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Reflexive “sendiri” Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

The reflexive sendiriself” occurs with nouns and pronouns to make clear who or what is being referred to:


  • Saya berenang sendiri.               I swam by myself.
  • Suami saya berangkat ke Jakarta sendiri. My husband left for Jakarta himself.

Sendiri can be used before or after the verb or after the object of the verb.


  • Saya sendiri / Saya datang sendiri.

          I came myself.

  • Kami sendiri membeli apartemen ini. /Kami membeli apartemen ini sendiri.

          We bought this apartment ourselves.
Colloquially sendiri is often used after the verb instead of sendirian, seorang dirialone, by oneself”.


  • Dia datang sendirian/ seorang diri/sendiri.

           He came by himself/alone.

The reduplicated form sendiri- sendiri means ”apart, separately”.


  • Mereka pulang ke rumah sendiri-sendiri.

          They went home separately.
Both sendiri and the phrase dengan sendirinya means ”automatically, by itself, of its own accord” when referring to action by an inanimate subject.


  • Pintu itu terbuka sendiri.         

         That door opened by itself.

  • Mobil itu bergerak dengan sendirinya.

         That car moved automatically.

Following a possessive noun or pronoun, sendiri translates “own”.


  • Meja dan kursi itu dari rumah saya sendiri.

         Those table and chair are from my own house.

  • Ini rumah saya sendiri.

         This is my own house.

 Reflexive Phrases

A reflexive phrase consists of minimally of reflexive pronoun diri”self”. A minimal reflexive phrase usually occurs as the object of a verb and indicates that the object is the same person as the subject of the verb.


  • Mereka menjaga diri baik-baik.

         They look after themselves properly.

  • Tuan rumah memperkenalkan diri kepada tamu.

         The host introduced himself to the guest.

Sometimes a transitive verb followed by diri occurs where English uses an intransitive verb.


  • Orang itu melarikan diri.

         That man fled.

  • Perdana menteri mengundurkan diri.

         The prime minister resigned.

  • minta/mohon diri               beg to leave  or to depart
  • menarik diri               withdraw
  • mencalonkan diri               stand (for office)
  • mengkhususkan diri               specialize (in a certain field)
  • menyerahkan diri               surrender
  • (mem)bunuh diri               commit suicide

The full reflexive phrase is diri+ possessive pronoun+sendiri

Third person “–nya” corresponds to a plural as well as a singular third person subject.


  • dirinya sendiri               himself/herself/themselves
  • Dia suka (terhadap) dirinya sendiri.               He likes himself.

A reflexive phrase can follow a preposition.


  • Dia jengkel terhadap dirinya sendiri. He is annoyed at himself.

A phrase consisting of diri followed by a noun, meaning something like “the person of (noun)”, can occur in a non- reflexive context.


  • Saya akan menulis buku tentang diri Presiden.

          I am going to write a book about the President.

  • Ada cinta dalam diri manusia.

           There is love within humans.

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About the Author:asimonoff

I’m an Indonesian language instructor, instructional material developer, reading test developer, and interpreter. I have been teaching Indonesian to adult students for 15 years, and have been teaching students from many backgrounds, such as private, military and diplomatic service employees. I’m Indonesian, but am living in the US now; my exposure to different cultures in my home country and in the US has enriched my knowledge in teaching Indonesian as a second language. I approach the teaching of the Indonesian language by developing students’ critical cultural awareness and competence. This method of teaching has been proven to be a key to the success of my students. Students become conscious of the essential role culture plays in the language.