Verb Be in Indonesian

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How to say be in Indonesian

Indonesian does not have the verb ‘to be’. But sometimes, it’s similar to the Indonesian word adalah. Only for several situation:

Saya adalah pelajar. – I am a student.

Ini adalah buku saya. – This is my book.

Itu adalah kesalahan besar. – That is a big mistake.

However, in informal situation (mostly in spoken Indonesian), we can omit the word adalah.

In formal/written language, this word is just sometimes omitted.

And remember that adalah CAN’T be used as ‘to be’ when:

-telling time

-showing adjectives

-passive sentence, e.g. I am called.




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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.