CEBUANO 101: The Cebuano Language Sentence Structure

Writing in active voice is a must for news. It means, our sentences in the news should follow the Subject-Verb-Object order. It’s not only that the S-V-O format makes our sentences shorter, it also identifies first the doer of the action.

In some local broadcast news that i have been monitoring, the writers are trying to follow the S-V-O format for their Cebuano newscast programs. So, some of the lines in the newscast would go like these:

Kapolisan mosikop sa mga kawatan….” (Kapolisan is the Subject;  mosikop is the Verb; mga kawatan is the Object.)

Mayor Tomas Osmena mopaguba sa gitukod nga edipisyo sa Cebu Provincial Police Office…”

If you have notice (as you read aloud) the subject of the sentences above would seemed the recipient of the action instead of being the doer of the action. Though, the subject is properly situated before the verb.

The reason for this awkward tone when reading Cebuano sentences like above is simply our language doesn’t work like that. Cebuano language is said “predicated“. I don’t know exactly how to explain what is predicated but i understand it refers to the verb and the object in the predicate.

Maybe this explains–the Cebuano language always start with a verb not a subject. Thus, it follows the Verb-Subject-Object order. See translation samples below:

(English) I am going to the Carbon Market. (S-V-O format)

(Cebuano) Moadto ko sa Carbon Market. (V-S-O format)

WRONG : (Cebuano) Ako moadto sa Carbon Market (S-V-O format)

The last translation follows the English grammar S-V-O (active voice) format. However, if you read the sentence it sounded very awkward.

Read aloud the first Cebuano translation (V-S-O format) and you’ll sound natural and filled with action. So, why should we force the S-V-O format for our Cebuano sentences? English grammar is not the mother of all languages that we should base our own language.

We’re not unique on this matter because the Korean language has place the verb at the end of its sentences. Busa, padayon ko nga mogamit sa V-S-O format. 🙂


7 thoughts on “CEBUANO 101: The Cebuano Language Sentence Structure

  1. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely useful informagion specifically the last part 🙂 I cre for such info much.
    Iwas looking for this particular info for a very long time.
    Thannk you and golod luck.


  2. Thanks sir Jun! am currently finishing my thesis right now and your account on Cebuano sentence structure is such a big help. thumbs up! be giving u due attribution as my reference. -former DYAB intern 🙂


  3. Maayo ning sumbanan sa tanang modawat og mogamit sa pinulongan binisaya.Daghang salamat sir Juntar sa pagpa-ambit nimo kanamo ning imong anindot og naay pagtulon-an ning imong sinulat.Dako kining hagit kanamo mga sugbu-ano sa paggamit sa sakto og tiunay o lunsay binisaya.


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