Indonesian Plural Nouns – Formula – Examples

Plural nouns refers to more than one or groups of nouns. In English, there are strict rules in making plural nouns including noun changes. In Indonesia, making plural nouns is very easy. Instead of changing the nouns, there will be repetition or reduplication of the word to make plural. As the title suggest, we are only going to discuss about plural nouns.

Regular Form of Indonesian Plural Nouns

Plural form of nouns in Bahasa Indonesia is quite simple. In fact, it does not have strict grammatical rules like English or other languages. In English, we add ‘s/es’ or even completely change the noun to make it into plural. Every noun does not have the exact change because it depends on the type of nouns.  Also learn Indonesian grammatical exercise.

In Indonesia, plural form of noun is much simpler than that. To make plural form of noun, you just need reduplicate the word. Reduplicate the noun will change the word into plural form.

Take a look at below examples of Indonesian Plural Nouns.

Singular/ root words Plural Meanings
Sepatu Sepatu-sepatu Shoes
Kursi Kursi-kursi Chairs
Kaca Kaca-kaca Mirrors
Buku Buku-buku Books
Botol Botol-botol Bottles
Pohon Pohon-pohon Trees
Bunga Bunga-bunga Flowers

See, making noun plural in bahasa Indonesia is very easy. Let’s use them in sentences.

  • Kursi-kursi itu merupakan produksi asli Indonesia (Those chairs are originally made in Indonesia)
  • Dia akan menjual buku-buku koleksinya. (She is going to sell her books collection.)
  • Letakkan botol-botol itu di tempat daur ulang (put the bottles in recycle bin.)
  • Bunga-bunga di taman sedang bermekaran (the flowers in the park is blooming.)


For compound words, such as ‘orang tua’ (old people), surat kabar (newspaper), and kereta api (train), only the first word that will be repeated to form plural. For example orang-orang tua (the elders), surat-surat kabar (newspapers), and kereta-kereta api (trains). Also learn Indonesian verb to have.

In general, word repetition is used to make plural noun, however, it is important to note that there are some words in which the reduplication word is its original form or root. These nouns are originally in reduplication word and to make it plural, it requires counting words or numbers. Adding numbers or counting words to these root words will turn it into plural.

Here are the examples of Indonesian Plural Nouns:

  • Alang-alang (tall wild grass); plural: dua tangkai alang-alang (a stalk of tall wild grass)
  • Kupu-kupu (butterfly); plural: tiga kupu-kupu (three butterflies)
  • Oleh-oleh (gifts); plural: beberapa oleh-oleh (some gifts)
  • Gado-gado (mixed vegetables with peanut sauce); plural: tiga porsi gado-gado (three portion of mixed vegetables with peanut sauce).

Those nouns above are originally composed in reduplication word. Thus, they do not have plural form. You can just use the words as it is without thinking of the plural or singularity. 

Indonesian Plural Forms with ‘Para’

Besides reduplicate nouns, the word ‘para’ is also widely used to indicate plural form. However, this word is only used for personal pronoun. In Indonesia, ‘para’ refers to a group of people and it mostly used in formal speech or writings.

Singular Plural Meaning
Guru Para guru Teachers
Supir Para supir Drivers
Dokter Para dokter Doctors
Siswa Para siswa Students

As the word ‘para’ always refers to groups of people, make sure to never use it for nouns. ‘Para’ cannot be used for regular noun, such as buku (books), pulpen (pen), dan such. 

Indonesian Irregular Form of Plural

Even though there are rules about plural form in Indonesia, there are still some irregular forms that you should know. Some words such as ‘beberapa’, ‘banyak’, and also numbers are also used to form plural noun. When using the counting words, you do not need to reduplicated the noun because it already in plural form.

Singular Plural
Selembar daun (a piece of leaf) Tiga lembar daun (three pieces of leaves)
Seorang wanita (a woman) Beberapa wanita (some women)
Sebuah buku (a book) Banyak buku (many books)
Orang (person) Sekumpulan orang (groups of people)

Irregular plural form has no strict rules. This means you have to pick the right verb conjugation. The simplest way to make plural is using reduplication and using numbers. Most importantly, whether it is singular or plural form, there is no change made for the noun. For example ‘satu gigi’ (tooth) and ‘beberapa gigi’ (teeth), the word ‘gigi’ does not change and no additional alphabet as well. Also learn Indonesian verb conjugation.

When making Indonesian Plural Nouns, you can simply reduplicate the word. When in doubts, you can just simply add numbers or other counting words before the noun to make it plural. The noun, whether it is singular or plural, it stays in the root form without any changes.