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Indonesian verbs do not change depending on tense, as in English. For example, English has different forms for "ate" (past tense) and "eat" (present tense), while Indonesian uses "makan" for both past and present. When it is important to specify time, Indonesian adds additional words that clarify the time, such as "sudah" (already), "masih" (still), and "akan" (will).

Indonesian English Notes
Baca Read
Bangun Wake up literally the act of waking up
Buka Open
Buang Throw away as in "throwing away the trash"
Bunuh Kill
Gantung Hang
Hapus Erase
Jahit Sew
Jalan Walk
Makan Eat
Masak Cook
Minum Drink
Lempar Throw as in "throwing the ball"
Pakai Wear/Use
Robek Tear
Lari Run
Tanya Ask
Tidur Sleep
Tinju Box punching
Tulis Write
Tutup Close

To be or not to be[edit | edit source]

To be is the most common English verb, yet its indonesian translation, adalah, is rarely used. This is particularly true when ir is used to describe something/someone or to give characteristics. For instance :

  • Aku cowok = I am a man
  • Dia gemuk = He is fat
  • Aku lapar = I am hungry

We can use adalah to make a statement that two things are equivalent. For instance:

  • Rusia adalah negara terbesar di dunia.
  • Russia is the largest country in the world.

Another use of adalah is to say that something or someone is part of a grup/structure. For instance:

  • Dia adalah pengawai pemerintah
  • He is a government employee.