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Passive type 1 and 2 , Tips & Notes, Addendum

A passive sentence can be constructed in two ways :
-1) using a verb with the 'di-' prefix.
-2) using a verb without the 'di-' prefix.

How to transform an active sentence into a passive sentence:

Passive type 1:
1) Switch position of [Subject] and [Object].
2) Change prefix 'me-' with prefix 'di-' for the [Predicate].
3) Add 'oleh' in front of the new [Object]. (the agent/actor).
If the passive 'di-' verb is directly followed by the agent/actor, then 'oleh' is optional.
If the passive 'di-' verb is directly followed by something else than the agent/actor, then 'oleh' is mandatory.

Passive type 2:
1) Move [Object] to the beginning of the sentence.
2) Drop the 'me-' prefix for the [Predicate].
3) Move [Subject] to position before the verb.
(nothing comes between the agent/actor and the verb).

Examples passive type 1:
(118) Pak Toha mengangkat seorang asisten baru.
(124b) Seorang asisten baru diangkat (oleh) Pak Toha.
'oleh' is optional here, because the passive 'di-' verb is followed directly by the agent ('Pak Toha').
(118) Pak Toha appoints a new assistant.
(124b) A new assistant has been appointed by Pak Toha.

(120) Pak Saleh harus memperbaiki dengan segera rumah tua itu.
(126a) Rumah tua itu harus diperbaiki dengan segera oleh Pak Saleh.
(126b) Rumah tua itu harus diperbaiki segera Pak Saleh. <==tidak gramatikal
'oleh' must be used here, because the passive 'di-' verb is not directly followed by the agent ('Pak Saleh').
(120) Pak Saleh must immediately fix that old house.
(126a) That old house must be fixed immediately by Pak Saleh.

Examples passive type 1 and type 2:
(130a) Mereka akan membersihkan ruangan ini.
(130p1) Ruangan ini akan dibersihkan (oleh) mereka. <== passive type 1, using 'di-'verb (oleh)
(130p2) Ruangan ini akan mereka bersihkan. <== passive type 2, no prefix for the verb (agent+verb).
(130a) They will clean this room.
(130p) This room will be cleaned by them.

(131a) Dia sudah membaca buku itu.
(131p1) Buku itu sudah dibaca olehnya / (oleh) dia. <== passive type 1, using 'di-'verb (oleh)
(131p2) Buku itu sudah dia baca. <== passive type 2, no prefix for the verb.
(131a) He has already read that book.
(131p) That book has already been read by him.

(132a) Ayah belum mendengar berita itu.
(132p1) Berita itu belum didengar (oleh) Ayah. <== passive type 1, using 'di-' verb (oleh)
(132p2) Berita itu belum Ayah dengar. <== passive type 2, no prefix for the verb.
(132a) Father has not yet heard that news.
(132p) That news has not yet been heard by father.

Examples passive type 2 ([Subject] = 1st person, 2nd person):
(122) Saya sudah mencuci mobil itu.
(128c) Mobil itu sudah saya cuci.
(128d) Mobil itu sudah kucuci. (aku ==> 'ku-' ; prefixed to the verb)
(122) I already washed that car.
(128c) That car has already been washed by me.

(123) Kamu mencium pipi anak itu.
(129) Pipi anak itu kamu cium.
(129b) Pipi anak itu kaucium. (engkau ==> 'kau-' ; prefixed to the verb)
(123) You kiss the cheeks of that child.
(129) The cheeks of that child have been kissed by you.

Here are links to sentence discussions where passive type 2 is used:


You can flip through the cards of the following Tinycards deck to see more examples of the passive voice:


Source : TBBI, Tata Bahasa Baku Bahasa Indonesia (Edisi Ketiga), Bab Kalimat Pasif.

March 15, 2019



Is it possible to drop the agent altogether (e.g. Ruangan ini akan dibersihkan)?

The passive voice has a reputation in English of being weaselly; someone trying to avoid taking responsibility might say "hurtful things were said" to avoid admitting that "I said hurtful things", and I'm curious if it can be used similarly in Bahasa Indonesia.


Yes you can drop the agent. I dunno whether passives carry the same implications, I've heard that they are more common in Indonesian though.


My wife has told me that type 2 passives are relatively rare and seemed strange when I tried to use them. Are you able to provide some insight into the situations where this construction is more likely to be used?

I notice in the examples linked, passive 2 is commonly used after "yang" which makes sense to me. What about as a stand-alone sentence?


Passive type 2 is used when the agent is the 1st or 2nd person.
Passive type 2 can also be used when the agent is a 3rd person, but in the formal style ('baku') passive type 1 is used for 3rd person.
As a result, you'll rarely see passive type 2 in news articles, because the agent in those stories is almost always a 3rd person.

Passive type 2 is used more frequently in everyday speech.
In daily conversation (person-to-person) the agent is more likely to be the 1st or 2nd person (contrary to for example a news article).

As you have already noticed, 'yang' is often followed by the passive voice.
'yang' is (one of) the most frequently used words in Indonesian.
'yang' is also required in certain 'siapa yang' / 'apa yang' questions.
(see here : https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31279456 )
In other words, many sentences use 'yang'.
So, you can be pretty sure that the passive voice (type 1 or 2) is used a lot.

I'm not sure what you mean by a stand-alone sentence.
I think a sentence never stands on its own, it's always part of a story, there is always context.
When telling a story (or a sentence), the focus is not always on the agent.
That's when the passive voice is used.

Example :
(Q) Have you bought that book ?
(A) Yes, I have bought that book.

(Q) (Apakah) kamu sudah beli buku itu ?
(A1) Ya, saya sudah beli buku itu.
(A2) Ya, buku itu sudah kubeli.
(A3) Ya, buku itu sudah dibeli.

The Q&A example above uses the active voice in English.
In Indonesian, I would probably use sentence (A2) to answer the question.
The focus/emphasis is on 'buku' (not the agent).
I think it's just that we're used to express things like that.
What is important (the topic), comes first in the sentence.
The agent is not always the most important thing (not the main topic) in a sentence.
In such a situation the focus/emphasis is shifted, and that's when the passive voice is used.
A follow-up sentence will probably be in the passive voice as well, something like this :
(P1) "Buku yang dibeli kemarin, sudah dikirim ke Amsterdam."
(P2) "Buku yang kubeli kemarin, sudah kukirim ke Amsterdam."

(P1) the agent is not even mentioned here.
(the agent is considered not important/relevant, it's considered known).
(P2) mentions the agent.
(when it's relevant to mention the one responsible for the buying and sending of the book).
(aku ==> 'ku-' attached before the verb).

In either case, the focus/emphasis is on 'buku', that's the topic of this conversation.
It's about the book, it's not about the agent.
So, 'buku' is the main topic, and it's only natural to make 'buku' the subject of the sentence.
In a situation like this, it's more natural for me to express it in the passive voice.
The Q&A example above will probably go like this :

(Q) (Apakah) kamu sudah beli buku itu ?
(A) Ya, buku itu sudah kubeli kemarin.
(Q) Bukunya di mana sekarang ?
(A) Bukunya sudah dikirim ke Amsterdam.

This Q&A example will probably be expressed in the active voice in English.
The active voice can of course be used as well in Indonesian in such a conversation, but it's a little bit unnatural for me to say it like that (with the active voice) in Indonesian.

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