Beginner commands

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Prerequisites for this Turkish Grammar Lesson

Vowel harmony

I-type vowel harmony
E-type vowel harmony


ben, sen, o, biz, siz, onlar
bu, şu, o

Informal commands to one person

Grammar form:

  • (Sen)    verb stem

Making an informal command to a single person is one of the simplest grammatical forms in Turkish. It’s also one of the most useful things to know early on in language learning. Once you know the dictionary form of a verb (such as “gelmek,” which means “to come”), forming an informal command to one person is as simple as removing the “-mak/mek” ending, leaving you with nothing but the verb stem. Using the verb stem, you can create a grammatically correct sentence from just one word.

Dictionary form Command form
Bakmak (“to look”) Bak! (“Look!”)
Oturmak (“to sit”) Otur. (“Sit [down].”)
Kalkmak (“to get up / to stand up”) Kalk. (“Get up / stand up.”)
Gelmek (“to come”) Gel. (“Come [here].”)
Gitmek (“to go, to leave”) Git! (“Go [away]!”)
Beklemek (“to wait”) Bekle. (“Wait / hold on.”)
Yapmak (“to do”) Yap. (“Do [it].”)
Anlatmak (“to explain”) Anlat. (“Explain.”)
Yazmak (“to write”) Yaz. (“Write [it].”)

Formal commands and commands to multiple people

Grammar form:

  • (Siz)    verb stem + (y) + i/ı/u/ü + n

Whenever you are making an informal command to more than one person, you need to add the second person plural command ending. Also, if you are giving a command to a single person and the person you are talking to is a new acquaintance or an older person, it is often appropriate to use this plural form. To make this form, you start with finding the verb stem like you did above with the basic command form. If the verb stem ends in a vowel, you will add a “y” buffer between the verb stem and the next part of the ending. After this, you will add an i-type vowel according to vowel harmony with the last vowel in the verb stem. After adding this vowel, you will add the letter “n.” See the table below for some examples with common verbs. All of these examples are commonly used as single-word sentences.

Dictionary form Plural or formal command form
Bakmak (“to look”) Bakın! (“Look!”)
Oturmak (“to sit”) Oturun. (“Sit [down].”)
Kalkmak (“to get up / to stand up”) Kalkın. (“Get up / stand up.”)
Gelmek (“to come”) Gelin. (“Come [here].”)
Beklemek (“to wait”) Bekleyin. (“Wait / hold on.”)
Yapmak (“to do”) Yapın. (“Do [it].”)
Anlatmak (“to explain”) Anlatın. (“Explain.”)
Yazmak (“to write”) Yazın. (“Write [it].”)

Using pronouns with commands

Most of the time, the command forms are used without the corresponding pronouns, “sen” (you, singular) or, “siz” (you, plural or formal). If a pronoun is included, it is usually placing emphasis on who should be doing the action. This commonly happens when someone gives a command in response to a command. In other words, if someone says “Yap!” (“Do it!), you could respond with, “Sen yap!” (“You do [it]!”). Or, if you are addressing an acquaintance, older person or multiple people, you would respond, “Siz yapın!” (“You (plural or formal) do [it]!”).

Handling irregular verbs

When forming the plural/formal command form, there are three verbs that need special handling. These verbs are: “gitmek” (to go), “yemek” (to eat) and “etmek” (a helper verb). For “gitmek” and “etmek,” the “t” changes to a “d” before any verb ending that starts with a vowel. For “yemek,” the “e” in the verb stem will get removed and replaced by “i” before adding the verb ending. Note that “etmek” is a helper verb that gets paired with words of foreign origin in order to make them into Turkish verbs, so there are a lot of different forms of “etmek,” such as “yardım etmek” (to help) and “affetmek” (to forgive). For more information, see the irregular verbs section on the Continuous present tense article.

Dictionary form Plural or formal command form
Gitmek (“to go, to leave”) Gidin! (“Go [away]!”)
Yemek (“to go, to leave”) Yiyin! (“Eat [it]!”)
Yardım etmek (“to help”) Yardım edin! (“Help!”)
Affetmek (“to forgive”) Affedin! (“Forgive [me]!”)

Dropping the helper verb

In some cases, when using a helper verb such as “etmek” or “olmak,” the helper verb is often omitted entirely when giving a command. This is especially true for commands given to children or commands that need to be spoken quickly in dangerous situations.

Dictionary form Plural or formal command form
Yavaş olmak (“to be slow”) Yavaş! (“Slow down!”)
Dikkat etmek (“to be careful”) Dikkat! (“Careful!”)
Devam etmek (“to continue”) Devam. (“Continue.”)

Using “hadi” as a command

There is one word in Turkish that is used as a command that doesn’t have a verb associated with it that can be put in the dictionary (‑mak/mek) form. That word is “haydi,” which is usually pronounced as “hadi.” Some have suggested that this word may have come from the combination of “ha/hay” (come on) and “demek” (to say). In modern Turkish, using the word as a command gives a meaning of “hurry up” or “come on.” As you will see in the examples below, it can be used together with another verb in the command form, or it can be used by itself.


    Hadi gel!
    Hurry, come here!

    Hadi koş koş koş!
    Hurry, run run run!
    (Common command given to children on a playground)

This lesson is a prerequisite for:

Dative case: to, toward

Using -(y)a with pronouns
nereye, buraya, şuraya, oraya

Accusative case: the direct object ending

When to use it
burayı, şurayı, orayı, nereyi
bunu, şunu, onu

Ablative case: “from” in Turkish

bundan, şundan, ondan

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