Actor-Focus (AF) Verbs

There are three affixes that are used to indicate that the focus of the sentence is doing the action (actor) of the verb. The three affixes are -UM-, MAG-, and MA-. These affixes all have the same function. You can think of them as different ways of saying the same thing. Adding either -UM-, MAG-, or MA- onto a verb will indicate that the focus of the sentence is doing the action.

The -UM- Verb

This verb is formed by attaching the infix -UM- to the verb root. The -UM- affix always comes right before the first vowel of the root word. Here are some commonly used -UM- verbs, followed by sample sentences, all of which are in the perfective aspect ("past") form.

Root Word Actor Focus Verb Sentence
takbo tumakbo
to run
Tumakbo ang bata.
The child ran.
bili bumili
to buy
Bumili ng mangga ang babae.
The woman bought (some) mangoes.
tawag tumawag
to call
Tumawag si Ana kahapon.
Ana called yesterday.
punta pumunta
to go
Pumunta si Pedro sa Maynila.
Pedro went to Manila.
alis umalis
to leave
Umalis ako nang maaga.
I left early.

Let's look at the second sentence:

Bumili ng mangga ang babae.

bought     mango          woman

The -UM- affix tells you that the focus of the sentence did the buying. The focus of the sentence is babae (woman). You can tell this because babae has ang in front. This is how you know that it was the woman who bought the mangoes (and not the mangoes that bought the woman!).

 

The MAG- Verb

This verb is formed by attaching the prefix MAG- to the verb root. Because MAG- is a prefix, it is always attached to the front of the word. When MAG- is attached to a root/stem that starts with a vowel, a hyphen ( - ) is used. Here are some commonly used MAG- verbs, followed by sample sentences, all of which are in the perfect aspect ("past") form.

Root Word Actor Focus Verb Sentence
luto magluto
to cook
Nagluto ng pansit ang nanay niya.
Her mom cooked noodles.
kuwento magkuwento
to tell a story
Nagkwento ang lolo tungkol sa multo.
Grandpa told a story about ghosts.
linis maglinis
to clean something
Naglinis ng bahay si Rene.
Rene cleaned the house.
laro maglaro
to play
Naglaro sina Paul ng basketball.
Paul (and friends) played basketball.
aral mag-aral
to study
Nag-aral kami sa laybrari kagabi.
We studied in the library last night.

 

The MA- Verb

MA- verbs do not occur as frequently as the other two actor affixes. There are very few verb roots/stems that take the MA- prefix to mark actor focus. Here are some of the more common MA-verbs followed by sample sentences, all of which are in the perfect aspect ("past") form.

Root Word Actor Focus Verb Sentence
tulog matulog
to sleep
Natulog ang lalaki.
The man slept.
ligo maligo
to take a shower/bath
Naligo ang mga bata sa ilog.
The children bathed in the river.
nood* manood
to watch something
Nanood ng sine si Mila.
Mila watched a movie.
kinig* makinig
to listen
Nakinig siya sa guro.
He listened to the teacher.

*These are not simple roots.