5 Basic for A Student’s Guide to Indonesian Grammar

Many people think that Indonesian Grammar is the thing that makes the language quite difficult to learn. Many people think that any language has complicated grammar rules like English. The fact is, learning Bahasa Indonesia does not have to be that difficult. The key to learn Indonesian grammar is to start with the basic. Learn about a student’s guide to Indonesian Grammar. Here is some brief guide to Indonesian grammar.

1. Understand sentence structure

In general, sentence in Bahasa Indonesia has the same structure as in English. It is subject + verb + object. Even though most of the structures are quite the same, but there are some differences.

  • Indonesian Adjectives in English, adjectives are mostly placed before noun, but in bahasa Indonesia, it is placed after the noun. For example “new clothes” in Indonesia it is written as ‘baju baru’ or literary translate as ‘clothes new’.
  • Personal pronouns – personal pronouns also place after the noun similar as adjectives. For example ‘you dog’ in Indonesia it is written as ‘anjing kamu’ or literary translate as ‘dog you’.

Related: Indonesian grammar for beginner

2. Know Indonesian time markers

Bahasa Indonesia is a language with n tenses. There is also no verb change to indicate time markers. Specific adverbs and dates is used to talk about time.

  • Future – for event in the future, the common adverbs to use are akan (will), mau (to want), besok (tomorrow), nanti (later), and specific dates and times,
  • Now – adverbs sedang and lagi such as saya sedang makan (I am eating) are used to explain events happening now.
  • Past event – to explain event in the past, there is also no tenses or verb changes but Indonesians use specific time markers such as kemarin (yesterday), telah (already), tadi (just before), pernah (once), and also specific date and time.

Also Learn Basic Indonesian Tenses with Examples

3. Indonesian prefixes and suffixes

There are lots of words in Indonesia are formed from basic root word, including noun, adjective, and verb, then add suffixes, prefixes, and can be both to form a new meaning word. The addition of prefixes and suffixes does not come without rules, but learning this part will significantly improve your vocabulary. According to people who learn the language, prefixes and suffixes is the hardest part in Indonesian grammar but it is better to understand the basic concept.

Related: Indonesian verb prefixes phonology

4. Know common phrase and asking question

Here are more for Learn about a student’s guide to Indonesian Grammar. When learning a language, it is important to understand the common phrase for everyday conversation. There are lots of examples of common phrase that you can learn.  In addition, it is also important to learn about making questions. In bahasa Indonesia, making question is relatively easy.

Related: Useful Indonesian Conversation

5. Plural in Indonesian

In English, ‘s’ is added to a word to indicate plural, but in Indonesia, you just simply reduplicate the word to indicate that it is plural.

For example to say ‘cats’ you simply say ‘kucing-kucing’ which means more than one cat. For simpler way, you can just add adverb ‘beberapa’ (several) or ‘banyak’ (a lot) before noun.


Learning grammar takes time and not easy when learning certain language. But it is vital when you want to truly understand the language and able to communicate with native people.