Differences between ‘Kita’ and ‘Kami’ in Indonesian – The Examples

The word ‘kami’ and ‘kita’ in Bahasa Indonesia is two similar but different word. Most people learning the language confuse with the use of the two words because the words are literary translated as ‘we’ in English. Yes, there is actually no concept of ‘kami’ and ‘kita’ in English, but in Indonesia, pronoun is mostly classified based on the context of politeness and the person who we are talking to. Even native Indonesians commonly use the word ‘kami’ and ‘kita’ falsely. Also learn Indonesian plural form.

Yes, many people think that those two words have the same meaning but it actually not. Even though there is only slight difference, but the meaning can be different as well. That is why it is mandatory to study the correct use of ‘kami’ and ‘kita’. To prevent further mistakes of the use of ‘kami’ and ‘kita’, we are going to talk about these pronouns and reveal the difference.

According to the Indonesian dictionary, ‘kami’ and ‘kita’ is personal Promina for plural noun. This means that both words are used to represent speakers who are more than one. Even though both represent plural speakers, but the use of ‘kami’ and ‘kita’ is different. Also learn more about Indonesian personal pronoun. Here’s the difference between kita and kami in Indonesian.

The Use of ‘Kami’ (We/Us) in Indonesian 

The word ‘kami’ means ‘we’ but the listeners (person or persons you are talking to) are excluded from the topics. In simple, ‘kami’ means ‘we’ but not you. In certain cases, it can also mean ‘us’ but you are excluded.

This can be said that ‘kami’ is plural first person pronoun which has inclusive characteristic because the person/persons you are talking to is excluded from the activity or condition are being told. The word ‘kami’ only refers to first person speaker. Take a look at below example:

Edo dan Sandi: Jay, kami akan pergi ke perpustakaan sebentar. (Jay, we are going to the library for a while)

Jay : Baiklah, nanti aku akan bilang ke dosen. (Okay, I will let the lecturer knows.)

From the example above involving Edo, Sandi, and Jay as the characters, the word ‘kami’ does not represent all of them. The first person pronoun only represents Edo and Sandi as the speaker even though only one of them who speaks. Take a look at more examples below.

  • Aku, Selly, dan Ardi belajar bersama. → Kami belajar bersama.
  • Aku dan Deni berbagi permen. → Kami berbagi permen.

From the example above, it can be concluded that the listeners or you is excluded from the activity. Besides distinguishing the involvement of the listeners, the word ‘kami’ is also used when writing a letter or representing a group. Also learn more about 5 types of Indonesian pronouns.

  • Demikian surat ini kami buat sebagi pertimbangan. (Thus, we write this letter for consideration.)

The word ‘kami’ is also used for praying in group. Take a look at below example.

  • Berkatilah perjalanan kami hingga pulang ke rumah. (Bless our trip until we reach home.)

The sentence will be incorrect if using the word ‘kita’ because it refers to personal self, class mates, and also the God to talk to. Besides those functions, the word ‘kami’ is also used for politicians, kings, or public figure. Now, have you understood about difference between kita and kami in Indonesian?  

The Use of ‘Kita’ (We/Us) in Indonesian 

The word ‘kita’ is also first person pronoun but it includes the person/persons you are talking to. In simple, it can be translated as ‘we’ and you too or in some cases it can be ‘us’ and you too. The word ‘kita’ has exclusive characteristic in which the speaker includes listeners in the activity or condition. Take a look at below examples:

Rina: Lala, kita jadi mall hari ini?

Lala: Jadi, dong. Ayo kita berangkat sekarang.

Also learn more about Indonesian Interjection.

From the dialogue above, the word ‘kita’ represents Rina as the speaker and Lala as the listerners. So, the word ‘kita’ means Rina and Lala. Moreover, the use of ‘kita’ also used for writing slogan or represents groups or persona and the one to talk to is also the readers. 

Take a look at below example.

  • Marilah kita jaga kebersihan lingkungan. (Let preserves our environment.)

Both words also serve as possessive pronoun with the same meaning as pronoun. Here are more example of ‘kita’ and ‘kami; as possessive pronoun.

  • Buku kami sudah dikumpulkan. (Our book has been submitted.) – exclude yours
  • Buku kita sudah hilang. (Our book has been gone.) – include yours

The use of ‘kami’ and ‘kita’ should not be difficult yet, you need to completely understand the difference. Even the Indonesian makes a funny joke related to the use of these words a few years ago. Also learn about Indonesian possessive pronouns.

  • Kita? Lo aja kali, gue enggak. (Us? Please, it is only you, not me.)

Yes, this joke is in informal language and should not be use under formal occasion. However, it can be interpreted that someone does not want to be involved in certain activity or condition because ‘kita’ means you are included. Thus, that’s the brief explanation about the difference between kita and kami in Indonesian.