Usage of ‘mag-‘ in Tagalog

The Tagalog prefix mag- is used to verbalize nouns. You can translate it as ‘do’ in most cases, but the meaning depends on the context. This is very useful because you can put it in front of English nouns. Filipinos do this all the time! That’s why when you hear them speaking Tagalog, there seems to be a lot of English words sprinkled in.

Mag-tennis tayo. = Let’s ‘do’ tennis. (Let’s play tennis.)

Mag-shopping tayo. = Let’s ‘do’ shopping. (Let’s go shopping.)

Mag-hamburger tayo. = Let’s ‘do’ hamburgers. (Let’s eat hamburgers.)

Mag-McDo tayo. = Let’s ‘do’ McDonalds. (Let’s go and eat at McDonald’s.)

Mag-Pizza Hut tayo. =Let’s ‘do’ Pizza Hut. (Let’s go and eat at Pizza Hut.)

Mag-Wendy’s tayo. = Let’s ‘do’ Wendy’s. (Let’s go and eat at Wendy’s.)

Mag-ice cream tayo. = Let’s ‘do’ ice cream. (Let’s go have ice cream.)

Mag-tsinelas tayo. = Let’s ‘do’ slippers. (Let’s wear slippers.)

Mag-T-shirt na lang tayo. = Let’s just ‘do’ T-shirts. (Let’s just wear T-shirts.)

Of course you can use mag in front of Tagalog nouns too. For example, the Tagalog noun for the word ‘study’ is aral and the Tagalog verb for ‘to study’ is mag-aral.

to study

Gusto kong mag-aral.
I want to study.

to use Tagalog
(to speak or to write)

Marunong ka bang mag-Tagalog?
Do you know how to speak Tagalog?

to use English

Mag-Ingles na lang tayo.
Let’s just use English.

to use soap

Mag-sabon ka ng kamay.
Use soap on your hands.
= Wash your hands with soap.

to shampoo

Mag-sha-shampoo ka ba?
Will you be using shampoo?