Malay Adverbs

In the Malay language, adverbs play an essential role in adding depth and detail to sentences. These linguistic elements work like little wizards, modifying verbs, adjectives, or even other adverbs to create more colorful and expressive statements. Learning to properly utilize adverbs in Malay can enhance one’s language skills and allow for more nuanced communication.

Similar to adverbs in many other languages, Malay adverbs can modify a variety of language elements apart from nouns. They can be used to adjust the meaning of verbs, adjectives, clauses, or entire sentences to convey a more comprehensive understanding to the reader or listener. By studying Malay adverbs, learners will gain a deeper understanding of the language’s grammar and syntax, ultimately improving their overall proficiency.

There are various types of adverbs in the Malay language, each serving a unique purpose in sentence construction. With the right understanding and application of these adverbs, speakers can elevate their Malay language abilities and more effectively express themselves within this rich linguistic context. This article will explore these adverbs in detail, providing valuable insights into their diverse roles and functions in the Malay language.

Types of Malay Adverbs

Here are some common types of adverbs in Malay:

Time Adverbs

Time adverbs indicate when an action occurs. These adverbs help the reader understand the sequence or timing of events. Examples of time adverbs in Malay include:

  • Hari ini (today)
  • Besok (tomorrow)
  • Minggu depan (next week)

Place Adverbs

Place adverbs describe the location where an action takes place. They help convey spatial information in a sentence. Examples of place adverbs in Malay include:

  • Sini (here)
  • Di sana (there)
  • Di luar (outside)

Manner Adverbs

Manner adverbs explain how an action is performed or the way something happens. These adverbs provide additional context or descriptive information about the action. Examples of manner adverbs in Malay include:

  • Pelahan-lahan (slowly)
  • Dengan cepat (quickly)
  • Sangat baik (very well)

Frequency Adverbs

Frequency adverbs express how often an action occurs. These adverbs help indicate repetition or regularity in a sentence. Examples of frequency adverbs in Malay include:

  • Selalu (always)
  • Kadang-kadang (sometimes)
  • Jarang (rarely)

Degree Adverbs

Degree adverbs express the intensity, level, or extent of an action, quality, or condition. They are often used to emphasize or add information to adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs. Examples of degree adverbs in Malay include:

  • Sangat (very)
  • Agak (rather)
  • Cukup (enough)

Understanding these types of adverbs will help you sprinkle magic into your Malay language skills, providing detail and color to your sentences.

Malay Adverb Formation

In this section, we will explore different methods to form adverbs in the Malay language.

Using Prefixes

One way to create adverbs in Malay is by attaching specific prefixes to a base word. The prefixes “ke-” and “se-” are commonly used to serve this purpose, with “ke-” forming adverbs of degree and “se-” creating adverbs of similarity. For example:

  • kecepatan (speed) – derived from cepat (fast) with the prefix “ke-“
  • sejauh (as far as) – derived from jauh (far) with the prefix “se-“

Deriving from Nouns and Verbs

Adverbs can also be derived from nouns and verbs in the Malay language. To form adverbs from nouns, the prefix “ke-” and the suffix “-an” are often added. Similarly, verbs can be turned into adverbs by appending the suffix “-nya”. Here are some examples:

penting (importance)kepentingan (importantly)
nyaman (comfort)kenyamanan (comfortably)
cepat (fast)cepatnya (quickly)
lambat (slow)lambatnya (slowly)

By utilizing prefixes and deriving adverbs from nouns and verbs, the Malay language offers numerous ways to generate adverbs that add depth and clarity to sentences.

Common Malay Adverbs

In this section, we will explore some common Malay adverbs that you can use to enrich your vocabulary and enhance your communication skills.

Here is a list of frequently used Malay adverbs that modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs:

  • Kemarin: Yesterday
  • Sekarang: Now
  • Besok: Tomorrow
  • Selalu: Always
  • Sering: Often
  • Cepat: Quickly
  • Pelahan: Slowly
  • Sangat: Very
  • Biasa: Normally
  • Baru: Recently

Moreover, it’s essential to know how to use these adverbs in sentences. Here are some examples:

Dia selalu bangun pagi. (He always wakes up early.)

Kami pergi ke pantai kemarin. (We went to the beach yesterday.)

Anak anjing itu berjalan pelahan di taman. (The puppy walked slowly in the park.)

Understanding and utilizing common Malay adverbs will help you create more descriptive and engaging sentences, making your language skills more advanced and versatile.

Comparison of Adverbs

This section will compare different types of Malay adverbs in terms of equality, inequality, and other dimensions.


When comparing adverbs for equality, Malay uses specific structures, including the repetition of certain phrases that indicate equality. Essentially, it means that the quality or intensity of the two compared elements is the same. For example:

Sama cepat – “equally fast”

In this case, “sama” is placed before the adverb “cepat” to indicate that two things being compared are equally fast.

Here are a few more examples:

  • Sama baik – “equally good”
  • Sama pandai – “equally intelligent”
  • Sama rajin – “equally diligent”

Though brief, these examples demonstrate the use of “sama” in conveying equality among Malay adverbs.


Inequality in Malay adverbs refers to the comparison of two or more subjects based on a specific trait that doesn’t necessarily have to be equal. There are different ways of comparing adverbs for inequality in Malay.

One common method is to use the comparative and superlative forms of Malay adverbs. As mentioned in Polyglot Club, the comparative form is used to compare two things, while the superlative form is used to compare three or more things.

Here are a few examples of comparative and superlative forms of adverbs:

Comparative (lebih ___):

  • Lebih cepat – “faster”
  • Lebih baik – “better”
  • Lebih pandai – “smarter”

Superlative (paling ___):

  • Paling cepat – “fastest”
  • Paling baik – “best”
  • Paling pandai – “smartest”

In addition to these comparative and superlative forms, Malay also employs other structures for indicating inequality in adverbs, such as using certain prefixes or suffixes. However, the examples provided above offer a clear glimpse into the essential methods of comparing adverbs in Malay in terms of inequality.

Malay Adverbs in Sentences

In the Malay language, adverbs play a crucial role in adding detail to sentences. They can modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs to provide more context and meaning. Let’s examine some examples of adverbs in Malay sentences.

One of the most common Malay adverbs is “sangat,” which translates to “very” or “extremely.” For instance:

Baju ini sangat mahal! (This shirt is very pricey!)

Malay adverbs can also be used to describe how actions are performed. Some examples include:

  • “Pelan-pelan” (slowly)
  • “Cepat-cepat” (quickly)
  • “Ketat-kejap” (blink)

In a sentence, these adverbs would look like this:

Dia berjalan pelan-pelan. (He walks slowly.)

Malay adverbs can also indicate frequency or time. Common words used for this purpose include:

  • “kadang-kadang” (sometimes)
  • “biasanya” (usually)
  • “selalu” (always)

Here’s an example of a time-related adverb used in a sentence:

Kakak saya selalu bangun awal. (My sister always wakes up early.)

Using adverbs effectively in Malay sentences helps to create richer, more vivid descriptions, and provides valuable context to the actions and objects being discussed. With a wide range of adverbs available, the Malay language offers numerous options for adding depth and detail to your sentences.

Malay Vocabulary

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