Expressing need using “ihtiyaç”

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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

Using “ihtiyaç” to say that something is needed

There are a few ways of expressing a need in Turkish. This lesson will cover one of them: the word “ihtiyaç.” İhtiyaç is a loan word from Arabic meaning “need.”

It carries a similar meaning to the Turkish words gerek and lazım and the word ending -malı/meli in that it expresses a need. However, unlike these other forms, the word “ihtiyaç” is most often used to describe strong emotional needs such as a person’s need for their family members, or basic physical needs such as food, water and shelter.

Using “ihtiyaç” with nouns

Grammar forms

  • (Noun) + (y) + a/e    ihtiyaç    var/yok
  • (Pronoun)    (noun) + (y) + a/e    ihtiyac + (possessive ending)    var/yok

There are two main ways that the word “ihtiyaç” is paired with nouns. The first way is using “ihtiyaç” with no word endings to express a general need for something. The second way is to add a personal possessive ending to “ihtiyaç” to specify the person who has the need.

In both cases, you will add the dative case -(y)a/e ending to the noun representing the thing that is needed. After this comes the word “ihtiyaç” with or without a possessive ending, followed by either “var” (if it is needed) or “yok” (if it is not needed).

Here is a simple example*:

Böyle oyunculara ihtiyaç var.
There is a need for players like this.

In this example, there is no word ending on “ihtiyaç,” which means the person or people who need the players is not specified. You can use a sentence like this when the meaning is clear in the context of the conversation. However, in many cases it is necessary to use a possessive word ending to specify who has the need.

In the table below you can see examples of all the basic forms of “ihtiyaç” with and without possessive endings.

Basic example sentences with “ihtiyaç”

Turkish English
Ona ihtiyaç var. There is a need for that.
(Benim) ona ihtiyacım var. I have a need for that.
(Senin) ona ihtiyacın var. You have a need for that.
(Onun) ona ihtiyacı var. He/she has a need for that.
(Bizim) ona ihtiyacımız var. We have a need for that.
(Sizin) ona ihtiyacınız var. You (pl. or formal) have a need for that.
(Onların) ona ihtiyaçları var. They have a need for that.

Example sentences with nouns

Eve ihtiyacı var.
He/she has a need for a house.

Mucizeye ihtiyacımız var.
We need a miracle.

Bizim morale ihtiyacımız var.
We have a need for morale.

Vizeye ihtiyaçları var.
They have a need for visas.

İş yerinizin size ihtiyacı var.
Your workplace has a need for you.

Sadece biraz zamana ihtiyacım var.
I just need a little time.

Uyan! Sana ihtiyacım var!
Wake up! I need you!

Sizin başka şeylere ihtiyacınız var.
You have a need for other things.

Şimdi buna ihtiyaç yok.
There is no need for this now.

Kızımın bana ihtiyacı var!
My daughter needs me!

Desteğe ihtiyacımız var.
We have a need for support.

Gerçekten yardıma ihtiyacı var.
He really has a need for help.

Reklama ihtiyacım yok.
I don’t have any need for advertising.

Şu anda elektriğe ihtiyacım var.
I need electricity right now.

Özgüvene ihtiyacı var.
He/she has a need for self-confidence.

Bu ülkenin buna ihtiyacı var.
This country needs this.

Bizim buna ihtiyacımız var.
We need this.

Ama garsona ihtiyaç yok.
But there is no need for a waiter.

Yoruma ihtiyaç yok!
No need for commentary!

Şansa ihtiyacı var.
He/she has a need for luck.

Using “ihtiyaç” with verbs

To show that someone needs to do something using a verb, first you have to turn the verb into a noun. To do this, take the dictionary form (‑mak/mek) of the verb and remove the “k.” 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, you can add the -(y)a/e dative case ending followed by the “ihtiyaç” word just like the example sentences with nouns above. For example, “Gitmeye ihtiyacım var” would mean, “I need to go.”

Example sentences with verbs

Büyümeye ihtiyacımız var.
We need to grow.

Uygulamaya ihtiyaç var.
There is a need for implementation.

Çok çalışmaya ihtiyacı var.
He/she needs to work hard.

Bu açıdan ortak çalışmaya ihtiyaç var.
From this perspective, there is a need for collaborative work.

Bunları duymaya ve hissetmeye ihtiyacı var.
He/she needs to hear and feel these things.

Şimdi de dertleşmeye ihtiyacı var.
And now he/she has a need to share his/her troubles.

Ancak bir arada olmaya ihtiyacımız var.
However, we need to be together.

For further study: additional “ihtiyaç” forms

There are a lot of ways of using “ihtiyaç” in Turkish. Once you have learned the basics, you can move on to these more advanced forms.

More “ihtiyaç” forms

Turkish English
Ona ihtiyacım olacak I am going to need it
Ona ihtiyacım vardı I needed it
Ona ihtiyacım kalmadı I no longer need it
İhtiyacım olan şey The thing that I need
Ona ihtiyaç duymuyorum I don’t feel the need for it
Benim ihtiyaçlarım karşılanıyor My needs are being met

* 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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