How to Say No in Indonesian – Phrases and Examples

“Yes” or “No” have the similar usage in the expression of affirmative and negative. According to Wikipedia, in linguistics and grammar, affirmation and negation are the ways that grammar encode negative and positive polarity in verb phrases, clauses, or other utterances. Essentially an affirmative; (positive) form is used to express the validity or truth of a basic assertion, while a negative form expresses its falsity. Most of the world languages have “yes” or “no” system. But  some of the language such as Latin does not have one.

Examples:

“Alex is sleeping” = this sentence is affirmative

“Alex is not sleeping” = this sentence is negative

Today we’re going to talk about how to say “no” in Indonesian. We often use it during daily conversation. According to Maggie Escalas from St. Cloud State University, “no” in English is used as follows :

  1. To answer questions positively and negatively, or ‘yes’/;no’ questions
  2. No precedes a noun that has no article
  3. No can be used before a noun that is preceded by an adjective.
  4. It can’t be used before any, much, many, or enough.

Note that “No” must have different usage with “Not” in  English. It’s usage is the exact contrary with the usage of “No” above. Here’s how to say no in Indonesian:

  1. Not refers to a statement that it negates
  2. Not precedes a noun that has article
  3. Not used before any, much, many, or enough.

Same as in Indonesian language, there is a different meaning and use from the literal translation of “No” and “Not” just like in English. However, “no” in Indonesian can be used before any, much, many, and enough. Instead, they can’t be used before “not”. There are more to learn, such as: How to Say ‘Yes’ in Indonesian

Formal and Informal Ways 

Here’s how to say no in Indonesian:

  • “No” = “Tidak”
  • “Not” = “Bukan”
  • Informal
  • “No” = “Nggak”

Let’s jump to the first use of “no”; To answer ‘Yes/No’ Question.

  • Example 1

A: Did you just wake up?

Apakah kamu baru bangun?

B: No, I didn’t. I woke up early today

Tidak/nggak. Saya bangun pagi hari ini. 

There are more to learn, such as: How to Say “No Problem” in Indonesia

  • Example 2

A : We’ve seen each other before, have we?

Aku pikir kita pernah bertemu sebelumnya.

B : No, we didn’t, i never saw you before

Tidak/nggak, aku belum pernah melihatmu

  • Example 3

A : Are you free today?

Apakah kamu kosong hari ini?

B : No, I’m not. I have so much thing to do

Tidak/nggak. Banyak hal yang harus kukerjakan.

The second use is when it precedes a noun that has no article. English articles of “a/an/the” are translated into Indonesian as “sebuah”. However, in Indonesian language we rarely use articles. We can say “I have cat” rather than saying “I have a cat”. So it’s pretty often to use “no” in Indonesian language to explain something negative. There are more to learn, such as: Indonesian and English Conversation at the Market

Examples

  • The company had no worthy rivals in the industry.

Perusahaan tidak/nggak memiliki pesaing berarti dalam industri

  • Dad had no idea of what he’s doing

Ayah tidak/nggak tahu apa yang dia lakukan

  • I have no other choice

Aku tidak/nggak memiliki pilihan lain

The third use is when it precedes before a noun that is preceded by an adjective. That basically structured in Indonesian language as follows :

Tidak/nggak ada – (noun) – (adjective)

Examples

  • There was no applicant qualified for the job

Tidak/nggak ada pendaftar yang berkualifikasi untuk pekerja tersebut

  • I heard no argument relevant

Aku tidak/nggak mendengar ada argumen relevan.

The fourth use is before any, much, many, or enough as follows:

Tidak ada (not any), tidak banyak (not much), tidak banyak (not many), tidak cukup (not enough).

Example

Her first salary was not enough for living

Gaji pertamanya tidak cukup untuk hidup

The fifth use is for repetition as follows:

Tidak-tidak that can be translated to English as ‘non-sense’. There are more to learn, such as: How to say ‘Thank you

Examples of how to say no in Indonesian:

  • Don’t talk nonsense

Jangan berbicara tidak-tidak

  • She spreads nonsense news to everyone in the neighborhood.

Dia menyebarkan berita tidak-tidak kepada semua orang di tempat ini.

That was the use of “no” in Indonesia. However, don’t be confused when most of Indonesian people usually overgeneralize the meaning between “no” and “not”. The most common usage of “not” is referring to the statement it refers to. For example :

  • The statement : Jane is the main singer in the show tonight

Jane adalah penyanyi utama pada acara malam ini

The negation : Jane is not the main singer in the show tonight

Jane bukan penyanyi utama pada acara malam ini

  • The statement : Mother was the orator in the funeral yesterday

Ibu adalah pembicara pada acara pemakaman kemarin

The negation : Mother was not the orator in the funeral yesterday

Ibu bukan pembicara pada acara pemakaman kemarin

So, that’s all for today’s lesson about how to say no in Indonesian! We hope you can understand the use of “no” in Indonesian language and apply it in daily basis. There are more to learn, such as: Indonesian Affixes vs English Affixes