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'me-kan' verbs, Tips & Notes, Addendum.

'me-kan' verbs are transitive (needing a direct object in the sentence).
'di-kan' verbs are the passive counterpart.
'me-kan' verbs can have different meanings, depending upon :
(1) suffix '-kan' is sometimes mandatory to form a verb.
(2) syntactical category of the [base word]
(3) specific semantical characteristics.

If [base word] = verb, or adjective and the '-kan' suffix is mandatory to form a verb :
meaning ==> to perform the action as mentioned by the [base word].
meaning ==> to let someone/something become like the [base word].
kerja ==> mengerjakan ==> to work on something.
bicara ==> membicarakan ==> to talk about something.
hancur ==> menghancurkan ==> to destroy something.
bebas ==> membebaskan ==> to liberate someone/something.

If [base word] = noun :
meaning ==> to consider/to see object as the [base word].
meaning ==> to let the object become like the [base word].
dewa ==> mendewakan ==> to deify someone/something.
akibat ==> mengakibatkan ==> to cause something.

If [base word] = noun that indicates a location.
meaning ==> to put 'the object' at the location of the [base word].
penjara ==> memenjarakan ==> to put someone in prison.
pojok ==> memojokkan ==> to put something in the corner.
pinggir ==> meminggirkan ==> to move something to the side.

'me-kan' verbs with a 'causative' meaning.
meaning ==> to make something become like the [base word].
==> [base word] is usually an adjective.
kuning ==> menguningkan ==> to make something to become yellow.
besar ==> membesarkan ==> to make something to become big.
kecil ==> mengecilkan ==> to make something to become small.
satu ==> menyatukan ==> to let something become one.

'me-kan' verbs with a 'benefactive' meaning.
meaning ==> to do something for somebody else.
beli ==> membelikan ==> to buy something for someone else.
cari ==> mencarikan ==> to search something for someone else.
pilih ==> memilihkan ==> to choose something for someone else.
buat ==> membuatkan ==> to make something for someone else.

Although the 'benefactive' form occurs a lot, it's not the only meaning of this 'me-kan' affix.
The 'benefactive' nature of this verb also means that this verb is usually (not always) 'dwitransitif'.
'Dwitransitif' : it has two objects in the sentence.
'Ekatransitif : it has one object in the sentence.

Example dwitransitif:
"Saya membelikan Tini seekor kucing". = "I buy Tini a cat".
The Indonesian sentence is (S-P-O-Pel), the two objects in this sentence:
"Tini" = [O] = direct object (dativ object in German)
"seekor kucing" = [Pel] = indirect object (accusativ object in German)

Example ekatransitif :
'mendengarkan' is an example of an 'ekatransitif' 'me-kan' verb (one object):
'mendengar' = ekatransitif = to hear
'mendengarkan' = ekatransitif = to listen
"Saya mendengar bunyi sirene." = "I hear the sound of the sirene"
"Saya tidak bisa mendengarkan warta berita." = "I cannot listen to the news."

Furthermore, there is a group of verbs where the meaning does not differ significantly, with or without the '-kan' suffix.
antar : mengantar – mengantarkan = to bring someone.
balik : membalik – membalikkan = to bring back something.
cipta : mencipta – menciptakan = to create something.
ganti : mengganti – menggantikan = to exchange something.
palsu : memalsu – memalsukan = to falsify something.

As mentioned in the Tips & Notes, with some 'me-kan' verbs the object is implied and the object is omitted in the sentence.

Peraturan ini sangat membingungkan.
This rule is very confusing.

Film ini sangat membosankan.
This movie is very boring.

Kejadian ini sangat menyedihkan.
This event is very sad.

These verbs are causative and have a direct object.
Meaning : the verb causes someone/something (the object) to become the [base word].
The object 'everyone'/ everybody' is implied and omitted in these sentences.
In other words : it causes everyone/everybody to become confused (bingung), bored (bosan), sad (sedih).
These verbs are often translated as an adjective in English.

To summarise:
'me-kan' verbs can be formed using different types of [base words] (noun/verb/adjective/etc).
'me-kan' verbs are transitive (needing an object).
'di-kan' is the passive counterpart.

Here is the conjugation table to convert a [base word] into a 'me-verb' :

Starting letter base word Conjugation
l, m, n, r, w Me + base
vowel, g, h Me + ng
c, d, j Me + n
b, f, v Me + m
k Me + ng – k
t Me + n – t
s Me + ny – s
p Me + m – p
monosyllabic Me + nge +base

There are more examples in the following Tinycards decks :

'me-kan' , 'me-i' affix in one deck :

'me-' prefix :

'transitive verbs and the passive counterparts' :

Related topics :

'me-i' verbs :

'Passive type 1 and 2':

'Transitive & Intransitive verbs':

Source :
TBBI, Tata Bahasa Baku Bahasa Indonesia (Edisi Ketiga), Bab Penurunan verba transitif dengan '-kan'.

March 29, 2019



Goodness me that is confusing. My understanding admittedly although basic was kan was for when the action was to the object and transitive and then with out the kan it wasnt. I have seen repeated usage on Duolingo that doesn't seem to follow that at all.


Ahsiyap bossque.


I think there is a mistake here.

"Tini" = [O] = INDIRECT object (dativ object in German)

"seekor kucing" = [Pel] = DIRECT object (accusativ object in German)


Is there a way to know whether to use a me--i verb vs a me--kan verb? They seem to be very similar and I'm struggling to tell the difference, except that --kan verbs seem to be momentary and --i verbs tend to be infinitive...??


All uses of "dwitransitif" should be rewritten as "ditransitive," since these instructions are for English-speakers. Likewise, I have no idea what 'Ekatransitif' means, so that probably needs a proper English translation.

Likewise, this information about "implied objects" is rather suspect. It's question-begging. How do you know there's an implied object here? Wouldn't it be more accurate to call such word "words which have the morphology of transitive verbs but are really adjectives"? Historically, perhaps they were derived from verbs, but functionally they aren't used that way when they don't have objects.


I've heard one of the functions of /me-kan/ verbs also called "object transfer," so maybe this is what is meant sometimes by verbs of location or movement. For example, in English, a boy can throw a rock at his friend, but that's not exactly to the friend's benefit.

/Bocah itu melemparkan batu kepada temannya./

Constructions like this can take on a subtly different meaning in English, depending on the preposition used. I can say, "The boy throws a rock AT his friend" or "The boy throws a rock TO his friend." Only the second example would retain a benefactive sense. The difference between "to" and "at" here is crucial for English, because "at" evokes the sense that the boy is trying to hit his friend with the rock, whereas "to" means that the boy is throwing the rock in his friend's direction, not wishing to cause his friend harm, but (possibly) hoping that his friend will catch the rock or that the rock will land near his friend.

Is there a way to modify /Bocah itu melemparkan batu kepada temannya/ so that I can be more specific about which sense I'm hoping to communicate in Indonesian? "I'm throwing a rock at you, hoping to hurt or annoy you with it" versus "I'm throwing a rock to you for your benefit, hoping you will catch the rock."

How does bahasa Indonesia do this?

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