Tidak vs bukan: 2 types of no

How to use 'tidak' and 'bukan'? You can learn the difference and impress your friends by reading this guide.

Tidak vs bukan: 2 types of no

‘Tidak’ and ‘bukan’ are categorised as Kata Nafi, words that deny a statement. The rules of usage are not that complex, so let’s breeze right through it!

‘Tidak’

is used before a verb phrase or adjective phrase. For example:

Saya tidak mahu makan.
I do not want to eat.

Cik Kiah tidak mendapat apa-apa keuntungan daripada perkara ini.
Miss Kiah does not receive any benefit from this matter.

Kata-kata Huazhen tidak benar.
Huazhen’s words are not true.

Restoran ini tidak bersih.
This restaurant is not clean.

‘Bukan’

is used before a noun phrase and prepositional phrase.

Dia bukan cita rasa saya.
He/she is not my type.

Kecantikan bukan perkara yang paling penting.
Beauty is not the most important thing.

Saya bekerja bukan untuk duit.
I work not for money.

Ravi bukan dari Ipoh.
Ravi is not from Ipoh.

However,

‘bukan’ has another function,

that is to deny a statement beginning with a verb phrase or adjective phrase if these phrases contain oppositional information. Let’s see a few examples.

Saya bukan pandai, tetapi saya kuat berusaha.
I am not smart but I am hardworking.

Orang itu bukan mencari gaduh, tetapi suaranya memang kuat.
That person is not trying to pick a fight, his voice is just loud.

Hakim bukan kacak sangat, tetapi selalu bongkak.
Hakim is not that handsome, but is always arrogant.

Mereka bukan mahu bekerja, tetapi mahu bermain sahaja.
They don’t want to work, they just want to play

Alright, that’s the end of the short lesson. Comment down below if you have any questions!

Reference: Tatabahasa Dewan Ketiga, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka 2008

Authored by: Cikgu Hidayah Zulkipli