How to make a declarative sentence

How do we make a basic sentence in Malay?

How to make a declarative sentence

In Malay, there are four types of sentences:

1. Ayat penyata - Declarative sentence
2. Ayat tanya - Interrogative sentence
3. Ayat perintah - Imperative sentence
4. Ayat seruan - Exclamation sentence

Today, we’ll discuss the first basic structure, the declaractive sentence. And then you can try constructing one yourself!

Let’s start!

Like English, the basic structure of a Malay sentence is like this:

Subject + Verb + Object 

Look at the following examples:

Mahsuri menonton televisyen.
Mahsuri watches TV.

Ryu makan nasi lemak.
Ryu eats nasi lemak.

A basic Malay sentence has a subject and a predicate that can be broken down into 4 patterns:

i) Noun phrase + Noun phrase

Dia + jururawat

Dia jururawat.
She is a nurse.

ii) Noun phrase + Verb phrase

Ibu + sedang berehat

Ibu sedang berehat.
Mother is resting.

iii) Noun phrase + Adjective phrase

Ali + kacak

Ali kacak.
Ali is handsome.

iv) Noun phrase + Prepositional phrase

Kampung saya + di Kelantan

Kampung saya di Bachok.
My hometown is in Bachok.

As you can see from these sentences, the description of a subject comes after it, so an adjective would come after the noun.

Subject + Description

This is where it is different from English, where the descriptor or adjective comes before the noun. Let’s look at a few examples:

Buku saya
My book

Rumah besar
Big house

Meja hitam
Black table

Makanan sedap
Tasty food

So, be mindful of this difference!

With more explanation and complex words, these basic sentences can make complex sentences.

i) Dia jururawat di Hospital KL.
She is a nurse at the KL Hospital.

ii) Ibu sedang berehat selepas bekerja seharian.
Mother is resting after working the whole day.

iii) Ali kacak tetapi sombong.
Ali is handsome but vain.

iv) Kampung saya di Bachok dalam negeri Kelantan.
My hometown is in Bachok in the state of Kelantan.

These basic and derived sentences are all declarative sentences, as they are sentences with the purpose of stating or explaining something.

Let’s practice a bit!

Try to rearrange these words into a Malay sentence according to the English meaning either on paper or in your head. You can check your answers at the bottom of the post. Click on the answer after you are done.

1. Kakak bilik di tidur (Elder sister is sleeping in the room)

2. polis Aminah (Aminah is a police)

3. Karim bahasa Inggeris belajar (Karim learns the English language)

4. hilang saya Buku (My book is missing)

5. saya artikel penulis Ayah majalah (My father writes magazine articles)

6. Kerusi selesa itu putih (That white chair is comfortable)


1) Kakak tidur di bilik.

2) Aminah polis.

3) Karim belajar bahasa Inggeris.

4) Buku saya hilang.

5) Ayah saya penulis majalah artikel.

6) Kerusi putih itu selesa.

How did it go? You can try to write a few sentences yourself to get used to writing Malay. Happy practicing! :D

Reference: Tatabahasa Dewan Ketiga, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka 2008

Authored by: Cikgu Hidayah Zulkipli