For, to (için)

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Noun possession

benim, senin, onun

To be or not to be

Changing ç/p/t/k to c/b/d/ğ

Negative verbs

-mıyor musun?

Yes or no questions

mı/mıyım/mıyız/mısın(ız)/-lar mı
Emphasis in questions

Using “için” to show the purpose or reason for something

In the Turkish language, the word “için” is roughly equivalent to “for” in English, although it sometimes can be translated as “to” or “in order to.” It is a commonly used word that is primarily used to express purpose, reason, or intention within a sentence.

It can also mean “for the benefit of” or “for the sake of,” showing who or what is benefiting from an action. In some cases, it can also mean “according to” or “from the perspective of,” showing the person whose view is being expressed.

Unlike the English preposition “for,” the Turkish word “için” is a postposition, which means it comes after the noun, pronoun, or verb that it refers to.

Using için with nouns

When “için” follows a noun (a person, place or thing), it shows that this noun is the purpose for something happening or the intention behind someone’s action.

Grammar form

  • (Noun)    için

To show that a noun is the reason for something happening, simply put “için” after that noun.

Example sentences*

Onlar memleket için çalışıyor.
They are working for their homeland.

Heyecan için çalıyorlar.
They steal for thrills.

[Onlar] dış piyasa için üretiyor.
They produce for the foreign market.

Çözüm için 3 seçenek var.
There are 3 options for a solution.

Merkez Bankası Başkanı için belli kriterlerimiz var.
We have certain criteria for the head of the Central Bank.

Using “için” with pronouns

“İçin” can also be used with pronouns to specify which person or people are the reason for something happening or the benefactor of an action.

Grammar form

  • (Pronoun) + (possessive ending)    için
  • (Pronoun) + (n) + lar    için

Using “için” with pronouns is a little tricker than using it with other nouns. Most of the time, to show that a personal pronoun is the reason for something happening, you add the possessive ending (also called the genitive case ending):

Pronouns with possessive ending

Pronoun with için English
Benim için For me
Senin için For you
Onun için For him, her, it, or that
Bizim için For us
Sizin için For you (plural or formal)
Bunun için For this
Şunun için For this or that

The exception to this rule is with pronouns that have the plural ‑lar ending. You don’t add the possessive ending before için if a pronoun has the ‑lar ending:

Pronouns with ‑lar/ler ending

Pronoun with için English
Bizler için For us all
Sizler için For you all
Onlar için For them or those
Bunlar için For these
Şunlar için For these or those

Example sentences

Biz bunun için uğraşıyoruz.
We are striving for this.

Senin için yaşıyorum.
I live for you.

Bunun için birkaç sebep var.
There are several reasons for this.

Benim için sorun yok.
It’s not a problem for me.

Onun için, acelemiz var.
Because of that, we are in a hurry.

Kadıköy sizin için ne ifade ediyor?
What does Kadıköy mean to you (literally, for you)?

Biz onlar için çalışıyoruz.
We are working for them.

O şarkı onlar için harika oluyor.
That song is great for them.

Bu şunun için önemli.
This is important for the following reason.

Kurtulmak bizler için imkansız.
It is impossible for us to escape.

Bütün sporcularımız bizler için değerli.
All of our athletes are valuable to us

Using “için” with verbs

“İçin” can also be used with verbs in the infinitive ‑mak/mek form to express the intention or purpose of an action. This is similar to the phrase “in order to” in English.

Grammar form

  • (Verb stem) + mak/mek    için

To use için with verbs, take the verb that represents the intention or purpose and add the ‑mak/mek infinitive ending to it. Then, add the word “için” after the verb.

Example sentences

Yalnız kalmak için yazıyorum… Mutlu olmak için yazıyorum.
I write to be alone… I write to be happy.

Yararlı olmak için uğraşıyorum.
I’m trying to be useful.

Seyretmek için sabırsızlanıyorum.
I can’t wait to watch it.

Sen anlamamak için direniyorsun.
You insist on not understanding.

[Onlar] alışveriş yapmak için geliyor.
They are coming to shop.

Negative için forms

You can add a negative to a sentence with “için” to express the meaning ‘not because of’ or ‘not for’ in Turkish.

Grammar form

  • için    değil
  • için    (negative verb)

To use the negative form of için, simply add the word “değil” (not) after “için” or use a verb with the negative ‑ma/me ending.

Example sentences

Bunlar misafirler için değil, bizim için.
These are not for guests but for us.

Mutlu olmak için yaşıyoruz. Mutsuz olmak için değil.
We live to be happy, not to be unhappy.

Sadece bunun için gelmiyor.
He is not coming just for this [reason].

Eleştirmek için söylemiyorum.
I’m not saying it to criticize.

Para için çalışmıyor.
He doesn’t work for the money.

Ambiguity with negative verbs

One thing to be careful of is that if “için” is followed by a verb with the negative ‑ma/me ending, it has two possible meanings. The negative could either be negating “için” or negating the verb itself. If the ‑ma/me ending is negating “için,” it gives the meaning of “not for.” If it is negating the verb, however, the sentence is explaining the reason for the action not happening. You have to look for context clues to determine which meaning is applicable for a given sentence.

Take, for example, the following sentence:

Sadece bunun için gelmiyor.

This could technically mean either of the following:

  1. He isn’t just coming for this [reason]. (i.e., he is coming, but this is not the only reason).
  2. He is not coming simply for this [reason]. (i.e., he is not coming, and this is the only reason).

In order to know the correct interpretation, you need to pay attention to context clues and emphasis.

In a similar way, the sentence, “para için çalışmıyor” could technically mean that money is the reason why someone is not working. However, that would be a very unusual thing to say, so we know that the other interpretation (“he is not working for the money”) is the correct one.

Questions with için

There are a few ways to form questions with “için.” These questions can be asked to learn the reason or intention behind something.

For whom?

To ask a question about who benefits from an action, use the question word “kim” (who):

  • Kim + in    için?
  • Kim + ler    için?

To use this question form, use either the word “kimin” (this is “kim” with the possessive/genitive ending) or if you are expecting multiple people, you can use “kimler” (“kim” with the plural ending), followed by “için.”

Example sentences

Bu ambulans kimin için?
Who is this ambulance for?

Bu adam kimler için çalışıyor?
Who is this man working for?

Ekonomi kimler için gelişiyor?
For whom is the economy growing?

Bu çanlar kimin için çalıyor?
For whom do these bells toll?

Why / for what?

To ask a question about what the reason for something is, you can use “ne için” or the shortened form “niçin.” In many cases, this is interchangeable with “neden” (why).

  • Ne    için?
  • Niçin?

Example sentences

Ne için yaşıyorsun?
What are you living for?

Tüm bu tartışmalar ne için?
What are all these debates for?

Kadınlar niçin topuklu ayakkabı giyiyor?
Why (for what) do women wear high heels?

Çikolata niçin mutluluk veriyor?
Why (for what) does chocolate give [a person] happiness?

Is it for this?

To ask a yes or no question about the reason for something, you can use “için” followed by the yes-or-no question word “mı/mi/mu/mü.” Note that since the question word in these types of sentences usually comes after “için,” the form it takes will be “mi,” following vowel harmony rules.

  • için mi?

Example sentences

Sanat, sanat için mi? Sanat halk için mi?
Is art for art’s sake? [Or] is art for people?

Onun için mi bu kadar üzgünsün?
Is that why you were so sad? (Literally, was it for that that you were so sad?)

Sadece mesaj yazmak için mi yazıyorsun?
Are you just messaging for the sake of messaging?

* Unless otherwise specified, all Turkish example sentences included in this lesson were retrieved from TS Corpus v2, a large corpus of Turkish texts compiled from various sources.

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