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The Almighty “Sa”

Random Tagalog Lesson #2: The almighty “sa”

• Sa = in
• Sa = on
• Sa = at

Hatred for prepositions is one thing that English-language learners the world over share. Fortunately, Tagalog’s “sa” is multi-purpose, much like Mandarin’s 在 (zai). What’s even better, you can always pair it up with English words and no one bats an eye. Pepper your speech with “sa” and people are going to think that you speak the language better than you actually do. (I know someone who does this!)

Examples:

PLACE
• Where are you?/Where are you going?
o Sa office.
o Sa library.
o Sa McDonalds.
o Sa tindahan. (tindahan = store)

• Where do you live?
o Sa Makati.
o Sa third floor.
o Sa Shanghai.

• Where did you put it?
o Sa box.
o Sa spaghetti.
o Sa table. (or “sa lamesa” like the Spanish “la mesa”)

• Where does it hurt?
o Sa right foot.
o Sa kamay. (kamay = hand)

*For certain things such as body parts, some things just sound better with the Tagalog words. For example, I’m more used to hearing (and saying) “sa kamay” instead of “sa hand” though I’m pretty sure some people can get away with it.

TIME
• When are you leaving?
o (Sa) Thursday.
o (Sa) October.

*Days of the week and months may or may not be preceded by “sa” when giving short answers. In a sentence, “Aalis ako sa October” (I’m leaving in October), “sa” should be used!
** Time (as in for “What time are you leaving?”) should not be preceded by “sa.” “8 o’clock” not “sa 8 o’clock.”

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