Cebuano grammar encompasses the rules that define the Cebuano language, the most widely spoken of all the languages in the Visayan Group of languages, spoken in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, part of Leyte island, part of Samar island, Negros Oriental, especially in Dumaguete, and the majority of cities and provinces of Mindanao.
Cebuano has eight basic parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, particles, prepositions and conjunctions. Cebuano is partially inflected: pronouns are inflected by number, and verbs are inflected for aspect, focus, and mood.
Cebuano, along with many other Philippine languages, are sometimes considered ergative or nominative in alignment, both being incorrect and correct as it has features of both systems. See Austronesian alignment.
Cebuano verbs are morphologically complex and take on a variety of affixes reflecting Voice, Quality, Aspect, Mood, and others. Cebuano arguably follows Austronesian alignment. Basically, verbs conjugate by using these affixes according to which argumentative role the noun in the direct case has. This noun in the direct case can be the doer of the action, the recipient of the action, the purpose for the action, or the means by which the action was made possible; which are all argumentative roles. The direct case hides the noun's otherwise-evident argumentative role, which the verb then makes up for by conjugating with specific affixes that indicate which argumentative role the noun in the direct case has. Some Cebuano grammar teachers call the noun in the direct case the Topic of the sentence, but some others call it the Focus, Voice, or Trigger; as the verb and the other nouns in the sentence have all their noun markers and affixes change accordingly.
Cebuano has four voices: the Active Voice a.k.a. the Agent Trigger, the Passive Voice for Direct Objects a.k.a. the Patient Trigger, the Passive Voice for Indirect Objects and/or Locations a.k.a. the Circumstantial Trigger, and the Passive Voice for Instruments a.k.a. the Instrument Trigger.
The Circumstantial Trigger Affixes select for location, benefactee and/or goal topics.
The direct case morpheme, which marks the topic in Cebuano, is ang or si.
|"Maria will cook kalamay for Pedro."|
Here, the agent/doer Maria is marked with si, the personal direct noun marker. The prefix Mo- indicates that the noun in the direct case (Maria) is also the agent/doer, which would not have been known otherwise.
|"The woman will cook the rice in the can."|
|(or "The rice will be cooked by the woman in the can.")|
Here, the patient/object Bugas is marked with ang, the general direct noun marker. The suffix -on indicates that the noun in the direct case (bugas) is also the patient/object, which would not have been known otherwise. Babaye is marked with sa, the general ergative noun marker which indicates that babaye is not in the direct case but is still the agent/doer of the sentence. Via context and common word order, it is evident that lata is not the agent despite it being marked with sa as well (in this case, it is used as the general oblique definite noun marker). It is not the first noun in the sentence (as the agent/doer usually is) and nor can a can cook rice on its own (context).
|(3)||a.||Circumstantial Trigger (with location subject)|
|"The woman will cook rice in the can."|
|(or "The can will be cooked rice in by the woman.")|
Here, the location/indirect object lata is marked with ang, the general direct noun marker. The suffix -an indicates that the noun in the direct case (lata) is also the location of the action, which would not have been known otherwise. Babaye is marked with sa, the general ergative noun marker which indicates that babaye is not in the direct case but is still the agent of the sentence. Bugas is marked with the general oblique indefinite marker og, indicating that it is neither the noun in the direct case nor the agent noun, but rather that it is the direct object of the sentence.
|(3)||b.||Circumstantial Trigger (with benefactee subject)|
|"Maria will cook Pedro kalamay."|
|(or "Pedro will be cooked kalamay for by Maria.")|
Here, the indirect object or benefactee Pedro is marked with si, the personal direct noun marker. The suffix -an indicates that the noun in the direct case (Pedro) is also the indirect object of the action, which would not have been known otherwise. Maria is marked with the personal ergative noun marker ni, which indicates that Maria is not the noun in the direct case but is still the agent of the sentence. Kalamay is marked with the general oblique indefinite marker og, indicating that kalamay is neither the noun in the direct case nor the agent/doer, but rather, it is the direct object.
|(3)||c.||Circumstantial Trigger (with goal subject)|
|"Inday will write Perla a letter."|
|(or "Perla will be written a letter to by Inday.")|
Here, it is similar to the Circumstantial Trigger (with benefactee subject) in that the goal subject Perla is also the indirect object of the sentence. Perla is marked by si, the personal direct noun marker, and is known to be the indirect object of the sentence due to the verb suffix -an, which indicates that the noun in the direct case would be the indirect object of the sentence.
|"Linda will write a letter with the pencil."|
|(or "The pencil will be written a letter with by Linda.")|
Here, the instrument lapis is marked with ang, the general direct noun marker. The prefix I- indicates that the noun in the direct case (lapis) is also the instrument used to complete the action, which would not have been known otherwise. Linda is marked with the personal ergative noun marker ni, which indicates that Linda is not the noun in the direct case, yet is still the agent of the sentence. Sulat is marked with the general oblique indefinite marker og, indicating that sulat is neither the noun in the direct case nor the agent/doer, but rather, it is the direct object.
The three cases are absolutive, ergative and oblique. Despite the names of the cases, Cebuano noun and pronoun cases have little to nothing to do with real ergativity. The noun markers and pronouns follow their own particular set of rules for syntax and grammar.
The absolutive case is also known as the direct case of Austronesian alignment.
- Postposed meaning it comes after the noun: iro nako (my dog).
- Preposed meaning it comes before the noun: akong iro (my dog).
|1st person singular||ako||ko*||nako||ko||ako, akoa||kanako||nako|
|2nd person singular||ikaw||ka||nimo||mo||imo, imoha||kanimo||nimo|
|3rd person singular||siya||niya||iya, iyaha||kaniya||niya|
|1st person plural inclusive||kita||ta||nato||to||ato, atoa||kanato||nato|
|1st person plural exclusive||kami||mi||namo||mo||amo, amoa||kanamo||namo|
|2nd person plural||kamo||mo||ninyo||inyo, inyoha||kaninyo||ninyo|
|3rd person plural||sila||nila||ila, ilaha||kanila||nila|
*Sa + the ergative form can replace these forms. For example, "Gihatag nako kani sa iya" vs "Gihatag nako kani kaniya"
* – Ta only when the object is the second person singular, i.e., ka, mo, etc. For example, Nakita taka, NOT *Nakita ko ka.
Usage of full and short forms
The short forms are used most often in conversation. However, the full forms must be used when they occur on their own as a predicate.
Examples (Those marked with an asterisk, "*", are ungrammatical):
Ako si Juan. I am John. *Ko si Juan.
Kamo'y moadto ngadto sa Banawa. You (plu.) are going to Banawa. *Mo'y moadto ngadto sa Banawa.
Ako si Juan. Ako mao'y moadto ngadto sa Banawa.
First person plural: clusivity
In Cebuano, like most other Austronesian languages, the first person plural forms encode clusivity. This distinction, not found in most European languages, signifies whether or not the addressee is included.
Moadto mi sa eskuwelahan.
We (someone else and I but not you) will go to school.
Moadto ta sa eskuwelahan.
We (you and I and perhaps someone else) will go to school.
Cebuano demonstratives are as follows:
(very near speaker)
* When the demonstrative is used as a predicate, the full form must be used.
** Both forms, those beginning with 'ng-' and those with 'd-', are interchangeable and correspond to the deictives[check spelling] below.
† Although not represented in the orthography, forms in this row end in a glottal stop:
kana /kanaˀ/, na /naˀ/, niana /niˀanaˀ/, nganha /ŋanhaˀ/, diha /dihaˀ/, dinha /dinhaˀ/.
Who is that?
Kining sulata gikan sa Presidente sa Pilipinas.
This letter is from the President of the Philippines
Sila manga-on didto.
They will eat there.
Kadtong mga tawo ug mga bata nangaon didto sa piyesta/pista.
Those people and children ate at the feast.
Deictics, words such as here and there, reference locations between the speaker and addressee. In addition to the same four-way distinction of proximity for demonstratives (near speaker, near speaker and addressee, near addressee and remote), deictics can express three tenses:
- Present: "X is here/there now"
- Past: "X was here/there"
- Future: "X will be here/there"
The present and future tense forms can precede or follow the words or phrases they modify by linking with nga. The past tense forms, however, only have a past meaning if they precede their words or phrases. If they follow, they convey no tense.
The 'ng-' forms are always tenseless. They follow the words or phrases they modify and can substitute equivalent past forms. In addition, they show movement or motion to the relative location which past forms cannot.
|Present Tense||Past Tense||Future Tense||Tenseless (D-)||Tenseless (NG-)|
† Forms in this row end in a glottal stop:
naa /naˀaˀ/, anaa /ˀanaˀaˀ/, diha /dihaˀ/, dinha /dinhaˀ/, anha /ˀanhaˀ/, diha /dihaˀ/, dinha /dinhaˀ/, nganha /ŋanhaˀ/.
Dia diri ang bata. The child is over here. Toa si lolo sa Amerika. Grandfather is in America. Dinhi ang Doktor gahapon. The doctor was here yesterday. Moadto siya sa Manila. She will be going to Manila. Midagan ang bata ngadto sa balay niya. The child ran to his/her house.
Cebuano nouns fall into of two classes: personal and general. Personal nouns refer to persons or personified objects and animals and names. All other nouns fall into the general category. Nouns do not inflect for case or number: Case is shown using case markers; the plural number is show with the particle mga.
Cebuano nouns assume three cases based on their role in a sentence:
- Absolutive – This is the case of focus or topic. This case is used in both actor-focus and non-actor focus verb forms. This has nothing to do with ergativity, but rather, Austronesian alignment. This case is also known as the Direct case. The verb partly conjugates according to the argumentative role inherit within the noun that is marked by this case.
- Ergative – This is the case of the actor/agent/doer in non-actor focus verb forms. This also has nothing to do with ergativity, but rather Austronesian alignment.
- Genitive – This is the case of possession/ownership. It may overlap with both the ergative and oblique cases.
- Oblique – A peripheral case; this is the case of the indirect object, the direct object, and/or the instrument in both actor-focus verb sentences and non-actor focus verb sentences, when the noun it modifies is also not the focus/topic. It is used to mention anything beyond the topic or focus other than the ergative case that might still be important for context and communication. Simply put, it is to mark any noun that is neither the actor/agent/doer nor the topic/focus of the sentence.
|sa (definite) |
|ang mga||sa mga||sa mga (definite)
og mga (indefinite)
|sa mga (definite)
og mga (indefinite)
The use of sa vs. og in the oblique case is a matter of definiteness when the noun is the object of an actor-focus verb. Compare the following examples.
- [Definite] Mipalit si Juan sa sakyanan. John bought the car.
- [Indefinite] Mipalit si Juan og sakyanan. John bought a car
In example sentence 1, the car that John bought is particular. It may have been a car he was thinking about buying or one that the speaker was selling John. In 2, the speaker may or may not know the specifics about the car in question.
Sa and og can both be used for the roles of the genitive case, but only sa can be used for the actor or agent case. Og is used for adverbs as well.
Plurality is shown by preceding the noun with the particle mga /maŋa/.
There are special cases though:
1. Adding the prefix ka- before and the suffix -an can pluralize a noun (the suffix -han is used if the root word ends with a vowel). This word treatment is used to group what are considered identical objects as one entity. Examples are:
- libot which is regularly used as a verb meaning to go around but in this case as a noun meaning "surrounding" (as in palibot) can be changed to kalibotan which means "world" (or 'the entire surroundings').
- tawo which means "man" or "person" can be changed to katawhan which means "men" or "people". The vowel "o" was omitted in this case because the "w" carries the sound of "o" by itself.
- balay (house): kabalayan (houses)
- bata (child/boy/girl): kabata-an. This word is an exception to the rule, as the suffix -an instead of -han is used.
- "nasud" (nation): "kanasuran" (nations). The "d" changed to "r" because that usually (not always) happens to "d" when placed between two vowels, though in Cebuano, d and r are not allophones, unlike in other Philippine languages.
Although it is tolerable in some cases, the use of mga before a noun applied with ka- -an is not necessary anymore. ang mga kabata-an (the children) is considered redundant, and ang kabata-an is more grammatically accurate.
Because the use of ka- -an groups objects into one entity, there are cases that a word will mean a place of which the objects are frequently or usually found/exist. An example is:
- kasagingan (from the root word saging (banana)) does not mean "bananas". Instead, it means 'a place of bananas' or simply "banana farm".
2. There is this very rare case of which an adjective can be pluralized and the noun it described can be, but not necessarily, omitted. Example: the word gamay ('small') can be changed to gagmay ('small ones')in which "g" was inserted in between. The same can be applied to dako which means 'big', changing it to dagko (big ones). Other examples are:
- ta-as (long): tag-as (long ones)
- mubo (short): mugbo (short ones)
- layo (far): lagyo (far ones)
- du-ol (near): dug-ol (near ones)
This rule cannot be applied to all other adjectives.
As a rule, Cebuano does not categorize nouns by gender. Natural gender are found in Spanish loans.
Adjectives do not inflect for the plural. Common adjectives of measurement, however, have a plural form characterized by the infixation of /g/.
In comparing two similar items, the comparative form indicates that one has a higher degree (or lower degree) of the quality expressed by the root, e.g., bigger, smaller, greater, etc.
The comparative degree is expressed in the following ways:
- Precede the adjective with labi pa ("more [still]")
- Precede the adjective with the particle mas (from Spanish más)
|labi pa||labi pang dako||bigger|
The comparative superlative indicates the maximum degree of the quality expressed in comparison to other items. In Cebuano this degree can be expressed by a prefix, pinaka- or by the use of the particle labi (most). The prefix and suffix kina- and -an can also be used together.
The absolute superlative is the form used in exclamations, for example, "How pretty you are!", and denote the extreme quality of the root.
It is formed by prefixing pagka- or ka- (short form) to the root. The subject follows in the oblique.
Pagkanindot kanimo! (Full) Kanindot nimo! (Short) How pretty you are! You are extremely pretty!
To express intensity, adjectives are followed by kaayo (very).
Ang mga diwindi mubo kaayo. Dwarves are very short.
The linker nga (pronounced /ŋa/) shows the relationship between modifiers to the head of the phrase. Examples of such relationships are adjective-noun, clause-noun, adverb-verb, adverb-adjective and noun-noun. Without the intervening linker, juxtaposition of modifier and head can constitute, not a phrase, but a sentence unto itself. Compare the phrase "ang batang lalaki" ("the/a young man/boy") and the sentence "ang bata lalaki" ("the child is male" or "the child is a boy").
Unlike Tagalog, nga is not used with numbers; ka below is used instead.
|balay nga bato
|balay nga nipa
|balay nga kahoy
|dako nga balay
|gamay nga balay
The linker ka is used to link a number and the phrase it modifies. Buok (whole) is sometimes used with ka.
|Example 1||Example 2||Gloss|
|usa ka bata||usa ka buok bata||one child|
|walo ka semana||walo ka buok semana||eight weeks|
|duha ka tasa||duha ka buok tasa||two cups|
- ba: used for yes-and-no questions and optionally for other types of questions.
- gayud/gyud: indeed; used in affirmations or emphasis.
- kay: because. NB: "kay" is also used as "is" or "are" in sentences with Subject-Predicate structure
- lang/ra/da: limiting particle; just, only.
- man: even, even if, even though, although
- na: now, already (past positive tense), anymore (past negative tense)
- pa: still, else
- ug: and
- usab, upod: also
Na and pa are not used in the same sentence.
- Unsa? What?
- Asa? Where? (for a place or person)
- Di-in?, Dis-a? Where?
- Ha-in?, Sa-a/Asa? Where? (for an object)
- Kinsa? Who?
- Ngano? Why?
- Kang'kinsa? To whom?
- Gi-unsa? How? (past)
- Unsa-on? How? (future)
- Kanus-a? When?
- Pila ka buok?, Pila? How many?
- Tagpila? How much?
- Di-ay ba? Really?
The word asa and ha-in:
Asa and ha-in—both mean where—have distinct uses in formal Cebuano usage.
Asa is used when asking about a place.
- Asa ka padulong? (Where are you going?)
- Asa ta molarga? (Where are we traveling to?)
Ha-in is used when asking about a food or thing.
- Ha-in na ang gunting? (Where is the pair of scissors?)
- Ha-in na ang pagka-on sa pista? (Where is the food for the festival)
In spoken Cebuano, however, asa is commonly used to replace ha-in. In fact, ha-in, except by older generations, is rarely used.
Verbs in Cebuano conjugate according to several factors: to divulge/agree with the argumentative role that the noun marked by the absolutive/direct case has; the voice; the form; the mood; and the aspect/tense of the sentence.
Verb Roots vs. Verb Stems
A verb root is the simplest version of a verb that conveys its overall meaning or lemma and cannot be broken down any further (excluding morphological processes and colloquial speech).
The affixes that are used to altogether describe the argumentative role, the voice, the form, the mood, and the aspect/tense cannot be added to the verb root, only to the verb stem.
The verb stem may be created through the addition of certain affixes that are not related to the affixes used to altogether describe the argumentative role, the voice, the form, the mood, and the aspect/tense of the sentence. Sometimes, the verb stem is identical to the verb root.
A commonly known verb stem affix is the prefix pa-, added to the beginning of a verb root (and sometimes, other verb stems) in order to convey the meaning of to cause. For example, padala is a verb stem that has the meaning of to send, while dala is its own verb root and verb stem, meaning to bring. Concluding that padala could literally mean to cause to bring. Another commonly known affix is the prefix hi- which is added to verb roots/stems in the stative form so that the verb may take in a direct object, as verbs in the stative form are not able to take a direct object without it.
The Moods, Forms, and Aspects/Tenses
Verbs in Cebuano not only conjugate according to the argumentative role of the noun that is marked by the absolutive/direct case, but also according to the voice, the form, the mood, and the aspect/tense of the sentence. Cebuano verbs conjugate accordingly through the use of affixes on the verb stem.
There are three moods that the verbal affixes may pertain to in the Cebuano language. The three moods are:
The Indicative Mood
This is the default mood of verbs in which the action is most commonly described. This mood does have imperative aspects in only some certain forms.
The Mirative Mood
This is the mood where the action is unexpected or unintended. There is no imperative aspect for this mood. This mood is used differently in Cebuano than its usual use, see Mirative Mood. Some may describe this mood as Dubitative or Subjunctive.
The Potential Mood
This is the mood where the action is able to happen or allowed to happen. This mood may also be used to convey a statement or general possibility. There is no imperative aspect for this mood.
The prefixes naka- and maka- (mostly used for this mood) may be shortened to ka- in colloquial speech and in colloquial writing, which gets rid of the aspect/tense found within these prefixes. Similarly, the prefixes naga- and maga- are colloquially shortened to ga-, however, ga- is usually considered as past and/or strictly present tense.
There are four forms that the verbal affixes may pertain to in the Cebuano language. The four forms are:
The Intentional Form
This is the form where the action was, is, or will be instantly completed. Usually, the affixes of this form hint at a sort of intention or will to do the action/verb. This form is also the form where the action may just be a statement.
The Durative Form
This is the form where the action takes place over a duration of time. See Durative Aspect.
The Stative Form
This is the form where the action expresses the state of being, condition, and/or emotion of a subject/object. This mood also may express a change going on within someone/something. Usually, verbs that express this mood cannot take in direct objects unless the prefix hi- is added to the original verb stem, creating a new verb stem that allows direct objects to be taken in.
The Reciprocal Form
This is the form where the action is being reciprocated between two persons/things to each other.
Tense vs. Aspect
Cebuano generally does not use tense, rather it uses aspect. Cebuano verbs conjugate according to a voice, a mood, a form, and an aspect. According to the functionalist school of grammar, there are two aspects: the nasugdan (incepted [past/present inchoative]) aspect and the pagasugdan (incepting [future/habitual inchoative]) aspect. They claim that Cebuano verbs feature the aspects of inception; that is whether the action has been initiated or not.
The nasugdan aspect is the aspect where the action had already started in the past, while the pagasugdan aspect is the aspect where the action has not started yet. Basically, past and present actions are in the nasugdan aspect while future actions and habitual actions are in the pagasugdan aspect. Although habitual actions started in the past, they have yet to start again. Hence, they are in the pagasugdan aspect.
The imperatibo (imperative/command) mood is commonly grouped together with these aspects (and not with the other moods) because there are multiple imperatives of the same verb that exist according to which form is in use.
In Cebuano, verbs may also conjugate for or to agree with negatibo (negative) sentences. However, the verb itself is not negative, it just agrees with the negative words wala and dili through the negatibo verbal affixes. Wala is used for the nasugdan aspect and dili is used for the pagasugdan aspect. Ayaw is used as the negative imperative, see Prohibitive mood.
The Verbal Affixes
The verbal affixes that feature altogether the voice, mood, form, and aspect may overlap. Some of these affixes are shortened in speech and in informal writing.
Not all groups of affixes can be used for some verbs; some verbs may not make sense with certain groups of affixes. For example, the verb stem anhi (to come) cannot have any of the passive voices' affixes; it would not make sense with such affixes.
The only way to know which groups of affixes are able to be used for each verb stem are through memorization/experience. In addition to that, in certain verbs, the affixes take on different meanings and may overlap or replace other affixes in different forms due to historical use. For example, the verb stem buak (to break) uses the same affixes that is used in the Potential Mood as the affixes used for the Transitory Form in the Indicative Mood. Using the normal affixes of the Transitory Form in the Active Voice for buak would sound incorrect to native speakers. Despite all that, the way the affixes are labeled are the way they are mostly used regardless.
Some affixes may be missing from the examples.
Active Voice Affixes
The Active Voice in Cebuano (a.k.a. the Agent Trigger) is the Voice where the Topic of the sentence is the Agent (a.k.a. the Doer, the Subject, the Actor) of the sentence. The verb partly conjugates according to the fact that the Agent is the Topic. All Active Voice Affixes are actually prefixes.
|nasugdan||ni- or mi-||nahi- or naha-||naka-|
|Miadto ka sa tindahan.
You went/go to the store.
|Nahiadto ka sa tindahan.
Surprisingly, you went/go to the store.
|Nakaadto ka sa tindahan.
You were/are able to go to the store.
|pagasugdan||mo-||mahi- or maha-||maka-|
|Moadto ka sa tindahan.
You will go to the store.
|Mahiadto ka sa tindahan.
Surprisingly, you will go to the store.
|Makaadto ka sa tindahan.
You will be able to go to the store.
|negatibo||mo-||mahi- or maha-||maka-|
|Wala ka moadto sa tindahan.
You did/do not go to the store.
Dili ka moadto sa tindahan.
You will not go to the store.
|Wala ka mahiadto sa tindahan.
Surprisingly, you did/do not go to the store.
Dili ka mahiadto sa tindahan.
Surprisingly, you will not go to the store.
|Wala ka makaadto sa tindahan.
You were/are not able to go to the store.
Dili ka makaadto sa tindahan.
You will not be able to go to the store.
|imperatibo||(Verb Stem) or optionally: pag-||(none)||(none)|
|Adto (ka) sa tindahan!
(You,) Go to the store!
These affixes not only have the essence that they are instantaneous, but they also have the essence of intention; that the topic willed for it to happen. It also has the essence of motion or movement. The prefix mi- is more formal than ni-; otherwise, they are interchangeable. It is common to use pag- because it is a common imperative affix in the Active Voice in Cebuano.
With verb stems like adto, mo- may sometimes be used as the nasugdan aspect because although it started in the past and may still be going on, the destination may not have been reached yet. Adto also means to go, and when used in the present tense, it is understandable that it may use mo- for a nasugdan aspect.
|nasugdan||nag- or naga-||nahi- or naha-||naka-|
|Nagkaon siya sa Jollibee,
He/She was/is eating at Jollibee.
|Nahikaon siya sa Jollibee.
Surprisingly, he/she was/is eating at Jollibee.
|Nakakaon siya sa Jollibee.
He/She was/is able to eat at Jollibee.
|pagasugdan||mag- or maga-||mahi- or maha-||maka-|
|Magkaon siya sa Jollibee.
He/She will be eating at Jollibee.
|Mahikaon siya sa Jollibee.
Surprisingly, he/she will be eating at Jollibee.
|Makakaon siya sa Jollibee.
He/She will be able to eat at Jollibee.
|negatibo||mag-||mahi- or maha-||maka-|
|Wala siya magkaon sa Jollibee.
He/She was/is not eating at Jollibee.
Dili siya magkaon sa Jollibee.
He/She will not be eating at Jollibee.
|Wala siya mahikaon sa Jollibee.
Surprisingly, he/she was/is not eating at Jollibee.
Dili siya mahikaon sa Jollibee.
Surprisingly, he/she will not be eating at Jollibee.
|Wala siya makakaon sa Jollibee.
He/She was/is not able to eat at Jollibee.
Dili siya makakaon sa Jollibee.
He/She will not be able to eat at Jollibee.
|Pagkaon (ka) sa Jollibee!
(You,) Eat at Jollibee!
|nasugdan plural||nang-||nahipang- or nahapang-||nakapang-|
|*Nangaon sila sa Jollibee.
They were/are eating at Jollibee.
|Nahipangaon sila sa Jollibee.
Surprisingly, they were/are eating at Jollibee.
|Nakapangaon sila sa Jollibee.
They were/are able to eat at Jollibee.
|pagasugdan plural||mang-||mahipang- or mahapang-||makapang-|
|*Mangaon sila sa Jollibee.
They will be eating at Jollibee.
|Mahipangaon sila sa Jollibee.
Surprisingly, they will be eating at Jollibee.
|Makapangaon sila sa Jollibee.
They will be able to eat at Jollibee.
|negatibo plural||mang-||mahipang- or mahapang-||makapang-|
|Wala sila mangaon sa Jollibee.
They were/are not eating at Jollibee.
Dili sila mangaon sa Jollibee.
They will not be eating at Jollibee.
|Wala sila mahipangaon sa Jollibee.
Surprisingly, they were/are not eating at Jollibee.
Dili sila mahipangaon sa Jollibee.
Surprisingly, they will not be eating at Jollibee.
|Wala sila makapangaon sa Jollibee.
They were/are not able to eat at Jollibee.
Dili sila makapangaon sa Jollibee.
They will not be able to eat at Jollibee.
|*Pangaon (kamo) sa Jollibee!
(You all,) Eat at Jollibee!
The prefixes naga- and maga- may be shortened to ga- in colloquial speech and in colloquial writing, which may indicate a lack of aspect but it still preserves the form. Some argue that the difference between nag- and mag- versus naga- and maga- are either in formality (naga- and maga- being more formal) or in tense (naga- being more in the present and nag- being more in the past, while maga- and mag- are interchangeable).
The prefixes naka- and maka- may be shortened to ka- in colloquial speech and in colloquial writing, which may get rid of the aspect within the prefixes. This could be similar to naga- and maga- being shortened to ga-.
Plurality depends on whether the topic is a plural noun. The topic may be the subject, the object, etc., however, because this is the Active Voice, the topic should always be the Subject with these plural affixes. As long as the subjects are plural, the plural version is usually used, but this is not always mandatory. Some verbs only use the plural version while other verbs are rarely used in their plural versions.
* The "ng" in nang- and mang- may change to "m" or "n" or delete the next consonant depending on the succeeding consonant. Refer to the Morphological Process of Assimilation in Cebuano for more information.
Sometimes pang- is used as the plural version of the imperatibo mood.
|Nahigugma ako kanimo.
I was/am in love with you.
|Nahahigugma ako kanimo.
Surprisingly, I was/am in love with you.
|Mahigugma ako kanimo.
I will be in love with you.
|Mahahigugma ako kanimo.
Surprisingly, I will be in love with you.
|Wala ako mahigugma kanimo.
I was/am not in love with you.
Dili ako mahigugma kanimo.
I will not be in love with you.
|Wala ako mahahigugma kanimo.
Surprisingly, I was/am not in love with you.
Dili ako mahahigugma kanimo.
Surprisingly, I will not be in love with you.
(You,) Be in love!
|Nagkahigugma ako kanimo.
I was/am falling in love with you.
|Magkahigugma ako kanimo.
I will be falling in love with you.
|Wala ako magkahigugma kanimo.
I was/am not falling in love with you.
Dili ako magkahigugma kanimo.
I will not be falling in love with you.
(You all,) Fall in love!
The Stative Form does not have a Potential Mood. The hi- prefix before gugma is necessary for the verb to take in a direct object, so the "imperatibo examples" would imply a direct object. The nagka- and magka- prefixes are different from the na- and ma- in that they have the essence of a slowly but surely, or steady, change that is occurring within the topic. They are not used as often anymore, so the same essence may be achieved with the na- and ma- prefixes nowadays. However, pagka- just has more emphasis than ka- may have, and pagka- is still commonly used today. The Mirative Mood with the nagka- and magka- prefixes is no longer known nor used. The plural prefixes nang- and mang- become nanga- and manga- if the verb also includes these prefixes: na-, ma-, and ka-. For example, "Nangahigugma kami kanimo." which means "We love you."
|nasugdan||nag-(first letter of verb stem)-in-(the rest of the verb stem)-ay||nagka-(first letter of verb stem)-in-(the rest of the verb stem)-ay|
|Naghinatagay ang babaye ug (ang) iyang bana sa mga halok.
The woman and her husband gave/give each other kisses.
|Nagkahinatagay ang babaye ug (ang) iyang bana sa mga halok.
Surprisingly, the woman and her husband gave/give each other kisses.
|pagasugdan||mag-(first letter of verb stem)-in-(the rest of the verb stem)-ay||magka-(first letter of verb stem)-in-(the rest of the verb stem)-ay|
|Maghinatagay ang babaye ug (ang) iyang bana sa mga halok.
The woman and her husband will give each other kisses.
|Magkahinatagay ang babaye ug (ang) iyang bana sa mga halok.
Surprisingly, the woman and her husband will give each other kisses.
|negatibo||mag-(first letter of verb stem)-in-(the rest of the verb stem)-ay||magka-(first letter of verb stem)-in-(the rest of the verb stem)-ay|
|Wala maghinatagay ang babaye ug (ang) iyang bana sa mga halok.
The woman and her husband did/do not give each other kisses.
Dili maghinatagay ang babaye ug (ang) iyang bana sa mga halok.
The woman and her husband will not give each other kisses.
|Wala magkahinatagay ang babaye ug (ang) iyang bana sa mga halok.
Surprisingly, he woman and her husband did/do not give each other kisses.
Dili magkahinatagay ang babaye ug (ang) iyang bana sa mga halok.
Surprisingly, the woman and her husband will not give each other kisses.
|imperatibo||pag-(first letter of verb stem)-in-(the rest of the verb stem)-ay||(none)|
|Paghinatagay sa mga halok!
Give each other kisses!
The Reciprocal Form does not have a Potential Mood. This form is not in common use anymore.
Passive Voice for Direct Objects Affixes
The Passive Voice for Direct Objects in Cebuano (a.k.a. the Patient Trigger) is the Voice where the Topic of the sentence is the Direct Object (a.k.a. the Patient, the Goal, etc.) of the sentence. So the verb partly conjugates accordingly.
|Aspect/Mood||Indicative||Mirative & Potential|
|Giinom nako ang tubig.
The water was/is being drunk by me.
|Nainom nako ang tubig.
Surprisingly, the water was/is being drunk by me.
or I was/am able to drink the water.
|*Imnon nako ang tubig.
The water will be drunk by me.
|Mainom nako ang tubig.
Surprisingly, the water will be drunk by me.
or I will be able to drink the water.
|negatibo||nasugdan: gi- or -a
|Wala nako giinom ang tubig.
The water was/is not being drunk by me.
Wala nako imna ang tubig.
The water was/is not being drunk by me.
Dili nako imnon ang tubig.
The water will not be drunk by me.
|Wala nako mainom ang tubig.
Surprisingly, the water was/is not being drunk by me.
or I was/am not able to drink the water.
Dili nako mainom ang tubig.
Surprisingly, the water will not be drunk by me.
or I will not be able to drink the water.
|*Imna (nimo) ang tubig!
(You,) Drink the water!
* Imnon and Imna went through some of the Morphological Processes in Cebuano. The Mirative and Potential Moods are the same for these forms of affixes. In the "negatibo aspect," the ergative personal pronouns are usually put before the verb. A noun in the ergative case, or a proper noun in the ergative case, would both be put after the verb. For example, "Dili imnon sa iring ang gatas." which means "The milk will not be drunk by the cat."
Passive Voice for Indirect Objects Affixes
The Passive Voice for Indirect Objects in Cebuano (a.k.a. the Circumstantial Triggers) is the Voice where the Topic of the sentence is the Indirect Object (a.k.a. the Benefactee, the Location, the Goal, etc.) of the sentence. So the verb partly conjugates accordingly.
|nasugdan||gi-(verb stem)-an||hing-(verb stem)-an or nahi-(verb stem)-an or naha-(verb stem)-an||na-(verb stem)-an|
|Gikuhaan nimo ang iro og regalo.
You got/get a gift for the dog.
|Hinguhaan nimo ang iro og regalo.
Surprisingly, you got/get a gift for the dog.
|Nakuhaan nimo ang iro og regalo.
You were/are able to get a gift for the dog.
|pagasugdan||-an||mahi-(verb stem)-an or maha-(verb stem)-an||ma-(verb stem)-an|
|Kuhaan nimo ang iro og regalo.
You will get a gift for the dog.
|Mahikuhaan nimo ang iro og regalo.
Surprisingly, you will get a gift for the dog.
|Makuhaan nimo ang iro og regalo.
You will be able to get a gift for the dog.
|negatibo||-i||hing-(verb stem)-i||ma-(verb stem)-i|
|Wala nimo kuhai ang iro og regalo.
You did/do not get a gift for the dog.
Dili nimo kuhai ang iro og regalo.
You will not get a gift for the dog.
|Wala nimo hinguhai ang iro og regalo.
Surprisingly, you did/do not get a gift for the dog.
Dili nimo hinguhai ang iro og regalo.
Surprisingly, you will not get a gift for the dog.
|Wala nimo makuhai ang iro og regalo.
You were/are not able to get a gift for the dog.
Dili nimo makuhai ang iro og regalo.
You will not be able to get a gift for the dog.
|Kuhai (nimo) ang iro og regalo!
(You,) Get a gift for the dog!
In the examples, the topic is the dog (the Indirect Object) and it is used as the topic to emphasize that the dog got the gift, nothing else. In context, a person may say this to you when you are confused about whom/what you should get the gift for. Perhaps there is a cat and a dog and the person clarifies that you got/get/will get/should get a gift for the dog (and not the cat).
Passive Voice for Instruments Affixes
The Passive Voice for Instruments (a.k.a. the Instrumental Trigger) is the Voice where the Topic of the sentence is the Instrument of the sentence. The Instrument is the noun that is used for the action of the sentence.
|Giabli nato ang yawi sa pultahan.
With a key, we (including listener) opened/open the door.
|Naiabli nato ang yawi sa pultahan.
Surprisingly, we (including listener) opened/open the door with a key.
|Gikaabli nato ang yawi sa pultahan.
With a key, we (including listener) were/are able to open the door.
|Iabli nato ang yawi sa pultahan.
With a key, we (including listener) will open the door.
|Maiabli nato ang yawi sa pultahan.
Surprisingly, we (including listener) will open the door with a key.
|Ikaabli nato ang yawi sa pultahan.
With a key, we (including listener) will be able to open the door.
|Wala nato iabli ang yawi sa pultahan.
With a key, we (including listener) did/do not open the door.
Dili nato iabli ang yawi sa pultahan.
With a key, we (including listener) will not open the door.
|Wala nato maiabli ang yawi sa pultahan.
Surprisingly, we (including listener) did/do not open the door with a key.
Dili nato maiabli ang yawi sa pultahan.
Surprisingly, we (including listener) will not open the door with a key.
|Wala nato ikawabli ang yawi sa pultahan.
With a key, we (including listener) were/are not able to open the door.
Dili nato ikawabli ang yawi sa pultahan.
With a key, we (including listener) will not be able to open the door.
|Iabli (nato) ang yawi sa pultahan!
With a key, (let's [including listener]) open the door!
The prefix gi- may also be used/confused with the Intentional & Durative Forms's affixes in the Passive Voice of Direct Objects.
Affix Group (Vertical)
|Active Nasugdan||Active Pagasugdan||Active Imperative||Passive Nasugdan||Passive Pagasugdan|
|maga-||naga-/nag-||maga-/mag-||paga-/pag-||gi-||i, on, an|
i, on, an
|maka-||naka-||maka-||pagaka-/pagka-||gika-, na-||pagka-/ka-, ma-
|mo-||mi-/ni-||mo-||mo-/-um-||gi-||i, on, an|
i, on, an
i, on, an
Words for negation in Cebuano acts as a verb.
1) equational ( topic = predicate ) – in this sentence type you can interchange the topic and the predicate without changing the thought of the sentence.
a) "Mao kini ang Kabisay-an." = This is the Visayas. b) "Magbinisaya mi diri." = We speak Cebuano here. c) "Kamao/Kahibalo ka magbinisaya?" = Do you know how to speak Cebuano?.
2) non-equational ( topic < predicate ) – in this sentence type the topic and the predicate are not interchangeable.
a) "Filipino ang mga Bisaya." = Visayans are Filipinos. b) "Unsa ang imong kinahanglan?" = What do you need? c) "Naunsa na ang politika?" = What happened to politics?
3) existential sentence of presence – sentences of this type tells the existence of a thing or idea.
a) "Adunay Diyos sa langit." = There is God in heaven. b) "Didtoy halas sa kahoy." = There was a snake in the tree.
4) existential sentence of possession – sentences of this type tell about someone or something possessing something.
a) "Adunay Diyos ang mga anghel sa langit." = (The angels in heaven have a God.) b) "Naa koy ilimnon sa balay." = (I have something to drink at home.)
5) locative sentence – this type of sentence tells the location of a thing.
a) "Ania ang kwarta." = Here is the money. b) "Toa siya sa bukid." = He/she is in the mountain.
6) meteorologic sentence – this type of sentence tells about weather condition, noise level, etc., of a place.
a) "Tugnaw dinhi sa Baguio." = It is cold here in Baguio. b) "Init kaayo ang adlaw diri sa Sugbo." = The weather is very hot in here in Cebu.
7) exclamatory remark – praises and unexpected discoveries belong here.
a) "Daghana nimo'g sakyanan!" = You have plenty of cars b) "Gwapaha nimo!" = You are pretty c) "Kasaba ba ninyo!" = You are so noisy
8) imperatives – commands and requests
a) "Isugba kanang isda." = Grill that fish. b) "Ngari/Ali/Hali diri." = Come here. c) "Ayaw mo panabako diri." = Do not smoke here.
9) interrogatives – questions that are not answerable by yes or no.
a) "Kinsa ka?" = Who are you? b) "Unsay imong ngalan?" = What is your name?
10) confirmation – questions that are basically answered by yes or no. constructed like the first 6 sentence type with the insertion of the particle "ba" as a second term.
a) "Kini ba ang Kabisay-an?" = Is this the Visayas? b) "Kamao ka ba molangoy?" = Do you know how to swim? c) "Unsa ba ang sinultihan ninyo?" = What language do you speak? d) "Isugba ba kining isda?" = Shall this fish be grilled?
- Marking (2005)
- Gyud is pronounced as either [dʒud], [gjud], or [gud]. In informal communications, it is also occasionally written as g'ud (often gud or jud)
- The u in usab and upod, as in many other words beginning with u, are frequently dropped, making it 'sab and 'pod; in spoken Cebuano, 'sad is often used instead of 'sab.
- "Category:Cebuano verbs – Wiktionary". en.wiktionary.org. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
- see 
- Naa often replaces aduna/'duna.
- Guillén, Félix (1898). Gramática bisaya para facilitar el estudio del dialecto bisaya cebuano [Visayan grammar to facilitate the study of the Cebuano Visayan dialect] (in Spanish). Malabón: Asilo de Huerfanos – via University of Michigan Library.
- Guillen, Nicolas and Zueco (1904). English-Bisaya Grammar: in Twenty Eight Lessons. Translated by Jiménez, Pedro. Cebú: El Pais – via gutenberg.org.
- Yap, Manuel (1947). Ang Dila Natong Bisayá [Our Visayan Tongue] (in Cebuano) – via archive.org.
- Marking, Tom (2005). "Cebuano Study Notes" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.