Learn Basic Indonesian Tenses with Examples

Halo semuanya! Apa kabar? Welcome back to MasteringBahasa! Not the first, but the best site for you to learn Bahasa Indonesia in days! Today’s article, we will learn together about Indonesian Tenses!

If you had seen our article of Indonesian Verb “To Be”, we had said that there is no concept of tenses in Indonesian language like English has. In English language, you may understand that it has complex 16 tenses which concluded in 4 types: Simple Tenses, Progressive Tenses, Perfect Tenses, and Continuous Tenses. It can also concluded in other 4 types: Present Tenses, Past Tenses, Future Tenses, Past Future Tenses. If you are a native speaker, this will be no brainer for you. But say hello to Indonesian language which does not have any kind of tenses formula!

But still, in Indonesian language, there is concepts of time.

  1. Past Time – Masa Lalu.
  2. Present Time – Masa Sekarang.
  3. Future Time – Masa Depan.

Wait, hold on. Haven’t we said that there is no concept of tenses? Well yeah, but any sentences still need some support, so when a speaker says something, you will know when was the time that he or she mentioned. Let’s say, your friend wants to eat cakue. If he only says “I want to eat Cakue”, you wouldn’t know when exactly he wants to eat that! It maybe now, or later, or tomorrow, or next week! So we need some supports by adding some adjectives too. In our previous article of Indonesian Parts of Speech, we have explained that each parts of speech are important. Please check them out!

Here we are going to show you the usage of Adverbs of Time, Adjectives, and “To Be” Verb to show you how to use them as tenses determiner! But first please check Types of Indonesian Adverbs too! So you won’t mess when you are learning this article! Here we are going to give you a quick review of Adverbs of Time:

Keterangan Waktu[/th] [th]Adverbs of Time

Kemarin[/td] [td] Yesterday

Besok[/td] [td]Tomorrow

Lusa[/td] [td]The Day after Tomorrow

Pagi[/td] [td]Morning

Siang[/td] [td]Afternoon

Sore[/td] [td]Evening

Malam[/td] [td]Night

Seminggu[/td] [td]A Week

Minggu Depan[/td] [td]Next Week 

Minggu Lalu[/td] [td]Last Week

Sebulan [/td] [td]A Month

Bulan Depan[/td] [td]Next Month

Bulan Lalu[/td] [td]Last Month

Setahun[/td] [td]A Year

Tahun Depan[/td] [td]Next Year

Tahun Lalu[/td] [td]Last Year 

Sekarang[/td] [td]Now

Nanti[/td] [td]Later

Now let’s see how to use them in tenses!

1. Past Tenses

When we say about “past” that means it is something that has done before or even long, long time ago. If we are talking about dinosaurs, that means we are talking something in the past. When we are talking about a cute dog that we had seen in the street, it means we are talking something in the past. Speaking about conversation, we have a useful article of 15 Indonesian Conversations Examples that suits for beginner. Probably you need to check them to learn how to speak in Indonesian with your friends! Anyway, let’s see Indonesian Adverbs of Time that explains past tenses!

Keterangan Waktu[/th] [th]Adverbs of Time

Kemarin[/td] [td] Yesterday

Minggu Lalu[/td] [td]Last Week

Bulan Lalu[/td] [td]Last Month

Tahun Lalu[/td] [td]Last Year 

Sebelum[/td] [td]Before

Sebelumnya[/td] [td]Before

Here is a table of Adjectives that can determine about Past Tenses!

Keterangan Sifat[/th] [th]Adjectives

Yang telah lalu[/td] [td]In the Past

Yang sudah Lewat[/td] [td]That Had Done



*needs another determiner

Here is a table of “To Be” Verb that can determine about Past Tenses!

Kata Sifat[/th] [th]Adjectives

Sudah[/td] [td]Had

Telah[/td] [td]Last Year 

Do we need all of three parts? Of course not! We have discussed it in Indonesian Part of Speech so please check them out! Every part is important yet not all of them have to be there in the same time. Here are some examples:

1. [/th] [th]Saya[/th] [th]makan[/th] [th]nasi uduk[/th] [th]tadi[/th][th]pagi.

[/td] [td]Pronoun[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Adjective[/td][td]Adverb

(I ate uduk rice this morning.)

2. [/th] [th]Ivan[/th] [th]sudah[/th] [th]berangkat[/th] [th]ke[/th][th]kampus.

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]“To Be” Verb[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Preposition[/td][td]Noun

(Ivan had gone to campus.)

3. [/th] [th]Kemarin,[/th] [th]Lisa[/th] [th]lupa makan.

[/td] [td]Adverb[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Verb

(Yesterday, Lisa forgot to eat.)

4. [/th] [th]Ayah[/th] [th]meninggalkan[/th] [th]tasnya[/th] [th]minggu lalu.[/th][/tr]

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Adverb[/td][/tr]

(My father left his bag last week.)

5. [/th] [th]Anjing[/th] [th]saya[/th] [th]dibawa[/th] [th]ke[/th][th]dokter hewan[/th][th]sore[/th][th]tadi.[/th][/tr]

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Pronoun[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Preposition[/td][td]Noun[/td][td]Adverb[/td][td]”To Be” Verb[/td][/tr]

(My dog is brought to a veterinarian this afternoon.)

2. Present Tenses

If you are talking that you are eating rendang, then you are talking something in present time. If you are copying your friend’s homework now, then you are talking something in present time. Technically, Indonesian people can understand present tenses even without any adverbs, adjectives, and “To Be” Verb. To learn more about Indonesian Verbs, you can check our article of Indonesian Verbs.

Here is a list of adverbs that determine present time!

Keterangan Waktu[/th] [th]Adverbs of Time

Hari ini[/td] [td]Sekarang

Sekarang[/td] [td]Now

Minggu Ini[/td] [td]This Week

Bulan ini[/td] [td]This Month

Tahun ini[/td] [td]This Year 

Barusan[/td] [td]Just now

Baru saja[/td] [td]Just now

Here is a list of adjectives that determine present tenses!

Keterangan Sifat[/th] [th]Adjectives

Baru[/td] [td]New

Segar[/td] [td]Fresh


*needs another determiner

Here is a table of “To Be” Verb that can determine about Present Tenses!

Kata Sifat[/th] [th]Adjectives

Ini[/td] [td]This

Sedang[/td] [td](Doing it now)

Tengah[/td] [td](Doing it now)

Now we are moving to present tenses structure! If you need more grammar structure, please check How to Learn Indonesian Grammar and learn them easily through your gadget!

1. [/th] [th]Saya[/th] [th]sedang[/th] [th]makan[/th] [th]Keripik Singkong.

[/td] [td]Pronoun[/td] [td](To Be) Verb[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Noun

(I am eating Cassava Chips)

2. [/th] [th]Wanda[/th] [th]barusan[/th] [th]mengerjakan[/th] [th]PRnya.

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Adverb of Time[/td] [td]Verb[/td][td]Noun

(Wanda is just doing her homework.)

3. [/th] [th]Adi dan Ida[/th] [th]sedang[/th] [th]berada[/th][th]di[/th][th]taman[/th][th]sekarang.

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]“To Be”Verb[/td] [td]Verb[/td][td]Preposition[/td][td]Noun[/td][td]Adverb of Time

(Adi and Ida are in the park now.)

4. [/th] [th]Agus[/th] [th]barusan[/th] [th]meninggalkan[/th] [th]PRnya[/th] [th]yang[/th] [th]baru saja[/th][th]ia[/th][th]kerjakan

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Adverb of Time[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Noun[/td][td]”To Be” Verb[/td][td]Adverb of Time[/td][td]Pronoun[/td][td]Verb

(Agus just left his homework that he had done just now.)

5. [/th] [th]Barusan[/th][th]Ibu[/th] [th]mengeluhkan[/th] [th]soal[/th] [th]Putri[/th][th]yang[/th][th]masih[/th][th]tidur[/th][th]sampai[/th][th]sekarang.

[/td] [td]Adverb of Time[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]”To Be” Verb[/td][td]Noun[/td][td]”To Be” Verb[/td][td]Verb[/td][td]”To Be” Verb[/td][td]Adverb of Time[/td][td]Adverb of Time

(Just now, mother is complaining about Putri who is still sleeping until now.)

6. [/th] [th]Ketua Prodi Sastra Inggris[/th][th]tengah[/th] [th]menguji[/th] [th]disertasi[/th] [th]beberapa[/th][th]mahasiswa[/th][th]sejak[/th][th]pagi ini.

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Adverb of Time[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Noun[/td][td]Determiner[/td][td]Noun[/td][td]Adverb of Time[/td][td]Adverb of Time

(The chairman of English Literature Program is testing dissertations of some students since this morning.)

3. Future Tenses

If you are talking about your plans to visit Bali next month, that means you are talking something in the future. If you are talking that you are starting a new job next week, that means you are talking something in the future. Future tenses explains your plans or something that probably, or possibly, will be happened in the future.

Talking about plans, are you going to visit somewhere later? Probably you need to learn how to have conversation when you are traveling. Go ahead and check our article of Indonesian Traveling Phrases for conversation examples, plus you can check nouns that might be useful in your traveling journey!

Here is a list of adverbs that determine future time!

Keterangan Waktu[/th] [th]Adverbs of Time

Besok[/td] [td]Tomorrow

Nanti[/td] [td]Later

Setelah[/td] [td]After

Minggu Depan[/td] [td]Next Week

Bulan Depan[/td] [td]Next Month

Tahun Depan[/td] [td]Next Year 

2 hari lagi*[/td] [td]2 days from now

3 hari lagi[/td] [td]3 days from now

2 minggu lagi*[/td] [td]2 weeks from now

3 minggu lagi*[/td] [td]3 weeks from now

2 bulan lagi*[/td] [td]2 months from now

3 bulan lagi*[/td] [td]3 months from now

2 tahun lagi*[/td] [td]2 years from now

3 tahun lagi*[/td] [td]3 years from now

*You can replace the numbers with other numbers. We have discussed about Indonesian numbers in Basic Indonesian Vocabularies and How to Tell Time in Indonesian so please check them out!

Here is a table of “To Be” Verb that can determine about Indonesian Tenses!

Kata Sifat[/th] [th]Adjectives

Akan[/td] [td]Will

Bakal (Informal)[/td] [td]Will

Bakalan (Informal)[/td] [td]Will

Ingin[/td] [td]Want

Now let’s see some examples where the adverbs and the “To Be” verbs are used to mention future time!

1. [/th] [th]Saya[/th] [th]akan[/th] [th]makan[/th] [th]kwetiaw[/th][th]untuk[/th][th]makan malam.

[/td] [td]Pronoun[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Noun[/td][td]”To Be” Verb[/td][td]dinner.

(I will eat kwetiaw for dinner.)

2. [/th] [th]Risma[/th] [th]berencana[/th] [th]untuk[/th] [th]pergi[/th][th]ke[/th][th]Makassar[/th][th]bulan depan.

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]”To Be” Verb[/td][td]Verb[/td][td]Preposition[/td][td]Noun[/td][td]Adverb of Time

(Risma is planning to go to Makassar next month.)

3. [/th] [th]Bunga[/th] [th]akan[/th] [th]olahraga[/th][th]besok pagi.

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]“To Be”Verb[/td] [td]Verb[/td][td]Adverb of Time

(Bunga will have exercise tomorrow morning.)

4. [/th] [th]Susi[/th] [th]ingin[/th] [th]menggunakan[/th] [th]baju pink[/th] [th]untuk[/th] [th]ke[/th][th]reuni sekolah[/th][th]nanti

[/td] [td]Noun[/td] [td]“To Be” Verb[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Noun[/td][td]”To Be” Verb[/td][td]Preposition[/td][td]Noun[/td][td]“To Be” Verb

(Susi wants to wear pink dress for school reunion later.)

5. [/th] [th]Setelah[/th][th]mencuci[/th] [th]piring,[/th] [th]Mawar[/th] [th]akan[/th][th]pergi[/th][th]ke[/th][th]Mall.

[/td] [td]Adverb of Time[/td] [td]Verb[/td] [td]Noun[/td][td]Noun[/td] [td]”To Be” Verb[/td][td]Verb[/td][td]preposition[/td][td]Adverb of Place

(After washing the dishes, Mawar will go to Mall.)

So, those are types of Indonesian Tenses according to time with examples! Not that hard right? Even in different tenses, the verbs aren’t changing, unlike English past tenses. Thank you so very much for joining us today! Don’t forget to share this article to your Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to help your friends to master Indonesian language! Stay tune in MasteringBahasa! Terima Kasih! Sampai jumpa lagi!