Passive ( -am- )

A second verb extension that we will learn in this lesson is the passiveam-.

In English (as in many languages) there are times when we talk about the action of a verb being doing to us. We call this the passive tense. As an example, we could say I was seen which expresses the same idea as they saw me. We can do the same in Lingala:

namonamakiI was seen
bamonaki ngaithey saw me

It is also possible to use passive along with the causative extension:

okosalisamayou (singular) will be helped
bakosalisa yoThey will help you (singular)

So we can write format of the passive tense in the following way:


We can make any verb passive in Lingala. Though this is possible, you will notice many native Lingala speakers don’t use the passive tense very much at all, often choosing to say someone did the verbs action to something or someone. It is very common for them to choose to use the ba– prefix (they) even if it was just one person that did the verbs action.

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