BRITISH PROPOLIS - Suplemen Kesehatan untuk Keluarga Sehat
RSS Feed

Unit 4
Sentence structure


The basic order for Indonesian sentence is; Subject, Verb, Object or Adjective or Adverb. In syntactical term, simply we use the definition of S = NP.VP. A short hand way of saying that pattern is; a sentence consists of Noun Phrase and Verb Phrase. Yet in many cases, the order can be put in various ways, e.g a sentence may come from NP.VP, or NP.NP, or NP.AP or NP.PP. In English, the order strictly lies on S = NP.VP (sometimes VP with to be or linking verb). Below, you will find the differences in syntactical level


Indonesian                                                     English

NP.VP                                                             NP.VP

Paman pergi ke Surabaya tadi malam                        Uncle went to Surabaya last


Kakak ke kampus naik motor                      Brother rides to campus

Ibu ke pasar naik becak                                 Mother goes to market by



NP.AdvP                                                         NP.VP

Bibi di kebun                                                    Aunty is in the garden

Dompetnya di atas meja                                  His wallet is on the table


NP.AP                                                             NP.VP

Brudin sakit semalam                                     Brudin was sick last night

Mereka bising sekali tadi sore                         They were very noisy this  



NP.NP                                                             NP.VP

Orang yang di sana tadi malam Andi              The man who was there last

night is Andy

Kebanyakan warga desa ini nelayan               Most citizen of this village

are sailors

Note: NP: Noun Phrase                  Adv P: Adverbial Phrase

AP: Adjective Phrase                      VP    : Verb Phrase


Passive and Object-Focus Construction

The idea of passive is rare in speech, yet it occurs often in academic writing. The passive form of a verb phrase contain this pattern; be + past participle, e.g is bitten, was stolen, can be taken. In Indonesian, passive is shown by adding di- before a verb, e.g dimakan, ditipu, dipermalukan. In most clauses, the subject refers to the “doer”, or actor of the action of the verb (Leech and friends, 2003). When we create a passive sentence, the focus of the sentence goes to Subject. This term is well known as Canonical passive, e.g Buku itu sudah dibaca oleh Andi or The book has been read by Andi.

Passive sentence in Indonesian, the position of focus may go to Object. We call it Object focus or in another word non canonical passive. The term can be defined as a sentence which has semi-active and semi-passive construction, e.g Buku itu sudah saya baca. This phenomenon does not occur in English except in relative clauses.






Indonesian                                                 English

A: Erni menulis makalah ini                      A: Erni writes this paper

P: Makalah ini ditulis oleh erni                  P: This paper is written by Erni 

     Makalah ini ditulis Erni

     Makalah ini Erni tulis*

A: Dia sudah mengirim suratnya?                A: Has she sent the letter yet?

P: Suratnya sudah dikirim oleh dia?             P: Has the letter been sent by

    Suratnya sudah dikirim dia?

    Suratnya sudah dia kirim?*

    Sudah dia kirim suratnya?*

A: Saya tidak memakan makanan itu           A: I did not eat that food

P: Makanan itu tidak dimakan oleh saya      P: That food was not eaten by

                                                                           me yet

Makanan itu tidak saya makan*

Tidak saya makan makanan itu*

Note: A: Active        P:Passive

* NonCanonical Passive/Object focus


Notice that object focus constructions in Indonesian also occur in the so-called relative clauses in English. While relative clauses of the object pattern type in English do not change the voice of the verb, in Indonesian they do. That is, the antecedent referred to by the relative pronoun becomes an object focus in Indonesian. Compare the following English sentences with their Indonesian counterparts








Orang tua yang ditemui Rika di sekolah adalah kakeknya    

*Orang tua yang Rika menemui di  sekolah……..

The old man (whom) Rika met at the school was his grand father

Demonstrasi yang saya tonton di TV sangat menakutkan  

*Demonstrasi yang saya menonton di TV…….

Demonstration I watched on TV was scary


Errors such as *Orang tua yang Rika menemui di sekolah….or *Demonstrasi yang saya menonton di TV…are common to occur in the speech or writing produced by speakers of English learning Indonesian. Apparently, this is a kind of error known in TEFL as transfer. That is the carrying over of a syntactic structure in English into Indonesian (Kadarisman, 2002:3)

Object-focus construction in Indonesian are different from cleft in English, e.g That is the man that I have met, or That is the key I am looking for.

         In English, it is also possible to have object focus. Here we will call it Object fronting, e.g  The man I have met, and The key I am looking for. However, it should be noted that object focus in English is a “marked” or unusual structure, whereas object focus in Indonesian as an “unmarked” or common structure. Moreover, object focus in Indonesian makes the sentence “partly passive and hence the term Non-cannonical passive. In contrast, English object fronting does not change the sentence from active into passive. (Kadarisman, 2002:4).

Thu, 12 Sep 2013 @09:09




Recent Articles

Propolis for Kids