Featured article photo: Indonesia by Onisam (CC0 Licensed)
One of the few things that pulls people into learning Indonesian is that it is supposedly a simple language with no verb conjugations. This is true to some extent—there is no need to conjugate verbs into past or future tenses. So how would one talk about the future?
The simplest way to describe an action that will be done is by adding the word akan in front of a verb. The word akan means 'will'. For example:
- Dia akan tidur.
'He will sleep.'
- Saya akan minum teh.
'I will drink the tea.'
Notice how the word tidur 'slept' and minum 'drink' are not conjugated at all. The word akan makes all the difference here. In present tense, these are how the sentences will look like:
- Dia tidur.
- Saya minum teh.
'I drink tea.'
2. Use Both Akan and the Time Words
The second way to talk about the future in Indonesian is to use both akan and the time words to specify the time of when something is expected to happen. This is similar to English, where you simply add the word 'will' and the time when something is expected to happen. For example:
- Dia akan tidur besok.
'He/She slept yesterday.'
- Saya akan minum teh besok pagi.
'I drank tea this morning.'
- Kamu akan pergi ke mana minggu depan?
'Where will you go next week?'
So what this means is that, other than the word akan, you only have to learn words that specify time like 'yesterday, this morning, last week' to talk about the past in Indonesian. Convenient, right?
Let's go through some of those words now.
- Tomorrow = Besok
- Later this morning = Nanti pagi ini
- Later this afternoon = Nanti siang ini
- Later this evening / Later tonight = Nanti malam ini
- 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
e.g. Two days later = Dua hari ke depan
- ... nights later = ... malam ke depan
e.g. Three nights later = Tiga malam ke depan
- ... weeks later = ... minggu ke depan
- ... months later = ... bulan ke depan
- ... years later = ... tahun ke depan
Want More Practice in Indonesian?
- IndonesianPod101 offers audio and video lessons with native speakers to help you learn Indonesian effectively from Beginner, Upper Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels to practice on listening, vocabulary lists, and grammar pointers to fast track your goal in becoming a pro in Indonesian!
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