Tagalog Adjectives: Comparative Forms

Beginning Tagalog 1 Grammar

Comparative Adjective Forms

These types of adjectives are used when comparing different things. There are two basic kinds of comparison: equal comparison and unequal comparison.

Equal Comparison

1. There are two common ways of expressing equal comparison. One is by adding the prefix magkasing- to the adjective root word. Take for example the root word (noun) ganda beauty. To make this word an adjective of equal comparison, I would add magkasing- to the front of the word ganda:

magkasing + ganda = magkasingganda

Magkasing-  words always comes before an ang-phrase/pronoun, or in other words, these adjectives always describe (or go with) words that are in focus. Here are some examples:

Magkasingganda ang rosas at ang orkidyas. Roses and orchids are of the same (degree of) beauty.
Magkasingtalino sina Pedro at Mario. Pedro and Mario are of the same (degree of) intelligence.
Magkasingtangkad kami. We are of the same height.
Magkasinggaling sila. They are of the same (good) skill.

Let’s take a close look at the first example:

Magkasingganda ang rosas at ang orkidyas.

Notice that there are two words that are in focus in this sentence (rosas and orkidyas). This is because rosas and orkidyas are truly equal to each other (in the sense of the quality being compared and in prominence). Hence magkasing– is used when you are comparing two items that are equal and have the same prominence or importance in the sentence. Neither orkidyas or rosas stands out over the other.

2. Another way of expressing equal comparison is by adding the prefix kasing-/sing to the adjective root. In a simple sentence, this form always comes before ngphrase/pronoun + angphrase/pronoun. In other words, the prefix kasing-/sing compares two words. One of these words is in focus, and the other one is not in focus. It is as though you hold up one item as the main one that you are talking about; then, you compare that first item to another item that is not the main focus of your discussion.

Kasingganda ng rosas ang orkidyas. Orchids are as beautiful as roses.
Singtalino ni Mario si Pedro. Pedro is as intelligent as Mario.
Kasingtaas ko siya. She is as tall as I am.
Singgaling niya siya. He is as good as he is.

Let’s take a close look at the first example again:

Kasingganda ng rosas ang orkidyas.

Orkidyas is in focus but rosas is not. It is as though I came to give a lecture on orchids, and I hold one up in my hands and say, “Orchids are as beautiful as roses.” Both items are of equal beauty, but one item is more relevant or prominent (focused) in my statement. For these circumstances you use the kasing-/sing prefix.

Unequal Comparison

When things and/or people being compared  share the same quality but not of the same degree, the adjective is preceded by the qualifier MAS. In a simple sentence, the MAS + adjective  is followed by the structure ANGphrase + (KAYSA) + SAphrase. In other words, MAS and the adjective are followed by a word that is in focus, then by the word KAYSA, then by a word that is a SA– word. The word that is in focus is the word that has more of the quality;  the SA word has less of the quality. This is roughly equivalent to the English phrase more . . . than. Here are some examples:

Mas maganda ang rosas (kaysa) sa orkidyas. Roses are more beautiful than orchids.
Mas matalino si Mario (kaysa) kay Pedro. Mario is more intelligent than Pedro.
Mas matangkad ako kaysa sa kanya. I am taller than he is.
Mas magaling siya kaysa sa kanya. She is smarter than he is.

Other functions

These forms may function as modifiers of nouns, as shown by the following examples:

dalawang magkasinggandang bulaklak two equally beautiful flowers
ang batang kasingtalino ni Pepe the kid who is as smart as Pepe
taong kasingtangkad ng puno a person who is as tall as a tree

They may also function as adverbs modifying verbs. Here are a few examples:

Lumakad siya nang mas mabilis.She walked faster.
Kumanta siya ng mas magaling. He sang better.