Relative clauses using ‑dık (‑dığı/diği/duğu/düğü, ‑tığı/tiği/tuğu/tüğü)

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Prerequisites for this Turkish Grammar Lesson

Past tense verbs

-dı/di/du/dü or -tı/ti/tu/tü
Asking yes or no questions

The “N buffer”: compound nouns with case markings

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

Using ‑dık to form relative clauses

If you are wanting to describe something specific in order to differentiate it from something else, you might use an adjective like “big” or “green.”

However, there are times when a simple adjective like this isn’t enough to get your point across. Sometimes you need a verb or even a long series of words to specify which kind of thing you are talking about. Relative clauses are one of the ways to do that.

In this lesson, we will look at one of the word endings that you can use to form relative clauses: ‑dık. The ‑dık ending is used for talking about things that happened in the past or are happening in the present.

Grammar forms

  • (Verb stem) + dığ/diğ/duğ/düğ + (personal possessive ending)
  • (Verb stem) + dık/dik/duk/dük + ları/leri
  • (Verb stem ending with ç, k, p, s, ş or t) + tığ/tiğ/tuğ/tüğ + (personal possessive ending)
  • (Verb stem ending with ç, k, p, s, ş or t) + tık/tik/tuk/tük + ları/leri

To use the ‑dık ending to make a relative clause, the first thing you need to do is to find the verb stem (e.g. the “yap” part of “yapmak”). If the verb stem ends with a voiceless consonant (“ç,” “k,” “p,” “s,” “ş” or “t”), then the first letter of the ending will be “t.” Otherwise, the first letter will be “d.”

Next, you will add a vowel: “ı,” “i,” “u,” or “ü,” according to I-type vowel harmony with the verb stem.

After that, you add either a soft “ğ” or a “k” followed by one of the personal possessive endings (e.g. ‑ım, ‑ın, ‑ı, ‑ımız, ‑ınız, ‑ları). You will use a “k” with the third person plural ‑ları/leri ending and a soft “ğ” with all the other personal possessive endings.

It should also be noted that the full form of the -dık relative clauses technically includes a possessive pronoun such as “benim,” “senin,” or “onun.” However, since the meaning of this pronoun is also contained in the possessive ending, the pronoun is usually omitted.

To begin with, let’s see how the ‑dık ending gets used with different personal possessive endings on a few of the most common verbs:

The ‑dık ending on “yapmak” (to do)

Turkish English
(Benim) yaptığım şey The thing that I did
(Senin) yaptığın şey The thing that you did
(Onun) yaptığı şey The thing that he/she/it did
(Bizim) yaptığımız şey The thing that we did
(Sizin) yaptığınız şey The thing that you (pl. or formal) did
(Onların) yaptığı / yaptıkları şey The thing that they did

The ‑dık ending on “almak” (to take)

Turkish English
(Benim) aldığım şey The thing that I took
(Senin) aldığın şey The thing that you took
(Onun) aldığı şey The thing that he/she/it took
(Bizim) aldığımız şey The thing that we took
(Sizin) aldığınız şey The thing that you (pl. or formal) took
(Onların) aldığı / aldıkları şey The thing that they took

The ‑dık ending on “vermek” (to give)

Turkish English
(Benim) verdiğim şey The thing that I gave
(Senin) verdiğin şey The thing that you gave
(Onun) verdiği şey The thing that he/she/it gave
(Bizim) verdiğimiz şey The thing that we gave
(Sizin) verdiğiniz şey The thing that you (pl. or formal) gave
(Onların) verdiği / verdikleri şey The thing that they gave

Past tense relative clauses with ‑dık

Now let’s look at some examples of how the ‑dık ending is used to form relative clauses about things that happened in the past.

Example sentences*

Aradığınız kişi şu anda başka biri ile konuşuyor.
The person you called is currently talking with another person.
(The standard message you get when a line is busy)

Sipariş ettiğiniz ürünler hazır.
The products that you ordered are ready.

Burada benim yaptığım bir araştırma var.
There is an investigation that I did here.

Görev yaptığım dönem 1995 yılıydı.
The time period that I served was the year 1995.

Eski çalıştığı gemiydi.
It was the ship where he/she used to work.

Yaptığı transferler ortada.
The transfers that he/she made are obvious.

Sizin inşa ettiğiniz bir ev.
[This is] a house that you built.

Sizin seçtiğiniz bir duruş var.
There is a stance that you have chosen.

Önceden aldıkları numune çöpteydi.
The sample that they had taken earlier was garbage.

Genç yaşta geldikleri nokta önemli.
The point that they reached at a young age is important.

Present tense relative clauses with ‑dık

Besides making relative clauses in the past tense, ‑dık can also be used to make relative clauses about things that are currently happening, things that are ongoing, happen habitually, or for topics that don’t necessarily have a specific time associated with them.

In some cases, it can be ambiguous whether a verb with the ‑dık ending is referring to something that happened in the past or something that is happening in the present. You sometimes need to use context clues to figure out whether it refers to the past or the present.

Example sentences with present tense, ongoing, habitual or unspecific timeframes

Merak ettiğim sorular var.
There are [some] questions that I am curious about.

Takdir ettiğimiz nokta bu.
This is the point that we admire [about them].

Zira oturdukları evler dar.
Because the houses where they live are small.

İkimizin de istediği bu.
This is what both of us want/wanted.

Fakat sizinle paylaşmak istediğim bir şey var.
But there’s something that I want/wanted to share with you.

Şelale ve pınarın olduğu yer muhteşem.
The place where the waterfall and spring are is magnificent.

Making negatives and double negatives

As with other verb endings, the -dık relative clause ending can combine with the negative verb ending -ma/me. The result is a relative clause that is negated, as in “the things that didn’t happen.” You can also negate the verb in the main sentence to produce a different meaning, as in “I didn’t know about the thing he/she did.”

You can also form a double negative sentence by negating both the verb of the main sentence and the relative clause verb.

Negative examples

Evet yapmadığın çok şey vardı.
Yes, there were a lot of things that you did not do.

Pes ettiğiniz anlar olmadı mı?
Weren’t there times when you gave up?

Yurtdışında kazanmadığı ödül yok.
There is no award that he/she has not won abroad.

Making more complicated sentences using case endings

There are a lot of ways to combine the -dık relative clause ending with other grammar forms to express complex ideas. One way to form more complicated sentences is to add word endings onto the noun that the -dık relative clause is describing. Some of the most common noun endings are the grammatical case endings: the accusative case ending -(y)ı/i/u/ü, the dative case ending -(y)a/e, the locative case ending -da/de/ta/te, the ablative case -dan/den/tan/ten.

In addition to going on the noun that the relative clause is describing, these case endings can be added to nouns inside the relative clause itself as well.

Examples with case endings inside relative clauses

Avrupa’da da görmediğim ülke kalmadı.
There’s no country left in Europe that I haven’t seen.

İşte ondan beklediğim davranış buydu.
This was the behavior that I expected from him/her.

Examples with case endings outside relative clauses

İstediğiniz yere geldiniz.
You’ve arrived at the place that you want/wanted [to go to].
(From the Turkish audio instructions in Google Maps)

Ben yaptığımi çok seviyorum.
I really love the job that I do.

Hedeflediğimiz rakamlara ulaştık.
We reached the figures that we were targeting.

Hedeflediğimiz yolda gidiyoruz.
We are moving forward on the path that we were aiming for.

Hiç ses çıkarmadı. Öyle kaldı olduğu yerde.
He/She didn’t make a sound. Just stayed in the place where he/she was.

Verdiği örneğe de bak.
Look at the example that he/she gave.

Saklandığım yerden çıktım.
I came out from the place where I was hiding.

Attığımız her adımı biliriz.
We know every step that we took.

Onların yaktığı ateşte yandım.
I was burned up in the fire that they lit.

Galiba biz istediğimiz ortamları bulduk.
I think we’ve found the environments that we want/wanted.

Bilmediğiniz kelimelere bakarsınız.
You can look up words that you don’t know.

Şu anda memnunum oynadığım yerden.
I’m satisfied with the place where I’m playing right now.

“Headless” relative clauses

There is another way to use the -dık relative clause ending that is particularly challenging for language learners: the so-called “headless” relative clauses. The “head” of a relative clause is the person, place or thing that the relative clause is describing (i.e., the noun that comes after the verb with the -dık ending).

However, there are two types of sentences in Turkish where you can use a -dık relative clause without a head noun:

  1. When the person, place or thing being described by the relative clause is either obvious or irrelevant: “the one that…”
  2. When the verb itself is the whole point of the relative clause, as in the phrase, “the fact that…”

Example sentences with headless relative clauses

Arabanın çalıştığı belli değil. Sessiz yani.
It’s not clear that the car is running. It’s quiet, that is.

Hocanın da bir bildiği var sonuçta.
After all, the teacher has [something] that he/she knows.

Benim yaptığım bu.
This is what I did.

Tahmin ettiğiniz olmadı.
What you predicted didn’t happen.

Benim tahmin ettiğim oldu.
What that I predicted happened.

Kızgın olduğu çok açıktı.
It was very clear that he/she was angry.

Korktuğum gerçekleşti.
What I feared came true.

Uzmanların istediği oldu.
What the experts wanted happened.

Şehre güzellik kattığı kesin.
It’s certain that it added beauty to the city.

Söylemek istediğim bu.
This is what I want to say.

Burada yapmak istediğim bu.
This is what I want to do here.

Ne kadar haksız olduğu ortaya çıktı.
It became apparent how unjust it was.

Headless relative clauses with case endings

In the cases of headless relative clauses, the whole relative clause acts like a noun in the main sentence. And since it acts like a noun, it can also receive noun endings such as the accusative case, dative case, etc. Here are some example sentences where the whole relative clause receives a case ending.

Note that for the case of the third person singular -dığı and plural -dıkları, you have to add the so-called n buffer before adding a case ending, just like you do when adding case endings to compound nouns. This can create some ambiguous sentences where it may not be immediately clear whether the ending is third person (-dığı) with the “n buffer” or if it is second person (-dığın).

Headless relative clauses with accusative case endings

Haklı olduğumu göreceksiniz.
You will see that I am right.

Ne söylediğini bilmiyor.
He doesn’t know what he is saying / said.
(This can also technically mean, “He doesn’t know what you are saying / said”)

Kalorili olduğunu unutmayın!
Don’t forget that it’s high in calories!

Aradığımı buldum.
I found what I was looking for.

Depresyona girdiğini görüyorsunuz.
You see that he/she is depressed.

Ne düşündüğümü sorarlar.
They ask what I am thinking.

Zeki biri olduğumu söylerler.
They say that I am smart.

Headless relative clauses with dative case endings

Tanıştığımıza memnun oldum.
I’m glad that we met.
(A common saying)

Ağır olmadığına inanıyorum.
I believe that it’s not heavy.

Doğru seçim yaptığımıza inanıyoruz.
We believe that we made the right choice.

Bunun doğru olduğuna inanmak istiyorum.
I want to believe that this is right.

Ama söylediğinize de katılıyorum.
But I also agree with what you said.

Burada olduğunuza sevindim.
I’m glad that you are here.

Anlayış gösterdiğine sevindim.
I’m glad that you showed understanding.

Umarım sorduğunuza pişman olmazsınız.
I hope you won’t regret what you asked.

Example sentences with ablative case endings

Beni sevdiğinden emin değilim.
I’m not sure that he/she loves me.

Dediğinden sakın çıkmayın.
Do not deviate from what he/she said.

Ben her yaşadığımdan dersimi alıyorum.
I learn my lesson from everything that I live through.

Çeviri yapmak istediğimden söz ettim.
I talked about how I want to do translation.

Example sentences with genitive case (possessive) endings

Ne olduğunun önemi yok.
It doesn’t matter what happened (Literally, what happened has no importance.)

Normalde beklediğimizin tam tersi.
It’s the exact opposite of what we normally expect.

Demek istediğimizin özeti buydu.
This was the summary of what we wanted to say.

For further study

Relative clauses using ‑an/en and ‑acak/ecek

Besides using the ‑dık ending, there are two other primary ways to form relative clauses in Turkish: the ‑an/en relative clause ending and the ‑acak/ecek relative clause ending. The ‑acak/ecek ending works almost the same way as ‑dık except that it is used for relative clauses in the future tense instead of past or present.

The ‑an/en ending, on the other hand, is different from both. You can only use ‑an/en if the noun that’s being described by the relative clause is the grammatical subject of the relative clause. In other words, the noun that you’re describing with the ‑an/en relative clause has to be the person or thing that is doing the verb that gets the ‑an/en ending.

Using more complex ‑dık forms

Besides these additional word endings for relative clauses, there are a lot of ways to build upon your knowledge of the ‑dık ending by combining it with other grammatical words and word endings. Here is a sample of the various ways ‑dık is used in the Turkish language.

Turkish English
Yaptığım için Because I did it
Yaptığıma göre Since we know that I did it
Yaptığıma dair Regarding what I did
Yaptığım zaman, yaptığımda When I did it / when I do it
Yaptığımdan beri Ever since I did it
Yapabildiğim The thing(s) that I am/was able to do
Yaptığım gibi Similar to what I did
Yaptığım sürece As long as I do it / keep doing it
Yaptığım kadar As much as I did
Yapabildiğince As much as I can do
Ne kadar yaptığıma bağlı It depends on how much I did

* 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 is a prerequisite for:

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