‘Masih’ or ‘Tetap’

There are a number of ways to say still in Indonesian. In this post we’ll focus on the adverb still.

The two words that are often used as adverb still in Indonesian are ‘masih’ and ‘tetap’. How are they different?

‘Masih’ is often used as adverb still when the speaker’s referring to longevity of an action or situation. In a sentence, this word is placed like an auxiliary verb (right before the verb).

Example 1:

Saya masih tinggal di Amerika.

I still live in America

Example 2:

Dia masih bekerja di kantor itu.

He still works in that office.

‘Tetap’ is often used as adverb still when the speaker’s referring to an action or attitude that remains the same even if it’s more convenient or profitable to change. In a sentence, this word is also placed like an auxiliary verb.

Example 3:

Meskipun hujan, saya tetap akan pergi ke pantai.

Even though it’s raining, I will still go to the beach.

Example 4:

Meskipun kamu sudah berubah, kamu tetap sahabatku.

Even though you have changed, you’re still my best friend.

Note that tetap can also be used as an adjective that means fixed or permanent.

Example 5:

Pendapatan tetap

Fixed income

Example 6:

Tempat tinggal tetap

Permanent place to live

Getting Deeper

When an Indonesian is annoyed by the stubbornness of the person that they are speaking with and would like to say something like: “I have told you to change, why do you still do the same thing?” They can use the word ‘masih’ and ‘tetap’ interchangeably.

Example 7:

Saya sudah bilang kalau kamu harus berubah, kenapa kamu masih/tetap melakukan hal yang sama?

I have said that you need to change, why do you still do the same thing?

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