Expressing need using “lazım”

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Prerequisites for this Turkish Grammar Lesson

Noun possession

benim, senin, onun

Dative case: to, toward

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

Expressing need using “lazım”

-mak lazım

Using “lazım” 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 “lazım.” Lazım is a loan word from Arabic meaning “necessary” or “required.”

It is roughly equivalent to the Turkish word “gerek,” and can be used interchangeably with it in many cases.

Using “lazım” with nouns

Grammar forms

  • (Person) + (y) + a/e    (Noun)    lazım

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 “lazım.”

Here is a simple example*:

Herkese bilgi lazım.
Everyone needs information (Literally, information is necessary to everyone).

Note that in English, we normally use the verb “to need” to express necessity, and the verb’s subject is the person who needs something. In Turkish, however, necessity is often expressed by either an adjective (e.g. “lazım”) modifying the needed object.

Since the two nouns in this sentence are distinguished from each other by the dative case ending, it is possible to leave out one or the other of them. If the sentence just said “bilgi lazım,” it would mean “information is needed.” You would need to understand from the context that it is for everyone that information is needed. Likewise, you could simply say, “herkese lazım,” which would mean, “[it] is needed for everyone.” In this case, you would need to infer from the context what is needed.

Also, the order of the words in the sentence can be changed around to change the emphasis. For example, if you changed the word order to “bilgi herkese lazım,” the meaning would be emphasizing that information is needed by everyone (that is, it isn’t just a few people who need information). You could also change the word order to “bilgi lazım herkese” to emphasize that it is information (and not something else) that everyone needs.

Example sentences with nouns

Onlara detaylar lazım. Açıklama lazım.
They need details. [They] need an explanation.

Türkiye’ye elektrik lazım. 114 milyar kilovat/saat elektrik yetmiyor.
Turkey needs electricity. 114 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity is not enough.

Psikoloji derin bir şey, abi. Herkese lazım.
Psychology is a deep thing, brother. Everyone needs [it].

Telefon lazım size.
What you need is a phone.

Malzeme lazım.
Materials are needed.

Kan lazım.
Blood is needed.

Ceren için sözler yeterli değil. Kanıt lazım.
Words are not enough for Ceren. Evidence is needed.

Yatak lazım. Tıbbi stok lazım. Enfeksiyonlar artıyor, antibiyotik lazım.
Beds are needed. Medical supplies are needed. Infections are increasing; antibiotics are needed.

Using “lazım” with verbs

In addition to nouns, you can add lazım to verbs to show that someone needs to do something.

Grammar forms

  • (Person) + (possessive)    (verb stem) + ma/me + (possessive)    lazım

To show that someone needs to do something, first you have to turn the verb into a noun. To do this, take the dictionary form (‑mak/mek) of a 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, that noun can get one of the noun possession endings: ‑m, ‑n, ‑sı, ‑mız, ‑nız or ‑ları.

Finally, you add “lazım.”

Example sentences with verbs

Ama para biriktirmem lazım.
But I need to save money.

Konuşmamız lazım.
We need to talk.

Ne yapmam lazım?
What do I need to do?

Buna dikkat etmemiz lazım.
We need to pay attention to this.

Düşünmem lazım.
I need to think.

Bu tablonun değişmesi lazım.
This picture needs to change.

Büyümemiz lazım.
We need to grow.

Bunun değişmesi lazım.
This needs to change.

Devam etmemiz lazım.
We need to continue.

İşlerin devam etmesi lazım dedi.
He said that the work needs to continue.

Konunun gündeme gelmesi lazım.
The issue needs to be brought up.

Yatırım yapmamız lazım.
We need to invest.

Dinlenmesi lazım.
She needs to rest.

Saying that something needs to be done without specifying who needs to do it

There is another way to say that something needs to be done without specifying who needs to do it. This is similar to the “lazım” forms above, but it uses the ‑mak/mek form of the verb instead.

Using this form can make the sentence generic, as if to say that someone needs to do something, or that people in general need to do something. However, in a lot of cases, it is used as an indirect way of saying that someone specific (usually “we,” but sometimes “I” or “you”) needs to do something. In these cases, the person who needs to do the action is usually clear from the context.

Grammar forms

  • (Verb stem) + mak/mek    lazım

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

Example sentences

Temiz hava almak lazım.
Getting fresh air is necessary.

Ciddi olmak lazım.
One needs to be serious.

Araştırmak lazım.
We need to research [it more].

Sormak lazım.
Someone needs to ask.

İncelemek lazım.
We need to examine [it closely].

Dikkatli olmak lazım.
We need to be careful.

Ne yapmak lazım?
What is needed to be done?

Motive etmek lazım.
We need to motivate [them].

Sisteme bakmak lazım.
One needs to look at the system.

Gerçekçi olmak lazım.
Being realistic is essential.

Nereye başvurmak lazım?
Where do we need to apply?

Bakmak lazım.
We need to look.

Risk almak lazım.
Taking risks is vital.

Düzeltmek lazım.
We need to correct [it].

Other negative forms

There are two main ways to negate a sentence using “lazım.” One is to say “lazım değil” (it is not needed). The other way is to negate the verb, which means it is necessary to not do something.

Grammar forms

  • lazım    değil
  • (Verb stem) + ma/me + mak/mek    lazım
  • (Verb stem) + ma/me + ma/me + (poss.)    lazım

Example sentences with “lazım değil”

Telefon lazım değil bize.
We don’t need a phone.

Başka bir şey lazım değil.
No need for anything else.

Kart bana lazım değil.
I don’t need the card.

Example sentences saying it’s necessary to not do something

Olmaması lazım aslında.
It actually shouldn’t be [that way].

Bu noktaya gelmememiz lazım.
We need to not reach this point.

Buna şaşırmamak lazım.
We should not be surprised by this.

For further study: additional “lazım” forms

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

More “lazım” forms

Turkish English
Lazım oluyor It is needed (sometimes, frequently)
Lazım olacak It will be needed
Lazımdı It was needed
Lazımmış It is/was apparently needed
Lazım olursa If 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.

This lesson is a prerequisite for:

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