Focusless Sentences

The following set of sentences in Tagalog may be viewed as focusless, i.e., ang phrases (focused phrases) do not necessarily occur in this set of sentences.

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    Gusto sentences are usually focusless when the word gusto is followed by an actor focus verb.

    Gusto kong kumain.
    Kumain is an actor focus* verb.

    * Ordinarily an actor focus verb would have the actor of the verb be in focus. However, notice that in this sentence the actor (kong) is not in focus. This is because of the rule that states that a sentence with gusto can never have an actor that is in focus.

    Other actor focus verbs include those verbs with affix mag-, um, and ma.

    Gusto sentences are also focusless when they are followed by a ng phrase and by another ng phrase (ng + object). 

    Gusto ko ng mansanas. I like apples.


    Phenomenal Sentences may consist of a group of verbs and adjectives stating certain acts of nature or natural phenomena. The verb may occur without any complement (predicate). Usually adverbial or locative complements follow these adjectives or verbs. To form a Phenomenal sentence the um affix is added on to nouns of natural phenomena.

    araw (sun) –umaraw (sun shining)
    Umaaraw. The sun is shining.

    ambon (drizzle)- umambon (drizzling)
    Umambon. It is drizzling.

    These verbs inflect for aspect.

    Completed: Umaraw. It was sunny.

    Incompleted: Umaaraw. It is sunny.

    Contemplated: Aaraw. It will be sunny.

    Ma– adjectives referring to natural phenomena such as the following are also focusless. They are followed by adverbial or locative complements.

    Dilim –darkness
    Madilim sa bahay. It is dark in the house.

    Ginaw – cold
    Malamig sa labas. It is cold outside.

    Init – heat
    Mainit ngayon. It is hot now.

    Liwanag – brightness or light
    Maliwanag sa loob. It is bright inside.


    Ka marks a recently completed action of the verb. Ka sentences are also focusless. Ka verbs are followed by the adverbial particle lang.   The recently completed aspect is formed by the affix ka followed by the reduplication of the first consonant vowel or first vowel of the verb base.

    Kain – kakakain ko lang. I just ate.

    Aral – kaaaral lang niya. He just studied.

    Laro – kalalaro lang ng bata. The child just played.


    These sentences occur with nouns indicating time or seasonal events followed by adverbs of time.

    Bukas na. Tomorrow instead.

    Lunes kahapon. Yesterday was Monday.

    Pasko sa Disyembre. Christmas will be in December.

    Disyembre sa susunod na buwan. It is December next month.

    Nobyembre ngayon. It is November now.


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Exclamation sentences that are introduced by kay, anong, and anong pagka do not have any words that are marked as being in focus.

Kay buti nila! How good they are!

Anong ganda ng bundok! How beautiful is the mountain.

Anong pagka – expresses the strongest exclamation when prefixed to the adjective root, and the root word is repeated.

Anong pagkaganda-ganda ng babae!

Kay, anong, and napaka all seem to be similar to the exclamation that uses the focus marker ang. For example:

Ang ganda ng babae! How beautiful the woman is!

Ang laki ng bahay! How big the house is!

Despite the fact that kay, anong, and napaka do not have any words marked as in focus, they could perhaps be seen as alternative ways of conveying the same sense as the exclamations that use ang.

Exclamatory sentences can also use interjections or one word construction, usually a noun or verb.


Nakupu! - My God!

Ay! Oh!

Aray! Ouch!


Sunog! Fire!

Magnanakaw! Thief!


Layas! Go!

Labas! Go out!



The prefix napaka- expresses an intensified sentence. It is also followed by a word base, usually adjective.

Napakatapang niya! How brave he is!

Napakaganda ni Nicole. How beautiful Nicole is.



May/Mayroon (there is) or wala (negative of may) sentences are often used to express the existence or absences of the noun that follows.

May tao sa bahay. There is someone in the house.

Mayroon klase bukas. There’s class tomorrow.

May sentences may occur with or without complements. They also become focus

less when followed by actor focus verbs (-um, mag-, and ma)

Walang tao. There’s no one.

(There is also a linker –ng in wala)

May tumatakbo sa labas. There is someone running outside.

With goal focused verbs (verbs with affix I-, -in, -an) following may, mayroon, or wala, actor-topics appear in the sentences.

May kakainin ako. I have something to eat.

(-in verb) (actor-topic)

Walang gagawin si Ben. Ben does not have anything to do.