Tagalog Adjectives
Pang-uri

Tagalog adjectives describe nouns - Mabait/ na bata/ ang nakatanggap/ ng unang karangalan. (Kind  / the child/ who received / the first honor.)The child who received first honor is kind.  

Describe pronouns - Silang/ matataluti ay tiyak/ na matatanggal/ sa trabaho. (They/ who complain a lot / are sure / to get sacked / from jobs.) They, the whiners, will surely get sacked from their jobs.

Act as a noun -  Ang matiyaga/ ay magtatagumpay/ sa huli. (The diligent/ will succeed/ in the long run.)

Act as a predicate - Matitipid/ ang mga Ilocano. (Thrifty/ the Ilocanos.) The Ilocanos are thrifty.

Note the following linkers in the construction Adjectives:

"na" - in Mabait <b>na</b> bata - Kind [the] child

"-ng"- in Sila<b>ng</b> matataluti - They [who are] inquisitive

Structure of Tagalog Adjectives 

1. Plain or simple adjectives (Payak)

  • sira - ruined
  • butas - has a hole
  • panay - constant
  • kulang - lacking
  • mali - wrong
  • bulag - blind
  • talipa - wearing slippers on the wrong foot
  • praning - confused/perplexed
  • talipandas - flirt
  • pingkot  - crumpled/ deformed

2. Adjectives which are root words with prefixes or suffixes (Maylapi). Roots need not be only adjectives, but may also be nouns, verbs, or pronouns

  • magulang  - [r:gulang-age] mature/ astute
  • pasaway - [r:saway-stop/prevent] difficult/ naughty
  • masigasig - [r:sigasig-zest] full of zest
  • madungis - [r:dungis-dirt] dirty appearance
  • libagin - [r:libag-dirt on skin] full of sticky dirt on skin

3. Some root words when repeated (Inuulit) become adjectives.

  • Kulang-kulang- [lacking-lacking] crazy/ somewhat lacking
  • Puta-putakti - [bits and bits - idiomatic expression] bits and pieces/ trickles
  • Palit-palit  [change-change]- always changing
  • Butas-butas [holed-holed]- has many holes
  • Basang-basa [wet-wet]- very wet
  • Pinong-pino [tiny-tiny]- very tiny
  • Lahok-lahok [mixed-mixed]- smorgasbord/ disorganized
  • Sabay-sabay [together-together] - simultaneously/ at the same time
  • Tau-tauhan [person-person (seems like)]- marginalized/ not given due recognition as a person

4. Two words with different meanings, then combined, become a new word and gain a new descriptive meaning. This is a compound adjective (Tambalan).

  • Sampay-bakod - [hang-fence] unwelcome visitor
  • Balat-sibuyas - [skin-onion] sensitive
  • Bantay-salakay - [guard-attack] traitor
  • Samu't-sari - miscellaneous
  • Akyat-bahay - [climb-house] referring to robbery
  • Usad-pagong - [movement-turtle] slow
  • Utak-kuneho - [mind-rabbit] dense
  • Saling-pusa -[join-cat] kindergrten/not officially included
  • Abot-kamay  - [reach-hand] near/accessible

Number in Tagalog Adjectives

One (isahan)- describes ONE person,  thing, object, place, event, etc.

  • kapatid ko siya (sister/ my/ she)
  • kasintahan siya ng kapitbahay ko (girlfriend/ she/ of/ neighbor/ my)
  • malaki ang kanyang bahay (big/ the/ her/ house)
  • isang piraso ang naiwan niya (one / piece/ the/ left[over]/ he)
  • tuso ang katulong mo (clever/ the/ maid/ your) 

Two (dalawahan)- describes TWO persons, things, objects, places, events, etc.

  • magkapatid kaming dalawa (Sisters [brothers]/ we/ two)
  • magsing-irog ang nakatira sa kabila (Sweethearts/ the/ living/ next door)
  • magkasing-laki ang bahay ng kambal (Same size/ the/ house/ of/ twins)
  • dalawang pares ang nawala (Two/ pairs/ the/ lost)
  • Kapwa tuso ang mga bagong dating  (Both/ clever/ the/ newly/ arrived)

Many (maramihan o higit sa dalawa)- describes MANY persons, things, objects, places, events, etc.

  • magkakapatid kaming tatlo (Sisters/ we/ three)
  • mga magkakasintahan ang umabay sa kasal (Sweethearts/ the/ sponsors/ in/ wedding)
  • malalaki ang mga mansiyon ng mga senador (Big/ the/ mansions/ of/ senators)
  • maraming mahikero sa kongreso (Many/ magicians/ in/ congress)
  • magkakasing-galing ang mga dayo (Equally excellent/ the/ visitors)

Degree of Comparison in Tagalog Adjectives

Simple (lantay) or first level 
Most adjectives when not used in comparison are simple adjectives.

    malalim - deep; mababaw - shallow; pangit - ugly; maganda - beautiful; maliit - small; malaki - big; bukas - open; sarado - close; totoo - true; mali - wrong/false; makipot - narrow; maluwang - wide; bulag - blind; labis - over; kulang - lacking; malinaw - clear; malabo - unclear; lapat - flat; lutang - floating; busog - full; gutom - hungry

Comparative (ikalawang antas) or second level
Tagalog adjectives often use the following to show a second degree of comparison:

    medyo (quite/slight/a bit), bahagya (slight/quite/a bit), kaunti (little), mas (more), higit (more), lalo (more), katamtaman (average/fair), humigit-kumulang (more or less/ at least), di gaanong magaling (not really [that good]), and sometimes, comparative degree is also attained by a combination of plain adjective and it's root word, such as in: magaling-galing [r:galing-expertise] "quite expertly". 
    Other examples: malalim-lalim [r:lalim-depth] "quite deep"; mahaba-haba [r: haba-length] "quite long"; marunong-runong [r: dunong-knowledge] "quite knowledgeable"; mahigpit-higpit [r: higpit-tight] "quite strict")
Superlative (masidhing antas) or highest level
    napakalalim - very [deep]
    malalim na malalim - very very [deep] 
    pagkalalim-lalim - too very very [deep] 
    masyadong malalim - too/very [deep]
    sobrang lalim - too/very [deep]
    totoong malalim - truly [deep]
    tunay na malalim (truly deep)
    talagang talagang malalim - truly truly deep 
    lubhang malalim - extremely deep 
    lubhang napakalalim- extremely very [deep]
    di masukat ang lalim - unmeasurable depth 
    gaano na lamang ang lalim - Oh how deep

Simple heirarchy

    good - better - best = magaling - mas magaling - pinakamagaling
    bad - worse - worst = masama - mas masama - pinakamasama

See other Tagalog adjectives in compound words