1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Indonesian
  4. >
  5. ‘A’ in Indonesian and the for…


‘A’ in Indonesian and the forms of it

I have often wondered what the forms of the word ‘a’ (the indefinite article) in Indonesian means. And I thought there was no such thing as the word ‘a’ in Indonesian, as they don’t use articles, but in the course it uses ‘seorang’ and ‘sebuah’ on and off. Could someone explain these differences? (I’d be grateful if Rick392366 came along and helped as usual :). )

July 10, 2019



'seorang' ==> used for humans.

'seekor' ==> used for animals.

'sebuah' ==> used for objects.

These are the three most frequently used classifiers/counters.
They are translated to English as an indefinite article.

There are many more classifiers/counters :

The Classifiers: Buah, Orang and Ekor.


Why is it not used sometimes and sometimes it is used?


Thanks, that’s quite simple. But in the lessons I have seen seorang used for other thinks, eg. Seorang buku, seorang jeruk.


Rick392366 has explained it, but to me, they should be transliterated in English with "a single" or something like this. That's because "se-" is a prefix for creating "one of that [noun]" word.

So, seorang gadis = a single girl (orang = people), sebuah buku = a single book (buah = "fruit" but could also mean "item"), seekor anjing = a single dog (ekor = tail), or something like that. Forgive my English if it sounds weird for the natives though lol.


Thanks. Transliterated is normally written as translated.


A can be translated usually as just the single use of a word vs the plural duplicate of a word , but sometimes a single word is plural. Otherwise the prefix se- and satu can be A. There is however other use/s for the se- prefix.

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