21 May 2013

Tatabahasa for UPSR 2013

My son is in standard 6 this year. He got back his Bahasa Malaysia paper 1 (One), which is on Tatabahasa.

I disagreed with the school on one question, which I thought was quite fundamental and straightforward.

The sentence was given (below) and students were asked whether it was correct or wrong:

"Mereka berdua sungguh amat bertuah kerana terpilih sebagai calon angkasawan negara."

For those of us Malaysians reasonably well versed with our national language, which I think I am, would you agree with me that the sentence (immediately) seems wrong. That is because there are two kata penguat being used consecutively, making it repetitious and redundant. I was very sure of this.

I even obtained some reference and advisory from Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka on the net, which confirmed that "sungguh amat" adalah salah kerana darjah penguat tidak boleh hadir beriringan (2010).

I approached my son's BM teacher with my query. He replied that he would confer with the other BM teachers. He got back to me a couple of days later, affirming that the school's use of sungguh amat together was correct by virtue of Tatabahasa Dewan Edisi Ketiga, 2011.


His BM teacher even provided me with a copy of the relevant page from the book. Which reads:
Dua unsur penguat boleh juga hadir berderetan sebelum kata adjektif contohnya, sungguh amat merdu, terlalu amat pedih , sangat kurang sopan.

I was flabbergasted. Undaunted, I searched for contact details of the 3 authors of the book. I found one, Professor Hashim Haji Musa.

I dialed his number and he picked up on the first ring. I introduced myself, my situation and asked him if he could confirm the matter. He was obliging and asked me for the page number.

What did I expect? He co-wrote the book, right?

So he said, ah yes, that is an exception whereby you are allowed to use sungguh amat and terlalu amat together and that would be considered correct. He reminded me, only these kata penguat may be used together.

My quest to defend what I believed to be the right answer ended here.

(image from wikipedia.org)


  1. Language is a bugger...Is this sentence correct?
    E.g. Raymond is a funny clown?

  2. Hi Huba -Huba

    "Raymond is a funny clown." That is a statement with a full stop, describing the clown as funny. I think it is correct. Am I correct? Hahaha...

  3. yup-yup, I meant to write Raymond is a funny clown.
    Anyway, according to my Australian supervisor, 'clown' already shows funny, thus 'funny clown' is grammatically wrong.

    He said it should be - Raymond is a clown.

    Hahaha...but then again are ALL clowns funny?

    Happy holidays!

    1. Another debatable one - if Raymond's occupation is a clown, then it could be correct to describe him as a funny clown. Not all clowns are funny, you're right.

      But if we are just saying that Raymond is a funny guy, then yeah, Raymond is a clown would do. Language!

      Happy holidays...