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Learn Indonesian me- Prefix (Formula and Examples)

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Bahasa Indonesia uses prefix, affix, and infixes to form verbs. It is used in nouns, numbers, and even verbs to create new meaning. Prefix me- is mostly used to form active verbs.


Indonesian me- Prefix Formula

The use of prefix me- may make minor changes to the spelling or infliction to create smooth pronunciation transition. The changes usually depend on the first letter.

First letterInflectionRoot wordsExampleMeaning
Vowel, g, hMe + ngAsap







To pawn

To suck

l, m, ny, r, wMe + root wordsLelang










To auction

To install

To sing

To destroy


c, d, jMe+ n+ root wordCapai






To reach

To design

To guarantee

b, f, vMe+ m+ root wordBuka






To open

To focus

To sentence

kMe+ ng+ drop ‘k’KembangMengembangTo bloom
tMe+ n+ drop ‘t’TinjuMeninjuTo punch
 sMe+ ny+ drop ‘s’SapuMenyapuTo sweep
pMe+ ny+ drop ‘p’PikatMemikatTo lure


  • For one syllable word or monosyllabic, regardless the first letter, prefix me+ will always become menge- + root word. For example lap (wipe) become mengelap (to wipe), cat (paint) become mengecat (to paint).
  • For words with starting letter q, x, and z the infliction will adapted from the existing pronunciation for example q and x included in g rules while z included in j rules.

Those are the prefix me- combining rules, now we move to combination of the prefix with nouns, adjectives, verbs, numbers, places, and expletive words. Learn also Indonesian prefix table.

1. Indonesian me- Prefix + transitive verbs

In Bahasa Indonesia, transitive verbs cannot be used in its infinitive form without adding prefixes. There is few words exception, though, but most of transitive should be conjugated with prefixes.

Root wordExampleMeaningRemarks
SapuIbu menyapu lantai



Mother sweeps the floor‘sapu’ cannot be used in the infinitive form.
MasakIbu memasak nasi

Ibu masak nasi (non formal)

Mother cooks rice‘masak’ can be used in the infinitive form.
MakanAyah makan nasiFather eats rice‘makan’ is used in the infinitive form.

Also learn about Indonesian (me-) Prefix

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2. Indonesian me- Prefix intransitive verbs

Intransitive verbs are the kind of verbs which cannot have objects. In English, it is likely similar to reflexive verbs. Different from transitive verbs, intransitive verbs are mostly used in the infinitive form. Only few of transitive verbs which can be conjugated with prefix me-. Learn more about Indonesian prefix ber.

Root wordExampleMeaningRemarks
NangisAdik menangis

Adik nangis (casual)

Sister cries

Sister cries

‘nangis’ can be used with or without prefix me-
Tari (to dance)Santi menariSanti dances‘tari’ cannot be used in infinitive form
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3. Indonesian me- Prefix + noun

When combined with noun, prefix me- can create new meaning which may be different from the root words. Lean more about high frequency words in Indonesia.

  • To turn a subject into noun, sometimes it is figuratively.
    Kuping (ear) → menguping (eavesdrop)
    Batu (stone) → membatu (petrify)
  • To produce the noun
    Rokok (cigarette) → merokok (smoking)
  • To do work with noun
    Bajak (plow) → membajak (to plow, hijack)
  • To put the noun into verbs
    Cat (paint) → mengecat ( to paint)

The combination of prefix me- with noun is the trickiest part of the language because not all noun can be conjugated with me-. Also, the meaning of the words highly depends on the culture. Also learn Indonesian infixes table.

4. Indonesian Me- + adjectives

Prefix me- combines with adjectives usually indicates subject changes or turn to indicated adjective. Learn more about Indonesian adjectives words.

  • Putih ( white ) → memutih ( to turn white)
  • Besar ( big) → membesar ( to become big)
  • Panas ( hot) → memanas ( to become hotter)

Adjectives combine with prefix me- can also describe emotions or situation. Prefix me- is one of the basic grammar in Bahasa Indonesia. It is used in sentences and daily conversation to describe objects.

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Kategori : Word Formation