When to use Nang and Ng

Another tricky aspect of the Tagalog language is the problem of when to use the words Nang and Ng. I really don't know how to discuss this issue in a formal or semantic way but I will try to explain it to you the way a native speaker will teach you. Alright, here we go.

Audio: Click on the Play button below to hear the native
Filipino speaker read the sentences correctly.

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First of all, you should note that this issue will only be a problem when you are already writing in Tagalog. So if you do not really plan to do serious writing in Tagalog, you can conveniently skip this lesson. Why, because the words Nang and Ng sound exactly the same in spoken Tagalog. Native Tagalog writers know intuitively when to use the right word. Immersion in an environment with Tagalog native speakers will definitely hasten your appreciation of the different nuances on the use of these two words.

Okay? Now, here is the key for solving this mystery. You use Nang when you want to mean how, when, and for or so that. You also use Nang when you want to emphasize the repetitive nature of an action.

Here are some examples of phrases using Nang.

magdasal nang taimtim - to pray fervently
dumating nang maaga - to come early
magsalita nang malinaw - to speak clearly
kumain nang sapat - to eat enough food
lumakad nang mabagal - to walk slowly
nang ako ay bata pa - when I was still young
nang bumagsak ang bubong - when the roof fell
nang dumating ang bagyo - when the typhoon came
nang si Kristo ay isilang - when Christ was born
nang tayo ay magkita - when we met each other
nang tayo ay umunlad - for us to prosper
nang kayo ay maliwanagan - for you to be enlightened
nang makapunta ka sa ibang bansa - so that you can go to other countries
nang makapag asawa ka - so that you can get married
nang tayo ay nagkakaintindihan - so that we understand each other
nang tayo ay nagkakasundo - so that we can come to an agreement
takbo nang takbo - to be always running
iyak nang iyak - to be always crying
tulog nang tulog - to be always sleeping
inom nang inom - to be always drinking

On the other hand, you use Ng when you want to mean of. Here are examples of phrases using Ng.

balat ng saging - banana peel
tuktok ng bundok - peak of the mountain
tunog ng gitara - sound of guitar
likod ng bahay - back of the house
tabi ng simbahan - side of the church
ugat ng puno - root of the tree
gulong ng sasakyan - wheel of the vehicle
utak ng himagsikan - brain of the revolution
ihip ng hangin - blow of the wind
agos ng tubig - flow of water
upos ng sigarilyo - cigarette butt
gitna ng kalye - middle of the street
paksa ng usapan - topic of conversation
bulong ng maghapon - whisper of daytime
bakas ng kahapon - memories of the past
gulong ng kapalaran - wheel of fortune


Let me just repeat here the lesson behind the preceding examples. When you want to express a sense of manner, time or purpose, you might be looking at Nang. On the other hand, when what you want to say is a sense of belongingness or being an attribute of something, you should be looking at Ng.

Okay, we have come to the end of another lesson in our learn more Tagalog program. I hope you have gained some ideas on how Nang and Ng are used in the Tagalog language. I hope you have been reading the words and phrases aloud so that your mind can hear you speak the language. Thanks for listening and have a good day.