Indonesian Present Tense – Formula – Example

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Present tense. Majority of language learning will be start with present simple tense. But, what about Indonesian present tense? Two words. It is simple and present. Learning about it neither hard nor more complex than Indonesian Grammar Structures for Beginners.

There are no v2 or v3 in Bahasa Indonesia, as well as suffix s/es for different subject in present simple. On the other words, either it is ‘I’ or ‘she’, the verb would always be the same (except for passive/active or Transitive Verbs/Intransitive Verbs). To shorten the time, let’s enter the lesson about Indonesian Present Simple!

Present Simple in Indonesian

Unlike English, the difference between present tense (simple, perfect or continuous) only signed by Indonesian Auxiliary Verbs and it is not as strict as English. Here are the examples.

  • Ina tidur (Ina sleeps) – present simple
  • Ina sudah tidur (Ina has slept) – present perfect
  • Ina sedang tidur (Ina is sleeping) – present continuous

In addition, unlike English, the verbs would not change (added -s/-es) no matter who is/are the subject(s). Here take a look at the examples.

  • Saya belajar setiap malam (I study every night)
  • Mereka belajar setiap malam (They study every night)
  • Kalian belajar setiap malam (You study every night)
  • Dia belajar setiap malam (He/She studies every night)
  • Lita belajar setiap malam (Lita studies every night)

Not to complex right?

Furthermore, what about adverb of frequency? We could not talk about present simple if we do not understand about adverbs of frequency. Yes, there are some words which functioned as this. It might be not as strict as English in terms of frequency, but in general both are similar.

Here are the lists of adverbs of frequency: 

  • selalu = always
    Ani selalu bahagia (Ani is always happy)
  • biasanya = usually
    Anton biasanya bangun pukul 8 pagi (Anton usually wakes up at 8 a.m)
  • umumnya = generally/normally
    Umumnya, orang-orang berangkat kerja pukul 7.30 pagi (Generally, people go to work at 7.30 a.m)
  • sering = often/frequently
    Saya sering berpegian ke kota lain (I often travel to other towns)
  • kadang-kadang = sometimes
    Kadang-kadang saya bosan dengan hidup saya (Sometimes I feel bored with my life)
  • sekali-sekali/kadang/ada kalanya = occasionally
    Ibu sekali-sekali memasak daging untuk makan malam (Mom occasionally cooks meat for dinner)
  • jarang = seldom
    Dini jarang terlambat (Dini seldom arrives late)
  • sangat jarang/jarang-jarang = seldom
    Kami sangat jarang pergi ke pasar tradisional (We rarely go to traditional market)
  • tidak pernah = never
    Tono tidak pernah bisa berkata tidak (Tono never says no to anyone)

Because sometimes the distinction between one and another frequency are not too clear and slight (e.g. kadang-kadang and kadang), people mostly use only several adverb. The common adverbs of frequency used are selalu, sering, kadang-kadang, jarang, and tidak pernah.

Read also : How to Say Time in Bahasa Indonesia

More about Indonesian Present Tense!

Here are others adverb of frequency of Indonesian present tense:

  • setiap … = every…, each …, …s
    – Lani mandi setiap pagi dan sore (Lani takes a bath every morning and afternoon)
    – Setiap hari, ibu memberi makan ayam di halaman (Each day, mom feeds the chicken on the backyard)
    – Saya les piano setiap Senin (I have piano class on Mondays) *There is no plural form for times
  • pada … = every…, each…,
    – Pada hari paskah biasanya orang pergi ke gereja (Every Easter, people usually go to church)
    – Saya les piano pada hari Senin (I have piano class on Mondays)

Exercise! 

Those are lessons about Indonesian Present Simple. Now, let’s try to make present simple sentence! Take a look at these following groups of words.

Please make a sentence with the verb/adjective and adverb of frequency consisted on every number.

  1. makan, setiap pagi =
  2. belajar, kadang-kadang =
  3. menari, jarang =
  4. selalu, gembira =
  5. biasanya, sedih =

Present Continuous and Present Perfect in Indonesian Grammar

Furthermore, present tense also consist present continuous and present perfect. What is the main difference? It is the auxiliary verb. Unlike English, which has very strict rules about present continuous tense or perfect, in Bahasa Indonesia you just need to add ‘sedang’ (similar function to to be + V+ing) for present continuous and ‘sudah’ (similar function to have/has+v3) for present perfect.

  • sedang/lagi – to be + V+ing (present continous)
    – Ibu sedang memasak (Mom is cooking)
    – Ayah lagi mencuci baju (Dad is washing clothes)

Notes: Even if you do not add ‘sedang’ (e.g. Ibu memasak), it could possibly that ‘Mom is cooking’ because the auxiliary is optional, not required. Therefore, know the context.

  • sudah/telah/baru – have/has (present perfect)
    – Andi baru pergi ke kampus (Andi has just gone to campus)
    – Indri sudah mengerjakan PR (Indri has finished her homework)
    – Ibnu telah membereskan kamarnya (Ibnu has made up his room)
  • belum – have not/ has not (present perfect)
    – Nini belum mennyelesaikan PR (Nini has not finished her homework)

Notes: there is no main difference between present perfect and past perfect. Therefore, it is hard to tell when a sentence is considered as past or present without the context. Here are the examples

  • Ibu sudah datang (Mom has arrived) – present perfect
  • Ibu sudah datang ketika kamu makan (Mom had arrived when you ate) – past perfect

Okay, that’s all about present tense. I hope it clear your mind about Indonesian Tenses, especially the Present Tense one. Now, you could take a look other helpful Bahasa Indonesia-related articles. Here they are!