KERTAS-KERJA  (worksheet) MENGENAI (concerning) AKTIF DAN PASIF = agent focus and object focus


Note:  some Indonesian grammars talk about active and passive, to parallel English -- "My mother bought the mat" / "The mat was bought by my mother" -- but it's more accurate to use agent focus (agent = the one who does the action) vs. object focus (object = the recipient of the action).


If someone does something to someone or something, the verb that describes that action is a transitive verb.  The one who does the  action is the agent.  The person or thing that receives the action of the action is the recipient or object.


In Indonesian, if the agent and/or the action is the main concern of the sentence, the "active" [= agent focus] form of the verb is used, which means the verb takes the prefix meN-*.  Often, but not always, the agent will be the subject of an agent focus sentence.  The exception is if the verb is in a "yang phrase" and the agent is not in that phrase; then, the agent is the predicate and the verb in the "yang phrase" is active.  If the agent is in the "yang phrase" with the verb, the verb is "passive" [ = object focus].


(This sounds more confusing than it is; consider the following:

Ibu saya membeli tikar itu = "My mother bought the mat." 
            "ibu saya" is the subject, "membeli tikar itu" is the predicate

Ibu saya yang membeli tikar itu. = "My mother is the one who bought the mat
     "yang membeli tikar itu" is the subject, "ibu saya" is the predicate

Keep in mind -- the subject of a sentence is what we're talking about: in the first example, it's "ibu saja" but in the second it's "yang membeli tikar itu;" the predicate of a sentence is what we're saying about the subject -- the new information: in the first case "membeli tikar itu," in the second "ibu saya.")


If the recipient of the action is the main concern of the sentence, the "passive" [ = object focus] form of the verb is used.  Often, but not always, the recipient will be the subject of a object focus sentence.  The exception is as mentioned above:  if the verb is in a "yang phrase" and the recipient is not in that phrase, the recipient is the predicate and the verb in the "yang phrase" is object focus. 


In the object focus, the verb is preceded either by (1) short forms of the intimate pronouns (ku-, kau-) or di-; or by (2) the full forms of the formal pronouns (saya; Anda, Saudara, Bapak, etc.;beliau); or by the plural pronouns (kami, kita, kalian, mereka).  In all cases, NOTHING (no auxiliary word such as bisa, harus, akan, etc.) comes between the pronoun form and the verb stem.  In the case of third person passive, the noun or pronoun (-nya) which designates the agent comes after the verb, optionally preceded by oleh ("by").


Except for sentences where the verb is in a yang phrase, the subject of a passive verb is the recipient, and often precedes the verb. With subject/predicate inversion the recipient-subject may come after the passive verb.


EXAMPLE:        ACTIVE                         PASSIVE


              Saya menjual tikar.                        Tikar itu saya jual.

              Ibu(=you) menjual tikar.                Tikar itu Ibu jual.

              Ibu saya menjual tikar.                   Tikar itu dijual ibu saya.




Write two sentences for each of the following words, one in active, one in passive;  the first four in 1st person passive, the second four in 2nd person passive, the third four in 3rd person passive.


     1st pers     2nd pers      3rd pers            


     lihat             dengar               ambil            

     tambah        cari                    kirim               

     pakai           beri                  suruh               

     beli              tulis                   lawat            

 *meN- forms:  + r,l,w,y= me-;  + (p),b,(m)= mem-;  + (t),d,c,j,(n)= men-;  + (k),g,h,aeiou,(ng)= meng-;  + (s),(ny)= meny-







Instead of describing an action that somebody does to somebody or something, a word can describe a state or condition.  Such words are not transitive, do not have a recipient/object, and therefore CANNOT focus on it, and DO NOT TAKE MEN-, DI-, ETC.  Many  stative words (both verbs and adjectives) can add -kan and then become transitive verbs, describing the activity of causing the state to happen to a recipient.  With the -kan suffix, the verb can then be agent or object focus.




 Adik saya mau tidur.                            My little sister wants to sleep.

 Saya harus menidurkan adik saya.        I have to put my sister to sleep. 

 Adik saya tidak usah saya tidurkan.      I don't have to put  "   "   " .




Write two sentences for each of the following words, one using the form without prefixes/suffixes, indicating a state or condition, the other using -kan.  For words 1-4 use -kan with the meN- prefix, for words 5-8 use -kan with any form of the object focus.


  1. kawin      2. repot     3. pindah      4. siap ('ready')

  5. rusak      6. dekat     7. lahir            8. habis





With verbs that are transitive without -kan (like those in the examples on the worksheet on active and passive), adding -kan makes it possible for them to take another recipient, in addition to the one they take without -kan.  This recipient is a person who benefits from the action of the verb.




Ali mencari kamus.                               Kamus itu dicari Ali.          

Ali mencarikan temannya kamus.          Temannya dicarikan kamus oleh Ali.

           OR                                                                    OR

Ali mencarikan kamus untuk temannya. Kamus dicarikan Ali untuk temannya.




Write two sentences for each of the following verbs, one with the ordinary transitive (without  -kan), and the other with the benefactive  -kan suffix.  Make all the sentences active -- never mind about the passive for this exercise.


  cari     ambil    tulis    beli    baca    bungkus





Some words are prefixed with beR- as intransitive verbs; they do not indicate an action which has a recipient.  If -kan is added to the root word, however, these words can then have recipients, just like any other transitive verb, which means they are either active (agent focus) or passive (recipient focus); a 3rd possibility is imperative, when meN- is not used.


At this point, you know only a limited number of these words, and it's easier just to remember them -- see the grammar section and exercises in Wolff which cover this -- since not all intransitive verbs will take beR-, and not all words which are made transitive with -kan can also take beR- in their intransitive form.


The important thing to remember is that if there is a recipient (of the verb, not of a preposition), the verb must be transitive.  For this set of words, that means adding -kan.  If there is no recipient, the verb is intransitive, and FOR THIS SET OF WORDS (not all) that means using beR-.



1.Saya mau bercerita tentang anak saya.      I want to tell about my kid.

2.Siapa yang mau Anda ceritakan?                Who is it you want to tell about?

3.Saya mau menceritakan anak saya.            I want to tell-about my kid.

4.Ini anak saya yang baru saya ceritakan.     This is my kid, that I was just now telling about.

5.Jon bekerja di kota.                                     John works in town.

6.Apa yang dikerjakan Jon di kota?              What is it that John does (= works on) in town?

7.John menjual pisang di kota.                       John sells bananas in town.


Notice that in sentences 1 and 3, bercerita tentang gives the same information as menceritakan.  Sentences 2 and 4, however, could NOT also be expressed as Siapa yang mau Anda bercerita tentang or Tentang anak saya, saya baru bercerita.  Putting the recipient at the front of the sentence makes the sentence focus on it, and you have to have a transitive (and object focus) verb to handle such situations.


In sentence 6, asking about what (=apa) it is that John does forces the verb into the object focus as well, since the recipient (=apa) is in front of the verb.  You could say Jon mengerjakan apa di kota, and be equally correct.  Notice that sentence 7 answers the question asked in sentence 6 WITHOUT using any form of the verb kerja.


The verb ajar becomes belajar in its intransitive form (meaning to study something in a general way, to take a course in something), but  becomes pelajari (with meN- or di-/Anda /saya) as the transitive form, meaning to do a specific act of studying.



Write three sentences for each of the following; one with beR-, one with meN--kan, and one with some form of the object focus and -kan.


                   bicara        tanya       ajar    

Some verbs change their meaning somewhat, depending on whether they have beR- or meN-/di- etc. -kan:



  Orang-orang berkumpul di warung.             People gather at the food stall.

  Bu Henry mengumpulkan buku.                   Ms. Henry gathers together the books.


  Saya ingin berjalan di desa.                          I want to walk in the village.

  Mobil saya tidak bisa saya jalankan.           I can't get my car going today because it's too

hari ini karena terlalu dingin                          cold.                            



Write three sentences for the following words; on with beR-, one with meN--kan, and one with some form of the object focus and -kan.


                        kumpul          jalan


Make these sentences DIFFERENT than the examples given!





Like -kan, the suffix -i makes it possible for roots that would not otherwise have recipients to have them.  In other words, it makes an intransitive word into a transitive verb (= a verb that can be made active or passive).  Unlike -kan, -i means that the recipient is the place or person where the action ends up -- the recipient shows a LOCATION and IT DOES NOT GET MOVED OR CHANGED by the action of the verb.  In many cases, the root plus the prepositions di, ke or dari can substitute for the transitive verb, meN- root -i:


  Ali duduk di korsi.               Ali sits in the chair. 

  Ali menduduki korsi.                   "      "


However, while the second sentence can be made passive (like any other active sentence), the first cannot:


  Korsi itu diduduki Ali.           The chair is sat in by Ali.


You cannot have the sentences " Di korsi Ali duduk" or "Korsi Ali duduk di" in correct Indonesian.


(Also, it sounds fairly weird to use "menduduki" for Ali and the chair -- usually the -i form is used in the sense of "occupying,"

as in "Tentara menduduki negara musuhnya.")


Some verbs can be transitive without -i, and take locational recipients when -i is added:


  Kami menanam kacang di kebun.               We plant beans in the garden.

  Kacang kami tanam di kebun.                     Beans are planted by us in the



  Kami menanami kebun dengan kacang.  We plant the garden with beans.

  Kebun kami tanami (dengan) kacang.        The garden is planted by us

                                                                        with beans.


Some words that describe a state or condition can use either -kan or - i to form transitive verbs with different kinds of recipients:


  Tuti masuk ke kantor.                     Tuti enters into the office.


  Tuti memasuki kantor.                   "       "

  Kantor dimasuki Tuti.                      The office is entered by Tuti.


  Tuti memasukkan buku ke lemari.             Tuti puts books into the cupboard.

  Buku dimasukkan Tuti ke lemari.              The books are put by Tuti into the cupboard.



A few words can be used with -kan and -i (when they're transitive) AND with beR- when they are intransitive (especially if they could be understood as a noun if they don't have any affixes);  jalan is about the only example of this we've seen so far:


  Kita harus berjalan di jalan ini. We have to walk on this road.


  Kita harus menjalani jalan ini.           "           "


  Kita harus menjalankan mobil ini.  We have to get this car going.






Tulis bentuk aktif ATAU bentuk pasif untuk kalimat ini.



1.  Saya mau ___________________ (kunjungi) sekolah di desa.


2.  Sekolah di desa itu yang mau saya ____________________(kunjungi).


3.  Apa yang perlu ____________________(tanyakan)?


4.  Apa Ibu yang sedang ____________________(baca) majalah itu?


5.  Apa yang sedang Ibu ____________________(baca)?


6.  Siapa yang sedang ____________________(baca) majalah itu?


7.  Yang sedang ____________________(baca) Jon,  majalah itu.


8.  Jon mau ____________________(lihat) pemandangan yang indah.


9.  Jalan mana yang mereka ____________________(lewati)?


10. Petani di sini sering ____________________(tanami) pematang dengan sayur-sayuran.


11. Petani di sini sering ____________________(tanam) sayur-sayuran di pematang (dikes).


12. Sawah itu sudah ____________________(tanami) apa?


13. Jagung (corn) sering ____________________(tanam) di mana?


14. Apa yang ____________________(tanam) di pinggir sawah?


15. Apa yang ____________________(tanami) ubi?


16. Bibi saya ____________________(masuki) kantor kepala sekolah.


17. Apa yang harus ____________________(kerjakan) bibi saya?


18. Buku-buku harus ____________________(masukkan) bibi saya ke dalam lemari buku (="bookcase").


19. Keadaan di desa mau ____________________(lihat) Jon.


20. Apa yang mau Saudara ____________________(pelajari)?


21. O, saya ingin ____________________(pelajari) pendidikan di sini.


22. Siapa yang ingin ____________________(pelajari) pendidikan?


23. Pak Jon yang ingin ____________________(pelajari) pendidikan.


24. Yang ____________________(bicarakan) guru kita tadi, apa?


25. ____________________(bicarakan) Pelajaran 12, guru kita.



Practice with prefixes and suffixes (meN-, di-, beR-, Ř, -kan:


1.  Setiap hari penduduk Jalan Lembang _______________(bangun) oleh suara adzan.


2.  Keluarga Sudarmo sering ____________(duduki) kursi-kursi di kamar duduk.


3.  Kota Jakarta ____________(duduki) orang Belanda selama perjuangan.


4,5.  Kebanyakan pembeli ____________(pulang) pada siang hari untuk ____________       (istirahat).


6.  Kita dapat _____________ (pilih) kaset musik gamelan.


7.  Barang-barang yang sudah anda ____________ (beli) berat sekali.


8.   Kami akan ____________(libur) di Pulau Bali tahun depan.


9.  Karcis Sulastri ____________ (periksa) pembantu kepala setasiun.


10.  Stupa itu masing-masing ____________ (kandung) patung Buddha.


11.  Rumah makan itu tidak dapat saya ____________ (anjurkan), karena tidak baik.


12.  Siapa yang sedang _____________ (baca) anak itu majalah?* BENEFACTIVE -KAN


13.  Pakaiannya sudah ____________(masuk) Sulastri ke dalam kopornya.


14.  Kamar harus anda ____________ (pesan) dahulu di losmen itu.


15.  Bambang akan ____________(kunjungi) saudara sepupunya di Wonosobo.


16, 17.  Perhiasan perak ____________ (buat) oleh orang yang ____________ (kerja) di pabrik perak itu.


18.  Jumlah mahasiswa di Universitas Gajah Mada ____________ (lebihi) delapanbelas ribu.


19,20.  Kopor yang berat itu tidak dapat saya _____________ (bawa);  mudah-mudahan teman saya akan


_____________ (bawa) saya kopor itu. *BENEFACTIVE -KAN


21.  Akhirnya kereta api itu siap _____________(angkat).


22.  Saya tidak suka ____________(pakai) celana jengki.


23.  Kain batik ____________ (jual) di bagian pakaian.


24.  Ibu Sudarmo sedang ____________ (siap) makan pagi di dapur.


25,26.  Meja yang ____________(bentuk) bundar harus anda ____________ (letak) di sebelah kursi besar.


27.  Dewasa ini Republik Indonesia ____________(perintah) oleh pemerintah di Jakarta.


28.  Pembatik itu sedang ____________ (guna)canting.                                                                                                                                            



 Sedikit lagi -- pakailah peN-, meN-, beR-, or nothing:



1,2. Ada banyak  _________________  (kunjung) yang _________________(kunjung) ke keraton di Yogya.


3.  Apa yang akan Anda ____________________(kunjungi) nanti sore?


4,5. Inginkah Anda ____________________(bawa) alat ____________________(potret) ke Candi Prambanan?


6,7.  Wayang kulit dapat ____________________(tonton) oleh ____________________(tonton) di depan keraton.


8.  _______________(duduk) Yogya sangat suka para turis yang kaya.


9,10.  Orang yang ____________________(ajar) di universitas disebut “mahasiswa” atau


“ ____________________”(ajar).


Here is the key for the exercise -- don’t peek prematurely.


1.  dibangunkan  (=“awakened”; dibangun would mean “built, erected.”)

2.  menduduki

3.  diduduki

4.  pulang

5.  beristirahat

6.  memilih

7.  beli (anda beli = 2nd person passive)

8.  berlibur

9.  diperiksa

10. mengandung (masing-masing = “each”; mengandung = “contain”)

11. anjurkan (saya anjurkan = 1st person passive, “I can’t recommend this restaurant...)

12.  membacakan (= benefactive -kan)

13.  dimasukkan  (= “caused to enter”, “put in”)

14.  pesan (2nd person passive)

15.  mengunjungi

16.  dibuat

17.  bekerja

18.  melebihi

19.  bawa (1st person passive)

20.  membawakan (= benefactive -kan)

21.  berangkat

22.  memakai

23.  dijual (agent not mentioned -- “sold (by somebody)”)

24.  menyiapkan

25.  berbentuk

26.  letakkan (2nd person passive)

27.  diperintah

28.  menggunakan  



1.  pengunjung

2.  berkunjung

3.  kunjungi (2nd p. passive)

4.  membawa

5.  pemotret

6.  ditonton

7.  penonton

8.  penduduk

9.  belajar

10. pelajar