Expressing need using “gerek” (gerek, gerekli, gerekiyor)

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Prerequisites for this Turkish Grammar Lesson

Dative case: to, toward

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

Noun possession

benim, senin, onun

The “N buffer”: compound nouns with case markings

-sını, -sına, -sında, -sından
The n buffer with pronouns, location words

Using “gerek” to say that something is needed

There are a few ways of expressing a need in Turkish. This lesson will cover the one of the most common words for saying something is needed: “gerek.”

Using “gerek” with nouns

There are three common forms of “gerek” that are used to say that a noun (a person, place or thing) is needed: gerek, gerekli, and gerekiyor.

Grammar forms

  • (Person) + (y) + a/e    (Noun)    gerek
  • (Person) + (y) + a/e    (Noun)    gerekli
  • (Person) + (y) + a/e    (Noun)    gerekiyor

To say that something is necessary, you normally need to have two nouns in the sentence: the thing that is needed and the person who needs it. In Turkish, the person who needs something is marked with the ‑(y)a/e dative case ending. After that comes the noun that is needed, followed by either “gerek,” “gerekli,” or “gerekiyor.”

In some cases, it is possible to leave off either the noun representing the thing that is needed or the person who needs it. In these shortened forms, you have to rely on the context to understand the full meaning.

Example sentences with gerek*

Biraz zaman gerek.
Some time is needed.

Bahane mi gerek?
Is an excuse needed?

Example sentences with gerekli

Sadece güven gerekli.
Only trust is necessary.

Bu neden gerekli?
Why is this necessary?

Bana bunlar gerekli.
I need these.

Disiplin gerekli.
Discipline is necessary.

Example sentences with gerekiyor

Bana zaman gerekiyor, bana para gerekiyor.
I need time, I need money.

Yasal düzenleme gerekiyor.
Legal regulation is needed.

Ciddi bir harcama gerekiyor.
A serious [amount of] spending is needed.

Yeni bir vizyon gerekiyor.
A new vision is needed.

Using “gerek” with verbs

Just as with nouns, you can add gerek, gerekli, and gerekiyor to verbs as well to show that someone needs to do something.

Grammar forms

  • (Person) + (possessive)    (verb stem) + ma/me + (possessive)    gerek
  • (Person) + (possessive)    (verb stem) + ma/me + (possessive)    gerekli
  • (Person) + (possessive)    (verb stem) + ma/me + (possessive)    gerekiyor

To show that someone needs to do an action, first take the dictionary form (‑mak/mek) of a verb and remove the “k” to turn the verb into a noun. For example, “gitmek” means “to go,” so removing the “k” makes “gitme,” which a noun (the act of “going”).

Once you have turned the verb into a noun, that noun can get one of the noun possession endings.

Finally, you add one of the “needed” words: gerek, gerekli, and gerekiyor.

Example sentences with gerek

Nasıl elektrik kullanmam gerek?
How should I use electricity?

Bir şeyler yapmamız gerek.
We need to do something.

Ama önce buluşmamız gerek.
But first we need to meet.

Example sentences with gerekli

İlişkilerin, tam sağlam bir zemine oturması gerekli.
Relationships need to sit on a solid foundation.

Eğitim almam gerekli.
I need to get training.

Example sentences with gerekiyor

Düzenli olması gerekiyor.
It needs to be orderly.

Önemsemeniz gerekiyor.
You need to care.

İnsanın rahat olması gerekiyor.
People need to be comfortable.

Bazı kanunların çıkması gerekiyor.
Some laws need to be enacted.

Ciddi olmamız gerekiyor.
We need to be serious.

Takıma adapte olmam gerekiyor.
I need to adapt to the team.

Ne yapmam gerekiyor?
What do I need to do?

Sponsorlar bulmanız gerekiyor.
You need to find sponsors.

Meclisten onay alması gerekiyor.
It needs to get approval from the parliament.

Bir taraf seçmeniz gerekiyor.
You need to choose a side.

Çok hassas olmamız gerekiyor.
We need to be very sensitive.

Saying that something needs to be done (generally)

There is another way to say that something needs to be done in general or to say that someone needs to do something but explicitly saying who needs to do it. This form is similar to the forms above, but it uses the ‑mak/mek form of the verb without a possessive ending.

Grammar forms

  • (Verb stem) + mak/mek    gerek
  • (Verb stem) + mak/mek    gerekli
  • (Verb stem) + mak/mek    gerekiyor

To use one of these forms, simply use a verb in the “dictionary form” with ‑mak/mek followed by either gerek, gerekli or gerekiyor.

Example sentences with gerek

Devam etmek gerek.
We need to continue.

Çözüm üretmek gerek.
We need to create solutions.

Zaman kazanmak gerek.
We need to save time.

Example sentences with gerekli

İnsanlara şans vermek gerekli.
It is important to give people a chance.

Buna bir çare bulmak gerekli.
Finding a solution to this is necessary.

Example sentences with gerekiyor

Dikkatli olmak gerekiyor.
We need to be careful.

Yeni adımlar atmak gerekiyor.
Taking new steps is necessary.

Biraz saygılı olmak gerekiyor.
We need to be a little [more] respectful.

Sabırlı olmak gerekiyor.
We need to be patient.

Using “gerek yok” to say there’s no need

There is another way to say something isn’t needed by combining “gerek” with “yok.” By saying “gerek yok,” you are saying “there is no need” for something. Like the other “gerek” forms, “gerek yok” can go on nouns as well as verbs.

Grammar forms

  • (Noun) + (y) + a/e    gerek    yok
  • (Verb stem) + maya/meye    gerek    yok
  • (Verb stem) + ma/me + (poss.) + (n) + a/e    gerek    yok

To use “gerek yok,” add the dative case ‑(y)a/e ending to a noun and then add the phrase “gerek yok” after it. This can be on any kind of noun, including a verb that was turned into a noun (by removing the “k” in ‑mak/mek), or a verb that is possessed by a person.

If the verb has ‑ma/me followed by a possessive suffix (e.g. “gitmem” ‑ “my going”), the sentence means that there is no need for that person to do the action. If it does not have this possessive suffix, the sentence is just saying that there is no need for that action, but it is not saying anything explicitly about a specific person.

Note that if you use this form with the third person possessive ‑(s)ı/i/u/ü ending, you will need to add what we call the “N buffer” ‑ an extra letter “n” between the ‑(s)ı ending and the dative ending.

Examples of “gerek yok” with nouns

Mucizeye gerek yok.
There’s no need for a miracle.

Paniğe gerek yok.
There’s no need for panic.

Buna gerek yok.
There’s no need for this.

Examples of “gerek yok” with verbs without a person specified

Söylemeye gerek yok.
There’s no need to say it.

Şaşırmaya gerek yok.
There’s no need to be surprised.

Endişelenmeye gerek yok.
There’s no need to worry.

Başka bir şey demeye gerek yok.
There’s no need to say anything else.

Panik yaratmaya gerek yok.
There’s no need to create panic.

Çok detaya girmeye gerek yok.
There’s no need to go into too much detail.

Uzatmaya gerek yok.
There’s no need to prolong it.

Anlatmaya gerek yok.
There’s no need to explain.

Examples of “gerek yok” with verbs for specific people

Askerlik yapmasına gerek yok!
There’s no need for him to do military service!

Kardeşim girmene gerek yok.
Brother, there’s no need for you to enter.

Korkmana gerek yok.
There’s no need for you to be afraid.

Otopark için endişelenmenize gerek yok. Vale parking var.
There’s no need for you to worry about [finding] parking. There’s valet parking.

Haber iletmenize gerek yok.
There’s no need for you to relay the news.

Other negative forms

There are a variety of other ways to combine negatives with the “gerek” grammar forms. Depending on where the negative is placed in the sentence, it can either say that something is not needed or it can say that it is necessary to not do something.

Grammar forms

  • gereksiz
  • gerekmiyor
  • (Verb stem) + ma/me + mak/mek    gerek / gerekli / gerekiyor
  • (Verb stem) + ma/me + ma/me + (poss.)    gerek / gerekli / gerekiyor

Example sentences with “gereksiz”

Bunlara takılmak gereksiz.
Getting caught up in these [things] is unnecessary.

Bunların tümü gereksiz.
All of these are unnecessary.

Example sentences with “gerekmiyor”

Acele bir yere yetişmeniz gerekmiyor.
You don’t need to get somewhere urgently.

Çok profesyonel bir makine almaları gerekmiyor.
They don’t need to buy a really professional machine.

Example sentences saying it’s necessary to not do something

İplerin kopmaması gerekiyor.
The strings need to not break.

Hediye etmemek gerekiyor.
It needs to not be given away.

Unutmamak gerek.
One must not forget.

Belki vermemem gerekli.
Maybe I shouldn’t give [it].

For further study: additional “gerek” forms

“Gerek” is a very versatile word in Turkish. While it is out of the scope of this lesson to cover every form, here are some additional forms to be aware of. Once you have mastered the basics of “gerek,” you can move on to these more advanced forms.

More “gerek” forms

Turkish English
Gerekiyordu It was needed
Gerekecek It will be needed
Gerekir It will be / would be needed
Gerekirse If it is needed
Gereken şeyler The things that are needed
Yapılması gereken şeyler The things that need to be done
Gerektiği için Because it is needed
Gerektiği zaman When it is needed

* 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.

This lesson was made with the assistance of ChatGPT, a language model powered by OpenAI.

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