I am Filipino and I want to figure out the English term for "po".

It's a term we add meaning respect. For example:

Anong kailangan n'yo po?

Which translates to "What do you need?" but I'm questioning if "po" has an English equivalent.

The Filipino for "yes" is "oo", but if we would use it with respect, we use "opo" instead.

Is there an English equivalent of "po"?

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    There's probably no direct equivalent. I'm learning Japanese, and from my experience many nuances of politeness in (south east) Asian languages can't really be expressed one-on-one in most western languages. Maybe it would be helpful if you added an example on how "po" is used in your language to your question. Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 10:22
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    As it stands, this question is meaningless to anyone who doesn't know how "po" is used by Filipinos. That includes me, and I don't see why I should need to read an answer to find out. The definition of the term should be included in the question, if you want an answer here. Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 11:38
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    I’m voting to close this question because it's not really a question about the English language and knowledge of another language is required to even understand the question Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 14:20
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    Asking for the English equivalent of a word or expression in one's native tongue is about the English language. Sometimes there is and sometimes there is no equivalent, and that's perfectly normal. The OP explains what the suffix means in their language and just wants to know how to show respect to people in English. How is that not on topic?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 18:07
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    @AndrewTobilko I think the problem is that the question doesn't have enough detail about what "po" means, not that the topic of the question is out of scope. There are a number of good questions on ELL asking for an equivalent of a word or phrase that is difficult to translate directly from another language.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


English is not Filipino. There are words in Filipino that are not in English.

We can show respect in English by using "Mr" or "Ms" with last names. Or, sometimes by using "sir" or "ma'am" (but these are much less common in English than in other languages).

You can show respect by using polite words like "please", "thank-you" and "I'm sorry" when appropriate.

But in Filipino culture you use "po" in situations that an English person would not use any special word. You can show respect in English by treating someone as an equal.

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