Locative Prepositions

Locative prepositions indicate position and direction.

di, ke, and dari

Meaning:

  1. di(in, at, on) – indicates that the action occurs in the place indicated by the following noun; there is no movement. It is also used for some references to time. The word ‘pada‘ is usually used instead of ‘di‘ when location in time is referred to. ‘Pada‘ is also used in other contexts of figurative space.
  2. ke(to) – indicates movement toward a place. It is often coupled with the word “pergi”, which means to go. When the following noun refers to a person, ‘ke‘ is replaced by ‘kepada‘(to).
  3. dari(from) – indicates movement from or the origin of something. It is also used for figurative direction away.
Dia tinggal di kota.
Dia lahir di tahun 1995.
Dia datang pada jam tiga.
Saya tertarik pada pelajaran itu.
Dia berangkat/pergi ke kota.
Dia memberikan surat itu kepada saya.
Dia jatuh cinta kepadaku.
Dia berangkat dari kota.
Baju saya terbuat dari katun.
Mereka melindungi anaknya dari tentara.
He lives in the city.
He was born in 1995.
He came at three o’clock.
I am interested in that subject.
He goes to the city.
He gave that letter to me.
He’s falling in love with me.
He set off from the city.
My dress is made of cotton.
They protected their children from the army.

In spoken Indonesian it is acceptable to use ‘di‘ to indicate the existence of a noun at someone. In formal Indonesian it is not correct to say: “Bukumu ada di saya” to mean “Your book is with me”. Rather, you should use the particle “pada”, i.e. “Bukumu ada pada saya”.

Kepada and pada relate more to a person. ‘Kepada‘ is used for the verbs that need the particle ‘to‘. But in spoken/informal Indonesian, people may violate this rule and use “ke” instead of the proper “kepada“.

Untuk

Untuk” can also relate to a person. It is almost synonymous with “for”. It is also to explain the usage of a thing.

Kemeja ini untukmu.
Panci ini untuk memasak sup.
This shirt is for you.
This pot is for making soup.

Sini, Sana, and Situ

Meaning: Locative pronouns sini(here – near speaker), sana(there – far off) and situ(there – not far off) indicate position in relation to the speaker. Application: The combination of the three locative prepositions with these pronouns produces a nine-way distinction of location and direction.

di sini
ke situ
dari sana
(at) here
to there(close)
from there(far)
di sana
ke sini
dari situ
(at) there
to here
from there(not far)

Ke sini has the same meaning as ‘kemari‘. It is written as a single word because ‘mari‘ does not occur with other locative prepositions.

Mana

Meaning: where
Application: the three locative prepositions combine with ‘mana’

ke mana
di mana
dari mana
to where
where (at)
from where

Locative Nouns

Meaning: The locative prepositions 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 locative nouns after the locative prepositions. Below is the list of locative nouns you may use:

atas
depan
samping
antara
top, above
front
side
between
tepi
seberang
bawah
muka
edge
other side
beneath, under
front
dalam
luar
belakang
sebelah
inside
outside
back
side

Examples:

Dia muncul dari belakang rumah.
Di sebelah rumah ada pohon mangga.
Mereka berenang ke seberang sungai.
She appeared from behind the house.
At the side of the house there is a mango tree.
They swam to the other side of(across) the river.

Reference:
Indonesian Reference Grammar by James Neil Sneddon, 1996.

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