How to Say I Don’t Know in Indonesian – Phrase – Definition

I don’t know is a quite common phrase in English. You say this phrase when you don’t know the answer of people’s question towards you. Read explanation below to know how to say I don’t know in Indonesian. Indonesia has several ways to say it, formal and informal depends on with whom you want to talk to. You may want to read about this to understand questions in Indonesian.

Formal Ways to Say I Don’t Know in Indonesian

Translation word by word for I don’t know is as below:

  • I : Saya
  • Don’t : Tidak (negative form)
  • Know : Tahu

So, one of the way to say I don’t know in Indonesian is “Saya tidak tahu”. Formal language is used when you talk with older people, with older strangers, at formal situation (office meetings, formal speeches, etc). Usually, to be more polite, after saying “Saya tidak tahu” you can add the nickname of the person you talk to. For example:

  • Saya tidak tahu, Bu (I don’t know, Ma’am)
  • Saya tidak tahu, Pak (I don’t know, Sir)
  • Saya tidak tahu, Mbak (I don’t know, Miss)
  • Saya tidak tahu, Mas (I don’t know, Brother)

Here are several examples on formal conversation using I Don’t Know in Indonesian:

  • Apakah kamu tahu arah menuju stasiun terdekat?

Do you know how to get to the closest subway?

Saya tidak tahu, Bu.

I don’t know, Maam.

  • Siapa nama perempuan yang sedang berdiri di dekat jendela itu?

What is the name of the woman standing near the windows?

Saya tidak tahu, Mbak.

I don’t know, Miss.

Sometimes, to make it even more polite, people adding “sorry” or “maaf” in front of the sentence, for example:

  • Maaf, saya tidak tahu, Bu (Sorry, I don’t know, Ma’am)
  • Maaf, saya tidak tahu, Pak (Sorry, I don’t know, Sir)
  • Maaf, saya tidak tahu, Mbak (Sorry, I don’t know, Miss)
  • Maaf, saya tidak tahu, Mas (Sorry, I don’t know, Brother)

Informal Ways to Say I Don’t Know in Indonesian

In informal language, Indonesian tend to say it shorter than the formal ways. The informal word for “saya” is “aku”, while the informal word for “tidak” is “nggak”. Sometimes people also write “tau” to refer “tahu” in informal ways. So, one of the informal way to say I don’t know in Indonesian is “aku nggak tahu”. However, there are still many ways/slank to say it in Indonesian. Here are the examples:

  • Aku nggak tahu
  • Aku nggak tau
  • Aku gak tau
  • Aku ga tau
  • Gatau

All of the phrases have the same meanings “I don’t know”. You can choose one to use depends on with who you talk to. You can use those phrases to talk with someone around your age or younger, with your close friends, you younger brothers or sisters, or stranger around you age. On text message, people usually say the latest, by only “gatau”. People already understand that you don’t know if you say this.  

Here are several examples on informal conversation using I Don’t Know in Indonesian:

  • Kamu tau nggak arah ke stasiun paling dekat?

Do you know how to get to the closest subway?

Aku nggak tau, Mbak.

I don’t know, Miss.

  • Siapa nama perempuan yang deket jendela itu?

What is the name of the woman standing near the windows?

Aku gak tau.

I don’t know.

That’s all about how to say I don’t know in Indonesian. With a lot of practice, you will be able to say it fluently. Hope this article will be helpful for you. Thank you for reading.