About to (‑acak olmak)


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Prerequisites

Intermediate “kendi” forms

Kendi as a noun
Kendi kendi as a noun
Kendi kendi with verbs

Simple Present Tense or Aorist

-ar/ır/r
12 uses of the aorist



Understanding ‑acak olmak forms

When you see a verb that ends with an -acak ending followed by “olmak” in any form, it usually denotes an action that is about to happen. There are many varieties of ‑acak olmak grammar forms, as you can see from the table below. Some of these forms appear in daily conversation, especially when emphasizing the irony or extremeness of a situation. Most of these forms are common in formal speech and writing. The table below shows a simplified translation of various ‑acak olmak forms using the yapmak verb. Click on the links in the table below to jump to the associated section.

Examples with yapmak

Yapacak olduWas about to do
Neredeyse yapacak olduIs about to do
Ne zaman yapacak olursaWhenever he/she is about to do
Bazen yapacak oluyorSometimes he/she is about to do
Bazen yapacak oluyorduSometimes he/she was about to do
Yapacak olmalıMust be about to do
Yapacak olursaIf he/she is about to do
Yapacak olsaydıIf he/she had been about to do
Yapacak olduysaIf he/she was about to do
Yapacak olmakTo be about to do

Expressions for emphasizing irony

One of the primary uses of the ‑acak olmak grammar forms is when explaining an ironic situation. In these types of sentences, there are a few expressions that often get used immediately following the verb with the ‑acak olmak form:

  • onda da
  • aksi gibi
  • aksilik bu ya
  • şans bu ya

These expressions give further emphasis to the idea of something happening at the worst possible time, similar to the English phrase, “wouldn’t you know it?” or the phrase “it’s just my luck!”

Something was about to happen

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    oldu + (personal ending)    (optional expression of irony)
  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    olmuş + (personal ending)    (optional expression of irony)

This grammar form can be used with the same meaning as ‑acaktı (was going to), but it is better translated as “was about to,” because it usually describes something that really seemed like it was going to happen imminently but didn’t. It is less commonly used and can sound more formal than ‑acaktı. It is sometimes used to emphasize the irony of a situation in the past. For example, it is used when explaining that something good was about to happen, but at the worst possible time something else happened to prevent it. In the rare case that “olmuş” is used in place of “oldu,” it simply adds the meaning of the sentence being hearsay instead of something that was directly witnessed.

    Examples
    Cevap verecek oldum; ama hemen vazgeçtim.
    I was about to give a response, but right away I stopped myself.
    (Excerpt from a poetic journal entry)

    Bazı kişiler çocuklarına kampanyanın bittiğini söyleyecek olmuş, ağlamaya başlamışlar.
    Some people [reportedly] were about to tell their kids that the promotion finished, but the kids started crying.
    (Excerpt from news story)

    Uzun zaman sonra ilk defa eşimle başbaşa dışarıya çıkacak olduk onda da oğlumuz hastalandı.
    For the first time in a long time my wife and I were about to go out on a date and right at the worst time our son got sick.

    Eve gidecek oldu ama yağmurdan dolayı gitmedi.
    He was about to go home but then he didn’t go because of the rain.

    Evlenecek oldum ama kız arkadaşım yurtdışına gitti.
    I was about to get married but my girlfriend moved to another country.

    Onlar tatlıyı da yiyecek oldular ama çocuk rahatsızlanınca, erken kalktılar.
    They were about to eat dessert as well, but when their child became ill, they left early.

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Something is about to happen

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    oldu + (personal ending)
  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    olmuş + (personal ending)

In addition to ironic or unfortunate past situations, the same ‑acak oldu ending can be used in the same sense as the ‑mak üzere ending in order to say that something is about to happen in the near future. It is often used for sarcastic exaggeration of a situation, as if to say that something is taking so long that X (something ridiculous) is about to happen. This near future meaning of ‑acak oldu is especially common in the Western Black Sea region of Turkey. Like in the section above, in the rare case that “olmuş” is used in place of “oldu,” it simply adds the meaning of the sentence being hearsay.

    Examples
    Bekledim, bekledim, bekledim… Tam “Oğlan askere gidecek oldu, hâlâ gelmediler” diye söylenirken bir mail daha aldım.
    I waited and waited and waited… just as I was saying to myself, “the kid is about to go off to military service, and they still haven’t come!” I got another email.
    (Excerpt from blog post, edited for brevity)

    Bizim çocuklar neredeyse askere gidecek oldu hala doğum iznini artıracaksınız.
    Our kids are about to go off to military service and you are still talking about increasing maternity leave.
    (Comment on news article)

    Mehmet telefon açtı. Neredeyse gelecek olmuş.
    Mehmet called. He should get here any minute.

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Whenever something is about to happen

Grammar form:

  • (time marker)    verb + (y) + acak/ecek    ol + (conditional ending)    (optional expression of irony)
  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    olduğu + (personal ending) + da (or zaman)    (optional expression of irony)

There are several different versions of this grammar form, but they can all be used to say that whenever something is about to happen, something comes up and changes the plans. Like the other forms above, these forms are uncommon but can be used to explain ironic situations.

    Examples
    Ne zaman tatile gidecek olsak bir problem çıkıyor.
    Whenever we are about to go on vacation, something comes up.

    Şehrimizde bir yerden bir yere gidecek olduğumuzda, ‘Acaba bomba nereden gelecek?’ diye gözümüz sürekli gökyüzünde.
    In our city whenever we are about to go from one place to another, we say “I wonder where the bombs will come from?” with our eyes always on the sky.
    (Post on a Facebook Page)

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Sometimes something is about to happen

Grammar form:

  • (time marker)    verb + (y) + acak/ecek    oluyor + (personal ending)    (optional expression of irony)

This form is similar to the one above, except that it usually explains a situation that happens sometimes (but not necessarily every time, as in the section above) when a specific thing is about to happen.

    Examples
    Akşam bir yere gidecek oluyoruz, hırsız girer mi korkusu yüzünden gidemiyoruz.
    [Sometimes] in the evening we are about to go somewhere but we can’t go because we’re afraid of a thief breaking in.
    (Excerpt from news story)

    Bazen de yapacak oluyoruz. Vaktimizi ayırıyoruz ama sonra vazgeçiyoruz.
    Sometimes we are about to do it. We set aside time but then we change our mind.
    (Excerpt from blog post, edited for brevity)

    Bazen evde aile günü yapacak oluyoruz onda da aksi gibi uzun zamandır bize gelmeyen arkadaşımız geliyor.
    Sometimes we are about to have a family day at home and then like clockwork some friend comes over who we haven’t seen in a long time.

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Sometimes something was about to happen

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    oluyordu + (personal ending)

This form is used in the rare situation where someone is explaining that on multiple occasions in the past something was about to happen but didn’t.

    Examples
    Birkaç kez bir şey söyleyecek oluyordu ama daha sonra vazgeçiyordu.
    A few times he would be about to say something but later he would change his mind.

    Babası her aklına geldiğinde Ayşe ağlayacak oluyordu ama dayanıyordu.
    Whenever she would think of her father, Ayşe would be on the verge of crying, but then she would endure.

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Something must be about to happen

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    olmalı + (personal ending)
  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    olmalıydı + (personal ending)

This form is used to explain that something must be about to happen. Like in English, this phrase can have two possible meanings, depending on the context. First, it could mean that it is necessary that something is about to happen. Otherwise, it can mean that it is probable that something is about to happen. Furthermore, the olmalı form above can be used for any tense (past, present or future), while the olmalıydı form is only used in the past tense, to mean that something must have been about to happen.

In addition to the “about to” meaning, the ‑acak olmalı(ydı) forms can mean that someone must be planning to do something.

    Examples
    Hakem de Korhan’a hak verecek olmalı ki, kırmızı kart yerine sarı kartına başvurdu.
    The referee must have been planning to give Korhan what he deserved since he gave him a yellow card instead of a red card.
    (Excerpt from news article)

    Sonra durdu durdu ve dudağını yaladı. Ciddi bir konuşma yapacak olmalıydı.
    Then he paused and paused and licked his lips. He must have been about to say something serious.
    (Excerpt from short story)

    Vekilimi tayin ederken beni gerçek anlamda temsil edecek olmalı.
    When choosing a representative [to Parliament], they need to be planning to represent me in a real way.
    (Excerpt from opinion piece on news site)

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If something is about to happen

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    olursa + (personal ending)
  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    olur    ise + (personal ending)

This ending is very similar in function to the more common ‑acaksa (future conditional) ending. In fact, the ‑acaksa can be used in any context where the ‑acak olursa ending could be used, and ‑acaksa is usually preferred. The ‑acak olursa ending is mainly used in formal speech and writing, especially in religious and political contexts. There is no difference between the “-acak olursa” ending and “-acak olur ise” ending except that “-acak olur ise” is even more formal. These forms are also used in a few expressions, as shown in the examples below. In addition, sometimes these forms can be used to emphasize the meaning “if X is about to happen” in the near future as opposed to the more general ‑acaksa ending which means “if X is going to happen.”

    Examples
    İftarda nasıl beslenmeliyiz sorusuna cevap verecek olursak orucumuzu bir hurma veya bir bardak su ile açmak olan en sağlıklı olandır.
    If we are going to answer the question, “How do we need to nourish ourselves at the iftar meal?” the most healthy way to break the fast is with one date or one glass of water.
    (Excerpt from article about Ramazan)

    Daha doğru söyleyecek olur isem, 5. sınıf hayatımın ilk günü.
    To say it truthfully [literally, “If I am going to speak more truthfully”], fifth grade was the first day of my life.
    (Excerpt from short story)

    Kısaca söyleyecek olursam alanında yapılmış en önemli çalışmalardan birisi.
    Long story short [literally, “If I am going to say it succinctly”], it is one of the most important works made in this field.
    (Excerpt from news article)

    Başına bir şey gelecek olursa kendimi asla affetmem.
    If anything ever happened [literally, “If something is going to come to your head”] to you I’d never forgive myself.
    (Turkish expression)

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If something had (not) been about to happen

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    ol(ma)saydı + (personal ending)

This form is used in the case where there is currently not a plan to do a specific thing in the near future, but someone wants to say what would happen if that plan was in place. In other words, if X had been about to happen, Y would have happened.

    Examples
    Yapacak olsaydık yapardık.
    If we had been planning to do it, we would have done it [already].
    (Excerpt from news article)

    Biri İnterneti yok edecek olsaydı buna müsaade eder miydiniz?
    If someone was about to destroy the Internet, would you let them?
    (Question on an online discussion board)

In addition, if a negative (ma/me) ending is used either on the first verb or on the olmak verb, it means that there is a plan to do something in the near future, but someone wants to explain what would happen if that plan was not in place. In other words, if X were not about to happen, Y would have happened.

    Example
    Bir cafe’ye gidecek olmasaydık, burada dondurma yerdim.
    If we weren’t about to go to a cafe, I would eat ice cream here.

In addition, this grammar form can be used to describe what would have happened if a plan had (or had not) been in place in the past tense. In other words, if X was (not) about to happen, Y would have happened.

    Examples
    Eğer Nazilli’ye gidecek olmasaydık cumartesi günü Milas pazarını da gezecektik.
    If we hadn’t planned on going to Nazilli, we would have explored the Milas Bazaar on Saturday.
    (Excerpt from blog post)

    Ertesi gün, arkadaşları alıp köye gidecek olmasaydık sorun yoktu.
    If we weren’t planning on taking our friends to the village the next day, there wouldn’t have been a problem.
    (Excerpt from blog post)

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If something was (not) about to happen

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    olduysa/olmadıysa + (personal ending)

This form is similar to the ‑acak olsaydı form above, but is used in cases where it is not clear whether or not something was about to happen in the past. This form is used to say that if indeed X was about to happen, then Y must be true.

    Example from a book

    Mimar itiraz edecek olduysa da konuşturmadı onu.
    If the architect was about to object, he didn’t let him speak.
    (Excerpt from book, Sahile Varan Yol)

    Example from a short story
    Umut bizi gördüğünde gidecek olduysa da Atakan’ın durdurmasıyla olduğu yerde durdu.
    When Umut saw us, if he was about to leave, he stopped at the place where Atakan stopped him.
    (Excerpt from short story)

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To be about to do something

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (y) + acak/ecek    olmak

This basic ‑acak olmak form is best translated as “to be about to.” This is fairly rare and generally does not stand alone but is paired with another verb or adjective.

    Examples
    Ölecek olmak mı daha çok korkutur insanı bıçaklı katilin öz ağabeyi olması mı?
    Which scares a person more, to be about to die or for your (knife-wielding) killer to be your own brother?
    (Headline of news story)

    Sevdiklerinizden ayrılacak olmak sizi üzüyor mu?
    Does it make you sad to be about to be separated from those you love?
    (Headline of article about death)

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