Tak Jelas: What Does It Mean and How to Use It in Indonesian Language

As you learn Indonesian language, you may come across the term “tak jelas”. This phrase is often used in conversation as well as in writing. In English, it can be translated as “unclear”, “vague”, or “ambiguous”. However, the meaning and usage of “tak jelas” can be more nuanced than that. In this article, we will explore the various ways to use “tak jelas” in Indonesian language and its implications in different contexts.

What Does “Tak Jelas” Mean?

The literal meaning of “tak jelas” is “not clear”. It is a combination of two words: “tak” which means “not” and “jelas” which means “clear”. However, the actual usage of “tak jelas” can vary depending on the context. Here are some of the common meanings of “tak jelas”:

  • Unclear or vague: When something is not well-defined or lacks clarity, it can be described as “tak jelas”. For example, “Pernyataannya sangat tak jelas” (His statement is very unclear).
  • Unreliable or dubious: When something is not trustworthy or questionable, it can be described as “tak jelas”. For example, “Sumbernya terlalu tak jelas” (The source is too unreliable).
  • Confused or disorganized: When something is chaotic or lacks structure, it can be described as “tak jelas”. For example, “Rencananya terlalu tak jelas” (The plan is too disorganized).

Overall, “tak jelas” can be used to convey a sense of uncertainty, ambiguity, or negation. It is often used in informal language, but can also be found in formal contexts such as academic writing or news articles.

How to Use “Tak Jelas” in Indonesian Language

“Tak jelas” can be used in different ways depending on the grammatical context. Here are some examples:

1. Adjective

When “tak jelas” is used as an adjective, it modifies a noun and describes its quality. For example:

  • “Pernyataannya sangat tak jelas” (His statement is very unclear).
  • “Saya tidak suka film yang terlalu tak jelas” (I don’t like movies that are too vague).
  • “Mereka memberikan instruksi yang terlalu tak jelas” (They gave instructions that were too ambiguous).

2. Adverb

When “tak jelas” is used as an adverb, it modifies a verb or an adjective and describes the manner or degree of the action or quality. For example:

  • “Dia berbicara dengan suara yang tak jelas” (He spoke with an unclear voice).
  • “Saya merasa tak jelas tentang apa yang harus saya lakukan” (I feel unsure about what I should do).
  • “Pengumuman itu disampaikan secara tak jelas” (The announcement was delivered in an unclear manner).

3. Noun

When “tak jelas” is used as a noun, it becomes the subject or the object of a sentence. For example:

  • “Tak jelas siapa yang akan memimpin proyek ini” (It’s unclear who will lead this project).
  • “Saya tidak suka tak jelas seperti ini” (I don’t like this kind of vagueness).
  • “Masalahnya adalah tak jelasnya arah kebijakan pemerintah” (The problem is the lack of clarity in the government’s policy direction).

4. Idiom

When “tak jelas” is used as an idiom, it conveys a specific meaning that cannot be inferred from the individual words. For example:

  • “Gagal total dan tak jelas” (A complete failure with no clear explanation).
  • “Tak jelas ke mana angin berhembus” (Unclear where the wind is blowing).
  • “Tak jelas seperti air di daun keladi” (Vague like water on a lotus leaf).

As you can see, “tak jelas” can be used in various ways to express different shades of meaning. Its versatility and flexibility make it a useful term to know and use in Indonesian language.


In conclusion, “tak jelas” is a common phrase in Indonesian language that can be used to describe things that are unclear, vague, or ambiguous. It can be used as an adjective, adverb, noun, or idiom depending on the grammatical context. By understanding the different ways to use “tak jelas”, you can improve your Indonesian language skills and communicate more effectively with native speakers.