moods > Turkish Potential Mood - "is able, can"

Turkish Potential Mood Positive - to be able, I can

The Potential Mood indicates:
ability to be able, can or disposition may, might

The Potential Mood uses the addition of bilmek to know to form its sense of meaning.

It takes the form with a dotted i and is not subject to vowel harmony.

bilmek is a word in its own right.

It is is similar to the Scottish use of "ken" - to know
Do you ken the swimming?
[Do you know how to swim?]

Positive Potential Mood Formation

To form various tenses -mek -mak infinitive sign is replaced by -e--a-

The verb bilmek to know is affixed thus forming -ebil- -abil- as the Potential Mood Suffix.

In Turkish a new verb is formed.

English uses the auxiliary verb to be able

  • Active Verb:
    yazmak to write
  • gelmek to come
  • gülmek to laugh
  • Passive Verb:
    yazılmak to be written
  • Passive Potential:
    yazılabilmek
    to be able to be written
  • Active Potential:
    gelebilmek
    to be able to come
    yazabilmek
    to be able to write
    gülebilmek
    to be able to laugh
  • The Causative Potential:
    güldürmek to make s.o. laugh
  • Causative Potential Passive :
    güldürebilmek
    to be able to make s.o. laugh

Turkish Positive Potential - verb stem terminates in a vowel.

Verb Stems ending in a Vowel:
add -yebil- -yabil- using buffer letter -y-

  • yürümek to walk
    yürüyebilmek
    [yürüyebilmek]
    to be able to walk
  • taşımak to carry
    taşıyabilmek
    [taşıyabilmek]
    to be able to carry

Turkish Potential Mood Examples

Potential Mood Present Continuous Tense:
gelebiliyorum
I can come, I am able to come, I may come, I might come

Potential Mood Present Simple Tense:
gelebilirim
I can come, I am able to come, I may come, I might come

Potential Mood Future Tense:
gidebileceksiniz
you will be able to go, etc.

Turkish Potential Mood Past Tense:
başlayabildik
we were able to start, etc..

Turkish Potential Mood Present Continuous Conjugation

  • Active: görmek to see
  • Passive: görebilmek
    to be able to see
  • görebiliyorum
    I can see, I am able to see, I may see, I might see
  • görebiliyorsun
    you can see, you are able to see
  • görebiliyor
    he can see, he is able to see
  • görebiliyoruz
    we can see, we are able to see
  • görebiliyorsunuz
    you can see, you are am able to see
  • görebiliyorlar
    they can see, they are able to see

Turkish Potential Interrogative

The Interrogative is formed in a similar manner by using a personalised question tag.

It is written separately and follows vowel harmony.

  • gelebiliyor muyum?
    Can I come?
  • gelebiliyor musunuz?
    Can you come?

Turkish Potential Mood Puture Conjugation

Future Potential:
kalmak to stay, to remain
kalabilecek to be able to stay, remain
[in future time]

  • kalabileceğim
    I will be able to stay
  • kalabileceksin
    you will be able to stay
  • kalabilecek
    he will be able to stay
  • kalabileceğiz
    we will be able to stay
  • kalabileceksiniz
    you will be able to stay
  • kalabilecekler
    they will be able to stay

Future Interrogative Potential:
Is formed in a similar manner.

  • gidebilecek misiniz?
    will you be able to go?

Turkish Potential Mood Definite Past Tense

beklemek to wait, to expect
bekleyebilmek
to be able to wait, expect

  • bekleyebildim
    I could wait
  • bekleyebildin
    you could wait
  • bekleyebildi
    he could wait
  • bekleyebildik
    we could wait
  • bekleyebildiniz
    you could wait
  • bekleyebildiler
    they could wait

Turkish Potential Mood Definite Unreal Past Tense

Use of simple timeless present tense by adding tense sign -ir causes the meaning to be "unreal".

Past Definite Potential Unreal:
beklemek to wait, to expect
bekleyebilirmek
to be able to wait, expect

  • bekleyebilirdim
    I could have waited
  • bekleyebilirdin
    you could have waited
  • bekleyebilirdi
    he could have waited
  • bekleyebilirdik
    we could have waited
  • bekleyebilirdiniz
    you could have waited
  • bekleyebilirdiler
    they could have waited

Turkish Potential Mood Indefinite Past Tense

Past Indefinite Potential:
düşünmek to think
düşünebilmek
to be able to think

  • düşünebilmişim
    it seems I was able to think
  • düşünebilmişsin
    it seems you were able to think
  • düşünebilmiş
    it seems he was able to think
  • düşünebilmişiz
    it seems we were able to think
  • düşünebilmişsiniz
    it seems you were able to think
  • düşünebilmişler
    it seems they were able to think

Active potential Interrogative form:

  • bekleyebilmişsiniz mi?
    could you have waited?

Turkish Potential Mood Past Continuous Tense

Imperfect Past Potential Passive:
yapmak to do, to make
yapabilmek to be able to do

  • yapabiliyordum
    I was able to do
  • yapabiliyordun
    you were able to do
  • yapabiliyordu
    he was able to do
  • yapabiliyorduk
    we were able to do
  • yapabiliyordunuz
    you were able to do
  • yapabiliyorlardı
    they were able to do

Interrogative form:

  • durabiliyorlardı mı?
    were they able to stop, halt ?

This example shows clearly that the auxiliary bilmek "to know" is a separate word in its own right.

It keeps its dotted i as it is not subject to vowel harmony rules.