1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Indonesian
  4. >
  5. "Pensil dia sepuluh."

"Pensil dia sepuluh."

Translation:She has ten pencils.

August 16, 2018



Report: The English sentence is unnatural or has an error.


It didn't give that option in the "report" section.


It's there for me. Second option from the bottom.

Also note that they're not exclusive checkboxes - most of the time with the unnatural English ones, you'll have put a better translation and been marked "wrong" - so you can tick both the "unnatural English" box, and also the "my answer should be accepted" box.


This is grammatically correct, but we would be far more likely to say, “He has ten pencils.”


This is grammatically correct, but we would be far more likely to say, “He has ten pencils.”

Yes, you're right.
“He has ten pencils.” would sound more natural.

On the other side, if you have to translate the English sentence “He has ten pencils.”, then it would be something like this :

“He has ten pencils.”
"Dia punya sepuluh pensil"


So, which of the two sentences would be more common in Indonesian?


It depends on the context.
This sentence sounds like an answer to a question.

Try to imagine the following context/questions :

Dia punya berapa pensil ?
Dia punya sepuluh pensil.
Berapa banyak pensil dia ?
Pensil dia sepuluh.

It depends on the question and how the question is phrased.

BTW, from which skill is this question ?
Possesives ? Numbers ?


I think it is Possessives. I am just past the first test-out-of-a-bunch-of-lessons marker and I have not had a lesson on numbers yet.


I think it is Possessives.

Yes, it makes much more sense now.
This sentence is about the use of "dia" as a possessive.
3rd person singular form.


And actually, I would tend to think of an exercise like this as explaining to English-speakers how to express the "to have" construction in Indonesian using possessives, as one might use a dative in Turkish or Hungarian. Of course, Turkish also uses precisely this sort of possessive construction to express "He has ten pencils" as well.


Is this like in French/Spanish when you are asked by a waiter how many are you???


Yes, actually-- I had not considered it that way. It works that way in English, too. Good observation! :D


Yes, it's a bit like that.

Regarding how well it works in English, it still sounds a bit unnatural to my ear like that, even if asked by a waiter.

You'd be much more likely to hear "How many of you are there?", "How many are in your party/group?" or something like that. "How many are with you?" is the closest to that wording that actually sounds entirely natural; but that changes the meaning a bit, and creates potential ambiguity in the counting (whether you include yourself) - so I think they generally tend to avoid phrasing it like that.


So, which of the two sentences would be more common in Indonesian?

You can use both, depending upon context.
But I prefer your sentence.


I meant in Indonesian - can you tell us whether it would be more likely to hear “pensil dia supuluh” or “dia punya supuluh pensil”? Or are they both equally common? Thanks.


My wife says "Pensil dia sepuluh" is fine, but is maybe a little strange. "Pensil dia ada sepuluh" would be better and more common; and "Dia punya sepuluh pensil" would be slightly more common than that.


My Indonesian wife agrees with what Rick said above regarding different contexts/questions.

e.g.: "Dia punya berapa pensil ? Dia punya sepuluh pensil. Berapa banyak pensil dia ? Pensil dia sepuluh. "


Report: The English sentence is unnatural or has an error.


Once again, the English side of this needs to be cleaned up, so that the intended meaning in the target language is clear. I'm sure the BI is perfectly OK, but we usually don't keep track of a pencil's age in English. ;-)


Same as the other one. Quantities in English cannot be employed as subject-adjectives, unlike Indonesian. This is better translated as "his ten pencils", which cannot be a full sentence in English (but works in BI).

"He has ten pencils", or "Dia punya sepuluh pensil" is how English speakers prefer to say it.


Wouldn't "his ten pencils" be "pensil sepuluh dia"?


It would be "sepuluh pensil dia"


Quantities in English cannot be employed as subject-adjectives, unlike Indonesian.

This is not true. The sentence is grammatically correct, and the construction would look fine in certain literary contexts; it is simply not a common way of expressing the idea of having ten of something in most common circumstances.


'How much time has your commute?" That is grammatically acceptable, but an English speaker would not say it in place of "How long is your commute?" What kind of literary context would "his pencils are ten" look fine in? If you are using that construction to fit the meter in a poem, for instance. Then I would say your poem needs work.


What kind of literary context would "his pencils are ten" look fine in?

The Bible (Authorised Version), for example, is full of these types of constructions. E.g.:

Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six (Ezra 2:66)

And their pillars were four, and their sockets of brass four (Exodus 38:19)

And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty [..] (1 Chronicles 20:6)

The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece [..] (Numbers 7:86)

And the little chambers of the gate eastward were three on this side, and three on that side (Ezekiel 40:10)

These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. (Daniel 7:17)

The third to Zaccur, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve. (1 Chronicles 25:10)

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred (1 Chronicles 12:32)

All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. (1 Chronicles 9:22)

All the sons of Judah were five. (1 Chronicles 2:4)

I'm going to stop there, but there are plenty more examples from this single source. There is certainly nothing grammatically wrong with employing quantities as adjectives seperated by a copula; here is a much later example from Sir Walter Scott:

while I was in the very earliest bloom, scarcely older than yourself, the famous Passage of Arms at Haflinghem was held in my honour, the challengers were four, the assailants so many as twelve. (Quentin Durward, Ch. 14)

I'm not arguing that there aren't good reasons for re-writing the English sentence above to make it sound rather more colloquial, but it really isn't the case that there is anything grammatically wrong with it as it stands. No doubt the contributors chose this construction in English to emphasise the word-order in Indonesian.


The sentence structure in many translations of the bible are unquestionably unnatural to a native speaker. That they are intentionally unnatural doesn't alter the fact.


Only unnatural to a modern native speaker of English! But we really should stick to the 21st Century English rather than that of the 17thC or earlier.


There's the old-fashioned construction "are ten in number" - that's a context in which it's fine (if a little archaic, and requiring additional words).

I think there's another old poetic style that goes like "his something something and his fingers ten" - it's possible something like this could work as a variation of that.

I can't think of any specific examples of just "something are ten" on it's own referring to quantity; so I'm somewhat dubious about that being acceptable on its own; but it wouldn't surprise me if it was an old-fashioned literary style at some point.


I read a lot of older English literature, and, like you, I don't really have any memory of "his X are ten." It does sound like bad, pseudo-archaic translatorese of the sort one might see in translations of Greek or Persian from the turn of the 20c, but even there, it is odd. I am sure I have seen things along the order of "how many were his X" or possibly even "many were his X," but with a specific number, I just don't know. In any case, I would want anyone taking this course whose first language was not English to know that this sentence would be not only odd but unacceptably vague to most English-speakers. The other thing I wanted to know was whether this was a typical way to talk about having a particular number of things in Bahasa Indonesia, and apparently it is.


This is not correct English. "He has ten pencils" is.


This English translation is incorrect. We would say:"he has ten pencils"


I'm still confused by what the intended meaning is here.

Is it "His pencils are ten in number" - that is "he has ten pencils"
"His pencils are ten (years old)"?

I think it's the former, but is the latter also a valid interpretation or not?

The normal English understanding of "His pencils are ten" would be referring to age, although it would be most unusual to say such a thing about pencils. Even if "His pencils are ten" is a grammatically correct translation, I think it might semantically be incorrect.

Edit: from what I've learnt since, I'm confident that the Bahasa here can refer only to quantity, not age - and thus the suggested "correct" answer is basically wrong.


You are asking for an English translation of this, no native English speaker would say, 'his pencils are ten'. He has ten pencils has the same meaning.


In English you would say. He has ten pencils


shouldn't it be "he has ten pencils"?


Well happy birthday to his pencils!


Haha. That's how most people would read the supposedly "correct" translation, yes. That's not what the Bahasa means, though.


Agree with the above, given it is an unnatural phrasing in English, it might be better to use a different type of phrase to help the Possessive section eg ‘his pencil is red’


This is not English. He has ten pencils, but not his pencils are ten.


"She has ten pencils." or "Dia punya sepuluh pensil" should be the formal way to say the sentence. As indonesian, i would also translate it to "his/her pencils are ten." because of its informality.


As indonesian, i would also translate it to "his/her pencils are ten." because of its informality.

Iya, memang begitu....

That was the original translation.
But as you can see (look at the comments), people freak out when it's translated literally.
We've even received hate comments about this translation.
People are focused on the English side of the sentence, and not on the Indonesian sentence.

I think it's better to remove this sentence (and other sentences with a similar structure) from the course.

Anyway...sorry for the rant...and thank you for your understanding.

Makasih Mas.


Yeah i think so too. The sentence doesn't have to be removed, maybe change it a bit to the formal translation.

Sama-sama masbro.

Kalo mau belajar bahasa indonesia, juga harus belajar sudut pandang bahasa kita juga. Hei kalian para pelajar bahasa! Selamat Belajar!


The suggested correct answer at the top of this comments thread seems to have updated to the correct English sentence now, so if that's the same when actually answering the question for real, then it should be fine now.

It doesn't need to be removed. It's actually quite important to include some sentences that don't just translate word-for-word so that we can understand how the words are used differently. Ideally, though, those sorts of sentences would be better off being slightly delayed so we fully learn the basic structure first before having to deal with the things that don't translate quite as literally. I'm sure from a native Indonesian speaker's perspective, this is a simple sentence, but as an English speaker learning Bahasa, sentences where the verb has to be implied is a bit more advanced and should be saved for later (if that's possible within the way Duolingo works?)


I'm confused in the discussion people say it's wrong, google translate says its wrong, does this mean the whole sentence in Indonesian is also wrong, because it translates to "pencils he is ten", is it perhaps supposed to be "dia punya sepuluh pensil" to match the English sentence ? Please help I'm confused


Bahasa Indonesia is not wrong, the google translate is the one wrong. It supposed to be "he has ten pencils" not pencils he is ten.


so saying pensil dia sepuluh = he has ten pencils ? isn't dia punya sepuluh pensil better to say ?


"better to say" is very subjective. From what I've understood, they're both equally understood in Bahasa; the "punya" is optional. If it helps you, include the "punya", but if you were trying to be as concise as possible, technically the version without would be "better".

  • 1040

"Pensil dia sepuluh"/"Pensilnya sepuluh" has a variety of English translations:

  • She has ten pencils.
  • He has ten pencils.
  • It has ten pencils.
  • Her pencils are ten.
  • His pencils are ten.
  • Its pencils are ten.


Could this be "her ten pencils" as well?


Why doesn't "there are ten of his pencils" work?


I can't think of any reason it shouldn't. It's a slightly less common way of phrasing it, so they probably just didn't think of it. I think another time to use "Report" > "My answer should be accepted".


Why does it say the correct answer is "He d ten pencils."


10 pencils but only 20 cats.


Why can't this be "He has ten pencils"


Is there a difference between "He' & "She" in this sentence?


No, it should work either way.


Ahousl this be punya for has?


That works as well. In English, we'd always use "has", but in Bahasa, there's more than one way to say it.


Hello my name is ichaa


How about translating it as "Your cats are twenty in number"? If you answer to the question "How old are you?" you can answer "I'm twenty" without always saying "years old"... so it would just feel like you have to write the full sentence out in English while in Indonesian you didn't... I understand that this structure IS used and even popular in Indonesian, so I don't have a problem in teaching it, and I can understand that the contributors didn't want to simply translate to "You have 20 cats", because that would be "Kamu punya dua puluh kucing"... but with the translation of "Your cats are twenty in number" you would have your cake and you could eat it, too! What do you guys think?


That's a reasonable translation, if a little old-fashioned. It's not currently accepted, but should be.

I don't think it should be made the only translation though. "He/she has ten pencils" (or in your case, "you have 20 cats") would overwhelmingly be the most common translation, and should also be accepted.

I don't think your point that "have" = "punya" is really important here. There doesn't have to be a one-to-one conversion; we can accept that there is more than one way to say something in Bahasa and still be translatable to the same English sentence.


Whats with the His/her items are numbers sentence structure in english. shouldnt it be He has number items?


Yes. The course is still in Beta, so there's plenty of issues like this. I think it's happened because most of the course contributors are native Indonesian speakers rather than native English speakers, so the English versions of things are often a little unnatural.

What they're doing is using the number like an adjective. That makes a perfectly fine sentence in Bahasa, but doesn't work for modern English.

These should be translated as "He/she has (number) (item(s))" in English, yes. (or similar structures).


WTF! Sometimes it accepts 10, other times it must be ten. I am sooo losing interest in this app.


Go home, Duo. You are drunk.

(English sentence makes no sense.) (Did you mean, "He has ten pencils?")

// EDIT: Actually, I take this back. "His pencils are ten" does make sense in the same context as answering, "We are ten" to the question, "How many are you?" or "How many in your group?"

This is a correct, though rather florid, English sentence. It just seems odd to apply it to inanimate objects. It may also be a facet of Indonesian that translates strangely.


Dia sepuluh pensils?


Not quite sure what you're asking?

First thing to point out; you've added an "s" - Indonesian plurals don't work like that.

Second thing: I think your word order is off. Putting "dia" at the start, to the best of my understanding, would act to imply including the verb "to be" (ada). Maybe that's intentional and you're trying to say "He is ten pencils", of course...


English solution is uncommon not a good translation


it's not pensil how to say it is penCil


The English spelling is "pencil", yes, but in Indonesian, it's normally spelled as "pensil". That's not a mistake, it's how it fits into the spelling system. If written the English way in Indonesian text, it looks like it actually means "secluded / isolated", and I guess would be pronounced the way an English speaker would read "pencheel"


Grammatically, let's look at the subject view

He has ten pencils. The subject is "He" and

His pencils is ten. The subject is "His pencils"

So, I think the right translation becomes

Pensil dia sepuluh = Pensilnya sepuluh = His pencils is ten


She has ten pencils = Dia punya sepuluh pensil


Another fruitcake Duolingo sentence -- let's just leave it at that.

Learn Indonesian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.