Igbo Grammar

Welcome to the 8th lesson about Igbo grammar. We will first learn about prepositions, negation, questions, adverbs, and pronouns including: personal, object and possessive pronouns.

We will start with prepositions. In general, they are used to link words to other words. For example: I speak Igbo and English the preposition is [and] because it connects both words Igbo and English. The following is a list of the most used prepositions in Igbo.

Prepositions
Igbo
and
na
above
n'enu
under
n'okpuru
before
tupu
after
n'ikpeazụ
in front of
n'iru
behind
n'azụ
far from
tee aka
near
n'akụkụ
in
ime
inside
n'ime
outside
n'ihe/n'ilo
with
na
without
ewepu/sọsọ
about
ihedịka
between
n'etiti
but
mana
for
maka
from
si
to
je

Preposition Grammar Rules

The following examples use prepositions in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Prepositions + Rules
Igbo
I eat without a knife
[preposition + noun]
e jiro m mma eri nri
she lives near the church
[verb + preposition]
o bi n'akụkụ ụlọ ụka
he is taller than her
[adjective + preposition]
ọ ka ya too ogologo
he came with his small dog
[preposition + pronoun]
ya na obele nkịta ya so bịa
can you come with me?
[preposition + pronoun]
ị ga eso m je?

Negation in Igbo

Now let's learn how to make a negative sentence (negation). For example: Saying no, I can't, I don't ... The following examples use negation in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Negation + Rules
Igbo
I understand you
[affirmative form]
a ghọtara m gị
I don't understand you
[negation + verb]
a ghọtarọ m gị
this is not the correct word
[negation + adjective]
ọ bụghị okwu nke a
don't leave me
[imperative negation]
arapụkwana m
no problem
[negation + noun]
nsogbu adịrọ

Negative Sentences
Igbo
I don't speak French
[negation + present tense]
a dịghị m asụ asụsụ ndị french
she didn't visit Germany
[negation + past tense]
ọ dịghị asụ asụsụ ndị french
he cannot see us
[negative modal verb]
ọ gaghị afụ anyị
can't she play chess?
[interrogative negation]
ọ maghị azụ ches?
we will not come late
[negation + future tense]
anyị adịghị abịa n'ikpeazụ

Questions in Igbo

Now let's learn how to ask questions (interrogative). Such as: what, why, can you ...? Here are some common examples:

English
Igbo
how?
kedụ?
what?
gịnị/ọ gịnị?
who?
onye?
why?
maka gịnị?
where?
ebee?

More of the interrogative form, now in a sentence:

Questions + Rules
Igbo
where do you live?
[interrogative + verb]
ebee ka ị bi?/kedụ ebe ị bi?
does she speak Chinese?
[interrogative verb]
ọ na asụ asụsụ ndị china?
how much is this?
[interrogative preposition]
ihe a ọbụ ego ole?
can I help you?
[interrogative modal verb]
ị chọrọ enyem aka?
what is your name?
[interrogative preposition]
kedụ afa gị?

Adverbs in Igbo

It's time to learn the adverbs in Igbo. But what is an adverb? In general, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. For example: You speak fast. The adverb is [fast] because it describes the verb and answers the question how do you speak?. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Adverbs
Igbo
now
kịta
yesterday
echi gara aga/ụbọchị gara aga
today
tata
tonight
abani tata
tomorrow
echi
soon
mgbe n'adịghị anya
quickly
ọsịsọ
slowly
nwayọ nwayọ
together
ọnụ
very
ọfụma ọfụma
almost
gom/kwa
always
mgbe n'ine
usually
mgbe n'ine
sometimes
mgbe ụfọdụ
rarely
tara akpụ
never
ma ncha

The following examples use the adverbs in different ways and places to demonstrate how it behaves in a sentence.

Adverbs + Rules
Igbo
do you understand me now?
[pronoun + adverb]
ị ghọtago m kịta?
I need help immediately
[noun + adverb]
achọrọ m enyem aka kita kita
she is very intelligent
[adverb + adjective]
ọ nwere ezigbo akọ n'uche
I will always love you
[verb + adverb]
m ga afụ gị n'anya mgbe n'ine
can we learn German together?
[adverb in a question]
anyi ga amụkọ asụsụ ndị jemanị ọnụ

Pronouns in Igbo

We're almost done! This time we will learn the pronouns in Igbo. In general, a pronoun can be used instead of a noun. For example instead of saying my teacher speaks 3 languages, you can use the pronoun he, and say he speaks 3 languages. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Personal Pronouns
Igbo
I
mụ, mụwa
you
gị, gịwa
he
she
we
anyị
they
ha, hawa

Object Pronouns
Igbo
me
m
you
gị
him
ya
her
ya
us
anyị
them
ha,

Possessive Pronouns
Igbo
my
nke m
your
nke gị
his
nke ya
her
nke ya
our
nke anyị
their
nke ha

I think it's better to put the above example in a sentence to better assist you. The following examples use pronouns in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence. We will start with the personal pronouns.

Personal Pronouns
Igbo
I am your friend
[1st pronoun + verb]
a bụ m ọnyị gị
you speak very fast
[2nd pronoun + adverb]
ị na ekwu okwu ọsisọ
he has three dogs
[3rd pronoun + verb]
ọ nwere nkịta atọ
she can speak German
[3rd pronoun + verb]
ọ ma asụ asụsụ ndị jemanị
we will not come late
[1st plural pronoun]
anyị adịghị abịa mgbe oge gafere
they bought milk and bread
[3rd plural pronoun]
ha gotara ala-efi na achịcha

The object pronoun is used as a target by a verb, and usually come after that verb. For example: I gave him my book. The object pronoun here is him. Here are more examples:

Object Pronouns
Igbo
can you tell me your name?
[1st object pronoun]
ị ga agwa m afa gị?
I will give you money
[2nd object pronoun]
m ga enye gị ego
she wrote him a letter
[3rd object pronoun]
ọ dere ya akwụkwọ
they visited her yesterday
[3rd object pronoun]
ha je fụ ya ụbọchị gara aga
can she help us?
[1st pl. object pronoun]
ọ ga enyere anyị aka?
he gave them food
[3rd pl. object pronoun]
ọ nyere ha nri

Possessive Pronouns
Igbo
my name is Maya
[1st possessive pronoun]
afa m bụ maya
your brother lives here
[2nd possessive pronoun]
nwa nne gị nwoke bi ebea
her mother cooks for us
[3rd possessive pronoun]
nne ya na esiri anyi nri
his hobby is reading books
[3rd possessive pronoun]
họbị ya bụ ịgụ akwụkwọ
our dream is to visit Paris
[1st pl. possessive pronoun]
nlọ m bụ ịje Paris
their house is not far
[3rd pl. possessive pronoun]
ụlọ ha eteghị aka

One more thing you need to know is the demonstrative pronouns. They're very easy to learn.

Demonstrative Pronouns
Igbo
this is my house
ihe a bụ ụlọ m
that restaurant is far
ụlọnri ahụ tee aka
these apples are delicious
aplụ a tọrọ ụtọ
those stars are shiny
kpakpando a amukesi

I hope you learned a lot about the Igbo grammar in this lesson. If you have any question about this lesson please contact me here. The next lesson is below, have fun!

Igbo Phrases   Igbo Phrases

Igbo Vocabulary   Igbo Vocabulary



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Inspirational Quote: First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Epictetus