With / By / And (ile, ‑yla/yle/la/le)

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Prerequisites for this Turkish Grammar Lesson

Continuous present tense

Handling irregular verbs
Asking yes or no questions

To be or not to be

Changing ç/p/t/k to c/b/d/ğ

Noun possession

benim, senin, onun

Using “ile” as a word ending or as a separate word

The word “ile” is a grammatical word similar to the English word “with.”

It often gets shortened and used as a word ending instead of a separate word. The full “ile” form is rare in everyday speech and normally only occurs in formal speech and writing.

Grammar form:

  • Noun    ile
  • Noun ending with a consonant + la/le
  • Noun ending with a vowel + y + la/le

To make the full form of ile, simply add the word “ile” after a noun. In its full form, the vowels in “ile” do not change according to vowel harmony.

To make the short form, first check to see if the noun ends in a vowel (a, ı, o, u, e, i, ö, or ü) or not. If it ends in a vowel, add a “y” sound before you add the rest of the ending.

Next, add either ‑la or ‑le according to e-type vowel harmony.

Let’s take a look at some basic examples.

Full “ile” form Shortened form English translation
Uçak ile Uçakla By plane
Araba ile Arabayla By car
Mehmet ile Mehmet’le With Mehmet
Çocuklar ile Çocuklarla With [the] kids
Çanta ile Çantayla With [a/the] bag
Çantalar ile Çantalarla With [some/the] bags
Sırt çantası ile Sırt çantasıyla With [a/the] backpack
Sırt çantam ile Sırt çantamla With my backpack

One thing to notice in these examples is that there are a few word endings that can be added onto nouns before adding the ‑(y)la/le ending. You can add the plural (‑lar/ler) ending, the compound noun (‑sı/si/su/sü or ‑ı/i/u/ü) ending or a possessive ending before adding ‑(y)la/le.

Using “ile” to say “with,” “by,” or “and” in Turkish

There are several ways to use “ile” forms. Sometimes it is similar to the English word “with,” but sometimes it translates to “by” or “and.”

Usage #1: Instrumental

You can use “ile” to say that someone is doing an action using an object as a tool or instrument:

Uçakla gidiyorum.
I am going by plane.

Usage #2: Accompaniment

You can use “ile” to say that someone is doing an action along with other people or objects:

Aziz ile geziyorum.
I am exploring with Aziz.
(Excerpt from blog post)

Sırt çantamla geziyorum.
I go exploring with my backpack.
(Excerpt from a news story about a hiker)

Usage #3: Solidarity

In some cases, you can use “ile” to express emotional support, unity and/or solidarity:

I am with you (e.g. I am here for you).

Usage #4: Conjunction

In some cases, you can use “ile” instead of “ve” as a conjunction to mean “and.” This usage of “ile” shows up often in storytelling:

Leyla ile Mecnun
Layla and Majnun
(Main characters of a traditional love story similar to Romeo and Juliet)

Using “ile” with pronouns

When you use the word “ile” with a pronoun, you normally use the possessive form of that pronoun. For example, to say “with me,” you would say “benim ile” or “benimle” for short. However, speakers in some Turkish accents shorten it to “benle” in fast, casual speech (but it is not considered “proper”).

Also, if a pronoun has the plural ‑lar/ler ending on it, the possessive ending does not get added before “ile.”

Grammar form:

  • Pronoun + possessive ending    ile
  • Pronoun + possessive ending + la/le
  • Pronoun + -(n)lar/ler    ile
  • Pronoun + -(n)lar/ler + la/le

Pronouns with “ile”

Benimle With me
Seninle With you
Onunla With him/her/it/that
Bizimle With us
Sizinle With you (plural or formal)
Onlarla With them/those
Bununla With this
Bunlarla With these
Şununla With this/that
Şunlarla With these/those

Here are some more examples of sentences with pronouns with an “ile” form.

    I am with you (e.g. I am here for you).

    Benimle gel.
    Come with me.

    Bizimle uğraşma.
    Don’t worry about us (literally, don’t struggle with us).

Using “ile” with question words “ne” (what) and “kim” (who)

You can use the “ile” forms with the words “ne” and “kim” to ask questions about how people are doing things.

Grammar form:

  • Ne    ile
  • Ne + y + le
  • Ne + ler    ile
  • Ne + ler + le
  • Kim + in    ile
  • Kim + in + le
  • Kim + ler    ile
  • Kim + ler + le

You can use the word “ile” with the question word “ne” (what) to ask how (i.e. with what object) someone is doing something. To use “ile” with “ne,” simply say “ne ile,” or, “neyle.” If you add the plural ‑ler ending to “ne” (“neler”), you are expecting the answer to be plural. We don’t have a grammatical equivalent to “neler” in English, but it would be like saying, “with what things?”

If you want to ask, “with whom?” you will do this using the “kim” (“who?”) question word. Since “kim” is technically a pronoun, you first have to add the possession marker ‑in to “kim” like you did for the other pronouns. And as we saw with “neler,” if you add the plural ‑ler ending to “kim” (“kimler”), you are expecting the answer to be plural ‑ that is, multiple people. This would be like asking, “with which people?”

    Neyle meşgulsün?
    What are you busy with?

    İnsanlar nelerle uğraşıyor?
    What kinds of things are people dealing with?
    (Title of opinion piece)

    Kiminle görüşüyorum?
    Who am I speaking with?
    (A common question when answering the phone)

    Sen kiminle dans ediyorsun?
    Who are you dancing with?
    (Title of a Turkish movie)

    Kimlerle çalışıyoruz?
    Who do we work with?
    (Title of a web page showing business partnerships)

Verbs that go with “ile”

There are a lot of verbs in Turkish that you normally have to use together with “ile” in order for the sentence to make sense. For some of these, the English translation has the word “with” in it, so it makes sense to English speakers. For other verbs (like “tanışmak”), English doesn’t use the word “with,” but you still have to use an “ile” form in Turkish.

In the table below, we’ve put together some of the most common examples of verbs that need to have “ile” in the sentence:

Common verbs that go with “ile”

Benimle tanışmak To meet me
Benimle anlaşmak To agree with me
Benimle evlenmek To marry me
Benimle konuşmak To talk with me
Benimle görüşmek To meet with me
Benimle oynamak To play with me
Benimle ilgilenmek To take care of me
Benimle uğraşmak To struggle with me

Using “ile” to say “in between”

There is one more way to use “ile” in everyday speech. You can use “ile” forms with the word “arasında” to mean “in between.”

Grammar form:

  • Noun    ile    noun    arasında
  • Noun + la/le    noun    arasında

In Turkish, when you say that something is in between two other things, you use the word “arasında” (in between) together with the two objects and the “ile” form.

    Kaşla göz arasında
    Between eybrow and eye
    (Turkish expression meaning “very fast”)

    Sıfırla bir arasında
    Between zero and one
    (Title of a theatre show)

    Felipe Melo ile Diego Ribas arasında kavga
    [A] fight between Felipe Melo and Diego Ribas
    (Title of a news story about a Fenerbahçe ‑ Galatasaray soccer match)

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