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Become A Pro At Using Indonesian Adverbs

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Nobody really sets out to memorize a bunch of adverbs.

It might even be the least exciting part of speech – but there must be a reason we learn them! The reason is, if you ever want to describe something with any kind of detail, you’re going to need adverbs. Indonesian adverbs are easy, and for every one you memorize, you’ll open up a world of language possibilities.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Indonesian Table of Contents
  1. How Do You Do It?
  2. Numbers and Amounts
  3. Why Did You Do It?
  4. How Often And When?
  5. Showing Tense
  6. A Lot Or A Little?
  7. Like This or Like That?
  8. Where Did You Put it?
  9. How Likely Is It?
  10. Conclusion

1. How Do You Do It?

Question Mark on Chalk Board

This is the classic adverb format – you modify a verb to explain how you’re doing that verb. Indonesian has two ways to do this, most of the time. You can either use an Indonesian adverb, or the word dengan “with” with the modifying word. You can also get away with using the adjective as an adverb, chances are your Indonesian audience will understand you anyway.

1- hati-hati – carefully

Jawablah hati-hati.

Answer carefully.

2- pelan-pelan – slowly

Jangan menulis pelan-pelan. (or dengan perlahan)

Don’t write slowly.

3- cepat-cepat – quickly

Dia cepat-cepat menghabiskan makanannya.

She quickly finished her food.

4- dengan baik – well


Cinta bekerja dengan baik di sini.

Cinta works well here.

5- dengan sempurnaperfectly

Saya tidak bisa menyetir dengan sempurna.

I can’t drive perfectly.

6- dengan indah – beautifully

Bapak bisa menulis dengan indah.

You, sir, can write beautifully.

7- dengan serius – seriously

Mahasiswa belajar dengan serius.

Students study seriously.

8- dengan mudah — easily

Kami memang dengan mudah.
We won easily.

9- dengan susah payah – with difficulty

Aku menyelesaikan pekerjaaanku dengan susah payah.

I finished my work with difficulty.

10- dengan sembarangan – carelessly

Dia meletakkan barang-barangnya di lantai dengan sembarangan.
He put his stuff on the floor carelessly.

11- tanpa sadar – unknowingly

Dia ditipu tanpa sadar.
She was tricked unknowingly.

12- dengan tergesa-gesa – hastily

Jangan memasak tergesa-gesa.
Do not cook hastily.

13- dengan rata (adj) – equally

Kami dibayar dengan rata.
We are paid equally.

14- dengan samar-samar – vaguely

Hal itu dideskripsikan kepadaku dengan samar-samar.
It was described to me vaguely.

15- dengan jujur – truthfully

Mengapa kamu tidak mengakui dengan jujur?
Why won’t you admit it truthfully?

16- dengan lancar – smoothly

Semuanya akan berjalan dengan lancar.
Everything’s going to go smoothly.

17- dengan senang – happily

Saya membersihkan dengan senang.
I happily clean up.

18- dengan fasih – fluently

Aku bisa berbicara bahasa Jepang dengan fasih.
I can speak Japanese fluently.

19- dengan kasar – rudely

Dia mengambil kertas dari tanganku dengan kasar.
She took the paper from my hand rudely.

20- dengan sabar — patiently

Ibu menunggu jawaban dariku dengan sabar.
Mother patiently waits for my answer.

21- dengan gelisah — anxiously

Pengacara itu mengetukkan penanya dengan gelisah.
The lawyer is tapping his pen anxiously.

2. Numbers and Amounts

Top Verbs

If the first category was “classic adverbs,” then this part should help you describe amounts and degrees to which things happen. That’s just as important!

1- sedikit – a bit

Kata-katanya membuat ayahnya sedikit tersinggung.
His words made the father feel a bit irritated.

2- banyak – a lot

Ini terlalu banyak.
This is a lot.

3- beberapa – some

Beberapa toko di mal ini sudah tutup.
Some shops in this shopping mall are closed.

4- lebih banyak – more

Kamu harus lebih banyak berolahraga. 
You have to exercise more.

5- kurang – not enough, less

Saya kurang tidur semalam.
I did not have enough sleep last night.

6- terlalu – too much

Saya terlalu banyak makan semalam.
I ate too much last night.

7- kurang lebih – more or less

Saya kurang lebih mengerti maksudmu.

I more or less understand what you mean.

8- Sekurangnya – at least

Sekurangnya telepon ibumu sebulan sekali.
At least call your mom once a month.

9- hampir – almost

Adi berumur hampir tiga belas.
Adi is almost thirteen.

10- bersama – together

Kami main sepak bola bersama.
We play football together.

11- sendiri – alone

Aku suka menonton film sendiri.
I like to watch movies alone.

12- cukup – well enough

Dia cukup pintar.
She’s pretty smart.

13- Selain – apart from

Selain membunuh, mencuri juga bisa dihukum.
Apart from murder, theft can also be punished.

14- terlepas dari – besides

Terlepas dari siapa dia, saya tidak percaya dia.
It doesn’t matter who he is, I don’t believe him.

15- hanya – only

Tiketnya hanya tersisa dua.
There are only two tickets left.

16- makin – get to become

Ibu makin khawatir.
Mother is becoming more worried.

3. Why Did You Do It?

More Essential Verbs

In Indonesian, what we know of as “conjunctions” can also fit the grammatical category of adverbs. Several of these are adverbial phrases instead of just one word.

1- jadi – therefore

Dia mau masak, jadi saya beli wortel.
She wants to cook, so I bought carrots.

2- bagaimanapun – however

Bagaimanapun, saya tidak akan lupa.
In any case, I won’t forget.

3- akan tetapi – however

Anda sudah masuk ke rumah, akan tetapi, dia mau Anda pergi.
You’ve already entered the house, however, he wants you to leave.

4- kalau-kalau – in case of

Pakai jas hujan dalam kasus hujan.
Wear a poncho in case of rain.

5- karena – because

Aku mencintaimu karena kamu cantik.
I love you because you’re beautiful.

6- sehingga – to the point that

Mohon untuk membersihkan sehingga bersih.
Please clean this until it’s sparkling.

7- untuk – in order to

Saya menggunakan pisau untuk memotong.
I use a knife in order to cut.

8- umumnya – generally

Anak-anak umumnya tidak punya pekerjaan.
Children generally don’t have jobs.

4. How Often And When?

Woman Looking at Watch

Adverbs of time are some of the most important and by far the most commonly used. Just think of when you’re talking to a delivery driver and you want to say “Are you coming now?” They’ll probably answer “Sorry, I’ll be there soon!”

1- sekarang – now

Saya mau pergi sekarang.
I want to leave now.

2- nanti – later

Jangan melakukannya nanti.
Don’t do it later.

3- dulu – before

Aku duduk dulu.
I’ll sit down first.

4- belum – not yet

Kita belum berkenalan.
We don’t know each other yet.

5- baru – recently

Saya baru datang di Amerika.
I just recently arrived in America.

6- jarang – rarely

Dia jarang makan yang pedas.
He rarely eats spicy things.

7- sering – often

Kamu sering lupa namaku.
You often forget my name.

8- sebentar – a moment

Aku tidur sebentar.
I’ll sleep for a moment.

9- biasanya – usually

Joko biasanya datang jam 11.
Joko usually comes at 11.

10- tidak pernah – never before

Kamu tidak pernah ke Solo?
You’ve never before been to Solo?

11- satu kali  – once

Hanya ke sana satu kali.
Only been there one time.

12- dua kali – twice

Aku sudah bilang dua kali.
I’ve already said it twice.

13- lagi – again

Aku tidak akan bilang lagi.
I’m not going to say it again.

14- sekali seminggu – once a week

Saya main tenis sekali seminggu.
I play tennis once a week.

15- constantly – terus-menerus

Istrinya terus-menerus belajar bahasa Spanyol.
My wife constantly studies Spanish.

16- kadangkala – sometimes

Monyet kadangkala masuk ke rumahku.
Monkeys sometimes come into my house.

17- kadang-kadang – occasionally

Aku kadang-kadang lupa kata-katanya dalam bahasa Inggris.
I occasionally forget the English words.

18- angin-anginan – inconsistently

Mengapa kamu membuat peraturan angin-anginan?
Why are you inconsistently making rules?

19- silam – ago

Itu sudah beberapa tahun silam.
That was several years ago.

20- tadi pagi – this morning

Tadi pagi ada kecelakaan di dekat stasiun kereta.
This morning there was an accident near the railway station.

21- tadi siang – this afternoon

Webinar itu sudah selesai tadi siang.
The webinar was over this afternoon.

22- kemarin – yesterday

Dia dibawa ke rumah sakit kemarin.
He was hospitalized yesterday.

23- besok – tomorrow

Kita besok akan memerlukan mobil.
We will be needing a car tomorrow.

24- hari ini – today

Hari ini kita jalan kaki saja.
Let’s just walk today.

25- … depan – next …

Tahun depan saya tidak akan tinggal di sini lagi.
Next year I will not be living here anymore.

5. Showing Tense

Indonesian doesn’t mark its verbs for tense. Instead, it uses adverbs placed in front of the verb to give a sense of time.

1- sudah – already

Kamu sudah tinggal di Jakarta?
You already live in Jakarta?

2- tadi – before now, some time in near past

Saya tadi lupa mau memberikan ini.
(I forgot) I was going to give you this.

3- akan – will, going to

Aku akan menikmati kue itu.
I’m going to enjoy this cake.

4- telah – already 

Pertunjukkan itu telah berlangsung 5 menit yang lalu.
The show started 5 minutes ago.

5- sedang – in progress

Mereka sedang membaca buku.
They’re reading books.

6- masih – still

Dia masih mencintainya.
She still loves him.

7- baru saja – just now

Dia baru saja pergi.
He left just now.

6. A Lot Or A Little?

Lots and Lots of Penguins

These are known as “intensifiers,” and they’re good companions to the ones in the “numbers and amounts” section from earlier.

1- sangat – very

Kelasnya sangat membosankan.
The class is very boring.

2- amat – very

Kelasnya membosankan amat.
The class is very boring.

3- banget – very 

Makanan Korea enak banget!
Korean food is so tasty!

4- benar-benar – truly, really

Saya benar-benar tidak mau mendorongmu.
I really don’t want to push you.

5- agak – rather

Soal matematika itu agak sulit.
That math problem is rather difficult.

6- lumayan – relatively

Mebel di sini lumayan murah.
Furniture here is relatively cheap.

7- kira-kira – roughly

Kira-kira dua ratus orang datang.
Roughly two hundred people arrived.

8- sekitar – approximately

Sekitar 34% orang Indonesia merokok.
Approximately 34% of Indonesians smoke.

7. Like This or Like That?

Here’s a secret: these five words make up a huge proportion of informal Indonesian. If you get the chance to watch Indonesians chat, try to count off all the times they say these phrases. The cultural component is huge, though, so you can’t just go in saying these words at random.

1- begini – like this

Kalau begini, harus hati-hati.
If the situation is like this, you have to be careful.

2- seperti ini – in this way

Potong rambut seperti ini.
Cut hair in this way.

3- begitu – like that

Jadi, begitu sih.
Well, it’s about like that.

4- seperti itu – in that way

Jangan lari seperti itu.
Don’t run in that way.

5- memang – indeed

Ini memang yang paling penting.
This is indeed what is most important.

8. Where Did You Put it?

Man Carrying Boxes into House

Locational adverbs are often overlooked but are of course extremely helpful whenever describing directions or distances. These adverbs are usually used with prepositions di, ke, and dari

1- di sini – here

Ada apa di sini?
What’s here?

2- di sana – there

Letakkan di sana.
Put it there.

3- ke luar negeri – abroad

Dia akan pergi ke luar negeri tahun depan.
She’s going to go abroad next year.

4- di luar negeri – abroad

Dia sedang belajar di luar negeri.
She is studying abroad.

5- di dekat sini – nearby

Apakah ada hotel bintang tiga di dekat sini?
Are there three star hotels nearby?

6- di mana-mana – everywhere

Di mana-mana ada orang yang mau dapat uang.
There are people everywhere who want to get money.

9. How Likely Is It?

Indonesians are hesitant to give direct answers when they’re even a little bit unsure. Get some practice with these!

1- Sebenarnya – actually

Sebenarnya, aku sudah lulus.
Actually, I already graduated.

2- mungkin – maybe

Mungkin kamu bisa belajar di UNY.
Maybe you can study at UNY.

3- barangkali – possibly

Barangkali ada sesuatu di dalam.
There might be something inside.

4- mungkin – probably

Ini mungkin narkoba.
These are probably drugs.

5- semoga – hopefully

Semoga kami bisa menjadi teman.
Hopefully we can become friends.

6- jangan-jangan – could it be

Jangan-jangan dia terjebak di kemacetan.
Could it be that she is stuck in a traffic jam?

7- mesti – definitely

Ini mesti milik Ibu.
This must belong to you.

8- mudah-mudahan – hopefully

Mudah-mudahan dia bisa datang.
Hopefully she can make it.

9- boleh – may

Kalau sudah mandi, kamu boleh menonton TV.
If you have already taken a shower, you can watch the TV. 

10- bukan – not (followed by nouns and other adverbs)

Kamu bukan anak-anak lagi.
You’re not a child anymore.

11- tidak – not (followed by verbs and adjectives)

Di luar tidak hujan.
It is not raining outside.

12- jangan – don’t (expressing disapproval)

Jangan duduk di lantai.
Don’t sit on the floor.

10. Conclusion

Nice job! These words will no doubt serve you well.

The absolute best way for you to review these adverbs is to wait a day or so and read through the list and example sentences again, out loud if you can. That’ll really lock the words in your memory.

For more fantastic lessons, sign up today with IndonesianPod101.com and check out more grammar and vocabulary resources right from your computer or phone! There’s never been a better or easier way to learn Indonesian.

And in the meantime, if you have any questions about Indonesian adverbs, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section. We’re always glad to help you out!

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