Indonesian Sentence Construction – Formula – Exercise

Halo, selamat datang kembali di MasteringBahasa! For today, we are going to sharpen our skills in Indonesian sentence construction. You might have read about Indonesian sentence structure as well as basics of Indonesian grammar. Let’s learn how to build Indonesian sentences the right way today!

The good news is, constructing Indonesian sentences is actually relatively easy—you don’t need to know a list of grammatical rules as in the English language. Indonesian language is actually easy and fast to learn, and so is Indonesian grammar! The basic formula for Indonesian sentences is just the same as English sentences: subject + verb + object.

Example of Indonesian Sentence Construction

Verbs are the action word in each sentence and explains what’s going on in the sentence. Learn more about verb phrases as well. Here are some simple Indonesian sentence examples:

  • Saya suka kamu. (I like you.)
  • Kami ingin berbicara bahasa Indonesia dengan lancar. (We want to speak Indonesian fluently)

In this example, you might notice the presence of additional words “dengan lancar” aside from the normal subject+verb+object formula. “dengan lancar” or fluently is the adverb in the sentence. Now take a look at this sentence below:

  • Anak kecil itu punya senyum manis. (That little child has a sweet smile.)

Now, you see the word “manis” (sweet), which is the adjective in the sentence. The most noticeable difference between English and Indonesian sentences is that, in Indonesian, the words that describe, such as adjectives (which describe people, places or things) or adverbs (which describe actions/verbs) are generally added after the words they describe, not before

How about the verb “to be” (is, am, are) in Indonesian sentences structures?

Mostly, you cannot find the equivalent of these verbs in Indonesian sentences. It is actually unnecessary as you can understand it simply by reading the sentence.

1. For example Indonesian positive sentences 

  • Saya senang (I [am] happy.)
  • Dia cantik. (She [is] pretty.)
  • Mereka pergi ke toko. (They [are] going to [the] store.)

However, sometimes there’s another word that can represent is/am/are. The word is “adalah”, commonly used for emphasis but not mandatorily. “Adalah” is usually used to join two nouns.

  • Maggy adalah murid yang pintar (Maggy is a smart student.)
  • Orang berbaju biru itu adalah ayah saya (The person with blue shirt is my father.)
  • How about negative and question sentences?

2. Indonesian Questions sentences

There are a few ways to construct question sentences in Indonesian. In some way the word order doesn’t change and you simply add a question mark at the end of the sentence, but in other formats there are helping question words to begin the sentence. See below:


Kamu mau makan? Do you want to eat?
Kamu mau makan, tidak? Do you want to eat?
Apakah kamu mau makan? Do you want to eat?

Also read about Indonesian Reading Practice

3. Indonesian Negative sentences

There are two types of negative words in Indonesia, “tidak” and “enggak”. “Tidak” is more formal whereas “enggak” is more informal, so the usage of these two is interchangeable depending on where the conversation is made.


Dia tidak mau makan He doesn’t want to eat
Dia enggak mau makan He doesn’t want to eat

Pretty simple right? That’s all theories about Indonesian sentence construction. Happy learning! Selamat Belajar!

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