Dative case: to, toward (‑a/e/ya/ye)


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Prerequisites

Beginner commands

-(no ending)/-ın
Singular and plural
Pronouns with commands
Handling irregular verbs

Continuous present tense

-ıyor
Handling irregular verbs
Asking yes or no questions

Compound noun ending

-(s)ı
Exceptions



Going to the store

Grammar form:

  • Noun + (y) + a/e    verb

In this lesson, we will explore how to form sentences with verbs and nouns together with a direction. In English, we use words like “to” or “toward” to talk about direction. But in Turkish, they use the ‑a/e ending. In linguistic terms, this is called the dative case.

In the tables below, you will see how this form can be made using the continuous present tense and the basic command forms.

Examples with continuous present tense

TurkishEnglish
(Ben) markete gidiyorum.I am going to the store.
(Sen) markete gidiyorsun.You are going to the store.
(O) markete gidiyor.He or she is going to the store.
(Biz) markete gidiyoruz.We are going to the store.
(Siz) markete gidiyorsunuz.You (plural) are going to the store.
(Onlar) markete gidiyor(lar).They are going to the store.

Examples with commands

TurkishEnglish
(Sen) markete git.(You) go to the store.
(Siz) markete gidin.(You, plural) go to the store.

Which Turkish verbs can use the dative case?

Just like in any language, there are only certain action words in Turkish that can be used with the “to” (‑a/e) grammar form. In English, you can’t say “I’m sitting to a chair,” but you need to say, “I’m sitting on a chair.” However, some words that can be used with the “to” grammar in English don’t work with the ‑a/e grammar in Turkish and vice versa. For example, you use the ‑a/e ending with the “oturmak” (to sit) verb in order to say that you are sitting on an object. So, while the ‑a/e ending usually corresponds to the “to/toward” meaning in English, you will have to be on the lookout for exceptions as you learn new verbs. In the table below are some of the most common verbs that use the ‑a/e ending. For each new verb you learn, you can find all of the case endings that can work with that verb by consulting a good Turkish dictionary.

Common verbs that match English

TurkishEnglish
-a/e vermekTo give to
-a/e gitmekTo go to
-a/e demekTo say to
-a/e göstermekTo show to
-a/e getirmekTo bring to
-a/e dönmekTo turn to
-a/e atmakTo throw to
-a/e düşmekTo fall to
-a/e yürümekTo walk to
-a/e koşmakTo run to

Common verbs that don’t match English

TurkishEnglish
-a/e inanmakTo believe…
-a/e oturmakTo sit on/at
-a/e sormakTo ask…
-a/e girmekTo enter…
-a/e bakmakTo look at
-a/e binmekTo ride/get on (a bus or other vehicle)

    Examples

    Bisiklete biniyorum, camiye gidiyorum.
    I’m riding a bike ‑ I’m going to the mosque.
    (Title of news article)

    Masaya koy, masaya!
    Put [it] on the table, on the table!
    (Title of humorous video involving old men and fireworks)

    Gelin, sofraya oturun.
    Come, have a seat at the table.
    (Exerpt from short story)

    Sen salona geç lütfen.
    Please, you go on ahead to the living room.
    (Exerpt from book)

Exceptions for certain nouns

There are certain words in Turkish that have special rules for applying the ‑a/e ending. These words also have the same special rules applied to them when adding the compound noun ending or other endings that start with a vowel.

Exception #1: nouns ending with Ç, K, P, T

The following rules are applied to many (but not all) words ending with ç, k, p or t:

  • ç gets replaced with c
  • k gets replaced with ğ
  • p gets replaced with b
  • t gets replaced with d

When you learn a new word, pay attention to see if it has these special rules or not. Here are some common words that do not follow these special rules: “at” (horse), “süt” (milk), “risk” (risk), “maç” (sports match) and “top” (ball).

    Examples

    Araç (vehicle)

    Şimdi şu araca bin.
    Now get in this vehicle.
    (Quotation from a soldier in a novel)

    Kabuk (shell)

    Kocaman bir kabuğa benziyor bu köy.
    It’s like a huge [turtle] shell, this village.
    (Exerpt from a novel)

    Yemek (meal)

    Önce tuvalete bakın sonra yemeğe oturun.
    First take a look at the bathrooms, then sit down to [your] meal.
    (One-star review of a Pide restaurant)

    Simit (a bagel-shaped bread with sesame seeds)

    Simide zam geliyor
    The price of simit is going up (literally, price increase is coming to simit).
    (Title of news article)

    Kitap (book)

    AÖF dijital kitaba geçiyor.
    AÖF is switching to digital books.
    (Title of news article)

Exception #2: nouns with vowels that drop out

There is a relatively small number of Turkish words that drop the last vowel in the word when adding any word ending starting with a vowel.

    Vakıf (foundation)

    20 milyon TL vakfa gidiyor
    20 million Turkish Lira is going to the foundation
    (Title of forum post)

    Şehir (city)

    Marko Marin şehre alışıyor.
    Marko Marin is getting used to the city.
    (Caption of a photo of a German soccer player at a döner restaurant in Trabzon)

    Vakit (time for Islamic prayers)

    Ben beş vakte razıyım.
    I approve of the five [prayer] times.
    (Excerpt from a translation of the Hadith)

Exception #3: nouns that break vowel harmony

There are a few words borrowed from other languages that do not follow normal vowel harmony when adding word endings, including the ‑a/e ending. This often happens with words that end with a palatalized L sound.

    Saat (clock, time)

    Saate bak!
    Look at the time!
    (Common expression)

    Normal (normal)

    Piyasalar normale dönüyor
    The markets are returning to normal.
    (Title of news article)

    Terminal (terminal)

    Tramvay terminale gidiyor.
    The tramway [line] is extending to the terminal.
    (Title of news article)

Exception #4: nouns with repeating consonants

There are a few words in Turkish that repeat the last consonant in the word before adding an ending with a vowel, like the ‑a/e ending.

    Zam (price increase)

    Vatandaş zamma tepki gösteriyor.
    The people are reacting negatively to the price increase.
    (Excerpt from interview)

    Hak (alternate word for “God”)

    Hakka yürümek
    To walk to God
    (Common euphemism for death. Note that “hak” normally means “legal right,” but in this expression it is used as a word for God.)

    Üs (military base)

    Tim üsse giriyor!
    The team gets into the base!
    (Title of video clip from TV show)

Exception #5: nouns ending with ‑nk

There are a few words in Turkish that end in “nk.” For most of these, the “k” turns into a hard “g” for word endings starting with a vowel. The only word like this that is likely to come up in everyday conversation with the ‑a/e ending is “renk” (color).

    Renk (color)

    Renault mavi renge geri dönüyor.
    Renault is going back to the blue color.
    (Title of news article about the Renault race car team)

Using the ‑a/e ending with pronouns

Sometimes you will need to use the ‑a/e ending with pronouns to give meanings like “to me,” “to her,” etc. For some of these pronouns, you will simply need to add the ‑a/e ending in the same way that you do for other nouns. For others, you will need to add an extra letter “n.” And for the first and second person pronouns, “ben” (I) and “sen” (you), you will change the vowel from “e” to “a” before adding the ending: “bana” (to me) and “sana” (to you).

Pronouns with ‑a/e endings

PronounWith ‑a/e ending
BenBana (to me)
SenSana (to you)
OOna (to him/her/it/that)
BizBize (to us)
SizSize (to you, plural/formal)
OnlarOnlara (to them/those)
BuBuna (to this)
ŞuŞuna (to this/that)
BunlarBunlara (to these)
ŞunlarŞunlara (to these/those)

Examples with continuous present tense

TurkishEnglish
(Sen) bana veriyorsun.You are giving it to me.
(Ben) sana veriyorum.I am giving it to you.
(Ben) ona veriyorum.I am giving it to him/her.
(Biz) markete gidiyoruz.We are going to the store.
(Siz) markete gidiyorsunuz.You (plural) are going to the store.
(Onlar) markete gidiyor(lar).They are going to the store.

Examples with commands

TurkishEnglish
Bana bak!Look at me.
Bize bak!Look at us!
Buna bak!Look at this!
Şuna bak!Look at this/that!
Ona bak!Look at him/her/it/that!
Bunlara bak!Look at these!
Şunlara bak!Look at these/those!
Onlara bak!Look at them/those!

    Example sentences

    Bana güven.
    Trust me.
    (Title of song)

    Bize bırak.
    Leave [it] to us.
    (Common saying)

    Sana diyorum, sana!
    I’m talking to you, to you!
    (Title of song)

    Şunlara bak ya, çok tatlılar!
    Take a look at these [kids]; they’re so cute!
    (Title of video of kids dancing)

Using ‑a/e with places

In Turkish, the question, “nereye?” (where?) contains the ‑a/e ending. If you break it into three pieces, the word literally means “to what place?” Similarly, the simplest answers to this question parallel the question. In place of the “ne” in “nereye” you simply put one of the three “pointer” pronouns: “bu,” “şu” or “o.”

Starting wordWith endingEnglishUsage
Ne (what)Nereye?Where (to what place)?When asking a question
Bu (this)BurayaHere (to this place)Default for close places
Şu (this/that)ŞurayaHere/there (to this/that place)Used to direct attention
O (that)OrayaThere (to that place)Default for far places

    Examples

    Nereye kaçıyorsun? Gel buraya!
    Where are you running off to? Come here!
    (Title of video of a leopard hunting a baboon)

    Bu otobüs nereye gidiyor?
    Where is this bus going?
    (Title of short story)

    Suşi süper. Fiyatlar çok uygun. Tüm kasaba oraya gidiyor.
    The sushi is great. The prices are very reasonable. The whole town is going there.
    (Review of a sushi restaurant)

    Bak, şuraya yazıyorum!
    Look, I’m writing [it] right here!
    (Turkish expression meaning “mark my words”)

This lesson is a prerequisite for:

Simple Present Tense or Aorist

-ar/ır/r
12 uses of the aorist

Beginner ‑mış/miş/müş/muş grammar forms

-mış



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