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"A community is important."

Terjemahan:Sebuah komunitas itu penting.

June 4, 2016

8 Komentar

  • 1537

English speaker here: what does the "itu" mean here when there is already "sebuah"? Can you say "Sebuah komunitas penting"? Thanks! :)


Indonesians use "itu" in certain places where you use the "to be". For example:

Sugar is sweet = gula itu manis (gula rasanya manis is an alternative, literally "sugar tastes sweet")

In this context, "itu" does not mean "that" or "the".

Why not use "gula manis"? Well because it will translate to "sweet sugar". So due to the lack of the "to be" verb in Indonesian, we have to use other constructs to express it.

  • 1537

Thanks bakpao, very informative! Can itu be used everywhere for the form "is + adjective" then? E.g. Dia itu senang? And how do you tell the "itu" in "Gula itu manis" means "is" rather than "that" (e.g. that sugar is sweet)?


"Dia itu senang" can mean "he is happy" but I think the meaning is closer to "he is actually happy", as if to say someone who doesn't look happy is actually happy. To say a neutral "he is happy" in Indonesian, we just say "dia senang". So you need to be careful with the use of word "itu".

I tried to think of the rules but unfortunately I couldn't find any proper ones that can help learners. So hopefully either someone who knows more can chime in or you become good enough in Indonesian to be able to tell which is which.

I actually forgot to answer a question on your first post:

  • Sebuah komunitas penting = an important community
  • Sebuah komunitas itu penting = a community is important

  • 1537

Ah, I see, that makes sense... hmm, so does skipping itu only work with pronouns (e.g. saya, dia, kami)? And also, can 'ini' or 'tersebut' ever be used to mean 'is' too, or is it only 'itu'?


I think skipping itu works for all pronouns, can't think of any that won't work. For example:

  • Kami senang = we are happy
  • Mereka marah = they are angry
  • Dia cepat = he's fast

"Ini" and "tersebut" don't work the same way like "itu". For example:

  • Sebuah komunitas itu penting = a community is important
  • Sebuah komunitas ini penting = sounds weird, but if we translate it anyway, it means "this one community is important". More natural is "komunitas ini penting".

Another problem with "itu" and Indonesian's lack of "to be", sentences like this is ambiguous: "komputer itu berguna". It can mean either "computer is useful" or "that computer is useful". If we say "komputer berguna", it means "useful computer".

So in Indonesian, we usually make it more verbose in order to increase clarity, for example: "komputer berguna dalam kehidupan kita sehari-hari", which translates to "computer is useful in our daily life".


(Maybe a ) tip for non Indonesian: I think, in English, it's like saying "a community, it's important". This should help us to remember.

Just another way to say it.

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