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In Tagalog: Sobra, kulang, kaunti, marami, tama lang, mahal


Let us learn different Tagalog words that refer to quantity or measurement. Each word has a specific and appropriate usage.



In terms of quantity, is this “kaunti”, “sobra” or “marami”?


sobra – (adj.) too much


kulang – (adj.) not enough (the opposite of “sobra”)


kaunti – (adj.) few (often spelled as “konti”)


marami /madami – (adj.) many (the opposite of “kaunti”) or a lot


tama/tama lang – (adj.) correct, just right (if used to refer to quantity, we say “tama lang”)


mahal – (adj.) expensive, (noun) love or a person you love




When do we use each word?


Sobra, kaunti, marami

In the photo above, notice how these words are used in describing the quantity of milk poured in the glass or degree of a quantity.


Sobra, kulang, tama lang

These words may be used to describe if something is deficient in quantity (“kulang”) or just right (“tama lang”). As mentioned above, “sobra” means too much.


Kulang vs Kaunti

The difference between the two is like comparing a glass half-emptied and a glass half-filled.

“Kulang” refers to the deficiency in quantity and sometimes, this is used in a subjective context. It is a measurement based on what’s missing or absent from the total quantity.

“Kaunti” simply means “few” in quantity of what was provided provided.

Therefore, “kulang” is like describing the glass half-emptied while “kaunti” refers to a glass half-filled.


Tama lang.

“Tama” is a positive adjective/adverb that might differ in a subjective context. For example, a glass filled with beer might be the preference or just right for a beer lover. On the other hand, a half-filled glass of red wine could also be just right for a light drinker. In both cases, the word “tama” are both appropriate. We add the word “lang” to “tama” as its correct usage.


Sobra vs Mahal

Again, “sobra” is used to measure or describe quantity of any object or entity. “Mahal” used in measurement commonly refers to money or price of an item.

“Sobra” refers to degree or a quantity, thus is might be used as both an adjective or an adverb. “Sobra” is used for both material (food, prices, liquids) or non-material things (hatred, fear, love, poverty, etc.).

“Mahal” as an adjective that means “expensive”. “Mahal” used as a noun means “love” or “a loved one”.

Review of “mahal” as noun, adjective, adverb and its variations as a verb.

Let’s say you are shopping and you find that the items are expensive. You may use both “sobra” and “mahal” to describe the items. However, it is more precise to use the adjective “mahal”.



Marami vs Madami

What’s the difference between “marami” and “madami”?

Both words mean the same thing, which is “many” or “a lot”. The more correct word form is “marami” because it is the spelling used in the Bulacan province or generally in the Tagalog region in Luzon. The word “madami” is a variation of the word but not a standard entry in the Tagalog dictionary.


Photo source:
sobra –
kulang –
tama –
madami –








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