root word instead of infinitive/imperative form

Discussion in 'Tagalog and Filipino Languages' started by MarFish, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. MarFish Senior Member

    English - American
    I have noticed that sometimes people say the root word (alis, kain, punta) instead of the infinitive/imperative form when saying a command.


    Punta tayo dito.
    Alis tayo.

    I would have expected pumunta and umalis. Why is the root word used?
  2. DotterKat Moderator

    California, USA
    English (American)
    People sometimes fall into less than grammatically correct turns of phrase while remaining understandable. It happens in various languages, and such is the case that you cited. You are correct in noting that those verbs should have been conjugated with the -um- affix, but as you may note, the essential idea is intact though the sentence is grammatically incorrect.
    As an aside, this speech pattern in which verbs are left unconjugated sounds almost juvenile and in fact small children just learning proper Tagalog conjugation speak this way. Adults do it because they want to sound idiosyncratic, are too lazy to conjugate, simply don't care about it or even perhaps in order to sound "cute" (childlike), among many other reasons. In any case, such errors are not uncommon in colloquial speech and are quite forgivable as long as one can distinguish them from correct grammar.
  3. MarFish Senior Member

    English - American
    Thanks as usual, DotterKat!
  4. sangrecaliente.sangchaud Senior Member

    Makati Ciy, Philippines
    Tagalog - Batangas
    Both forms are accepted. However, using the base form of the verb makes it sound more conversational. And this form only functions with the "-um-" verbs.

    It wouldn't sound well if you use it with the other groups for example :

    Punasan mo. (Wipe it)
    Buksan mo ang pinto. (Open the door.)

    Of course, saying :

    "Pumunta tayo rito," is correct but too proper. :D
  5. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    They use the root words after their conversations, in this case they knew already where to go ! 1.) Paroon kita/punta tayo! 2.) Knew what to do, they need to go out so = bukse(open the door) 3.) the mess in the table after their meal, so it is usual to say = punasan mo. (wipe the table)
  6. Inglip Senior Member

    Dubai, UAE
    English - UK
    I ALWAYS thought that if its a command, it's left with no affixes, mainly applying to -um- and mag- verbs, but -an and -in are infinitive forms.

    Kain na tayo, punta ka jan, sabihin mo iyan.

    Is this not the case? I would have said I was 100% sure I read that somewhere in a grammar book until you make me doubt. We also have a poster at work in the bathoom, 'hugas na kamay.' Is it wrong?
  7. DotterKat Moderator

    California, USA
    English (American)
    First, remember that verbs are not "mag" or "um" verbs per se. We use those affixes only to direct the focus of the sentence. Using "mag" or "um", among other affixes, produces an actor-focused sentence:

    Kumain na tayo.
    Kumain ka ng gulay.
    Tumakbo ka pauwi.
    Gumising ka na.

    All of the above are in the basic imperative construction. Note also that the inclusion of an enclictic particle like na, nga or naman "softens" the command to more of a request (Kumain [na / na nga] tayo. Kumain ka [naman] ng gulay. Tumakbo ka [na / nga] pauwi. Gumising ka [na / nga / naman].) Contrast with:


    All of the above are in the immediate imperative construction, used when you want a more immediate performance of an action. This is the form that you are referring to as the imperative construction that requires the root word only.
    However, besides the basic and immediate imperative constructions, recall that there are also the equational, abbreviated and habitual imperative forms. It would be good to review those five imperative forms.

    Going back to the point that verbs are not inherently "mag" or "um", we can conjugate the same verbs above to make the sentence object-focused:

    Kainin mo ang gulay.
    Takbuhin mo ang kahabaan ng Ortigas.
    Gisingin mo siya.

    All of the above are still in the basic imperative construction, but now in the object focus, accomplished by using the -in / -hin affix.

    Finally, "hugas na kamay" is grammatically wrong if the intent of the poster is to remind people to wash their hands. As is, "hugas na kamay" with "hugas" having the stress on the second syllable -gas, simply indicates the present state of kamay (washed hands). Compare with:

    Sira na pinto (broken door). May sira ang pinto (The door has a defect).
    Basag na salamin (broken mirror). May basag ang salamin (The mirror has a crack).
    In all of the above cases -- hugas/hugas, sira/sira, basag/basag -- we have heteronyms that mean and function differently depending on the pronounciation.
    The correct form for that reminder should be something like:

    Huwag kalilimutan na maghugas ng mga kamay (Don't forget to wash your hands).

    However, an abbreviated version is also acceptable:

    Maghugas ng mga kamay.

    or even

    Maghugas ng kamay.

    Hugas na kamay may very crudely convey the same message, given the obvious placement of the poster, but is nevertheless absolutely grammatically wrong in that context. It would be as wrong as saying in English "Washed hands" instead of "Please wash your hands." Unless of course the point of the poster is to show a picture of how washed hands ought to look after actually washing them, but I doubt that.
  8. biankita Member


    "Punta tayo dito." and "Alis tayo." are usually command statements. However, in conversational Filipino, it is seen as informal so it's typically used to people you are familiar with like friends, family, etc.

    "Pumunta tayo dito." and "Umalis tayo." are more of a request statement. When used in conversational Filipino, it comes across as formal and polite. But it's not really formal. It's caught somewhere between formal and informal.

    The difference in the statement is comparative to saying "Let's go here someday!" as opposed to saying "Let us go here someday." They mean the same thing but the level of politeness varies.

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