(.)Talk : pg • gr
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|Learning the Indonesian Language • Downloadable and Print Versions
Di (In/on/at [place]) 
To indicate a place, we use the particle di. It can mean in, on, or at.
- Buku saya ada di meja. (My book is (in/on/at) [the] table)
- Mobilmu ada di garasi. (Your car is (in/on/at) [the] garage)
Note the word "ada", which means "to exist". It is placed right before the di particle to indicate existence.
Note also that the particle di doesn't convey any further detail on how the object is being placed, whether it's in front, inside, etc. To put additional detail, we put a location word after the particle di.
- Buku saya ada di atas meja. (My book is on [the] table)
- Mobilmu ada di dalam garasi. (Your car is in [the] garage)
The word "atas" means "top" or "above" and "dalam" means "inside". Below is the list of location words you may use:
- Atas = top/above
- Bawah = under/below
- Dalam = inside
- Luar = outside
- Depan = front
- Belakang = behind/back
- Sebelah kiri = left side
- Sebelah kanan = right side
Be careful to differentiate between di as prefix (awalan) and di as showing the place (kata depan). Most Indonesian natives forget about this and mistakes are common. If the word di is followed by a verb, it is a prefix.
- Ia di luar ( he is outside)
- Ia dipukul ( he was beaten -- pukul = beat)
Indonesian also commonly (and mistakenly) use di with time, for example "di waktu sedih" (during sad times). Pada is the correct proposition for time. Hence, it should be "pada waktu sedih".
Pada (at [person]) 
Although in spoken Indonesian it is acceptable to use di to indicate the existence of a noun at someone, this is unusual. For example, it is not correct to say: "Bukumu ada di Budi" to mean "Your book is at Budi". Rather, you should use the particle "pada":
"Bukumu ada pada Budi" (Your book is at Budi)
This sounds awkward to translate literally. Usually in English, people would say "Budi has your book".
This preposition is also used for time, for example "Pada pukul enam pagi." (At 6 am)
Ke (to [a place]) 
The particle ke is to indicate the notion of to a place. It is often coupled with the word "pergi", which means to go.
- Ibu pergi ke pasar. (Mother goes to [the] market)
- Ayah pergi ke kantor. (Father goes to [the] office)
- Saya pergi ke sekolah. (I go to [the] school)
- Dia pergi ke rumahmu. (He/she/it goes to your house)
In spoken Indonesian, people often omit "pergi" when the context is clear. So, you'll often hear "Ibu ke pasar" to mean "Mother [goes] to [the] market".
Kepada (to [a person]) 
Some verbs in English like "to send", "to give" and so on need the particle "to", followed by a person. For example: "I give the book to you". In Indonesian, for this notion of "to", you cannot use the particle ke. Rather, you'll use the particle kepada.
- Saya memberikan buku ini kepadamu. (= I give this book to you)
- Dia mengirimkan surat ini kepada saya. (= He/she sends this letter to me)
Memberikan = to give
Mengirimkan = to send
Surat = letter
Certainly, in spoken Indonesian, people may violate this rule and use "ke" instead of the proper "kepada".
Dari (From) 
The particle "dari" is almost synonymous with "from" in English. It is to indicate the origin of something.
- Saya datang dari rumah. (I come from [the] house)
- Dia datang dari Amerika. (He/she comes from [the] US)
Not only that "dari" explains the place origin, but also explains the origin of things. For example:
- Cincin ini terbuat dari emas. (This ring is made of gold)
Cincin = ring
Terbuat = is made
Emas = gold
Untuk (For) 
The particle "untuk" is almost synonymous with "for". For example:
- Buku ini untukmu. (This book is for you)
- Pensil ini untuknya. (This pencil is for him/her/it)
It is also used to explain the usage of a thing:
- Pensil ini untuk menulis. (This pencil is for writing [things])
(menulis = write)