How to Use Samoan Helping Verbs

I.  Helping verbs are verbs that give more meaning to other action words (verbs).  Examples of this would be:

can fight–  I can fight the man.

*Fight is the verb.  The helping verb is can


should go– I should go to the doctor.

*Go is the verb.  The helping verb is should


forbidden to play– I am forbidden to play in the game.  

*Play is the verb.  The helping verb is forbidden.






II.  The verb is connected to the helping verb with the term “ona”.  



III.  The sentence structure with helping verbs can take on different structures, but we’ll focus on the following two.  Structure (a) uses a descriptive pronoun before the verb.   Structure (b) uses an emphatic pronoun after the verb.


 
 

DESCRIPTIVE PRONOUN VERSION
a. Tense marker “E” + Helping Verb + ona + PRONOUN + Verb
I can fight. = E mafai ona ou fusu.
Tense MarkerHelping VerbonaPronounVerb
Emafaionaoufusu
canonaIfight
I should go. = E tatau ona ou alu.
Tense MarkerHelping VerbonaPronounVerb
Etatauonaoualu
shouldonaIgo
They are forbidden to play. = E sa ona latou ta’a’alo.
Tense MarkerHelping VerbonaPronounVerb
Esaonalatouta’a’alo
ForbiddenonaTheyPlay
EMPHATIC PRONOUN VERSION
b. Tense marker “E” + Helping Verb + ona + Verb + PRONOUN
I can fight. = E mafai ona fusu a’u
Tense MarkerHelping VerbonaVerbPronoun
Emafaionafighta’u
canonafusuI
I should go. = E tatau ona alu a’u.
Tense MarkerHelping VerbonaVerbPronoun
Etatauonaalua’u
shouldonagoI
They are forbidden to play.= E sa ona ta’a’alo i latou.
Tense MarkerHelping VerbonaVerbPronoun
Esaonata’a’aloi latou
ForbiddenonaPlayThey
IRREGULAR EMPHACTIC FORM
Tense MarkerHelping Verbe markerona verb phrase
Etaumafaie a’uona tatalo
tryIona pray
Tense MarkerHelping Verbe markerona verb phrase
O lo’oamatae iaona pati
is startingheona party.

A helping verb combination is a pair of words that work together to illustrate a new idea.  For example, I try to work.  I try to play.  I try to drive.  The base word in this example is try.  Ona, once again connects the combination.  The other verb is the variable.  This is a common list of helping verbs that you can use in your everyday conversations.  


finish, overuma ona
try, attempttaumafai ona
best (greatest)sili ona
ablemafai ona
should, musttatau ona
possiblemafai ona
twice onafa’alua ona
forgetgalo ona
mustao ina
Long timeleva ona
Forbiddensa ona
Permittedtaga ona
First, precedemuamua ona
Lastmulimuli ona
Slowlemu ona
Latetuai ona
Soontoetiti ona
Start, beginamata ona
Hurry fastvave ona

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