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You ought to get a copy of Tatabahasa Dewan. It clearly explains when to use and when not to use 'di' in front of 'dalam', 'atas', 'antara', etc. Basically 'di' is a kata arah and omitted only in the abstract sense.
01:11 Oct 24, 2004
Automatic update in 00:
48 mins confidence:
di dalam - refer explanation
Explanation: I think this issue had been discussed by (Dr) Darwis Harahap (USM Malay Language Lecturer)
Here is what he came up with ( if I remember correctly):
1. Dalam = adjective (Kata Sifat) = deep
2. di dalam = kata arah (direction) = mean something inside
1. Bukunya disimpan di dalam almari. (correct)
2. Bukunya disimpan dalam almari. (wrong)
1. Telaga itu sangat dalam.(correct)
2. Telaga itu sangat di dalam. (wrong)
However, I don't really know where DBP stand on this now. DBP was controlled by Nik Safiah and Farid M. Onn group before when they came up with Tatabahasa Dewan and I believe they don't differentiate between the two words.
ajali United States Local time: 11:37 Native speaker of: Malay