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The Pronoun in Tagalog/Filipino: Your Ultimate Guide

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There are many types of words we use in our everyday lives when communicating with each other, and pronouns are among them. You may not realize it, but you frequently refer to other people or things using pronouns in your everyday conversations. Pronouns are used primarily to replace nouns in order to avoid redundancy. 

The pronoun in Tagalog is referred to as panghalip. Just like in English grammar, there are several categories of the panghalip as a part of speech. Keep in mind, though, that not all English pronouns have direct equivalents in Filipino. Moreover, some Filipino pronouns may be used in more ways than English pronouns, and there are also categories under panghalip that aren’t found in English grammar.
The first type of panghalip is called panghalip panao.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Panghalip Panao (Personal Pronouns)
  2. Panghalip Pamatlig (Demonstrative Pronouns)
  3. Panghalip Pananong (Interrogative Pronouns)
  4. Panghalip Panaklaw (Indefinite Pronouns)
  5. Panghalip Pamanggit (Relative Pronouns)
  6. Panghalip Patulad
  7. Conclusion

1. Panghalip Panao (Personal Pronouns)

Introducing Yourself

The personal pronoun in Tagalog is panghalip panao. The term panao is derived from the word tao, which is Filipino for “man” or “human.” And as the term suggests, the role of panghalip panao is to take the place of nouns that name people.

Before we move forward, you need to understand that Filipino pronouns are categorized by case. They can either be Direct (ANG pronouns), Indirect (NG pronouns), or Oblique (SA pronouns). The following are Filipino personal pronouns under each of these three categories:

A- Filipino ANG Pronouns

Personal pronouns in this category are the ones a sentence focuses on. 

In EnglishIn Filipino
“I”ako
“you”ikaw
“he” / “she”siya
“we”tayo (inclusive) / kami (exclusive)
“you all”kayo
“they”sila

1 – ako or “I” (singular first person)

Examples:

Ako ang may-ari ng bahay na ito. 

I am the owner of this house.”

Ako ay pupunta sa kasal ni Ellen. 

I am going to Ellen’s wedding.”

2 – ikaw or “you” (singular second person)

Examples:

Ikaw ang dahilan kung bakit ako pumunta dito.

You are the reason that I came here.”

Ikaw na lang ang kumain ng keyk.

You eat the cake.”

Woman being Offered a Piece of Cake

3 – siya or “he” / “she”

In this day and age, due to gender issues, people are more careful when it comes to using pronouns. However, in Filipino grammar, pronouns show no distinction between “he” and “she.” Instead, the word used for Filipino gender pronouns in the singular second person is simply siya. That’s definitely one trick to learn when studying Filipino.

Examples:

Siya ang nakita mo sa mall kahapon.

She’s the one you saw at the mall yesterday.”

Siya yung pogi na sinasabi ko sa’yo!

He’s the cute guy I was telling you about!”

4 – tayo (inclusive) / kami (exclusive) or “we” (plural first person)

Examples:

Tayo ang dapat lumapit sa kanya.

We are the ones who are supposed to approach him.”

Kakain kami sa Mang Inasal.

We are going to eat at Mang Inasal.”

5 – kayo or “you” / “you all” (plural second person)

Examples:

Kayo ang may pakana ng lahat ng ito.

You are the mastermind behind all of this.”

Kumain na kayo dito.

You all should eat here.”

6 – sila or “they” (plural third person)

Examples:

Sila ang mga napili na lumahok sa paligsahan.

They were the ones chosen to participate in the contest.”

Umuwi sila kaagad pagkatapos ng programa.

They all went home right after the program.”

B- Filipino NG Pronouns

Ng (pronounced nang) personal pronouns are used to replace unfocused nouns in a sentence. In Filipino grammar, possessive pronouns can also take this form, and these words can also serve as a replacement for an unfocused actor.

In EnglishIn Filipino
“my” / “of me”ko
“your” / “of you”mo
“his” / “her” / “of him” / “of her”niya
“our” / “of us”namin (exclusive) / natin (inclusive)
“your” / “of you”ninyo
“their” / “of them”nila

1 – ko or “my” / “of me” (singular first person)

Examples:

Expressing possession

Desisyon ko ang masusunod.

“It’s my decision that should be taken.”

As a substitute for an unfocused actor

Binili ko ang ang mga pagkain.

“The food was bought by me.”

2 – mo or “your” / “of you” (singular second person)

Examples:

Expressing possession

Sapatos mo yung nasa labas ng pinto.

“It seems that your shoes are on the doorstep.”

Cell phone mo ba yung ginagamit niya?

“Is that your cell phone that he’s using?”

3 – niya or “his” / “her” / “of him” / “of her” (singular third person)

Examples:

As a substitute for an unfocused actor

Kinuha niya ang lahat sa akin.

“He took everything from me.”

Binigyan niya ng pera ang kanyang nakababatang kapatid.

She gave her younger brother some money.”

4 – namin (exclusive) / natin (inclusive) or “our” / “of us” (plural first person)

Examples: 

As a substitute for an unfocused actor

Kinuha namin ang padala niya kahapon.

“The package was picked up by us yesterday.”

Nakayanan natin ang mga pagsubok.

“The challenges were overcome by us.”

5 – ninyo or “your” / “of you” (plural second person)

Example: 

Mali ang ginawa ninyo.

Your actions were wrong.”

6 – nila or “their” / “of them” (plural third person)

Example: 

Mali ang ginawa nila.

Their actions were wrong.”

C- Filipino SA Pronouns

Sa personal pronouns are used to indicate an unfocused direction and location in a sentence. They also indicate possession. In this case, they act as Filipino possessive pronouns or panghalip paari.

In EnglishIn Filipino
“me” / “my”akin
“you” / “your”iyo
“him” / “his” / “her”kanya
“us” / “our”amin (exclusive) / atin (inclusive)
“you” / “your”inyo
“them” / “their”kanila

1 – akin or “me” / “my” (singular first person)

Examples: 

Expressing location

Nasa akin ang bag mo.

“Your bag is with me.”

Expressing possession

Siya ay aking katrabaho.

“She is my colleague.”

2 – iyo or “you” / “your” (singular second person)

Examples: 

Expressing direction

Tatawag ako sa iyo bukas. 

“I am going to call you tomorrow.”

Naiinis daw siya sa iyo.

“She said she’s mad at you.”

3 – kanya or “him” / “his” / “her”

Examples:

Expressing location

Nasa kanya na ang susi ng kotse.

“The car key is with her already.”

Expressing possession

Yan ay kanyang mga damit.

“Those are her clothes.”

4- Formal Usage

Just as in many other languages, second- or third-person pronouns are used in formal or polite settings. For instance, when speaking with an elderly person, instead of simply saying Saan ka galing? we say, Saan kayo galing? meaning “Where have you been?” Notice that without the iteration po, the statement is still considered polite.

Woman Showing Respect to Elderly

D- Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns, such as “myself,” “himself,” and “themselves,” always appear with the word sarili, meaning “self” in Filipino.

For instance, the equivalent of “himself” is either sarili niya or ang kaniyang sarili, depending on how you want to say it.

This quote from the film Heneral Luna is a great example:

Mayroon tayong mas malaking kaaway kaysa mga Amerikano—ang ating sarili.

“We have an enemy far greater than the Westerners—ourselves.” 

Pinahirapan nila ang kanilang sarili sa hindi pag-aaral nang mas maaga.

“They tortured themselves by not studying ahead of time.”

2. Panghalip Pamatlig (Demonstrative Pronouns)

Demonstrative pronouns are referred to as panghalip pamatlig in Filipino. They’re used to point to a specific noun in a sentence. In English grammar, there are only four demonstrative pronouns: “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those.” The case is different for panghalip pamatlig.

For instance, there are four types of panghalip pamatlig:

  • Pronominal
  • Panawag pansin
  • Patulad
  • Panlunan

Examples of Pronominal:

  • ito (“this”)
  • dito (“here”)
  • iyan (“that”)
  • niyan (“that”)
  • diyan (“there”)
  • iyon (“that”)
  • doon (“there”)

Ito ang gusto ko.

This is what I want.”

Regarding iyan and niyan, both words are translated into “that” in English, and both represent something that’s away from the speaker. The main difference between the two is that iyan is an ANG marker, while niyan is a NG marker. More importantly, iyan is usually placed at the beginning of a sentence, while niyan is placed at the end of a sentence.

Iyan ang gusto kong makita.

That is what I want to see.”

Ayaw ko niyan.

“I don’t like that.”

Gusto kong pumunta diyan.

“I want to go there.”

Examples of Panawag Pansin:

  • eto / heto (“here” / “this”)
  • ayan / hayan (“that”)
  • ayun / hayun (“there”)

Heto ako.

Here I am.”

Ayan sila.

That’s them.”

Ayun ang pera sa ibabaw ng kama.

There’s the money on the bed.”

Examples of Patulad:

  • anito / ganito (“like this”)
  • ganiyan / ganyan (“like that”)
  • ganoon / gayon (“like that” / “like those”)

Ganito ang ginawa niya.

“He did it like this.”

Ganoon ang pagkatumba niya sa motor.

“She fell on the motorbike just like that.”

Examples of Panlunan:

  • doon / naroon / nandoon (“there”)
  • diyan / riyan (“there”)
  • narito / nandito (“here”)

Nandoon ang mga taong hinahanap niyo.

“The people you’re looking for are there.”

Narito na ang pinakahihintay ng lahat.

“What you have been waiting for is finally here.”

3. Panghalip Pananong (Interrogative Pronouns)

Basic Questions

Interrogative pronouns in Filipino, or panghalip pananong, are pronouns used to make asking questions a lot less complicated.

Student Asking a Question

There are only five panghalip na pananong, which are the equivalents of the five in English grammar. However, unlike in English, panghalip pananong has a plural form.

Singular: 

  • Ano (“What”)
  • Alin (“Which”)
  • Sino (“Who” / “Whom”)
  • Kanino (“Whose”)

Ano ang sabi mo?

What did you say?”

Alin dito ang pinaka nagugustuhan mo?

Which one do you like the most?”

Sino ang kumuha ng salamin dito?
Who removed the mirror here?”

Sino ang pinagkakatiwalaan mo?

Whom do you trust?”

Kanino ang aso na iyan?

Whose dog is that?”

Plural:

  • Anu-ano (“What/Which ones”)
  • Alin-alin (“Which ones”)
  • Sinu-sino (“Who”)
  • Kani-Kanino (“Whom” / “Whose”)

In the plural form of panghalip pananong, the meaning may not change in English, but it’s emphasized in Filipino. 

For example:

Anu-ano ba ang mga sinabi niya?

What specific things did he say?”

Even if you use the singular form in Filipino, the meaning in English remains the same as long as the particle mga, which pluralizes countable nouns, is used.

So, Ano ba ang mga sinabi niya? could have the same translation in English as Anu-ano ba ang mga sinabi niya?

Alin-alin dito ang mga binigay mo sa kaibigan mo?

Which ones among these did you give to your friend?”

Sinu-sino ang mga dumalo sa miting?

Who among the guys attended the meeting?”

Kani-kanino itong mga nakakalat na laruan sa sahig?

Whose toys are these left lying on the floor?”

4. Panghalip Panaklaw (Indefinite Pronouns)

As the term suggests, indefinite pronouns don’t refer to any specific person or object. They are referred to in Filipino as panghalip panaklaw. Panaklaw comes from the root saklaw, which implies range or scope.

Commonly used panghalip panaklaw words are as follows:

1 – lahat (“everyone” / “everybody” / “everything” / “all”)

Gusto sumama ng lahat sa field trip.

Everybody wants to join the field trip.”

People Raising Their Hands

Ang lahat ay ibinoto siya na maging gobernador.

All voted for him to be governor.”

2 – sa lahat ng dako (“everywhere”)

Naghanap kami sa lahat ng dako pero hindi pa rin namin siya natagpuan.

“We searched everywhere and still didn’t find her.”

3 – sinuman (“anyone”)

Ang sinuman na hindi pupunta ay bibigyan ng parusa.

Anyone who does not attend will be given a penalty.”

4 – anuman / alinman (“anything”)

Itapon na lang ang anuman na wala nang silbi.

“Just throw anything that doesn’t serve any purpose.”

5 – kaunti (“few” / “a few”)

Kaunti na lang ang natirang tickets.

“There’s just a few tickets left.”

6 – madami / marami (“many” / “a lot”)

Marami sa kanila ang ayaw sa huling resolusyon na ipinasa ng mga miyembro ng board of directors.

A lot of them are not in favor of the recent resolution passed by members of the board of directors.”

7 – saanman (“anywhere” / “wherever”)

Saanmang dako ng mundo, ikaw ay susundan ko.

Anywhere you go, I am sure to follow.”

In some cases, a Tagalog pronoun is placed after saanman in the first and third persons, and the words saan (“where”) and man (“any”) are written separately.

Susundan ko sya saan man siya (third person) pumunta.

“I will follow her wherever she may go.”

Sinusundan niya ako saan man ako (first person) pumunta.

“He follows me wherever I go.”

And in the second person, a pronoun is placed between saan and man.

Susundan kita saan ka (second person) man pumunta.

“I will follow you wherever you go.”

Hahanapin kita saan ka (second person) man magtago.

“I will look for you wherever you may hide.”

8 – wala / wala ni isa (“none”)

Wala ni isa sa kanila ang nagtangkang magsalita.

None of them had the courage to speak.”

9 – isang tao / isa (“someone” / “somebody”)

May isa na dapat tanggalin sa group.

Someone has to be removed from the group.”

10 – bawat isa (“each”)

Ang bawat isa sa atin ay may papel na ginagampanan sa team na ‘to.

Each of us has a role to play in this team.”

5. Panghalip Pamanggit (Relative Pronouns)

Improve Listening

Relative pronouns in Filipino are called panghalip pamanggit. Their main function is that of introducing a relevant clause and connecting it to an independent clause.

The most common examples of panghalip pamanggit are na and ng.

Examples:

Ang drayber na nakabundol sa mag-asawa ay nahuli.

“The driver who hit the couple was caught.”

Huwag mong hawakan ang mga bagay na hindi mo pagmamay-ari.

“Don’t touch things that don’t belong to you.”

Mayroon akong kaibigan na ang kuya ay napaka kulit.

“I have a friend whose brother is so annoying.” 

Huwag na huwag magtitiwala sa tao na ang ulo ay napapanot.

“Never trust a man whose hair is balding.”

Ang mga binti ng kalabaw ay malaki.

“The legs of the water buffalo are large.” 

Although the direct equivalent of the word ng is “of” in English, it functions in this sentence as a panghalip pamanggit.

Again, the reason is that some Filipino words may have a direct equivalent in English, and yet they are used in a different manner.

That said, the relative pronouns “which,” “that,” “who,” “whom,” and “whose,” can all be translated to na.

6. Panghalip Patulad

Panghalip patulad is a Filipino pronoun category that isn’t found in English. Patulad comes from the root word tulad, which denotes similarity.

Words under this category are used to replace words that denote manner, or how things are performed or acted. 

For instance, “This is how we do it,” can be translated to Ganito namin ginagawa ‘yan. In this sentence, the word ganito is considered a panghalip patulad.

That said, the three major words used as panghalip patulad are ganito, ganyan, and ganoon.

1 – Ganito

The word ganito can be directly translated to “like this” or “in this manner.” It’s used when the object being spoken of is near the speaker.

In the following examples, observe how the use of the word ganito changes in the English translation depending on how it’s being used in the Filipino sentences.

Ganito kami sa Pilipinas.

“This is how we are in the Philippines.”

Ganito ang dapat nating gawin.

“This is what we should do.”

In some instances, the word alone (along with a demonstration from the speaker) is enough to answer a question about how something is done.

Paano mo ginagawa yan?

Ganito.

“How do you do it?”

“This way.”

2 – Ganyan

Ganyan can be translated to “like that” or “in that manner.” It’s used when the object being described is near the person being spoken to.

Ganyan ka mag-shoot ng bola!

That’s how you shoot a ball!”

Guy Shooting a Basketball

Ganyan pala maghiwa ng sibuyas.

“So that’s how you’re supposed to slice an onion.”

Pigain mo siya nang ganyan.

“Squeeze it in that manner.”

3 – Ganoon / Ganun

Just like ganyan, ganoon can also be translated to “like that” or “in that manner.” However, it’s used when the object being described is far from both the speaker and the person being spoken to.

Ganun din ang kotse na gusto kong bilhin.

That’s the same car model I want to buy.”

Nakita mo kung paano niya sinagot ang tanong? Ganoon ka din dapat sumagot.

“Did you see how he answered the question? You should answer in that same manner.”

7. Conclusion

Filipino is a bit of an inflected language, which may make it a bit confusing for those who are studying it. Even Pinoys themselves confuse the two terms Filipino and Tagalog. This is where the importance of studying the language further comes in.

If you want to learn more about Filipino and Tagalog pronouns, a good place to start is FilipinoPod101, a language-learning portal that provides students with a structured yet fun and enjoyable way of learning Filipino grammar. One of the many perks it provides is the ability to learn Filipino anywhere and anytime you want. FilipinoPod101 can also provide you with a personal tutor if you want to speed up your learning process.

Whether it’s 100 nouns or 100 adjectives you want to learn, or whether you want to learn how to say “Hello” or “I love you” in Filipino, you can rest assured that FilipinoPod101 will be able to guide you all the way through.

And before you leave, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section below what you think about this article and whether there are questions about pronouns in Tagalog you want to ask! We’ll do our best to help you out.

Happy Filipino learning!

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