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Filipino Lessons » Common Expressions » Politeness and Polite Expressions

Politeness and Polite Expressions

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Trivia:
Familial titles such as kuya, ate, tito, and tita are used to refer to other people, even if there is no familial relationship between the two. In the culture of Filipinos, this is a way to show respect, too.

Filipinos have high regard for respect and politeness. Children are always taught to respect their parents, grandparents, siblings, and people older than them. Students in schools are also educated on the importance of giving respect and being polite to their teachers and to the staff. These values are reflected in the workforce, too, as employees use suitable titles for their seniors and supervisors – regardless of age. The respect and politeness are culturally manifested through verbal cues in different kinds of situations.

Saying "Yes" and "No" Politely

When talking to an older person, it is traditionally appropriate to use the polite expressions po and opo`. These words are polite verbal cues that are used to show respect to an older person or an individual with a high position or social ranking. These words do not really have exact translations in English as they are used contextually.

Here are some polite phrases in Filipino using po and opo`:
Markup
Examples:
Yes (polite)
O
Yes (polite response when called)
Po
Good morning, sir/madam
Magandáng umaga po
Good afternoon, sir/madam
Magandáng hapon po
Good noon, sir/madam
Magandáng tanghali po
Good evening, sir/madam
Magandáng gabí po
Markup
Examples:
Yes (polite)
Opo
Yes (polite response when called)
Po
Good morning, sir/madam
Magandang umaga po
Good afternoon, sir/madam
Magandang hapon po
Good noon, sir/madam
Magandang tanghali po
Good evening, sir/madam
Magandang gabi po
Opo` is a polite way of saying “yes” in Filipino. Oo is the more casual way of saying "yes." Use the casual form "oo" when speaking to a younger person or a friend.

Saying “no” is slightly different. Hindî is the casual way to say “no.” To say "no" politely, simply add the word po right after the word hindî. So, the polite expression to say "no" is: hindí po.

Let’s see how these words are used in a conversation:
Markup
Examples:
Teacher Juan: Good morning, Jane

Jane: Good morning, too, Sir Juan.
Teacher Juan: Magandáng umaga, Jane!

Jane: Magandáng umaga rin pó Sir Juan.
Mother: Did you sleep, son?

Juan: Yes.
Mother: Natulog ka ba, anák?

Son: Opo`.
Teacher Juan: Did you study, Jane?

Jane: No, sir.
Teacher Juan: Nag-aral ka ba, Jane?

Jane: Hindí po.
Markup
Examples:
Teacher Juan: Good morning, Jane

Jane: Good morning, too, Sir Juan.
Teacher Juan: Magandang umaga, Jane!

Jane: Magandang umaga rin po Sir Juan.
Mother: Did you sleep, son?

Juan: Yes.
Mother: Natulog ka ba, anak?

Son: Opo.
Teacher Juan: Did you study, Jane?

Jane: No, sir.
Teacher Juan: Nag-aral ka ba, Jane?

Jane: Hindi po.
Po is the shortened version of opo`, or "yes", but is it is also frequently added to other Filipino expressions to indicate politeness.

Other versions of "opò" and "po"

Other versions of these polite expressions can be used as well. Oho` is used as an alternative to opò, while hô is the shortened version of it. Essentially, oho`/hô and opo`/po mean the same thing. These polite expressions are just variations of the same word, and can be used interchangeably. Filipinos will often use one form or the other more commonly depending on the region they're in.
Markup
Examples:
Yes
O
Yes (a response when called)
Hô
No
Hindí hô
How are you, sir/madam?
Kumusta hô?
Thank you, sir/madam!
Salamat hô!
Good morning, sir/madam!
Magandáng umaga hô!
Markup
Examples:
Yes
Oho
Yes (a response when called)
Ho
No
Hindi ho
How are you, sir/madam?
Kumusta ho?
Thank you, sir/madam!
Salamat ho!
Good morning, sir/madam!
Magandang umaga ho!
Using Plural Terms To Indicate Politeness

Another way to express politeness is to use words that mean "they" or "you all" in place of "you". Words such as sa kanilá (to them) and sa inyó (to all of you) are used in this way to indicate the formality or the elevated status of the person being spoken to.

Let’s try it out in a sample conversation:
Markup
Examples:
Jane: Good morning, sir!

Teacher Juan: Good morning, too, Jane!
Jane: Magandáng umaga po sa inyó! ( polite )

Teacher Juan: Magandáng umaga rin sa iyó, Jane. ( informal )
Jane: Good evening, sir!

Teacher Juan: Good evening, too!
Jane: Magandáng gabí po sa kanilá! ( polite )

Teacher Juan: Magandáng gabí rin sa iyó! ( informal )
Markup
Examples:
Jane: Good morning, sir!

Teacher Juan: Good morning, too, Jane!
Jane: Magandang umaga po sa inyo! ( polite )

Teacher Juan: Magandang umaga rin sa iyo, Jane. ( informal )
Jane: Good evening, sir!

Teacher Juan: Good evening, too!
Jane: Magandang gabi po sa kanila! ( polite )

Teacher Juan: Magandang gabi rin sa iyo! ( informal )
Remember these polite expression as these show good manners, respect, and kindness. Filipinos are very friendly and hospitable people, but may get offended quite easily. Use these expressions appropriately and you will be warmly welcomed.

Lesson Summary:
1.) Filipinos have high regard for respect and politeness. Use the appropriate polite expressions such as po and o
2.) Hô and ohò are two interchangeable variations of po and opo`.
3.) Know the plural forms of polite expressions for variation too.


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