When to use “sudah”

B_Pakai02As many learners of Indonesian know, Bahasa Indonesia is quite simple. Its verbs don’t experience changes to express different tenses.

Now, let’s have a look at the word “sudah” which is used as the equivalent of the concept “perfect tense” in English. Simply put, when ever you want to say “I have done something” you always use “sudah” in your sentences. Indonesian is easy, right? I suppose so, if only Indonesians don’t use/put “sudah” (and its negative counterpart, “belum”) in so many sentences.

“sudah siap?”

“sudah menikah?”

“sudah tahu?”

“sudah punya anak?”

are roughly translated into: “are you ready?”, “are you married?”, “do you know?”, “do you have children?”, respectively. As you see, all of the sentences in English are not written in the perfect tense, but rather the simple present tense. So why do we see a lot of “sudah”s?

In Bahasa Indonesia, “sudah” is used to describe completion of action or the wholeness of something. Examples in Indonesian above can be explained as follow:

“Sudah siap?” asks whether your readiness is a complete and whole unity or not. Similarly, “sudah tahu?” also checks whether your knowledge of something is a whole or not. On the other hand, “sudah menikah?” and “sudah punya anak?” are asked using “sudah” because those two things are (in the mindset of most Indonesians) necessary in life. The wholeness and completeness of those two are expected. Saying “sudah menikah?” here means whether you have completed this task of getting married or not. The same goes for “sudah punya anak?”.

So, what’s your conclusion and opinion on this? Don’t hesitate to write me a comment! And if you can find more examples of how Indonesians use “sudah” differently from the way English speakers perceive how “sudah” should be used, let me know.

 

-richard ariefiandy-

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