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Boost Your Vocab with These Intermediate Tagalog Words

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It takes 200 hours of studying basic Filipino grammar and vocabulary for students to reach the intermediate level. So, if you’re reading this right now, you deserve a round of applause—it means you’re ready to take things to the next level!

By the end of this lesson, you’ll find it a lot easier to comprehend everyday words and expressions about people and work. You’ll also learn new words in a variety of categories that you can use to describe people, things, your emotions, and even the weather. 

We’re talking about around 300 intermediate Tagalog words and phrases, which is a lot. A great way to master these words is to use them in context. It’s also ideal to study them by theme, which is why we’ve categorized them this way throughout the article. 

Now, we have a lot of words to learn and get down pat. Let’s get started!

Four Friends Chatting Around a Table

A great way to master intermediate Filipino words is to use them in context.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Filipino Table of Contents
  1. Mga Bilang (Numbers)
  2. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)
  3. Verbs
  4. Adjectives
  5. Pang-abay (Adverbs)
  6. Pang-Ukol (Prepositions)
  7. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)
  8. Auxiliary Words and Particles
  9. Refine your Tagalog vocabulary skills with FilipinoPod101!

1. Mga Bilang (Numbers)

Now that you’ve mastered the basic numbers from 1 to 10 in Filipino, it’s time to learn the teens and the numbers beyond them. When counting from 11 to 19 in Filipino, just add the prefix labing to the numbers 1-9. Labing is a contraction of labi (“excess”) and ng (“of”), and it refers to the excess of ten. For instance, the number 11 is one unit in excess of ten, so that would be labing + isa (“one”), or “one more than ten.”

1 – From 11 to 19


11labing-isa
12labindalawa
13labintatlo
14labing-apat
15labinlima
16labing-anim
17labimpito
18labingwalo
19labinsiyam

2 – From 20 to 90

Counting beyond the teen numbers is not difficult in Filipino. The formula is to add the suffix -pu, which is short for sampu (“ten”), to the numbers in the tens place. For instance, the number 20 is dalawampu, which basically means “two tens” or “two multiplied by ten.” Keep in mind that some numbers need the linker na.

30tatlumpu
40apatnapu
50limampu
60animnapu
70pitumpu
80walumpu
90siyamnapu

3 – Counting to the Thousands (and Beyond)

“Hundred” is daan in Tagalog, so counting in hundreds simply means adding this word to the numbers in the hundreds place. Keep in mind that we use the linker ng in number words that end in vowels. Moreover, the d in daan changes to r when the linker used is na, which is placed after words that end in consonants. 

100isang daan
200dalawang daan
300tatlong daan
400apat na raan
500limang daan
600anim na raan
700pitong daan
800walong daan
900siyam na raan

Counting in thousands and millions is just as easy. For thousands, you just use the word libo (“thousand”), and for millions, you use the word milyon (“million”).

1,000isang libo
2,000dalawang libo
5,000limang libo
7,000pitong libo
10,000sampung libo
100,000isang daang libo
1,000,000isang milyon

An Image of the Philippines

Ang Pilipinas ay may mahigit pitong libong mga isla! (“The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands!”)


2. Mga Pangngalan (Nouns)

Here’s a list of intermediate-level nouns, or pangngalan, to add to your vocabulary.

1 – Time


FilipinoEnglish
dekadadecade
siglocentury
milenyomillenium
semestresemester
panahonperiod
hating-gabimidnight
madaling-arawwee hours

2 – People


FilipinoEnglish
pangalanname
apelyidofamily name
palayawnickname
magulangparent
balaeparent of one’s son- or daughter-in-law
biyenanfather- or mother-in-law
manugangson- or daughter-in-law
bayawbrother-in-law
hipagsister-in-law
amainstepfather
inainstepmother
dalagasingle woman
binatasingle man
kasintahanlover
nobyoboyfriend
nobyagirlfriend
kamag-anakrelative
kaibiganfriend
barkadagang
kalaroplaymate
kapamilyafamily member
kapitbahayneighbor
ninonggodfather
ninanggodmother
bilasbrother-in-law’s wife or sister-in-law’s husband
kaklaseclassmate
mamaman
alewoman
batachild
taoperson
kakilalaacquaintance
katrabahocoworker
amoboss / employer
katulongmaid
tauhanstaff

3 – Professions


FilipinoEnglish
basurerogarbage collector
guwardiyasecurity guard
tsuperdriver
tinderomale merchant / salesman
tinderafemale merchant / saleslady
barberobarber
manikuristamanicurist
bumberofireman
artistaactor / actress
abugadolawyer
karpinterocarpenter
magsasakafarmer
tuberoplumber
mekanikomechanic
magnanakawburglar
kusinerocook
tagalinisjanitor
pilotopilot
manggagawaworker
mangingisdafisherfolk
dentistadentist
paripriest

4 – Various Nouns


FilipinoEnglish
awtoridadauthority
bataslaw
alagapet
halamanplants
punotrees
pananimcrops
kotsecar
bahayhouse
teleponotelephone
bisikletabicycle
motormotorbike
dyipjeepney
sasakyanvehicle
pitakawallet
damitclothing
pantalonpants
sapatosshoes
tsinelasflip-flops

Dirty Flip-flops

Paki-iwan ng madumi mong tsinelas sa may pintuan. (“Please leave your dirty flip-flops by the door.”)


3. Verbs

At the beginner level, you learned a number of commonly used action words and auxiliaries. But what if you want to express a more nuanced idea or add flair to your writing? Below, you’ll find several intermediate Tagalog verbs you can start practicing right away! 

The great thing about Filipino verbs is that the rules for conjugation remain the same, no matter the verb’s level of difficulty. Filipino verbs are grouped according to how they’re conjugated. You’ll observe that most of the verbs we used in this list are -UM verbs. We’re not going to go into detail regarding what -UM verbs are, but you can always visit our blog entry on Filipino verb conjugation to learn more about them. 

FilipinoEnglish
magtalagato assign
magpakabait to behave
manatili to remain
magpaiwan to stay
huminga to breathe
sumabogto burst / to explode
kumbinsihinto convince
maniwalato believe
gumuhitto draw
magpinturato paint
mag-alagato take care
magdesisyonto decide
tumuklasto discover
magsayato enjoy
magburato erase
matakotto be afraid
lumipadto fly
umurongto shrink / to move back
sumukoto surrender / to give up
sumukato vomit
magbiroto joke; to pull a prank
humalikto kiss
magpaalamto ask permission / to say goodbye
umorderto give an order
umutosto give a command
magtiponto gather
kumulektato collect
maglagayto put
magtanggalto eliminate / to get rid of
mag-alisto remove
sumuntokto punch
magdagdagto add
magbawasto subtract
mag-ayosto fix / to arrange
umikotto rotate
lumingonto look back
baliinto break
sirainto destroy
ayusinto fix
kumantato sing
sumayawto dance
sumunodto follow
pumustato place a bet
maglaroto play
maglinisto clean
umasikasoto attend to
gumamotto mend
pumatayto kill
gumantito take revenge
magpatawadto forgive
magmahalto love
magsanayto train
manganakto have a child
manaloto win
mataloto lose
mamalengketo go to the market
mag-igibto fetch some water

A Heavy Rain Falling onto Green Plants

Mabuti at umulan. Hindi ko na kailangang mag-igib. (“Thank goodness it rained. There’s no need for me to fetch some water.”)


4. Adjectives

We’ve already introduced you to a few basic Filipino adjectives in our previous articles. For the intermediate level, we’ve doubled the number of items on our list. And if this is still not enough, you can always check out our list of the 50 most common Filipino adjectives with audio recordings. 

1 – Adjectives Describing Objects


FilipinoEnglish
tumpakaccurate
sinaunaancient
pangkaraniwanordinary / average
magkaparehosimilar
kumplikadocomplicated
napakalakihuge / very large
napakaliittiny / very small
sapatsufficient
bagonew
lumaold
malambotsoft
matigashard
magaspangrough
makinissmooth
maliwanagbright
madilimdark
sariwafresh
mabigatheavy
magaanlight
mahalexpensive
muracheap
abot-kayaaffordable
malaboblurry / hazy
makitidnarrow
tuyodry
basawet

2 – Adjectives Describing People


FilipinoEnglish
magalingawesome / great
matalinointelligent
mahirappoor
mayamanrich
matapangbrave
duwagcowardly
malakasstrong
madaldaltalkative
mabaitkind
mabutigood
masamabad
gastadorspender
matipidthrifty
kuripotstingy
singkitwith slanted eyes
kulotwith curly hair
malandiflirty
bobodumb
mayabangarrogant / humbug
mapagpakumbabahumble
kalbobald
batayoung
matandaold

3 – Adjectives Describing Emotions


FilipinoEnglish
natatakotafraid
nag-aalalaworried
naiinggitenvious
kalmadocalm
naiinisannoyed
nababagotbored
nandidiriloathsome / grossed out
nagulatshocked / surprised
natatawaamused
naaaliwentertained
sabikexcited
mapayapapeaceful
kabadonervous
mahinahonrelaxed
kuntentosatisfied
nasasaktanhurting
pagodtired
naguguluhanconfused
naiiritairritated
balisaanxious

4 – Adjectives Describing the Weather


FilipinoEnglish
mabagyostormy
napakainitvery hot
napakaginawvery cold
napakalamigvery cool
preskocool
mahamogfoggy
hindi maulapcloudless

A Man Staying Up Late to Study with Coffee

Hindi pa siya kuntento kaya nag-aral pa siya ng nag-aral. (“He wasn’t satisfied, so he studied more and more.”)

5. Pang-abay (Adverbs)

Adverbs are called pang-abay in Filipino. While there are only five types of adverbs in English, the Filipino language has up to twelve types. We have a separate article covering Filipino adverbs in more detail if you’d like to study the topic further. In the meantime, here’s a list of the most useful everyday Filipino adverbs for the intermediate level.

1 – Time & Frequency


FilipinoEnglish
kadalasanusually
tuwingevery time / whenever
kinabukasantomorrow / the day after
araw-arawevery day / daily
palagialways
minsanonce in a while
bihirararely
isang besesonce
dalawang besestwice
saon
kapagwhen / whenever
hangganguntil
kahaponyesterday
bukastomorrow
ngayonnow
ngayong arawtoday
mamayalater

2 – Manner


FilipinoEnglish
mabilisquickly
dahan-dahanslowly
mahinahoncalmly
puwersahanforcefully
kaagad-agadimmediately
mahigpittightly
malakasloudly
tahimiksilently

3 – Place


FilipinoEnglish
wala saanmannowhere
kahit saananywhere
kung saan-saansomewhere / everywhere
sa itaasabove
sa ibababelow
sa ibabawover / on top
sa duloat the end
doonthere
ditohere

4 – Measure


FilipinoEnglish
maramimany / plenty
kauntifew / a little
sapatenough
kalahatihalf
halosalmost

A Father Hugging His Young Daughter before Leaving for Work

Mahigpit niyang niyakap ang kanyang anak. (“He hugged his daughter tightly.”)

6. Pang-Ukol (Prepositions)

The next set of intermediate Tagalog words we’ll look at are prepositions, or pang-ukol in Filipino. They help expand the meaning of a sentence by stating where or when something is, what time something occurred, what caused an action to happen, and so on, in relation to another person or thing. Here’s a list of the most common Filipino prepositions.

FilipinoEnglish
ngof
saon
niof (non-focus marker)
kayto (singular)
kinato (plural)
ayon saaccording to
para safor
tungkol sa/kayabout

7. Mga Pangatnig (Conjunctions)

We already covered some of the most common Filipino conjunctions in our entry on Filipino beginner words. As mentioned, there are as many of them in Filipino as there are in English. Here are more words to add to your arsenal.

FilipinoEnglish
saka, patiand
oor
ngunitbut
kapagif
dahilbecause

The thing about Filipino conjunctions is that their difficulty lies not in their function but in how often they’re used. For instance, the conjunction ngunit (“but”) means the same thing as kasi. However, between the two, the latter is more commonly used in everyday speech, while the former is often used in literature.

8. Auxiliary Words and Particles

The Filipino language has enclitic particles that convey important nuances in meaning. Some of them don’t have direct translations in English, and some are used in conjunction with other enclitic particles. The following is a short list of some of the most common and most important Filipino enclitic particles used in everyday speech. Learning how to incorporate these into your conversations is a great way to improve your Tagalog as you approach the intermediate level. 

FilipinoEnglish
pastill
ngaindeed
nanow / already
din/rintoo / also
daw/rawit is said / I’m told
bainterrogative marker

The meaning of each particle varies slightly depending on how it’s used in a sentence. Let’s take the particle pa, for example:

  • Ayaw ko pa. (“I don’t want to yet.”)

In this example, pa is used to emphasize that the speaker is not yet ready to do something.

  • Dagdagan mo pa. (“Please add more.”)

In this example, pa is used to emphasize that the speaker is requesting that a particular action be continued or that its intensity be increased.

Meanwhile, the particle ba is one of those untranslatable Tagalog words. It’s often found at the end (or near the end) of an interrogative sentence, particularly yes-no questions.

  • Kumain ka na ba? (“Have you eaten yet?”)
  • Nagluto ka ba? (“Did you cook?”)
  • Naririnig mo ba ako? (“Can you hear me?”)

A Woman Entering a Crowded Elevator

Bababa ba? (“Going down?”)

9. Refine your Tagalog vocabulary skills with FilipinoPod101!

Allow us to give you a pat on the back for reaching the end of this intermediate Tagalog vocabulary guide! If you believe there are more words that should have been on this list, let us know in the comments below.

Wait, don’t leave just yet! We know you’re excited to use your newly acquired knowledge, but what if we told you that you can learn even more? That’s right! With FilipinoPod101, you can learn more than just vocabulary. We can help you refine your grammar skills and broaden your cultural knowledge, so that you can reach the advanced level soon and become a fluent Tagalog communicator!

Yes, that is possible with all the free resources available here on our website—not to mention all of our audio and video lessons, our list of over 2000 Filipino vocabulary words, and our Filipino-English dictionary! And if you sign up, you’ll gain access to one of our most sought-after features—MyTeacher. MyTeacher is a Premium PLUS service that allows learners like you to enjoy 1-on-1 lessons with a professional Filipino teacher. It’s designed to tailor lessons according to the needs of our students, so you can enjoy learning at your own pace and in your own style. 

We can’t wait to see you become part of the FilipinoPod101 community!

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