Negation in Indonesian

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Negation in Indonesian

Indonesian has two ways to form a negative sentence. We use the words tidak and bukan. The word bukan is to form a negative sentence such as denial about something, then follow the clause with an explanation using the word melainkan (but).

 

Tidak:

Buku itu tidak bagus.  – That book is not good.

Saya tidak tahu. – I don’t know.

 

Bukan:

Buku itu bukan hitam, melainkan hijau. – That book is not black, but (it is) green.

Saya bukan dokter, melainkan reporter. – I am not a doctor, but (I am) a reporter.




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Dr. Jennifer Wagner

PhD in Applied Linguistics, ESL/French teacher, author of two French books, and helping others to learn languages online at ielanguages.com.