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Numbers in Indonesian Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

Cardinal numbers

Counting in Indonesian is almost similar to English; both languages use the same symbols to represent numbers, the structure of numbers, and the numbering rules, such as zero to nine, belas for -teen, puluh for tens, ratus for hundreds, ribu for thousands, etc.

  Indonesian English   Indonesian English
0 Nol zero 21 dua puluh satu twenty
1 satu one 25 dua puluh lima twenty five
2 dua two 30 tiga puluh thirty
3 tiga three 34 tiga puluh empat thirty four
4 empat four 40 empat puluh forty
5 lima five 47 empat puluh tujuh forty seven
6 enam six 50 lima puluh fifty
7 tujuh seven 59 lima puluh sembilan fifty nine
8 delapan eight 60 enam puluh sixty
9 sembilan nine 70 tujuh puluh seventy
10 sepuluh ten 75 tujuh puluh lima seventy five
11 sebelas eleven 80 delapan puluh eighty
13 tiga belas thirteen 90 sembilan puluh ninety
20 dua puluh twenty 100 seratus one hundred

The brief Indonesian number rules are as follows:

  1. Single digits are handled the same way as in English, such as nol (0), satu (1), dua (2), 3 (tiga), …
  2. The numbers are spelled with spaces in-between the numbers, with the exception of “se-“, meaning “one”: sepuluh (10), dua puluh (20), tiga puluh empat (34), …
  3. Use “se-” to replace “satu”, which means “one”, and it is written in one word with the base unit numbers: sebelas (11), sepuluh (10), seratus (100), seribu (1000), sepuluh ribu (10,000), seratus ribu (100,000), …
  4. The teens, from eleven to nineteen, are formed by adding the “belas” word to the basic numbers from one to nine: sebelas (11), dua belas (12), tiga belas (13), empat belas (14), …
  5. The tens are formed from the multiplier number, followed by the “puluh” word: sepuluh (10), dua puluh (20), tiga puluh (30), empat puluh (40), …
  6. The hundreds and thousands are written the same ways as tens: seratus (100), tiga ratus (300), impact ribu (4000), …

Don’t be confused by the following:

  1. The millions vs. billions.

Indonesian for millions is “juta”, and billions is “milyar”, but the word for trillions in Indonesian is similar to English, which is “trilyun”.

  1. Comma versus Dot.

To separate numbers higher than 999, Indonesian adds a dot, instead of a comma as in English. For example, 1,675,524 is written 1.675.524 (satu juta enam ratus tujuh puluh lima ribu lima ratus dua puluh empat). To separate numbers in decimals: the Indonesian decimal for “2.5” means “2,5” in English, etc.

  1. Nol versus Kosong

There are two words used for zero in Indonesian, which are “nol” and “kosong”. The “nol” is usually used to refer to counting or cardinal numbers, while “kosong” is mostly used for telephone numbers, hotel room numbers, or code numbers.

  1. Angka versus Nomor

As it is in English, Indonesian also has different words for numbers and numerals.  “Angka” is used to refer to a written symbol of the number, such as “angka satu”, which means the written number of 1 or a statistical figure.  Meanwhile, “nomor” is used to refer to a number that has a specific meaning, such as a social security number, license plate number, house number, queue number, or hotel room number.


Ordinal numbers

To form ordinal numbers in Indonesian, attach the prefix “ke-“ to the number itself, except for the 1st, which has two words, the “pertama” or “kesatu”.


Note: Juara – winner

Indonesian English Indonesian English
Kesatu/Pertama 1st – first Kesebelas 11th – eleventh
Kedua 2nd – second Kedua puluh 20th – twentieth
Ketiga 3rd – third Ketiga puluh 30th – thirtieth
Keempat 4th – fourth Ketiga puluh empat 34th – thirty-fourth
Kelima 5th – fifth Keempat puluh 40th – fortieth
Keenam 6th – sixth Kelima puluh 50th – fiftieth
Ketujuh 7th – seventh Keenam puluh 60th – sixtieth
Kedelapan 8th – eighth Ketujuh puluh 70th – seventieth
Kesembilan 9th – ninth Keseratus 100th – hundredth
Kesepuluh 10th – tenth Keseratus sepuluh 110th – one hundred tenth


The 2nd versus both of …

In a sentence, the meaning of the ordinal number will be different when it is placed in a different order. For example:

  • Saya anak kedua – I am the 2nd child. (The ordinal number is placed after a noun.) (The ordinal number is placed after a noun.)
  • Kedua anak itu orang Indonesia – Both of them (the children) are Indonesians. (The ordinal number is placed at the beginning of a sentence.)
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About the Author: asimonoff

I’m an Indonesian language instructor, instructional material developer, reading test developer, and interpreter. I have been teaching Indonesian to adult students for 15 years, and have been teaching students from many backgrounds, such as private, military and diplomatic service employees. I’m Indonesian, but am living in the US now; my exposure to different cultures in my home country and in the US has enriched my knowledge in teaching Indonesian as a second language. I approach the teaching of the Indonesian language by developing students’ critical cultural awareness and competence. This method of teaching has been proven to be a key to the success of my students. Students become conscious of the essential role culture plays in the language.