Learn Indonesian Active and Passive Sentence with Examples

English have two types of sentence if being overlooked based on the subject. They are active voice and passive voice. Active voice is where the subject of the sentence does an action to the object of the sentence. On the other hand, a passive voice is where the positions of subject and object are being switched. The object of the sentence is being the actor in the sentence.

Quite the similar with English, Indonesian also have these two types of sentences. They also have the similar function to the English passive and active voice. Indonesian passive voice is made by employing the prefixes. By changing the prefix, with the exact words composition, a sentence could become either Indonesian active and passive sentences.

Sentences in Indonesia should consist of the five components that has been categorized, they are:

  1. Subjek (S) Subject 

The equivalent of subject in English and usually denotes the actor of a sentence. Could be in the form of noun words, noun phrases, or noun clauses. It also could be Indonesian pronouns.

  1. Predikat (P) Predicate 

The equivalent of verb in English and always denote the action that is being done by the subject or object of the sentence. Could be in the form of verb words, verb phrases, or verb clauses.

  1. Objek (O) Object 

The equivalent of object in English and usually denotes the receiver of an action in a sentence. Could be in the form of noun words, noun phrases, or noun clauses.

  1. Keterangan (K) Adverb 

The equivalent of adverb and adjective in English. It gives further information regarding subjek and predikat in a sentence. The information given could be about the media, the time, the aim, etc. Keterangan needs to be preceded by a conjunction to make a meaningful sentence.

  1. Pelengkap (P) Complemet

Quite different with keterangan, pelengkap does not require conjunction to be able to give meaning in a sentence even though the function is quite similar.

However, a correct simple correct sentence could only consist two of those components which are Subjek (S) and Predikat (P). every sentence in either active or passive voice could be breakdown and will contain these components. The only different is in the Predikat. As mentioned before, by changing the prefix on predikat, the sentence could be switched into active or passive voice. Thus, here are the explanation of Indonesian active and passive voices.

Forming an Active Voice Sentence

Avtive voice could be formed easily by  putting each of the component of the sentence according to the form of the sentences in indonesian. For example:

  1. Ani menyirami bunga.
    (Ani is watering the plant)
  2. Budi sedang tidur.
    (Budi is sleeping)

Both sentences is in the active voice because the subject is the actor of an action within the sentence.

Types of active voice sentence

1. Transitive Active Voice

This type of sentence requires object of action. For example:

  • Kakak membeli buku di toko milik temannya.
    (My brother buys a book from his friend’s shop.)

In the sentence above, Kakak plays role as a subject, membeli is the Predikat, and buku is the object.

2. Ekatransitive Active Voice

This type of sentence is similar to transitive sentence. However, in this sentence, Keterangan is not required. For example:

  • Ayah sedang memperbaiki sepeda motor.
    (Dad is repairing his motorcycle.)

The subjek is ayah, memperbaiki is the predikat, and the objek is sepeda motor.

3. Intransitive Active Voice

Quite contradictive with the transitive sentence, intransitive sentence requires no object as the predikat is considered as kata kerja intransitif (intransitive verbs). For example:

  • Kakak sedang tidur.
    (My brother is sleeping.)

Kakak is the subject and sedang tidur is predikat.

4. Dwitransitive Active Voice

This type of sentence is the opposite of Ekatransitive. It requires Keterangan of Pelengkap because without them, the sentence will have no exact meaning.

  • Budi selalu mengunjungi ibunya yang ada di luar negeri.
    (Budi is always visiting his mother who is in another country.)

Budi is the subjek, mengunjungi is predikat, ibunya is objek, and di luar negeri is keterangan. If this sentence is only Budi selalu mengunjungi ibunya, it will be ambiguous since poeple in indonesia often live with their parents. So pelengkap di luar negeri gives more detailed information and meaning.

Forming a Passive Voice Sentence

This explanation below shows how to form passive voice in Indonesian.

  1. Presiden Joko Widodo meresmikan gedung pusat Pendidikan pada siang ini.
    (President Joko Widodo officially announces the opening of the education center this afternoon.)
  2. Gedung pusat Pendidikan diresmikan oleh President Joko Widodo pada siang ini.
    (The opening of the education center is officially announced by President Joko Widodo this afternoon.)

Look at the first sentence. This is the active voice in Indonesian. The first bold phrase is the subject of the sentence. The italic word is Predikat. The second bold phrase is the object. Carefully look at predikat or the italic word. The word meresmikan is formed by combining a prefix, a root word, and a suffix. The prefix used is me-, the root word is resmi, and the suffix is kan.  Meresmikan -> me- + resmi + kan. This form denotes the active voice which means the subject is the actor in the sentence.

Now look at the second sentence. In this sentence, the first phrase that is bold is Gedung pusat Pendidikan which is considered as object in the first sentence and the second bold phrase is considered as the subject in the first sentence. In passive voice, the position is swapped just as how it happens in English. Now carefully look at the italic word. The italic word is still a Predikat. However, in this sentence it becomes diresmikan rather stay meresmikan. The prefix in this word changes from me- into di-. This denote the passive voice.

So, to form a Indonesian grammar correct passive voice from an active voice you should first swap the position of Subjek and Objek. Then change the prefix from me- into di-. You could also form a passive voice using the other prefixes such as ter- and ke-. Moreover, you may sometime need to add a suffix to Predikat in order to form the correct sentence.

Not every active voice could be made passive. The requirement of passive voice is that in an active voice, the sentence must have an object or in other word it must be a transitive sentence. Command and exclamation cannot be changed into passive voice.

Types of Indonesian Passive Voice

There are two types of Indonesian passive voice. The first one is regular passive voice and the second one is zero passive voice. Regular passive voice is the transformation of the transitive active voice as put into example above. The characteristic is the use of prefix di-, ter- and ke- and the suffix an- in Predikat. Zero passive voice is a sentence where the subject is close to the object. The Predikat requires no prefix and usually ends with suffix -kan or even the root word of a verb. For example:

  1. Akan aku tunjukkan kemampuanku disini.
  2. Akan saya sampaikan pesanmu padanya.

This type of passive voice might be difficult to understand but it is also considered as passive voice even though the object is barely present in the sentence.

Examples of Indonesian Active and Passive Sentences

  1. Emily makan buah
    Emily eats fruit (Active Voice)
  2. Buah dimakan Emily
  3. Fruit is eaten by Emily (Passive Voice)

Now to sum up the content above, Indonesian passive voice is rather similar to English passive voice. As long as the active voice is correct and contain an object (a transitive sentence) it could be easily transformed into the passive voice by first switch the position of the object and the subject and change the Indonesia prefix table from me- into di- or ke- or ter- and the suffix if it is necessary. Then finally, this is how to form Indonesian active and passive sentences. You could learn more by keep communicating with Indonesian people and remember practice makes perfect.