When prefix se- is combined with a noun it would mean ‘one of that noun’. In the example below, ‘gelas’ means glass. Therefore, segelas means one glass. In English, se + noun usually translates into a / an.


Root Word Se + Root Word In A Sentence Meaning
gelas segelas Dia memberi saya segelas air He gives me one glass of water
mobil semobil Saya pergi ke sekolah semobil dengan teman saya I go to school with my friend in one car
orang seorang Yang lulus ujian cuma seorang Only one person passed the exam
kota sekota Di Indonesia kami dulu tinggal sekota In Indonesia we used to live in the same city

If it occurs with group numbers prefix se- is to form cardinal numbers and fractions.


Se + Root Word Meaning Se + Root Word Meaning
sejuta one million sepuluh ten
seribu one thousand sebelas eleven
setengah half sepertiga one third
seperdelapan one eight seperempat a quarter

It also replaces the number “satu” or one before classifiers. When a measure word is being used in conjunction with only one object, the numeral prefix se- is used in front of the measure word, not satu.


Root Word Se + Root Word Meaning
batang sebatang lilin a candle stick
buah sebuah apel an apple
cangkir secangkir teh a cup of tea
ekor seekor kambing a goat
gelas segelas air a glass of water
helai sehelai rambut one piece of hair
ikat seikat bunga a bunch of flowers
kejap sekejap mata in a blink of an eye
lembar selembar kertas one piece of paper
mangkuk semangkuk sup a bowl of soup
orang seorang wanita a woman
pasang sepasang sepatu a pair of shoes
piring sepiring makanan a plate of food
potong sepotong kue a slice of cake
sendok sesendok makan one table spoon
siung sesiung bawang putih a clove of garlic
suap sesuap nasi a mouthful of rice
tangkai setangkai bunga a flower
titik setitik darah a drop of blood

If you combine prefix se- with adjective it would mean ‘as good as that adjective’. In the example below, cantik means beautiful. Therefore, secantik means as beautiful as.


Root Word Se + Root Word In A Sentence Meaning
cantik secantik Dia secantik ibunya She is as pretty as her mother
kuat sekuat Dia tidak sekuat dulu He is not as strong as he used to be
kecil sekecil Dia tidak pernah tinggal di rumah sekecil ini He never lives in a house as small as this

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