Helper verbs

Helper verbs or auxiliary verbs are verbs that sometimes occur on their own, but more usually occur immediately in front of another verb. They function to give an extra dimension of meaning to the second verb, especially by showing some aspect of how the doer of the action does the action or relates to the action expressed in the second verb. Examples of helper verbs are:

dapat, suka, boleh, bisa, mau, mulai, ingin, harus, ikut, pandai

Helper verbs have only one form, and they never change form. So they are “nude” words, or single indivisible morphemes.

Study these examples. The helper verbs are in italics.

Kami suka makan di Rumah Makan Kartika.
We like eating at the Kartika Restaurant.

Apakah Ibu Prawoto ikut makan nanti malam?
Is Mrs Prawoto going to join us for dinner tonight?

Maaf, saya kurang pandai menulis dalam bahasa Cina.
Sorry, I’m not really very good at writing in Chinese.

Mereka tidak dapat datang.
They can’t come.

Biasanya mahasiswa tidak mau masuk kuliah pada malam hari.
Students don’t usually want to follow lectures at night.

Saya sudah mulai belajar Ilmu Kimia.
I have begun to study Chemistry.


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