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Emphasis in questions
The past tense
In Turkish, verbs are in the past tense if they have the past tense suffix on them. The past tense suffix is made up of two parts: either a t or d at the beginning followed by an i-type vowel. Depending on what the verb stem is, the suffix could be ‑dı, ‑di, ‑du, ‑dü, ‑tı, ‑ti, ‑tu or ‑tü.
Forming the past tense verb ending
To start forming the past tense ending, first find the dictionary form of a verb and remove the “mak” or “mek” from the end of the word. For example, “yapmak” means “to do,” so removing the ending “mak” leaves us with the verb stem, “yap.”
- Verb stem + dı/di/du/dü + (personal ending)
- Verb stem ending with ç, k, p, s, ş or t + tı/ti/tu/tü + (personal ending)
After you determine the stem of a verb, check to see if the last letter of the stem is a voiceless consonant: ç, k, p, s, ş or t. (Technically, h and f are also voiceless consonants in Turkish, but there are no verb stems that end in h or f, so you don’t have to worry about those for now). If the last letter of the stem is a voiceless consonant, the first letter of the past tense ending will be “t.” Otherwise, it is a “d.”
Next, add the vowel to the verb stem according to i-type vowel harmony (ı, i, u or ü).
After adding the ‑tı/ti/tu/tü/dı/di/du/dü part of the ending, add the personal ending, which changes based on who is doing the action. Note that the personal endings for the past tense are slightly different from the personal endings for other grammar forms.
See the tables below for the personal endings for the verbs “konuşmak” (to talk) and “gelmek” (to come).
Past tense forms with “konuşmak” (to talk)
|(Ben) konuştum||I talked|
|(Sen) konuştun||You talked|
|(O) konuştu||He/she/it talked|
|(Biz) konuştuk||We talked|
|(Siz) konuştunuz||You (plural or formal) talked|
|(Onlar) konuştu(lar)||They talked|
Past tense forms with “gelmek” (to come)
|(Ben) geldim||I came|
|(Sen) geldin||You came|
|(O) geldi||He/she/it came|
|(Biz) geldik||We came|
|(Siz) geldiniz||You (plural or formal) came|
|(Onlar) geldi(ler)||They came|
Here are some more examples of simple sentences in the past tense.
Nice to meet you. (Literally, “I was pleased.”)
Welcome. (Literally, “You came nicely.”)
I took a nap.
I ran away.
Bir süre konuştuk.
We talked a while.
The plane crashed (literally, “The plane fell“).
Yorgan gitti kavga bitti.
The quilt went away; the fight stopped.
(A Turkish proverb for when a dispute ends because the thing being fought over is no longer relevant)
Using the negative form of the past tense
- Verb stem + ma/me + dı/di + (personal ending)
To say that something will not happen in the past, add the -ma/me negative ending to the verb stem before adding the past tense ending. The negative ending will be either ‑ma or ‑me according to e-type vowel harmony. Then, the past tense ending is added as usual (either ‑dı if it’s after ‑ma, or ‑di after ‑me).
Negative examples with “gelmek” (to come)
|(Ben) gelmedim||I did not come|
|(Sen) gelmedin||You did not come|
|(O) gelmedi||He/she/it/that did not come|
|(Biz) gelmedik||We did not come|
|(Siz) gelmediniz||You (pl. or formal) did not come|
|(Onlar) gelmedi(ler)||They/those did not come|
Here are some more examples of negative sentences in the past tense.
He/she did not take it.
I don’t understand. (Literally, “I did not understand”).
I did not like it.
Forming yes or no questions with the past tense
- Verb stem + dı/di/du/dü/tı/ti/tu/tü + (personal ending) mı/mi/mu/mü?
Forming yes-no questions with the past tense is similar to how yes or no questions are formed with other verb endings: using the mı/mi/mu/mü yes-no question word. However, there is one thing that is different: with the past tense ending, the personal endings come before the yes-no question word.
Examples of questions with “gelmek” (to come)
|(Ben) geldim mi?||Did I come?|
|(Sen) geldin mi?||Did you come?|
|(O) geldi mi?||Did he/she/it come?|
|(Biz) geldik mi?||Did we come?|
|(Siz) geldiniz mi?||Did you (plural or formal) come?|
|(Onlar) geldi(ler) mi?||Did they come?|
Here are some more examples of yes-or no questions in the past tense.
Yes-no question examples
Are you here? (Literally, “Did you come?“)
Did you see [that]?
Sipariş ettin mi?
Did you put in the order?
This lesson is a prerequisite for:The “N buffer”: compound nouns with case markings
-sını, -sına, -sında, -sından
The n buffer with location words
The n buffer with pronouns
Handling irregular verbs
Relative clauses in place of nouns
Kendi as a noun
Kendi kendi as a noun
Kendi kendi with verbs
Using kendi with nouns
Using kendi with verbs
Vocab: "insan," "kişi"