. Applying the same rule of-ng for adjectives ending in vowels and na for consonants — Pagkaing masarap. It means the same. Delicious food.

Let's switch another one from the previous examples above. Bagong laptop. New laptop. Laptop na bago.

Intensifying Switched Nouns and Adjectives

Again, the same rule applies even when switching intensified adjectives and nouns. Taking the same examples above, laptop na bago when intensified will become laptop na bagong bago. Pagkaing masarap na masarap. A very delicious food.

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