The Simple Present Tense: A Comprehensive Guide to Understand and Use the Most Fundamental Verb Form in Indonesian

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When learning a new language, mastering its verb tenses is essential for effective communication. In Indonesian, the simple present tense is the most fundamental verb form that allows us to express actions happening in the present or general truths. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of the simple present tense, from its basic structure to its usage in different contexts. So, let’s dive into this linguistic journey and unravel the secrets of the simple present tense in Indonesian!

The Basic Structure of Simple Present Tense

Before delving into the intricacies of the simple present tense, let’s start by understanding its basic structure. In Indonesian, constructing a simple present sentence is relatively straightforward. The formation only requires the verb root and the appropriate verb endings based on the subject. Let’s visualize this:

  1. Subject + Verb Root + Verb Ending

For instance, let’s consider the verb “makan” (to eat) and construct a simple present tense sentence:

  1. Saya makan. (I eat.)

As observed, the structure simply involves placing the subject before the verb root and adding the appropriate verb ending, which varies based on the subject. Let’s explore this further in the upcoming sections.

Verbal Endings for Different Subjects

In Indonesian, the simple present tense requires specific verb endings based on the subject involved in the sentence. Here is a breakdown of the verbal endings for different subjects:

  • Saya (I) – “–a” or “-i”
  • Kamu (You) – “-kan”
  • Dia (He/She) – “-kan”
  • Kami/Kita (We) – “-kan”
  • Kalian (You all) – “-kan”
  • Mereka (They) – “-kan”
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Let’s apply these verbal endings to the verb “makan” to see how they change the structure of the sentence:

  1. Saya makan. (I eat.)
  2. Kamu makan-kan. (You eat.)
  3. Dia makan-kan. (He/She eats.)
  4. Kami/Kita makan-kan. (We eat.)
  5. Kalian makan-kan. (You all eat.)
  6. Mereka makan-kan. (They eat.)

As illustrated above, the verbal endings modify the verb root and adapt to different subjects. This is a crucial aspect to keep in mind while constructing sentences using the simple present tense.

Usage of Simple Present Tense

Now that we have grasped the structure and verbal endings, let’s explore the various contexts in which the simple present tense is used in Indonesian:

1. Expressing Routine Actions

The simple present tense is commonly employed to describe habitual or routine actions. It allows us to express activities that we regularly perform or actions that occur repeatedly. For example:

  1. Saya makan nasi setiap pagi. (I eat rice every morning.)
  2. Ibu selalu membersihkan rumah pada hari Minggu. (Mom always cleans the house on Sundays.)
  3. Kakek mengaji setiap pagi. (Grandpa recites the Quran every morning.)

By utilizing the simple present tense, we can convey the frequency and regularity of certain actions, providing a clear picture of the speaker’s routines or habits.

2. Stating General Truths or Facts

Another crucial usage of the simple present tense is to express general truths or facts. It enables us to convey information that holds true in general or state universally accepted facts. Here are a few examples:

  1. Bumi berputar mengelilingi matahari. (The Earth revolves around the sun.)
  2. Rokok berbahaya bagi kesehatan. (Cigarettes are harmful to health.)
  3. Apel mengandung vitamin C. (Apples contain vitamin C.)
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In these examples, the simple present tense allows us to make factual statements that are true regardless of time or circumstances.

3. Narrating Current Situations or States

The simple present tense also plays a vital role in describing current situations or states. It enables us to narrate ongoing activities or depict the present condition of something or someone. Consider the following examples:

  1. Siswa-siswa belajar di dalam kelas saat ini. (The students are studying inside the classroom right now.)
  2. Warna langit cerah pada hari ini. (The sky is clear today.)
  3. Saya minta maaf karena terlambat. (I apologize for being late.)

By employing the simple present tense, we can paint a vivid picture of the current situation or state, providing a dynamic and engaging narrative.


Now that we have embarked on this linguistic adventure, exploring the depths of the simple present tense in Indonesian, we have acquired a comprehensive understanding of its structure and usage. From constructing sentences using the appropriate verb endings to expressing routine actions, stating general truths, and narrating current situations, the simple present tense proves to be an indispensable tool for effective communication. So, let’s embrace the simplicity and versatility of the simple present tense and continue our language-learning journey with confidence!

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About the Author: Sonya Paramitha