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Future Tense in Indonesian

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One way to express the future tense in English is by using the word 'will' + verb. In Indonesian, the equivalent to 'will' is akan.

Future Tense in Indonesian
A photo of Loloan in North Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by Koes nadi (Unsplash License)

Using Akan

Like English, where all that’s needed to convey a future action is by using the word 'will' + verb, in Indonesian, it’s pretty much the same thing where you use the word akan + verb. The word akan essentially means ‘will’ in English. For example:

  • Dia akan makan.
    = He will eat.
  • Saya akan minum teh.
    = I will drink tea.

Notice how the word makan (eat) and minum (drink) are not conjugated at all. The word akan makes all the difference here. In the present tense, these are how the two sentences will look like:

  • Dia makan roti.
    = He eats bread.
  • Saya minum teh.
    = I drink tea.

Using Both Akan and Time Words

A more time-specific way to talk about the future in Indonesian is to use both akan and words to specify the time of when something is expected to happen. This is also similar to English, where you add the word ‘will’ and the time when something is expected to happen. For example:

  • Dia akan makan besok.
    = He/She will eat tomorrow.
  • Saya akan minum teh besok pagi.
    = I will drink tea tomorrow morning.
  • Kamu akan pergi ke mana minggu depan?
    'Where will you go next week?'

In summary, to express the future in Indonesian, you can use the word akan and words that specify the time.

Let's go through some of these words that specify a time in the future:

  • Tomorrow = Besok
  • Tomorrow morning = Besok pagi
  • Tomorrow afternoon = Besok siang
  • Tomorrow evening / Tomorrow night = Besok malam
  • Next week = Minggu depan
  • Next month = Bulan depan
  • Next year = Tahun depan
  • ... seconds later = ... detik ke depan
  • ... minutes later = ... menit ke depan
  • ... hours later = ... jam ke depan
  • ... days later = ... hari ke depan
  • ... nights later = ... malam ke depan
  • ... weeks later = ... minggu ke depan
  • ... months later = ... bulan ke depan
  • ... years later = ... tahun ke depan
  • Later this morning = Nanti pagi ini
  • Later this afternoon = Nanti siang ini
  • Later this evening / Later tonight = Nanti malam ini

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