Chapter 6 : How to use Malay Verb

DLS Malay Communication Syllabus

Malay Verbs

There are some similarities between English and Malay verbs such as :

  1. Simple : I work in Malaysia – Saya bekerja di Malaysia
  2. Continuous : I am working – Saya sedang bekerja
  3. Perfect : I have finished work – Saya sudah habis bekerja

Present Actions

There are 2 types of verbs which can be used in present tense :

  1. Simple Verb, eg : I seeSaya lihat
  2. Continuous Verb, eg : I am seeingSaya sedang melihat
  • To indicate do not or does not, use tidak, eg I don’t see – Saya tidak lihat

Note :

  1. All present verb to be ie : ‘is are am’ are changed to ‘sedang’
  2. Continuous action using sedang is best described as action which is currently happening
  3. Note that in English, sometimes continuous action is referred to as future. In Malay continuous action cannot be referred to as future
  4. When using ‘sedang’ it is best to add prefix ‘me’ (pronounced as ‘me’ in ‘mermaid), ie Saya sedang melihat.
  5. Prefix and suffix will be discussed in Level 2. However, it does not change the meaning without using the prefix

Past Actions

There are 3 types of verbs which can be used for past tense :

  1. Simple Verb, eg : I saw Ali just now – Saya berjumpa tadi
  2. Continuous, eg : I was seeing Ali just now – Saya sedang berjumpa Ali tadi
  3. Perfect, eg : I have seen Ali – Saya sudah berjumpa Ali
  • To indicate did not – use ‘tidak‘, eg : I did not see Ali – Saya tidak berjumpa Ali
  • To indicate ‘not yet’ ie have not or has not – use belum, eg : I have not seen Ali – Saya belum berjumpa Ali

Note :

  1. Malay Simple past tense does not exist. Malay uses time to indicate simple past tense.
  2. All past verb to be, ie : ‘was, were‘ are changed to ‘sedang‘. Time is used to indicate past continuous
  3. The word ‘sudah‘ or ‘telah‘ is equivalent to perfect tense in English, which indicates an action has been done
  4. To indicate ‘not yet‘, use have not – belum, eg : I haven’t seen Ali – Saya belum berjumpa Ali

Future Actions

Only Simple Future verb can be used for future tense :

  1. Simple Future, eg : I will seeSaya akan berjumpa

  • To indicate ‘will not or cannot‘ use tidak, eg : I will not see – Saya tidak akan berjumpa

Note :

  1. It is best to use a simple future verb to indicate a future action
  2. Other common future verbs : can – boleh, must – mesti, should – patut, might – mungkin
  3. To indicate ‘not’ for future, use ‘tidak’, eg : I cannot come tomorrow – Saya tidak boleh datang esok

Simple Verbs in Present, Past and Future

Simple Malay verb is the same whether for present tense or past tense. Singular or Plural verbs in Malay do not exist. Study the following sentences :

  1. I eat here everyday : Saya makan di sini setiap hari
  2. She eats here everyday : Dia makan di sini setiap hari
  3. I don’t eat here everyday : Saya tidak makan di sini setiap hari
  4. She doesn’t eat here everyday : Dia tidak makan di sini setiap hari
  5. I ate here yesterday : Saya makan di sini semalam
  6. She ate here yesterday : Dia makan di sini semalam
  7. I didn’t eat here yesterday : Saya tidak makan di sini semalam
  8. She didn’t eat here yesterday : Dia tidak makan di sini semalam

Continuous in Present and Past Tense (cannot be used for future actions)

  1. I am driving now : Saya sedang memandu sekarang
  2. She is driving now : Dia sedang memandu sekarang
  3. They are driving now : Mereka sedang memandu sekarang
  4. I was driving just now : Saya sedang memandu tadi
  5. She was driving just now : Dia sedang memandu tadi
  6. They were driving just now : Mereka sedang memandu tadi
  7. I am not driving now : Saya tidak memandu sekarang
  8. I was not driving just now : Saya tidak memandu tadi
  9. They were not driving just now : Mereka tidak memandu tadi
  10. She was not driving just now : Dia tidak memandu tadi

Note :

  1. There is a spelling change when prefix ‘me’ (pronounced as ‘me’ in ‘mermaid’) is used. Prefix will be discussed in level 2
  2. If prefix ‘me’ is not used, it doesn’t change the meaning at all, however it is best to use prefix ‘me’ (pronounced as ‘me’ in ‘mermaid’) for continuous actions
  3. Prefix ‘me’ can even be used with simple verb without changing the meaning, eg : Saya melihat

Perfect Verbs in Past Actions

  1. I have done the job : Saya telah membuat kerja itu
  2. She has done the job : Dia telah membuat kerja itu
  3. They have done the job : Mereka telah membuat kerja itu
  4. I had done the job yesterday : Saya telah membuat kerja itu semalam
  5. She had done the job yesterday : Dia telah membuat kerja itu semalam
  6. I haven’t done the job yet : Saya belum membuat kerja itu lagi
  7. She hasn’t done the job yet : Dia belum membuat kerja itu lagi

Note :

  1. It is best to use prefix ‘me‘ when using sudah or telah
  2. As a matter of fact, there are 5 types of prefix ‘me’ ie : me, mem, men, meng and meny. These prefix will be discussed in Level 2.
  3. It does not change the meaning if prefix ‘me’ is not used.
  4. In Malay daily conversation, the prefix ‘me’ is often not used. However, in writing, it will show significant grammatical error if ‘me’ is omitted.
  5. Perhaps, getting familiar with prefix ‘me’ can be quite challenging.
  6. Without the knowledge of prefix ‘me’, one may not be able to identify a root verb
  7. Please be sure to follow Syllabus of Level 2 soon.

Sample Sentences

1. I went to Kuala Lumpur yesterday but I did not stay the night there
Saya pergi ke Kuala Lumpur semalam tetapi saya tidak bermalam di sana

2. I bought some sugar but I forgot the coffee
Saya beli sedikit gula tetapi saya lupa kopi

3. She came here but she didn’t say anyhting
Dia datang ke sini tetapi dia tidak berkata apa-apa

4. I want to buy a car but I haven’t saved enough money yet
Saya mahu membeli sebuah kereta tetapi saya belum simpan duit yang cukup lagi

5. I don’t know if I can do it but I will try
Saya tidak pasti kalau saya boleh membuatnya tetapi saya akan cuba

6. I am driving right now, I will call you later
Saya sedang memandu sekarang, saya akan telefon awak nanti

7. They are travelling to the north
Mereka sedang menghala ke utara

8. They haven’t arrived yet, they are still on the way
Mereka belum tiba lagi, mereka masih di dalam perjalanan

9. They can come here but they cannot stay here
Mereka boleh datang ke sini tetapi mereka tidak boleh tinggal di sini

10. I want to go home because I feel sleepy
Saya mahu pulang sebab saya rasa mengantuk

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