Meaning: to be

Structure: A is B.


  1. Ialah is to be followed by a nominal phrase.
  2. Adalah is to be followed by a non-nominal phrase (adjectives, prepositions, verbs).
  3. Ialah and adalah cannot be followed by negative words such as tidak and bukan.
  4. Native speakers in general do not know these rules.
  5. In conversational Malay, ialah and adalah are almost never used except for emphasis.


  1. Nama saya ialah Johan.
  2. Nama dia bukan Amelia.
  3. Sekolah kami adalah jauh dari sini.
  4. Universiti mereka ialah Universiti Malaya.
  5. Kami tidak gembira dengan berita ini.
  6. Hobi saya adalah membaca.

Notes: Note that with negative words, ialah and adalah are not used as in sentence number 2 and 5.

  1. My name is Johan.
  2. Her name is not Amelia.
  3. Our school is far from here.
  4. Their university is the University of Malaya.
  5. We are not happy with this news.
  6. My hobby is reading.

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