Your Partner in Learning Bahasa Indonesia

Subject - Verb Agreement

Howdy, Englinesians?! Subject and verb agreement is the first topic that I firstly taught when I learned English. Then, you should have it too in learning bahasa Indonesia. Let’s have a learn.

This topic is not commonly discussed when learning bahasa Indonesia. Unlike English that has specific rule regarding this topic, in bahasa Indonesia verbs are not influenced by the time an action happens and are not influenced by the subject. Meaning that action happens in past, present, and future uses the same verb as written in dictionary. Furthermore, all subjects can be paired with any verb as written in dictionary.

If in English we should add suffix “-s” on the verb when the subjects are the third persons, in bahasa Indonesia, it does not. If in English we should use the past verbs when talking about activities happened in the past, in bahasa Indonesia, it does not.

English Bahasa Indonesia syllable
I Saya, aku sa-ya, a-ku
We Kami, kita ka-mi, ki-ta
You Anda, Engkau (formal) - Kamu, Kau (informal) an-da, eng-kaw - ka-mu, kaw
They Mereka me-re-ka
He Dia, ia di-ya, i-ya
She Dia, ia di-ya, i-ya
It ini/itu i-ni, i-tu

Read specific lesson on Personal Pronoun

Firstly, you should notice that bahasa Indonesia uses the same personal pronoun (dia) to refer to all the third persons. Secondly, bahasa Indonesia does not classify people based on their gender, but age (younger or older). Thirdly, personal pronoun “it”, if translated into bahasa Indonesia, it literally means “this” if the thing you refer to is close to you and “that” if thing you refer to is in distance. If the thing you refer to is in plural form, bahasa Indonesia still uses “ini” or “itu” instead of “they” because “they” is only used to refer to people. In some cases, you should mention the name of thing you mean by double it.

Singular Plural
Meja Meja-meja
Kursi Kursi-kursi
Mobil Mobil-mobil

Then, how subject and verb agreement is like in bahasa Indonesia? Well, You are allowed to form your sentence as you want. No specific rule to this. You are enable to pair all verbs with all personal pronouns. This rule is acceptable in both informal and formal situation. Here are some examples.

English Bahasa Indonesia
I eat Saya makan
She eats Dia makan
I ate Saya makan
He ate Dia makan

Thing that make subject and verb agreement in bahasa Indonesia different with English is that In bahasa Indonesia time does not influence the verb - so do the subjects. Action that happens in past, present, or future uses verb as written in dictionary. Besides, whatever subject you choose in your sentence, just pair it with any verb as written in dictionary. It is all that simple.