Featured article photo: Padar, Indonesia by Killiam Pham
Saya / Aku = I
Both Saya and Aku mean I.
- Saya is used in polite and formal settings, whereas
- Aku is used in a more casual setting.
However, note that using Aku in the wrong settings can come off as rude and arrogant, so it's safest to use Saya instead.
Kamu / Anda = You
- Kamu is neutrally polite and is used to refer to "You" in most social settings.
- Anda is formally polite and is used only in formal situations, such as in TV interviews or promotional broadcasting. Don't use Anda in usual social settings unless you want to sound like a weird, walking, talking robot.
Dia = He / She
Indonesian is gender neutral when it comes to pronouns, so there are no differences between saying "He" and "She". When talking about the third person, the word Dia will suffice, whether referring to a man, a woman, or everything in between.
Kami / Kita = We
This one is a little trickier. Both Kami and Kita mean we, and they can be used in both formal and informal settings.
Pay attention to the difference between these two words:
- Kami = We (excluding the person you are talking to)
- Kita = We (including the person you are talking to)
Kami sudah makan.
= We (excluding you) have eaten.
Kita sudah makan.
= We (including you) have eaten.
Mereka = They
Mereka means "They" and it can be used in all settings, formal and informal.
Ini / Itu = It
There is no exact Indonesian equivalent for the word "It". When referring to animals or inanimate objects, whether singular or plural, the word Ini and Itu are used, which correspondingly mean "This / These" and "That / Those".
So that's good news, instead of learning 5 corresponding words to "It, This, These, That, Those", you only need to learn 2: Ini and Itu.
Ini = This / These
The word Ini means "This" or "These". It doesn't matter whether you are referring to a singular or plural object(s), refer to whatever that's physically close to you as Ini.
Example: Ini adalah kucing. (It / This is a cat.)
Itu = That / Those
When referring to a singular or plural object(s) that are physically far from you, use the word Itu.
Example: Itu adalah anjing. (It / That is a dog.)