To be doing (‑ıyor olmak)


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Prerequisites

Intermediate “kendi” forms

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

Ability, permission and possibility

-abilir
-amaz
-mayabilir



Understanding ‑ıyor olmak forms

When you see a verb that ends with an “-ıyor” continuous present tense ending followed by “olmak” in any form, it usually means that at a specified time, something will be happening or was happening.

In linguistics terms, these endings add the continuous aspect or habitual aspect to a verb in any tense.

There are several varieties of ‑ıyor olmak forms, as can be seen from the table below. These forms are uncommon in daily conversation but can be found in formal writing or speech. The table below shows a simplified translation of various ‑ıyor olmak forms using the yapmak verb. Click on the links in the table below to jump to the associated section.

Examples with yapmak

Yapıyor olacakWill be doing
Yapıyor olmalıMust be doing
Yapıyor olurMight be doing (in the future)
Yapıyor olabilirMight be doing (currently)
Yapıyor olsaydıIf he/she was doing
Yapıyor olurduWould be doing

Will be happening

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (ı/i/u/ü)yor    olacak/olacağı + (personal ending)

This ending, also known as the future continuous tense, describes things that will be happening at some point in the future. Unlike in English, this grammar form is not necessary for conveying the meaning of continuous action, so the basic future tense ending (‑acak) is often preferred in these contexts.

    Examples
    10 yıl sonra işlerin %25’ini robotlar yapıyor olacak
    10 years from now, robots will be doing 25% of jobs
    (Headline of news story)

    Sen dinlendiğin zaman, ben yürüyor olacağım.
    While you are resting, I will be walking.
    (Excerpt from a poem)

    Az sonra güneş doğacak. Fakat muhtmelen ben yine uyuyor olacağım. Güneşin doğuşunu göremeyeceğim.
    In a little bit the sun will rise. However, I will probably still be sleeping. I won’t be able to see the sunrise.
    (Exerpt from photography article)

    Hata yapmaktan falan korkma. Bir tek sen hata yapıyor olmayacaksın.
    Don’t be afraid of making a mistake or anything like that. You won’t be the only one making a mistake.
    (Excerpt from post on game forum)

    Sevdiğin mesleği yapmıyor olacaksın. Bu bir sorun değil mi senin için?
    You won’t be doing the profession that you love. Isn’t that a problem for you?
    (Excerpt from short story)

    Ben o esnada kravatımı bağlıyor olmayacağım. Sen ütü yapıyor olmayacaksın.
    At that time I won’t be tying my tie. You won’t be doing the ironing.
    (Excerpt from blog)

    Proje bittikten sonra hala eğitimlere, seminerlere devam ediyor olacak mısınız?
    After the project is finished, will you still be continuing with seminars and education?
    (Excerpt from interview transcript)

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Must be happening

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (ı/i/u/ü)yor    olmalı + (personal ending)
  • Verb + (ı/i/u/ü)yor    olmalıydı + (personal ending)

This grammar form is used when saying that something must be happening. If the “olmalıydı” form above is used, it is referring to something that must have been happening in the past. If the “olmalı” form is used, however, the tense must be understood from the context. Like the English word “must,” these endings can have either a meaning of necessity (something needs to be happening) or a meaning of probability (something probably is happening).

    Examples
    Şaka yapıyor olmalısın!
    You must be joking!

    Bir yerde hata yapıyor olmalıyım.
    I must be making a mistake somewhere.

    Bizi çok seviyordu. Ama birlikte çalıştıktan sonra onu herhalde öyle bir hale getirdik ki şimdi bizden nefret ediyor olmalı.
    She used to really love us. But after working with us we probably brought her to a point that now she must hate us [literally “she must be hating us“].
    (Excerpt from news story)

    Çocuklar daha anlayışlı, iyi yetiştiriliyor ve evlilikler daha az bitiyor olmalı.
    Children need to be raised [literally “need to be being raised“] better and with more understanding and marriages need to be ending less often.
    (Excerpt from opinion piece)

    Ortalık sessizdi. Herkes uyuyor olmalıydı.
    Everything was quiet. Everyone must have been sleeping.
    (Excerpt from book)

    Aşağı indiğimde Demir hâlâ ön bahçede telefonla konuşuyor olmalıydı ki ortalıkta yoktu.
    When I went downstairs Demir must have still been talking on the phone in the front yard since he wasn’t around.
    (Excerpt from book)

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Might be happening in the future

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (ı/i/u/ü)yor    olur + (personal ending)

This grammar form is very similar to the -ıyor olacak (future continuous tense) form above. They have approximately the same function, except that the “-ıyor olur” form conveys less certainty, so it is used more commonly for hypothetical situations.

    Examples
    30 yıl sonra bu saatlerde sizce ne yapıyor olursunuz?
    What do you think you will be doing 30 years from now at this time of day?
    (Question on forum)

    60 yaşıma geldiğimde de mutlaka bu işi yapıyor olurum.
    When I turn 60 years old, I’m sure I’ll be doing this work
    (Excerpt from news story)

    Ama düşündüğünüzde puanım tutuyor olsa ben zaten Tercümanlık bölümünde okuyor olurum.
    But when you think about it, if my grades are good enough, I will be studying in the Translation department anyway.
    (Excerpt from forum post)

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Might be happening now

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (ı/i/u/ü)yor    olabilir + (personal ending)

This grammar form is similar to the more common ‑abilir ending, but adds the meaning of continuous action. It is used when explaining that something may be happening currently but it is not known for certain.

    Examples
    İstemeden zorbalık yapıyor olabilir misin?
    Might you be bullying [people] without meaning to?
    (Title of blog post)

    Halı saha kanser yapıyor olabilir!
    Astroturf may be causing cancer!
    (Headline of news article)

    Depresyonu hayatınıza davet ediyor olabilir misiniz?
    Might you be inviting depression into your life?
    (Title of blog)

    Her film sizlere hitap ediyor olmayabilir. Fakat istediğiniz filme ulaşmak artık hiç de zor değil.
    Every film might not be appealing to you. However, it is no longer difficult to find the film you want.
    (Excerpt from ad on news site)

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If something was happening

Grammar form:

  • (Keşke…)    verb + (ı/i/u/ü)yor    olsaydı + (personal ending)

This grammar form operates the same way as the normal ‑saydı ending (hypothetical past conditional), but with the added meaning of continuation. This form is used when explaining that if X was happening, then Y would be true. If the word “keşke” is used, then the meaning is something like if only X was happening.

    Examples
    Normalde herhangi bir insanla bu konuşmayı yapıyor olsaydım gözlerim dolmazdı, ağlama noktasına gelmezdim.
    Normally if I was saying these things to anyone, my eyes wouldn’t have watered, I would not have come to the point of crying.
    (Excerpt from book)

    Keşke bir hafta önceki hali gibi, bunları bilmeden yaşamına devam ediyor olsaydı.
    If only he could have continued on with life like it was the week before without knowing these things.
    (Excerpt from book)

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Would be happening

Grammar form:

  • Verb + (ı/i/u/ü)yor    olacaktı + (personal ending)
  • Verb + (ı/i/u/ü)yor    olurdu + (personal ending)

These two forms function the same as the ‑acaktı and ‑ardı endings that appear in the second verb after a ‑saydı ending, but with the addition of the continuation aspect. In other words, in a hypothetical past situation, if X had happened, Y would be happening.

    Examples
    Off ya keşke bugün haftasonu olsaydı, yatakta uyuyor olacaktım.
    Ugh, I wish today was the weekend; I would be in bed sleeping.
    (Excerpt from forum post)

    Belki yaşasaydı hâlâ saltanat devam ediyor olacaktı.
    Maybe if he had lived the [Ottoman] Sultanate would still be continuing on.
    (Excerpt from news story)

    Twitter olmasaydı… ülke gündemi toplum tarafından değil geleneksel medya tarafından oluşturulmaya devam ediyor olurdu.
    If Twitter didn’t exist… the country’s current news would be continuing to be created by traditional media instead of by the community.
    (Excerpt from blog)

    Eğer bu mesleği sevmeseydim çoktan başka bir sektörde çalışıyor olurdum.
    If I didn’t love this profession I would have been working in another sector a long time ago.
    (Excerpt from news story)

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Additional resources on the future continuous tense

The following are links to articles on Turkish websites that teach the future continuous tense (‑ıyor olacak). These are meant for Turks learning English, but they can also be helpful for English speakers learning Turkish, especially because of the extra example sentences.

2 thoughts on “To be doing (‑ıyor olmak)”

  1. There are several verb forms (especially the past -ydı) that can easily be covered a level or so earlier. Thanks to you, I have the Routledge Turkish Grammar and looked it up, but the other forms listed here could also help if they were introduced earlier.

    Otherwise, thanks for the site! I am learning Turkish for a dissertation on Said Nursi and it has been a fantastic resource, better than many textbooks I have read for other languages.

    1. Thanks for the note. I’m glad it’s been helpful.

      And yes, we are gradually adding more lessons and will be adding the past tense forms as well. So far we have focused on topics that don’t get covered much in other textbooks and resources, which is why we haven’t touched on some of the core topics like the past tense yet. But it’s on my to-do list 🙂

      If you would like to get notifications on new posts, be sure to follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/turkishtextbook

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