"Open the box!"

Translation:Buka kotak itu!

October 30, 2018



With command words, what does it mean to add the suffix "lah"? Can it be used like "please" in English (so, for this sentence, "bukalah kotak itu" would be like saying "please open that box"?

e.g. "Bukalah", "Dengarlah", "Biarlah", "Cobalah", etc.

October 30, 2018


"lah" is used to put extra emphasis.
It's not obligatory, it's optional.

When it's used with command words, it's often said that it functions as a "softener", to soften the command, and therefore it's sometimes translated as "please".
But I think that's not correct.
"lah" can make an imperative stronger rather than softer.
It depends on the context (and intonation when used in spoken language).

"lah" is also used in non-imperative sentences.
It's used for extra emphasis and when the word that it's attached to, is in a different (unusual) position in the sentence.
(Different compared to the normal word order in a sentence).
Like this :

1) Saya kaget ketika saya melihat Tono tanpa celana di toko buku.
2) Kagetlah saya ketika saya melihat Tono tanpa celana di toko buku.
3) I was shocked/surprised when I saw Tono without trousers in the bookshop.
4) Padahal dia baru membeli celana baru.
5) Itulah yang benar-benar aneh.
6) Even though he just bought new trousers, that is what is truly strange.

The first sentence has the normal word order (Subject-Predicate) (Saya kaget).
In the second sentence, the predicate precedes the subject (that's unusual).
"lah" is attached to the the predicate for extra emphasis.
The English translation is probably the same for 1) and 2).
In the fifth sentence, "lah" is used for extra emphasis, referring to what happened before.
It's also optional here, but it sounds good in this sequence of sentences

So, there is not a real good translation for this particle.

October 30, 2018


That's an amazing explanation, thank you.

In my head, I just assumed that when "lah" is attached to "itu"/"ia"/"saya"/etc (like in sentence 5), it was just compounding with "adalah" so "itu adalah" becomes "itulah".

But I've just been trying to infer meaning from sentences to get the gist of it, so it's not always correct or making any real sense.

Indonesian particles fascinate me... I guess they just come naturally after some language immersion.

October 30, 2018
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