Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns indicate that  a person or thing is being spoken about without a particular person or thing being identified.

The pronouns ‘seseorang’ and ‘sesuatu’ correspond to English ‘someone’ and ‘something’ respectively. The phrase ‘segala sesuatu’ refers to all the things being discussed without them being named individually.

Saya menyuruh seseorang untuk menjemput mereka.
Dia makan sesuatu.
Dia membicarakan segala sesuatu.
Ada sesuatu yang kurang baik.
Segala sesuatu yang dikatakannya selalu menarik.
I told someone to meet them.
He ate something.
He discussed everything.
There is something which isn’t good.
Everything he says is always interesting.

Other indefinite pronouns are:

siapa saja
apa saja
di/ke/dari mana saja
(at/to/from) anywhere
mana saja
kapan saja
berapa saja
any time
any amount

All the above interrogatives except kapan and berapa can be followed by ‘pun‘ instead of ‘saja‘. See ‘saja’ on Glossary chapter.

Siapa saja boleh ikut.
Siapa pun boleh ikut.
Anyone can come along.

Alternative to siapa saja and apa saja, though more formal, are ‘barang siapa'(anyone) and ‘barang apa'(anything).

Barang siapa yang bersalah harus dihukum.
Anyone who is guilty must be punished.
Barang apa yang diceritakannya selalu benar.
Anything she said was always true.

Reduplicated forms of siapa, apa and mana have the same meaning as those words with ‘saja‘ and ‘pun‘, but follow a negated predicate. However ‘mana-mana‘ can also follow a positive predicate.

Saya tidak bertemu dengan siapa-siapa.
Dia tidak tahu apa-apa.
Saya tidak pergi ke mana-mana.
Pengungsi itu datang dari mana-mana.
I didn’t meet anyone.
He doesn’t know anything.
I didn’t go anywhere.
The refugees came from everywhere.

Because siapa-siapa and apa-apa must follow a negated predicate, therefore they cannot occur in subject position. To be in subject position it has to be in the following forms:

Tidak seorangpun mengenal saya di sini.
Saya tidak mengenal siapa-siapa di sini.
Tidak satupun menarik perhatiannya.
Dia tidak tertarik pada apa-apa.
No one knows me here.
I don’t know anyone here.
Nothing interests her.
She’s not interested in anything

Indonesian Reference Grammar by James Neil Sneddon, 1996.

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