Tagalog Particles: Temporal Enclitics

Beginning Tagalog 2 Grammar

Temporal Enclitics

Temporal enclitics are used to indicate time. The enclitic particles PA and NA are the most commonly used temporal enclitics, i.e., they are usually used to indicate if an action has started or not yet started. In addition, these particles may also encode other information in certain contexts.

Another temporal enclitic that is frequently used is MUNA, roughly translated as ‘a while‘ or ‘first’.
This section outlines some of the general functions of these enclitic particles.

The Particle PA

PA, roughly translated into English as still, or yet, generally expresses that an event /action has not yet occurred but is expected to happen. Look at the following examples:

Hindi pa ako aalis. I’m not yet leaving.

Wala pa ang mga kaibigan ko. My friends are not here yet.

Mamayang hapon pa sila darating. They’ll be here later (still) in the afternoon.

PA may mean other things in limited contexts, usually in an idiomatic expression. Note that even in most of these cases the meaning of PA stays fairly close to the core meaning of still, or yet. The common ones are presented here:

Kanina ka pa?Have you been waiting long?
Sige pa.
Kumain ka pa.
Kumuha ka pa.

Magkuwento ka pa.
(Some) More.
Eat some more.
Have/Get some more.
Tell us/me more.
Ano pa ang gusto mo?
Sino pa ang sasama?
Saan pa tayo pupunta?
What else do you want?
Who else is coming?
Where (else) are we going?

The Particle NA

NA, roughly translated as already or now, generally expresses that an event /action has happened, or is happening, and its occurrence was expected. Look at the following examples:

Aalis na ako. I’m leaving now.

Nandito na ang mga kaibigan ko. My friends are here already.

Dumating na sila galing sa Australia. They have already arrived from Australia.

NA also occurs idiomatically. The following examples are the most common expressions:

Halika na.Let’s go.
Mamaya na.Later.
(In response to a statement like “Let’s go”.)
Sige na.Come on.
(In response to the a statement like “Later”.)
Tapos na ako.
Matutulog na ako.
I’m done (with my work).
I’m going to bed now.
Kumain ka na?
Aalis ka na?
Have you eaten (already)?
Are you going now?

Note that Tagalog speakers tend to break down all actions into two categories: started and not yet started. They then use the appropriate enclitic (NA or PA) to indicate which category the action falls under. Hence, you will need to get used to PA and NA because you will be hearing them a lot as you learn the language.

The particle MUNA

MUNA generally means first or a while. It is also used in different idiomatic expressions. Here are some of the most common examples:

Teka muna.Wait a minute.
Maupo ka muna.Why don’t you have a seat?
(In the context of: “Have a seat”.)
Kumuha ka muna ng tubig.Get some water first.
Kumain ka muna bago ka umalis.Eat first before you leave.