Doer and Receiver (Active and Passive Voices)

doer receiver

Doers and receivers play very important roles in the Tagalog language.

They are not necessarily always the same as subject and object. Doers are not always subjects while receivers are not always the objects. In fact, in a sentence, the subject can be a receiver while the doer can be the object.

In the English language, other terms for these are active and passive voices. Here are samples:

Active: The boy ate the apple.

– The boy is the subject and the doer while the apple is the receiver and the object of the sentence.

Passive: The apple was eaten by the boy.

– The apple is the subject and the receiver while the boy is the doer of the sentence. In order to make a passive voice, the verbs consist of an auxiliary verb conjugated from “to be”, followed the main verb in the past participle and then followed by the word “by”.

As you can see, whether active or passive, English usually uses the Subject-Verb-Object format, where the subject is usually always the first noun or pronoun. In Tagalog however, the subject can be in a different position. This is mainly because Tagalog verbs are usually either doer-focused or receiver-focused. That means that verbs can make the subject either the doer or the receiver. Unlike in English, Tagalog verbs must be conjugated to make the sentence in either active or passive voice.

Because some verbs either focus on the doer or the receiver, the subject (Ang and its forms) can either be the doer or the receiver, the same way the object (Ng and its forms) can either be the doer or the receiver. More information about Ang and Ng can be found here.

This is also one of the reasons why there are two groups of pronouns. Check here to revise on what are the pronouns for subjects and for objects.

Doer

The noun or pronoun doing the verb.

When using the Verb-Subject-Object) sentence format, the doer usually goes after the verb regardless if it is the subject or the object of the sentence. Remember, the subject is the one that is preceded by “ang”.

E.g. Kumain ang bata ng mansanas (The child ate the apple.)

Iinumin ko ang gatas (I will drink milk.)

Gusto ng babae ang pula (The woman likes the red (one).)

Nakita mo ang aso (You saw a dog.)

Receiver

The noun or pronoun which the doer is acting upon. In other words, the one that is receiving the action from the doer.

In the VSO sentence format, the doer usually goes after the verb regardless if it is the subject or the object. Once again, the subject is the one that is preceded by “ang” regardless of word order.

E.g. Kumain ang bata ng mansanas (The child ate the apple.)

Iinom ako ng gatas (I will drink milk.)

Gusto ng babae ang pula (The woman likes the red (one).)

Nakita mo ang aso (You saw a dog.)

Active and passive voices are so common and ingrained in the Tagalog verbs, that the receiver-focused sentences are rarely translated in the passive voice in English. As a rule of thumb, in a Verb-Subject-Object format, another way to look at it is:

Verb-Doer-Receiver

As you noticed, I have not touched on doers and receivers in the Subject-Verb-Object format in Tagalog. I only looked at the Verb-Subject-Object format mainly because it is the more common format used in spoken language.

This lesson may be confusing at first. Chances are you also need a strong knowledge of verbs in Tagalog because as mentioned earlier, different verbs put focus on either the doer or the receiver. I will write another article covering verbs some time in the future.

But as always, with practise, you will be able to get the hang of it in time.

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