Xhosa Grammar

Welcome to the 8th lesson about Xhosa 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 Xhosa and English the preposition is [and] because it connects both words Xhosa and English. The following is a list of the most used prepositions in Xhosa.

Prepositions
Xhosa
and
futhi Audio
above
ngaphezulu Audio
under
ngaphantsi Audio
before
ngaphambi Audio
after
emva Audio
in front of
phambi kwe Audio
behind
emva kwe Audio
far from
kude ne Audio
near
kufuphi Audio
in
phakathi Audio
inside
ngaphakathi Audio
outside
ngaphandle Audio
with
kunye Audio
without
ngaphandle Audio
about
nge Audio
between
phakathi Audio
but
kodwa Audio
for
ye Audio
from
suka Audio
to
kuya Audio

Preposition Grammar Rules

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

Prepositions + Rules
Xhosa
I eat without a knife
[preposition + noun]
nditya ngaphandle kwemela Audio
she lives near the church
[verb + preposition]
uhlala kufuphi necawe Audio
he is taller than her
[adjective + preposition]
mde kunaye Audio
he came with his small dog
[preposition + pronoun]
uzenenja yakhe encinane Audio
can you come with me?
[preposition + pronoun]
ungahamba nam? Audio

Negation in Xhosa

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
Xhosa
I understand you
[affirmative form]
Ndiyakuva Audio
I don't understand you
[negation + verb]
Andikuva kakuhla Audio
this is not the correct word
[negation + adjective]
asilogama lichanileyo eli Audio
don't leave me
[imperative negation]
ungandishiyi Audio
no problem
[negation + noun]
akhongxaki Audio

Negative Sentences
Xhosa
I don't speak French
[negation + present tense]
andithethi isifrench Audio
she didn't visit Germany
[negation + past tense]
akatyelelanga eJamani Audio
he cannot see us
[negative modal verb]
akanakusibona Audio
can't she play chess?
[interrogative negation]
angakwazi ukudlala ichess? Audio
we will not come late
[negation + future tense]
asinakubuya kuhlwile Audio

Questions in Xhosa

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

English
Xhosa
how?
njani? Audio
what?
intoni? Audio
who?
ubani? Audio
why?
ngoba? Audio
where?
phi? Audio

More of the interrogative form, now in a sentence:

Questions + Rules
Xhosa
where do you live?
[interrogative + verb]
uhlalaphi? Audio
does she speak Chinese?
[interrogative verb]
ngaba uthetha isiChina Audio
how much is this?
[interrogative preposition]
yimalini lento? Audio
can I help you?
[interrogative modal verb]
ndingakunceda? Audio
what is your name?
[interrogative preposition]
ungubani igama lakho? Audio

Adverbs in Xhosa

It's time to learn the adverbs in Xhosa. 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
Xhosa
now
ngoku Audio
yesterday
izolo Audio
today
namhlanje Audio
tonight
ebusuku Audio
tomorrow
ngomso Audio
soon
kungekudala Audio
quickly
ngokukhawuleza Audio
slowly
kancinane Audio
together
sonke Audio
very
kakhulu Audio
almost
phantse Audio
always
soloko Audio
usually
uqhele Audio
sometimes
ngamanye amaxesha Audio
rarely
hayi rhoqo Audio
never
soze Audio

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

Adverbs + Rules
Xhosa
do you understand me now?
[pronoun + adverb]
uyandiqonda ngoku? Audio
I need help immediately
[noun + adverb]
ndifuna uncedo ngoku Audio
she is very intelligent
[adverb + adjective]
unegqondo kakhulu Audio
I will always love you
[verb + adverb]
ndosoloko ndikuthanda Audio
can we learn German together?
[adverb in a question]
singafunda isiJamani kunye? Audio

Pronouns in Xhosa

We're almost done! This time we will learn the pronouns in Xhosa. 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
Xhosa
I
mna Audio
you
wena Audio
he
yena Audio
she
yena Audio
we
thina Audio
they
bona Audio

Object Pronouns
Xhosa
me
mna Audio
you
wena Audio
him
yena Audio
her
yena Audio
us
thina Audio
them
bona Audio

Possessive Pronouns
Xhosa
my
eyam Audio
your
yakho Audio
his
yakhe Audio
her
yena Audio
our
yethu Audio
their
yabo Audio

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
Xhosa
I am your friend
[1st pronoun + verb]
ndingumhlobo wakho Audio
you speak very fast
[2nd pronoun + adverb]
uthetha ngokukhawuleza Audio
he has three dogs
[3rd pronoun + verb]
unezinja ezintathu Audio
she can speak German
[3rd pronoun + verb]
angasithetha isiJamani Audio
we will not come late
[1st plural pronoun]
asuzubuya kuhlwile Audio
they bought milk and bread
[3rd plural pronoun]
bathenge ubisi nesonka Audio

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
Xhosa
can you tell me your name?
[1st object pronoun]
ungandixelela igama lakho? Audio
I will give you money
[2nd object pronoun]
ndizakunika imali Audio
she wrote him a letter
[3rd object pronoun]
wambhalela incwadi Audio
they visited her yesterday
[3rd object pronoun]
bamtyelele izolo Audio
can she help us?
[1st pl. object pronoun]
angasinceda? Audio
he gave them food
[3rd pl. object pronoun]
ubaphe ukutya Audio

Possessive Pronouns
Xhosa
my name is Maya
[1st possessive pronoun]
igama lam ndinguMaya Audio
your brother lives here
[2nd possessive pronoun]
umtakwenu uhlala apha Audio
her mother cooks for us
[3rd possessive pronoun]
umamawakhe uyasiphekela Audio
his hobby is reading books
[3rd possessive pronoun]
uthanda ukufunda iincwadi Audio
our dream is to visit Paris
[1st pl. possessive pronoun]
iphupha lethu kukutyelela ePerisi Audio
their house is not far
[3rd pl. possessive pronoun]
indlu yabo ayikho kude Audio

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

Demonstrative Pronouns
Xhosa
this is my house
yindlu yam Audio
that restaurant is far
landawo yokutyela ikude Audio
these apples are delicious
lama apile amnandi Audio
those stars are shiny
ezonkwenkwezi ziyakhazimla Audio

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

Xhosa Phrases   Xhosa Phrases

Xhosa Vocabulary   Xhosa Vocabulary



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