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Formal and informal question words

How to ask questions like a native? In this article, Dr Samsur rijal explains the usage of formal and informal question words.
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© Universiti Malaya

How do you ask questions like a native?

The table below shows the usage of question words. You can place the question words at the beginning or at the end of sentences.

Question words (Formal) Question words (Informal)
Apakah itu?

What is that?

Itu apa?
Siapakah lelaki itu?

Who is that man?

Lelaki itu siapa?
Dengan siapakah kamu pergi ke sekolah?

With whom/who you go to school?

Kamu pergi ke sekolah dengan siapa?
Untuk siapakah hadiah itu?

For whom/who is that gift?

Hadiah itu untuk siapa?
Bilakah awak datang ke Malaysia?

When did you came to Malaysia?

Awak datang ke Malaysia bila?
Sejak bilakah anda tinggal di Malaysia?

Since when did you stay in Malaysia?

Anda tinggal di Malaysia sejak bila?
Sampai bilakah keluarga anda tinggal di sini?

Until when your family stay here?

Keluarga anda tinggal di sini sampai bila?
Berapakah harga buku itu?

How much (price) is that book?

Harga buku itu berapa?
Berapa lamakah mereka pergi?

How long have they go(ne)?

Mereka pergi berapa lama?
Berapa jauhkah rumah awak dari pejabat?

How far is your house from the office?

Rumah awak dari pejabat berapa jauh?
Berapa harikah mereka tinggal di Malaysia?

How many days do they stay in Malaysia?

Mereka tinggal di Malaysia berapa hari?
Berapa orangkah tinggal di rumah itu?

How many person stay in that house?

Di rumah itu tinggal berapa orang?
Sudah berapa lamakah anda tinggal di Jepun?

How long have you stay in Japan?

Anda tinggal di Jepun sudah berapa lama?
Mengapakah kamu datang ke sini?

Why did you come here?

Kenapakah kamu datang ke sini?

Why did you come here?

Di manakah kampung halaman and?

Where is your hometown?

Kampung halaman anda di mana?
Ke manakah ibunya pergi?

Where is his/her mother going?

Ibunya pergi ke mana?
Dari manakah mereka datang?

From where did they come from?

Mereka datang dari mana?
Yang mana satukah makanan yang kamu suka?

Which one of the food do you like/prefer?

Kamu suka makanan yang mana satu?
Yang manakah kereta and?

Which one is your car?

Kereta anda yang mana?
Adakah anda pensyarah?

Are you a lecturer?

Adakah saya lambat?

Am I late?

The question word does not contain the particle “kah” at the end of the sentence, which is usually used in casual conversation.

© Universiti Malaya
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