Indonesian Language Blog

To use the word ‘to find’ in Indonesian: mencari and menemukan Posted by on Sep 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

When you search for the word ‘to find’ in Indonesian, you will find ‘mencari’ and ‘menemukan’. What are the differences between those two words?

As most of Indonesian words, mencari is formed from ‘meN’ prefix and ‘cari’ root word that means ‘to search’ or ‘to look for’. It is a transitive verb.

As a transitive verb ‘mencari’ can be followed by a noun directly. It means that when you use ‘mencari’ as a verb, you can put the noun that you are searching for right after without preposition or conjunction in between.

For example:
I am searching for my car key.
Saya sedang mencari kunci mobil saya.

Is s/he looking for me?
Apa dia mencari saya?

Saya sedang mencari pekerjaan.
I am looking for a job.

What is ‘menemukan’?

As ‘mencari’, ‘menemukan’ is also a transitive verb. ‘Menemukan’ is formed from ‘meN’ prefix and ‘temu’ root word, which means ‘to meet’,

‘Menemukan’ means to find but it can also be seen as ‘meeting’ with the object or the person that you have been looking for.

When are you going to use ‘mencari’ and ‘menemjkan?
‘Menemukan’ is concerned about the moment at which the object or the person is found. If you want to talk about such process of finding something or someone, you should use ‘mencari’.

For example:

Polisi belum menemukan anak yang hilang itu
The police hasn’t found the missing child.

Tadi malam saya menemukan dompet di jalan.
Last night, I found a wallet on the street.

You use ‘mencari’ when you are referring to the process of searching for something or someone. Once you have found it, you use the word ‘menemukan’.

Keep learning Indonesian with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

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.