9 Types of Indonesian Suffixes – Formula – Examples

In Forming Indonesian Words using Indonesian affixes, understand about affixes is a must. After exploring about Indonesian Prefixes, it is the time to move to another affix, which is suffix. At this opportunity, we will learn about 9 Indonesian suffixes.

Suffix is a dependent morpheme or a set of letter attached at the end of a word. Like prefix, those set of letter has certain function to change the function or part of speech. In Indonesian, there are at least 9 suffixes. Those are –an, -kan, -in, -i, -ku, -mu, -nya, -kah, -lah, -tah,

1. Indonesian ‘-an’ suffix

The first suffix to introduce is –an. Several suffixes are more often used together with prefix as convex, including –an. In terms of forming noun, it might work together with prefix such as Ber-  or per-.

However, this time we only discuss –an as a suffix. It is also used to form noun. Moreover, in several occasion it has implied meaning as much/many/a group or set of. Here are the examples

cair (adj)  

+ -an

cairan (n) liquid (n)
kuning (adj) kuningan (n) brass (n)
sumbang (v) sumbangan (n) charity (n)

Indonesian Suffixes examples

laut (sea)

+ -an

lautan (ocean)
duri (thorn) durian (durian) durian shell is full of thorns

2. Indonesian ‘-kan’ and ‘-in’ suffix

The second suffix is –kan. Like suffix –an, it is usually used together with other prefix. However, as a suffix, it has function to form verb that use in imperative sentence. Moreover, in informal occasion sometimes people use suffix –in as replacement of –kan. To make it clear, take a look at the examples.

  • (1). nyala (adj) + -kan = nyalakan (v) – turn on
    – Tolong nyalakan lampu tersebut! (Please, turn on the light!)(2). nyala (adj) + -in = nyalain (v) (informal) – turn on
    – Tolong nyalain lampu tersebut! (Please, turn on the light!)
  • (1). lupa (v) + -kan = lupakan (v) – forget
    – Jangan lupakan aku (Don’t forget me)(2). lupa (v) + -in = lupain (v) (informal) – forget
    – Jangan lupain aku (Don’t forget me)

Even though both have same meanings, the first (1) sentence is considered more formal and appropriate.

Check also Indonesian Suffix -Kan

3. Indonesian ‘-i’ suffix

The next suffix is –i. It has similar characteristic with suffix –kan because it is also used to form verb that use in imperative sentence. Here are the examples.

  • awal (n) + -i = awali (v) – start
    Awali harimu dengan senyuman! (Start your day with smile!)
  • jalan (n) + -i = jalani (v) — live
    Jalani hidupmu dengan kebahagiaan! (Live your life with happiness!) 

4. Indonesian –ku, -mu, -nya suffix

Another set in these group of 9 Indonesian suffixes are –ku, -mu, -nya suffix. They are used to form pronouns. All of it are equivalent with my, your, and his/her/it respectively. It is only used in informal/non-standard situation. To make it easier, take a look at this table



Buku (book)

-ku bukuku

(my book)

Ini bukuku

(This is my book)

-mu bukumu

(your book)

Ini bukumu

(This is your book)

-nya bukunya (his/her book) Ini bukunya

(This is his/her book)

Furthermore, if it met with the word ‘milik’ or ‘punya’ (both mean have/own/to possess), it has similar meaning with English possessive pronoun (mine, yours, his, hers). To make it clear, let’s see the table below.



+ -ku milikku Buku ini milikku (This book is mine)
+ -mu milikmu Buku ini milikmu (This book is yours)
+ -nya miliknya Buku ini miliknya (This book is his/hers)


+ -ku punyaku Buku ini punyaku (This book is mine)
+ -mu punyamu Buku ini punyamu (This book is yours)
+ -nya punyanya Buku ini punyanya (This book is his/hers)

5. Indonesian -kah, -lah, -tah, suffix

The last group of suffix is really unique because they have no significant function as the other suffixes. Unlike previous suffixes, the -kah, -lah, -tah are usually used to build certain sense in sentences. Here take a look at the examples.

  • -kah suffix
    This particle has two functions. First, is to highlight the word it attached. Secondly, it forms polar question (yes/no question)
    –  Siapa dia? (Who is she?)
    –  Siapakah dia? (Who is she?)Notes: it is actually has no significant difference-  datang (come) + kah = datangkah
    –  Datangkah dia? (Is she come?)-  Ikan atau ayam? (Fish or chicken?)
    –  Ikan atau ayamkah? (Fish or chicken?)Notes: it is actually has no significant difference
  • lah suffix
    This particle is actually used to soften the situation. However, using –lah is very optional. Take a look at the example-  Lepaskan saja! (Let it go)
    –  Lepaskanlah saja! (Let it go)
    Notes: it is actually has no significant difference-  Pergi ! (Go away!) –
    –  Pergilah ! (Go away!) – more polite
  • -tah suffix
    Maybe this is the most unique suffix in Indonesian because it is rarely used. Probably this is because it derived from Ancient Malay Language, which we left long time ago. In Indonesian official dictionary, it is only attached to the word apa (what). But, in informal situation you could also attach it with siapa (who) and man (which). In addition, it is used only for rhetoric question.
    – Apatah guna harta benda apabila kita menderita? (What is the meaning of wealth if we suffer?)

So, there are 9 Indonesian Suffixes. To enhance your skill, check also Indonesian Infixes, Indonesian Reduplication Words, and Indonesian Grammar for more knowledge about Bahasa Indonesia.