Is in Indonesian

As we implicitly mentioned in this post, is in Indonesian is optional. In fact, most of the time it is not used by Indonesian speakers. In today’s blog post, we will give you two definitions of “is” so your Indonesian sounds natural.

Is in Bahasa Indonesia can be translated into adalah.

Adalah is normally used when we have a phrase after the word. Have a look at the examples below.

Laki-laki yang duduk di sebelah sana adalah teman kuliah saya. (The guy who sits over there is my university friend)

Pak Rustaman adalah guru yang baik. (Mr. Rustaman is a good teacher)  

Bu Ade adalah orang yang sabar (Mrs. Ade is a patient person)

Pertanyaannya adalah kenapa dia datang ke tempat itu? (The question is why did he come to that place?)

Otherwise, the word is often omitted. A common mistake that we notice from Indonesian learners is that they use adalah the way they use “is” in English. For examples,

Saya adalah murid (I am a student)

Anita adalah cantik (Anita is beautiful)

Dia adalah sabar sekali (She is very patient)

Although above sentences are grammatically correct, they sound odd and unnatural. So it’s better to get rid of adalah completely.

Is in Indonesian can be “itu”

The word literally means that, but it is sometimes used the same way as is in English for short sentences. For examples:

Bali itu indah (Bali is beautiful)

Dia itu guru (He is a teacher)

Canggu itu di Bali (Canggu is in Bali)


For the rule of thumb, always omit “is” in Indonesian as it works most of the time. As you are exposed to the language, you will realize when Indonesians use adalah and itu. The more you hear them in contexts, the more likely you will use them spontaneously and naturally.

Selamat belajar – Happy learning!

By Jembatan Bahasa

Jembatan Bahasa is a professional and highly rated Indonesian language school based in Bali, Indonesia. Our teaching team is experienced and certified to teach Indonesian as a foreign language. Some of them have over eight years of teaching experience and have taught in a prestigious international school in Bali. Interested in learning Indonesian with us? WhatsApp us at +6282 145 950 737 or email at