How to Say “Apa” in Indonesian? Vocabulary and Examples

How to Say “Apa” in Indonesian.

Hello everybody! How was your day? Hopefully, everything runs well. Previously we’ve learnt some topics about Indonesian. It is important for us to know some expressions in Indonesian because some words cannot be translated literally. So, you must pay attention to your bahasa Indonesia.

In this article we will learn about how to say “apa” in bahasa. Basically, “apa” is a question word which ask about things. In English “apa” is “what”. Here are some examples of the sentence of “apa”:

  • Apa itu? = What is that?
  • Apa yang kamu suka? = What do you like?
  • Apa yang harus aku lakukan? = What should I do?
  • Apa yang sedang kamu lakukan? = What are you doing?
  • Apa yang kamu ketahui? = What do you know?
  • Apa rencanamu? = What is your plan?
  • Apa yang kamu makan? = What do you drink?

It seems simple. But there are some expressions of “apa” in Indonesian which doesn’t mean “what” in English. Here are some examples:

  • Apa namamu? = What is your name?
  • Apa kabar? = How are you?

Sometimes, Indonesians ask “Siapa namamu” to ask somebody’s name. But in daily conversation, some Indonesians tend to say “Apa namamu” instead of saying “Siapa namamu”. If you want to say “siapa namamu”, it doesn’t matter, because it has the same meaning.

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In an informal situation, there are some expressions which use “apa”:

  • Aku gak tau apa-apa = I know nothing = I don’t know anything
  • Apa-apaan sih kamu! = What are you doing! (angry)
  • Apa-apaan ini? = What is happening?
  • Apaan sih, gak jelas! = What on earth are you doing!

Well, those sentences are slang words. You may not use those words if you don’t know the people or he/is a stranger for you.

  • Instead of saying ‘aku gak tau apa-apa’, you may say ‘saya tidak tahu apa-apa’
  • Instead of saying ‘apa-apaan sih kamu’, you may say ‘apa yang sedang kamu lakukan?’
  • Instead of saying ‘apa-apaan ini?!’, you may say ‘apa yang sedang terjadi?’
  • Instead of saying ‘apaan sih, gak jelas’ you may say ‘saya kurang paham apa maksud Anda’ 

Those sentences may be longer than the slang version. But, it’s the better to speak politely to somebody you don’t know. Maybe you want to express something, but people may get offended because of your expressions.

That’s why, it’s also important for you to know 2 version of an expression: the formal expression, and the slang expression.

To help you to understand the difference, I will show it in the table below:

No. Formal Slang
1. Apakah itu? Apa itu?
2. Apakah yang kamu suka? Kamu suka apa?
3. Apakah yang harus saya lakukan? Saya mesti ngapain?
4. Apakah yang sedang kamu lakukan? Kamu lagi ngapain?
5. Apakah yang kamu ketahui? Kamu tau apa?
6. Apakah rencanamu? Rencanamu apa?
7. Apakah yang kamu makan? Kamu makan apa?

You may get confused why the question contain ‘-kah’ that attached to the word ‘apa’. Well, it’s a suffix in bahasa which gives emphasis that you are asking. If you want to omit the suffix ‘-kah’, it doesn’t matter. It’s still polite in daily conversation.

Well, that’s all that I can tell you about how to say ‘apa’ in bahasa. Hopefully this article will enrich your bahasa Indonesia. See you again in the next article!