englinesian

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Indonesian Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

Like English, Indonesian also has comparative and superlative adjectives. If it is compared with English, Indonesian comparative and superlative is easier. Thing that makes it easier is that Indonesian does not recognize irregular comparatives and superlatives.

Indonesian Comparative Adjectives

Many English grammar books explain that comparative forms are classified by word syllables. If it is one syllable, we can simply add '-er' at the end of the adjective. If it ends with consonant and single vowel with consonant spelling, the final consonant should be doubled.

To form comparatives, simply add lebih before the adjective. No matter if the adjective is one, two, or three syllables, the rule is fixed.

ENGLISH COMPARATIVES INDONESIAN COMPARATIVES
He is taller than me Dia lebih tinggi dari(pada) saya
My house is bigger than this Rumahku lebih besar dari(pada) rumah ini

If the adjective is two syllables, either er or more is acceptable. For adjective ending in y, the y should be replaced by i.

ENGLISH COMPARATIVES INDONESIAN COMPARATIVES
simpler lebih sederhana
more tangled lebih kusut

If the adjective consists of three syllables, the adjective should be preceded by more.

ENGLISH COMPARATIVES INDONESIAN COMPARATIVES
more beautiful lebih cantik/indah
more expensive lebih mahal

Comparatives in English has irregular form. In bahasa Indonesia, irregular form of comparative is not recognized.

ENGLISH COMPARATIVES INDONESIAN COMPARATIVES
good - better baik - lebih baik
bad - worse buruk - lebih buruk
little - less sedikit - lebih sedikit

Again, in forming comparative adjective in Indonesian, simply precedes the adjective with lebih

Indonesian Superlative Adjectives

In English, the superlative adjectives can be identified by the existence of adjective ending in -est or adjective preceded by most. In bahasa Indonesia, we can simply add paling before the adjective.

ENGLISH SUPERLATIVES INDONESIAN SUPERLATIVES [VER. 1] INDONESIAN SUPERLATIVES [VER. 2]
the tallest tertinggi yang paling tinggi
the biggest terbesar yang paling besar
the most beautiful tercantik / terindah yang paling cantik/indah
the most expensive termahal yang paling mahal
the best (yang) terbaik yang paling baik

Let's see how they are used in sentences.

ENGLISH SUPERLATIVES INDONESIAN SUPERLATIVES [VER. 1] INDONESIAN SUPERLATIVES [VER. 2]
Josh is the tallest students in this school Josh adalah siswa tertinggi di sekoah ini Josh adalah siswa yang paling tinggi di sekoah ini
This school is the biggest in Makassar city Sekolah ini yang terbesar di kota Makassar Sekolah ini yang paling besar di kota Makassar
The most beautiful city in Indonesia is Makassar Kota tercantik / terindah di Indonesia adalah Makassar Kota yang paling cantik/indah di Indonesia adalah Makassar
I own the most expensive smart-phone in the world Saya memiliki gawai termahal di dunia Saya memiliki gawai yang paling mahal di dunia
Josh is the best student in his school ^ Josh adalah siswa terbaik di sekolahnya ^

^ Be careful!!! Some Indonesian adjectives could not be literally translated from English because they would result to different meaning. In the last example above, "siswa terbaik" has different contextual meaning with "siswa yang paling baik. Siswa terbaik means the best student in terms of cognitive and affective (academic behavior) while siswa yang paling baik means the most kind student in terms of common behavior and attitude.