YES-NO Questions

This type of question in Tagalog is easily identifiable because it is marked by the particle BA, referred to by many grammar books as the yes-no question marker.  It also has a rising intonation just like question patterns in English. 

The Particle BA

The particle BA usually comes after the first element of a sentence. BA works about the same as a question mark. It lets the speaker know that you are asking a question. Please note that BA is only used for questions that must have a yes or no answer.

1)  In a simple predicative sentence, it comes after the predicate.   Here are some examples:

Doktor si Pedro sa PGH.              
Doktor ba si Pedro sa PGH?
Pedro is a doctor at PGH.           
Is Pedro a doctor at PGH?
Mabait si Maria.                          
Mabait ba si Maria?
Maria is kind.                              
Is Maria kind?
Pupunta si Tess sa Cebu bukas.      Pupunta ba si Tess sa Cebu bukas? Tess is going to Cebu tomorrow.   
Is Tess going to Cebu tomorrow?


2)  In an AY-sentence, it comes after the focus.  Here are some examples: 

Si Pedro ay doktor sa PGH.         
Si Pedro ba ay doktor sa PGH?
Pedro is a doctor at PGH.            
Is Pedro a doctor at PGH?
Si Maria ay mabait.                     
Si Maria ba ay mabait?
Maria is kind.                           
Is Maria kind?
Si Tess ay pupunta sa Cebu bukas.  
Si Tess ba ay pupunta sa Cebu bukas?
Tess is going to Cebu tomorrow.  
Is Tess going to Cebu tomorrow?


3)  In an emphatic sentence, BA comes after an emphasized element (such as location, time indicator, or direction).  Here are some examples: 

Bukas, pupunta si Tess sa Cebu.    
Bukas ba pupunta si Tess sa Cebu?
Tomorrow, Tess is going to Cebu.  
Is it tomorrow that Tess goes to Cebu?
Sa Linggo, si Mila ay darating.      
Sa Linggo ba darating si Mila?
On Sunday, Mila arrives.              
Is it on Sunday that Mila arrives?


The exceptions to this rule include sentences that contain the pronoun KA and enclitics such as NA, PA, NAMAN, etc.


Tag questions

Tag questions in Tagalog are expressed by the phrase "hindi ba?" (or its shortened form "'di ba?"). Its closest equivalent in English is "Is it not?"  Here are some examples:

Estudyante ka sa NIU, 'di ba? You are a student at NIU, aren't you?
Maganda ang pelikula, hindi ba? The movie was good, wasn't it?
Tumira ka sa Banaue, hindi ba? You lived in Banaue, didn't you?
Nasa Hawaii si Ruth, hindi ba? Ruth is in Hawaii, isn't she?
May tanong ka, 'di ba? You have a question, don't you?