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7 Indonesian Prefixes and Suffixes – Formula – Examples

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After you learn about Indonesian Suffixes, it is time to move to another Indonesian affix, which is the combination of prefix and suffix. There are two type of the combination.


First, konfiks [kon’fix]. It is a term that refers to inseparable combined Indonesian prefixes and suffixes that attached to a single grammatically-correct word at the same time. On the other word, you must use it together as an affix, not as two different affixes.

Secondly, there is combination of prefix and suffix, that could be used without each other. On the other word, it could be used separately to form grammatically-correct word.

Take a look at these examples

  • buat (root words) to membuatkan
    me(N) + buat = membuat (make) √
    buat + -kan = buatkan (make – for imperative sentence) √
  • membuatkan = make – for someone else
    me(N) + buat = membuat
    membuat + kan = membuatkan

Because the combined me- prefix and – kan suffix are used separately, it is NOT a konfiks

  • buah (root words) to membuahkan
    me(N) + buah = membuah (not a word, grammatically incorrect)
    buah + -kan = buahkan (not a word, grammatically incorrect)
    me(N) + buah + kan = membuahkan (produce, result)

Because the combined me- prefix and – kan suffix must be used together to form a word, it is a konfiks

Moreover, there are at least 7 Indonesian combined prefixes and suffixes. It includes (1) pe-(N) + –an, (2) per- + an, (3) me-(N) + –kan, (4) me-(N) + –i, (5) ber- + -an, (6) ke- + –an, (7) se- + -nya. Before move to the next part, you should check for your reminder:

1. Indonesian pe-(N) + -an

The first Indonesian combined prefix and suffix is pe-(N) + -an. It is used to form noun. In very few occasion, it is also formed adjective. Remember, the pe-(N) prefix could change into 6 different variations (pe-, pen-, pem-, peng-, penge-, peny), depends on the word it attached. Here are the examples.

  • jual (v) – sell
    pe-(N) + jual (v) = penjual (n) – seller
    penjual (n) + -an = penjualan (n) – selling
  • sukses (Adj) – success
    pe-(N) + sukses (Adj) = penyukses (n) – successor
    penyukses (n) + -an = penyuksesan (n) – success (n)
  • darah (n) – blood
    pe-(N) + darah + -an = pendarahan (n) – bleeding
    There is no pendarah atau darahan
  • sakit (Adj) – sick
    pe-(N) + sakit (Adj) = penyakit (n) – disease
    penyakit (n) + -an = penyakitan (Adj) – term for ‘easily got ill’

2. Indonesian per- + -an

The second Indonesian combined prefix and suffix is per + -an. It is also used to form noun. Here are the examples.

  • lomba (n) – contest
    per- + lomba + -an = perlombaan (n) – match
  • luas (Adj) – wide
    per- + luas + -an = perluasan (n) – expansion

In addition, there are several root words that could be attached by both (1) pe-(N) + -an and (2) per- + -an. It is sometimes also confusing for the native. Take a look at these words.

  • buat (make)
    pembuatan (the making of)
    perbuatan (something you are doing)
  • mukim (a permanent area to live)
    pemukiman (the process of making a permanent area to live)
    permukiman (a permanent area to live)
  • beda (different)
    pembedaan (act of differing)
    perbedaan (difference)

If you notice, the pe-(N) + -an combined prefix also implied process and consciousness, while the per- + -an is more accidental. Now, you could understand the difference.  

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3. Indonesian me-(N) + -kan

The third Indonesian combined prefix and suffix is me-(N) + -kan. It is used to form active transitive verb. Here are the examples.

  • laku (n) – behaviour
    me-(N) + laku + -an = melakukan (v) – do
  • jual (v) – sell
    me-(N) + jual (v) = menjual (v) – sell
    menjual (v) + -kan = menjualkan (v) – sell (someone else’s thing)
  • beri (v) – give
    me-(N) + beri (v) = memberi (followed by person)
    memberi (v) + -kan = memberikan (followed by things)For example:
    – Saya memberi ayah hadiah (I gave dad a present)
    – Saya memberikan hadiah kepada ayah (I gave a present to dad)

4. Indonesian me-(N) + -i

The fourth set in these 7 Indonesian prefixes and suffixes is similar with the me-(N) + -kan. The me-(N) + -i is also used to form an active transitive verb. Here are the examples.

  • lempar (v) – throw
    me-(N) + lempar = melempar (v) – throw
    melempar + -i = melempari (v) – throw (followed by person)
  • luka (n) – wound/hurt (n)
    me-(N) + luka + -i = melukai (v) – wound/hurt (v) 

In addition, there are also several root words that could be attached by both (1) me-(N) + -kan and (2) me-(N) + -i. It is often also confusing for the native. Take a look at these words.

  • lempar (throw/ toss)
    melemparkan = Saya melemparkan koin kepada Andi (I tossed a coin to Andi)
    melempari = Saya melempari Andi dengan koin (I tossed Andi with coin)You may notice that the ‘melemparkan’ implies the object is a thing (Ali) and moves. On the other hands, in ‘melempari’, the object  is a person (Ali) and does not move.
  • jauh (far)
    menjauhkan = Saya menjauhkan Ali dari Ani (I keep Ali away from Ani)
    menjauhi = Saya menjauhi Ali (I stay away from Ali)You may notice that the ‘menjauhkan’ means the subject (I) do not move, while the object (Ali) moves. On the other hands, in ‘menjauhi’, the subject (I) move, but the object (Ali) does not move.

5. Indonesian ber- + -kan

The fifth combine prefix and suffix is ber- + -kan. It is also used to form a verb. There are several functions of this prefix + suffix.

  • meaning ‘each other’ or reciprocal (plural subject) peluk (hug) to berpelukan (hug each other)
    – Mereka berpelukan sebelum berpisah (They hug each other before split up)salam (greet) to bersalaman (shake hands)
    – Andi dan Susi bersalaman setelah pertandingan (Andi and Susi shook hands after the match)
  • meaning ‘done by many’ (plural subject)datang (arrive) to berdatangan (arrive)
    Orang-orang sudah berdatangan (People have arrived)lari (run) to berlarian (run)
    – Banyak anak berlarian di lorong (Lots of kids are running in the hallway)
  • meaning ‘happens over and over’cucur (pouring out) to bercucuran (pouring out)
    Darahnya terus bercucuran (Her blood is pouring out)

You may also check Suffix -Kan and Prefix Ber-

6. Indonesian ke- + -an

Another prefix + suffix in this lesson is ke- + -an. Unlike any other affixes, it is used to form different part of speech. It could form noun, adjective, and passive verb.

ke- +an that form noun

  • suka (v) = like/love
    ke- + suka (v) + -an = kesukaan (n) = favorite (n)
    Makanan ini kesukaan saya (This food is my favorite)
  • benar (Adj) = right/true
    ke- + benar (Adj) + -an = kebenaran (n) – truth
    Kebenaran akan terungkap (The truth will be revealed)
  • raja (n) = king/emperor
    ke- + raja (n) + -an = kerajaan (n) – kingdom/empire
    Ratu Elizabeth II adalah pemimpin kerajaan Inggris (Queen Elizabeth II is the ruler of British Empire)

ke- +an that form adjective

  • kecil (Adj) – small
    ke- + kecil (Adj) + -an = kekecilan (Adj) – too small
    Baju ini kekecilan buatku (This cloth is too small for me)
  • jauh (Adj) – far
    ke- + jauh (Adj) + -an = kejauhan (Adj) – too far
    Rumah Andi kejauhan (Andi’s house is too far) (informal) 
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ke- +an that form passive verb

  • lihat (v) – see
    ke- + lihat (v) + -an = kelihatan (v) – seems
    Andi kelihatan bahagia (Andi seems so happy)
  • hujan (n) – rain (n)
    ke- + hujan )n) + -an = kehujanan (v) – got wet because rain
    Ibu kehujanan (Mom got wet)

7. Indonesian se- + nya

The last prefix + suffix in this lesson is se- + -nya. Unlike any other affixes, it is used to form adverb. Here are the example

  • lama (n) – length (time)
    se- + lama(n) = selama (adv) – as long as
    selama (adv) + -nya = selamanya (adv) – forever
  • bisa (v) – can/capable
    se- + bisa (v) + -nya = sebisanya (adv) – as best as it could

See also Prefix “Se-“

It special occasion, it is also form particle in Indonesia

  • andai (n) – something that easily could happen
    se- + andai (n) + -nya = seandainya (p) – if (in English)
    Seandainya aku menjadi kaya (If I were a rich man)

So, there are 7 Indonesian combined prefixes and suffixes. To enhance your grammar skills, take a look at these following articles.

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Kategori : Grammar