Please Explain “Tidak” Not Vs. “Bukan” Not

Selamat tengah hari

At level one we shall subscribe to these two simple principles of negation in Malay.  I shall make this a topic of assessment in the final:

1. Tidak negate verbs

Abang tidak pulang ke sekolah.

Elder brother does not return to school

Bapa tidak baca suratkhabar pada hari ini.

Father does not read newspaper today.


2. Tidak negate adjective

Rumah saya ini tidak besar.
This house of mine is not big

The tree is not pretty inside the room.

Pokok tidak cantik di dalam bilik.


3. Bukan negate nouns.

Anita bukan kakak saudara saya.

Anita is not my elder cousin sister

Mary bukan guru Bahasa Melayu.

Mary is not a teacher of Malay

Tomato bukan buah kegemaran saya.

Tomato is not my favourite fruit.


Vocabulary:  gemar = like; kegemaran = favourite

We shall learn about contrast at level 2.

Terima kasih


Question from a student

1.      Ada ramai pelajar di kampus NUS.


2.  Ada seratus dua belas orang pelajar di dalam kelas Bahasa Melayu.


Why is it that we use ‘di’ in the first one and ‘di dalam’ in the second? 



Di = at, hence there are many students at the NUS campus

Di dalam = inside, hence there are 112 students inside the class of Malay language


3. Both ramai and banyak= many


is ramai for living things (e.g. ramai kawan), but banyak for non-living objects (e.g. banyak buku)?


Yes and No

Yes because your assumption is a common believe. So you are not wrong.

No because banyak can be used for anything including human and animals.

Eg.  a. Banyak orang suka makan limau

          Many people like to eat oranges

b. Ada banyak burung di luar tingkap

    There are many birds at the window

You should know that ramai originally means chaotic and noisy

Hence ramai is metaphorized to indicate many because

many people make a place noisy and chaotic e.g. wet market, pub, soccer viewers and circus




Cikgu 😛




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