Yoruba Grammar

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

Prepositions
Yoruba
and
ati
above
loke
under
nisale
before
saaju
after
lehin
in front of
niwaju
behind
lehin
far from
jina si
near
nitosi
in
inu
inside
ninu
outside
ita
with
pelu
without
laisi
about
nipa
between
laarin
but
sugbon
for
fun
from
lati
to
si

Preposition Grammar Rules

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

Prepositions + Rules
Yoruba
I eat without a knife
[preposition + noun]
mo maa njeun laisi obe
she lives near the church
[verb + preposition]
o ngbe nitosi ile-ijosin
he is taller than her
[adjective + preposition]
o ngbe nitosi ile-ijosin
he came with his small dog
[preposition + pronoun]
o wa pelu aja re kekere
can you come with me?
[preposition + pronoun]
nje o le wa pelu mi?

Negation in Yoruba

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
Yoruba
I understand you
[affirmative form]
oro re ye mi
I don't understand you
[negation + verb]
oro re ko ye mi
this is not the correct word
[negation + adjective]
eyi ki i se oro ti o ye
don't leave me
[imperative negation]
mase fi mi sile
no problem
[negation + noun]
ko si wahala

Negative Sentences
Yoruba
I don't speak French
[negation + present tense]
nko le e so faranse
she didn't visit Germany
[negation + past tense]
ko se ibewo si jamani
he cannot see us
[negative modal verb]
ko le e ri wa
can't she play chess?
[interrogative negation]
se ko le ta ayo olopon ni?
we will not come late
[negation + future tense]
a ko ni pe de

Questions in Yoruba

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

English
Yoruba
how?
bawo?
what?
kini?
who?
taani?
why?
nitori kini?
where?
nibo?

More of the interrogative form, now in a sentence:

Questions + Rules
Yoruba
where do you live?
[interrogative + verb]
nibo lo ngbe?
does she speak Chinese?
[interrogative verb]
nje o nso ede chinese?
how much is this?
[interrogative preposition]
eelo ni eyi?
can I help you?
[interrogative modal verb]
nje mo le ran o lowo?
what is your name?
[interrogative preposition]
kini oruko re?

Adverbs in Yoruba

It's time to learn the adverbs in Yoruba. 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
Yoruba
now
nisisiyi
yesterday
ana
today
oni
tonight
ale yi
tomorrow
ola
soon
laipe
quickly
kiakia
slowly
yo-kele
together
wa-papo
very
looto
almost
ku-die
always
nigbagbogbo
usually
welewele
sometimes
nigbamiran
rarely
agbara-kaka
never
beeko-lae

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

Adverbs + Rules
Yoruba
do you understand me now?
[pronoun + adverb]
se oro mi ye o bayi?
I need help immediately
[noun + adverb]
mo nilo iranlowo loju-ese
she is very intelligent
[adverb + adjective]
o je ologbon
I will always love you
[verb + adverb]
ma a ma feran re nigbagbogbo
can we learn German together?
[adverb in a question]
se a le jo ko ede jamani papo

Pronouns in Yoruba

We're almost done! This time we will learn the pronouns in Yoruba. 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
Yoruba
I
emi
you
iwo
he
oun
she
oun
we
awa
they
awon

Object Pronouns
Yoruba
me
mi
you
iwo
him
un
her
un
us
wa
them
won

Possessive Pronouns
Yoruba
my
mi
your
re
his
tire
her
tire
our
wa
their
won

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
Yoruba
I am your friend
[1st pronoun + verb]
emi ni ore re
you speak very fast
[2nd pronoun + adverb]
o nyara soro
he has three dogs
[3rd pronoun + verb]
o ni aja meta
she can speak German
[3rd pronoun + verb]
o le so ede jaman
we will not come late
[1st plural pronoun]
a ko ni pe de
they bought milk and bread
[3rd plural pronoun]
won ra wara ati buredi

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
Yoruba
can you tell me your name?
[1st object pronoun]
nje o le so oruko re fun mi?
I will give you money
[2nd object pronoun]
ma a fun e ni owo
she wrote him a letter
[3rd object pronoun]
o ko leta kan si i
they visited her yesterday
[3rd object pronoun]
won se abewo re lana
can she help us?
[1st pl. object pronoun]
se o le ran wa lowo?
he gave them food
[3rd pl. object pronoun]
o fun won lounje

Possessive Pronouns
Yoruba
my name is Maya
[1st possessive pronoun]
oruko mi ni maya
your brother lives here
[2nd possessive pronoun]
arakunrin re ngbe ibiyi
her mother cooks for us
[3rd possessive pronoun]
iya re se-ounje fun wa
his hobby is reading books
[3rd possessive pronoun]
ise ti o feran lati se ni akoko igbategun ni iwe kika
our dream is to visit Paris
[1st pl. possessive pronoun]
ero wa ni lati se abewo si paris
their house is not far
[3rd pl. possessive pronoun]
ile won ko jina

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

Demonstrative Pronouns
Yoruba
this is my house
ile mi niyi
that restaurant is far
ile itaounje jinna
these apples are delicious
awon eso apu yi dun
those stars are shiny
awon irawo yen ntan

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

Yoruba Phrases   Yoruba Phrases

Yoruba Vocabulary   Yoruba Vocabulary



Share

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