Past tense verbs (‑dı/di/du/dü or ‑tı/ti/tu/tü)

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Prerequisites for this Turkish Grammar Lesson

Negative verbs

-mıyor musun?

Yes or no questions

mı/mıyım/mıyız/mısın(ız)/-lar mı
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.”

Grammar form:

  • 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.

    Memnun oldum.
    Nice to meet you. (Literally, “I was pleased.”)

    Welcome. (Literally, “You came nicely.”)

    Şekerleme yapm.
    I took a nap.

    I ran away.

    Bir süre konuştuk.
    We talked a while.

    Uçak düş.
    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

Grammar form:

  • 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.

    Negative examples
    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

Grammar form:

  • 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
    Geldiniz mi?
    Are you here? (Literally, “Did you come?“)

    Görn ?
    Did you see [that]?

    Sipariş ettin mi?
    Did you put in the order?

This lesson is a prerequisite for:

Without, before

-madan önce
"Without," "before," and other uses

Using “ki” to say “that”

Introducing quotations
Using "ki" in expressions, exclamations, and parenthetical comments

The “N buffer”: compound nouns with case markings

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

Talking about alternatives

-mak varken
-mak yerine

Story: Quail Hunting

Bir gün, daha ilk defa kuş avına gidiyorum, bıldırcın avına. Bıldırcın vurmaya gidiyoruz. Neyse, tarlaları geziyoruz böyle. Tarlaları gezerken...

Story: Hunting in the Mountains

Niğde… Niğde’nin bir köyüne gittik, keklik avına. Beş kişi gittik. Dağlarda oluyor keklik. Zirvelerdeyiz. Herkes...

Relative clauses using ‑dık

‑dığım, ‑dığın, ‑dığı
‑dığımız, ‑dığınız, ‑dıkları
-dığını, -dığına, -dığından

Relative clauses using -an/en/yan/yen

Handling irregular verbs
Relative clauses in place of nouns

Passive and reflexive verbs


Marking quotations using “diye”

Direct quotations
Sounds and animal noises

Intermediate “kendi” forms

Kendi as a noun
Kendi kendi as a noun
Kendi kendi with verbs

Beginner “kendi” forms

Using kendi with nouns
Using kendi with verbs


bundan sonra
ondan sonra
-dan sonra
-dıktan sonra

Adding “quick” or “easy” connotations to verbs


7 rules for using “insan” versus “kişi”

Vocab: "insan," "kişi"

3 rules for using “bazı”


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