Particles: lah, pun, kah, per


‘-lah’ is a particle that is always attached to the preceding word. It is to mark the predicate when the predicate is out of its normal position. It is never obligatory.

The particle -lah is quite often attached as a suffix to commands and prohibitions. It doesn’t have an easily describable meaning. Basically it adds polite emphasis. But it seems to have a variety of effects depending on context. For example, while it can make a command or prohibition more imperious and emphatic, in other contexts it can also ameliorate a command, making it sound pleading, or more polite, or less brusque.

Lah is especially commonly attached to intransitive verbs when they are used in commands.

Tertipulah kamu.
Percayalah padaku.
Hasilnya tidaklah terlalu baik.
Hubungan kami sangatlah dekat.
Tinggalah dia seorang diri.
You were tricked.
Just trust me.
The result is not too good.
Our relationship is very close.
He is the only one left.


Particle ‘pun’ can act as a focusing adjunct. It identifies the most important thing involved in what being said. In this case ‘pun’ means ‘juga, pula'(too, also, as well). It an also act like a linking adjunct in some of its functions. ‘Pun’ always follows the subject of the clause and acts to emphasize it. It is written as a separate word.

Conjunctions and indefinite pronouns that have ‘pun’ as their final component – which is clearly related in meaning to the particle ‘pun’ – are written as one word: adapun, andaipun, ataupun, bagaimanapun, biarpun, kalaupun, kendatipun, maupun, meskipun, sekalipun, sungguhpun, walaupun, tidak seorangpun(indefinite pronoun).

Written Seperately
Apa pun yang dimakannya, ia tetap kurus.
Hendak pulang pun sudah tak ada mobil.
Jangankan dua kali, satu kali pun engkau belum pernah datang ke rumahku.
Jika ayah pergi, adik pun ingin pergi.
Setelah rapat berakhir, Nina pun pulang ke rumah.
Teriakannya sangat keras, tetangga pun berdatangan.
Whatever he eats, he’s still skinny.
Even if I want to go home, there’s no car.
Let alone twice, you haven’t even come to my house for once.
If father goes, my little brother wants to go too.
After the meeting ended, Nina then went home.
Her scream was so loud, the neighbors then began arriving.
Written as One Word
Adapun sebab-sebabnya belum diketahui.
Bagaimanapun juga akan dicobanya menyelesaikan tugas itu.
Baik mahasiswa maupun mahasiswi ikut berdemonstrasi.
Sekalipun belum memuaskan, hasil pekerjaannya dapat dijadikan pegangan.
Walaupun miskin, ia selalu gembira.
Tidak seorangpun yang tahu apa yang terjadi.
It so happens that the causes are not known yet.
No matter what, he will try to finish his job. 

Both the male students and the female students participate in the protest.
Although it’s not satisfactory yet, his work can be used as a manual.
Even though he’s poor. he’s always happy.
No one knows what happened.


Partikel ‘kah’ is written as one word with the word that is followed. A sentence can be overtly marked as a question by use of ‘-kah’. It is always optional and is largely confined to writing and formal speech.

Apakah dia sakit?
Sakitkah dia?
Maukah kamu ikut?
Siapakah dia?
Bukankah dia kaya?
Is he sick?
Is he sick?
Do you want to come along?
Who is she?
Isn’t he rich?


Meaning: resume, each, every,
Synonym:mulai, tiap, demi
Application: It’s written separately with the word it follows.

Pegawai negeri mendapat kenaikan gaji per(mulai) 1 April.
Mereka masuk ke dalam ruangan satu per(demi) satu.
Harga kain itu Rp 2.000,00 per(tiap) helai.
The officials get salary increase as of 1 April.
They go into the room one by one.
The price of that cloth is 2000 rupiahs per sheet.

*) Reference:
Indonesian Reference Grammar, by James Neil Sneddon, 1996
Pusat Bahasa Departemen Pendidikan Nasional, 2000

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