Site Feedback

Resolved questions
using "po" and saying sorri (tagalog)

Is there a rule in grammar when using "po" in a sentance?? Im having trouble with placement of that word.

Also im not sure how exactli one would give a quick apology in tagalog, ive heard some people just say "patawad" but is that right?? How would you say sorry to somebodi??

For learning: Filipino (Tagalog)
Base language: English
Category: Language


1 comment

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.



    Sort by:

    Best Answer - Chosen by Voting
    Using “po” is like using sir or madam in an English sentence. We use it when addressing an older person, a superior, or any person to whom you are expected to accord respect.

    In short sentences, there are some frequently used words and these may guide you as to where to position the “po” in them. So, for short sentences, you may follow these basic guidelines:

    1. You do not use it to start a sentence of phrase. Hence, if your sentence or phrase contains only 2 words, it has to be the second one.
    2. It should follow certain words according to this hierarchy:
    a. na (already, now, any/no more) – also used as an attributive article
    b. ko (I), mo (you) (see note below on this)
    c. hindi (no/not), oo (yes) – but “oo” and “po” get merged as “opo”

    Here are some examples on the placement of “po” based on the a, b, and c hierarchy above:
    No, madam = Hindi po. (c)
    Yes, sir = Opo. (c)
    I know, sir = Alam ko po. (b)
    I don’t know, madam = Hindi ko po alam. (b)
    Not me, sir = Hindi po ako. (c)
    Not anymore, sir. = Hindi na po. (a)
    Let me/I’ll be the one to do this, madam. = Ako na po ang gagawa nito. (a)
    I can’t do it anymore, sir = Hindi ko na po siya kayang gawin. (a)

    “Po” can also stand alone when used as “yes”, as a response when an older person or a superior calls us.
    Mother: Travis!
    Travis: Po! (Yes, Mom?)

    Note: When used with other personal pronouns, it may precede or follow them, provided none of the a-b-c hierarchies are present in the sentence.

    Examples on the placement of “po” with other personal pronouns:
    I was the one who did this, sir. = Ako po ang gumawa nito./Ang gumawa po nito ay ako./Ang gumawa nito po ay ako./Ang gumawa nito ay ako po.
    I was not the one who did this, sir. = Hindi po ako ang gumawa nito./Ang gumawa nito ay hindi po ako. (hierarchy c applies here)
    I don’t have any of those, madam. = Wala po ako nun./Ako po ay wala nun.
    He took it, madam. = Kinuha po niya./Kinuha niya po.

    In longer sentences, we may use a couple of “pos” within them as perhaps a way of making the person we are addressing retain the awareness of the respect we are giving them. The above rules on positioning the “po” still apply though in longer sentences, but it may also be added immediately after a verb. (In the example above, “I was not the one who did this, sir”, you may also say it as “Ang gumawa PO nito ay hindi ako.” , i.e., placing it right after the verb. You can also insert it twice, “Ang gumawa PO nito ay hindi PO ako”, and make the sentence even more respectful.) However, you should not place too many of them in a long sentence lest your sentence may begin to sound comical or even already carry an air of sarcasm or ironically, disrespect. For us native speakers, we have naturally developed the “art” of where to place the “pos” in our sentences. For non-native speakers, I believe that a single “po”, (hopefully, correctly placed) in a sentence would do the trick.

    For saying “sorry”, practically everyone here now says “sorry” too, as you would, the American way. And, “sorry, sir/madam” would be therefore be, “sorry po.”

    Submit your answer

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.