Turkish Conditional "if" Tenses

In English the Conditional Tenses are formed with that very important little word "if"

Turkish Conditional if sentences are often introduced with the word eğer if
or less commonly şayet lest, unless

In Turkish these words are pointers alerting the listener that a Condition and Result are following.

They do not have any direct meaning.

They are "alerters"

Explanation of Condition and Result

Here are a few examples of Conditional Sentences in English.

We recognize them and use them with ease in our Mother Tongue.

Conditional Sentences are not so easy to recognize in Turkish.

They appear as a Mood of the verb itself.

It needs practice!

If we leave at noon, we will arrive on time.

If you hit me, I shall tell my mother.

If we had left at noon, we would have arrived on time.

If (ever) you join the club we would welcome you.

Unless you work hard, you will not be successful.

If you do not work hard you may not be successful.

We can not go to the races whenever it rains.

We can not go to the races if it rains.

If it had not rained we could have gone to the races.

If ever you go to London you must visit Bucking ham Palace.

When(ever) you go to London you can visit Bucking ham Palace.
[If ever you go]

Please take whichever one that you want.
[If you want that one then take it.]

If the sweets are not too dear then we will buy them

The word "unless" can be used in place of if not.

The words if ever, whenever, whatever, whichever, however, when , what, which, how can be used in place of if…

English Conditional Examples

The Real Conditional:

Is used to express condition and result based on fact in both the Present and the Future.

  • If the kettle gets too hot then it boils.
    [Present Tense Condition and Result]
  • Whenever the kettle gets too hot it boils.
    [Simple Habitual and Result]
  • It the kettle gets too hot it will boil.
    [Future Result of Present Condition]
  • If you practice hard you will win a prize.
    [Future Result of Present Condition]
  • If you do not practice hard you will not win a prize.
    [Future Result of Present Condition Negative]

The Unreal Conditional:

Is used to express unreal results or wishes and desires in the Present and Future.

  • If I practice hard I might win a prize.
    [Result: Present Desire]
  • If I was richer I would buy a new house.
    [Result: Future Wish]
  • If I were you I would stay in England.
    [Result: Future Habitual]

The Past Conditional

Is used to state Conditions in the Past that did not happen.

Often used to express criticism or regret.

  • If I had practiced harder I would have won a prize.
    [Regret]
  • If I had been richer, I would have bought a bigger house.
    [Unrealized due to Condition]
  • If I were you I would not have stayed in England.
    [Criticism of Past Condition]

The changes of tense and mood of the verbs show the meaning in English.

The same is true for Turkish.

The correct tenses and mood of condition and result must be used to adequately communicate the correct meaning of the statement.

English uses its normal tenses and the condition is produced by insertion of that little word if

Turkish has a special conditional tense form suffixed with -se-/-sa- if…

The Turkish Conditional Suffix -se/-sa.

The Turkish conditional is characterized by the suffix -se-/-sa-

A simple example is var there is, there are
varsa if there is, if there are when suffixed with the -sa Conditional Suffix.

yok there isn't, there aren't
yoksa if there isn't, if there aren't

  • Paranız varsa bana verin.
    If you have [any] money [then] give it to me.
  • Bir taksi yoksa burada kalalım.
    If there isn't a taxi [then] let's stay here.

The Conditional Suffixes of Verbs

Conditional Personal suffix is added after tense and mood signs of the verb

  • If I -sem -sam
    yaparsam if I do
  • If you -sen -san
    giriyorsan if you are entering
  • If he -se -sa
    kesilecekse if it will be cut, if it is to be cut
  • If we -sek -sak
    anlaşmıyorsak if we are not agreeing
  • If you -seniz -sanız
    mutlu olmayacaksanız if you will not be happy
  • If they -seler -salar
    gelebilecekseler if they will be able to come

Turkish Conditional Tense

Simple PresentPresent Continuous
gelsemIf I comegeliyorsamIf I am coming
yazsan If you writeyazmıyorsanIf you are not writing
gülseIf he laughsgülecekseIf he will laugh
içsekIf we drinkiçiyorsakIf we are drinking
görebilirsenizIf you can seegörmüyorsanızIf you are not seeing
yapıyorsalarIf they are doingyapabilirselerIf they can do

Turkish Conditional Positive - Model Conjugations

Simple ActualConditional
gelsemif I were to come
gelsenif you were to come
gelseif he were to comes
gelsekif we usually come
gelsenizif you were to come
gelselerif they were to come

Turkish Present Continuous Conditional

Present Continuous Conditional
geliyorsamif I am coming
geliyorsanif you are coming
geliyorsaif he is coming
geliyorsak if we coming
geliyorsanızif you are coming
geliyorsalarif they are coming

Turkish Simple Habitual Conditional

Simple Habitual Conditional
gelirsem if I (usually) come
gelirsen if you (usually) come
gelirse if he (usually) comes
gelirsek if we (usually) come
gelirsenizif you (usually) come
gelirselerif they (usually) come

Turkish Future Intentional Conditional

Future IntentionConditional
geleceksemif I (will) come
geleceksenif you (will) come
gelecekseif he (will) come
geleceksekif we (will) come
geleceksenizif you (will) come
gelecekselerif they (will) come

Turkish Real Past Conditional

Past RealityConditional
geldiysemif I came
geldiysenif you came
geldiyse if he came
geldiysek if we came
geldiysenizif you came
geldiyselerif they came

Turkish Unreal Past Conditional

Past UnrealityConditional
gelseydimIf only I had come
gelseydinIf only had come
gelseydiIf only had come
gelseydikIf only we had come
gelseydinizIf only you had come
gelseydilerIf only they had come

Turkish Simple Negative Conditional

Negative SimpleConditional
gelmesemif I were not to come
gelmesenif you were not to come
gelmeseif he were to not comes
gelmesekif we usually do not come
gelmesenizif you were not to come
gelmeselerif they were not to come

Turkish Continuous Negative Conditional

Negative PresentContinuous Conditional
gelmiyorsamif I am not coming
gelmiyorsanif you are not coming
gelmiyorsaif he is not coming
gelmiyorsak if we are not coming
gelmiyorsanızif you are not coming
gelmiyorsalarif they are not coming

Turkish Habitual Negative Conditional

Negative SimpleHabitual Conditional
gelmezsem if I (usually) do not come
gelmezsen if you (usually) do not come
gelmezse if he (usually) do not comes
gelmezsek if we (usually) do not come
gelmezsenizif you (usually) do not come
gelmezselerif they (usually) do not come

Turkish Future Negative Conditional

Negative FutureConditional
gelmeyeceksemif I (will) not come
gelmeyeceksenif you (will) not come
gelmeyecekseif he (will) not come
gelmeyeceksekif we (will) not come
gelmeyeceksenizif you (will) not come
gelmeyecekselerif they (will) not come

Turkish Real Past Negative Conditional

Negative PastReal Conditional
gelmediysemif I had not come
gelmediysenif you had not come
gelmediyse if he had not come
gelmediysek if we had not come
gelmediysenizif you had not come
gelmediyselerif they had not come

Turkish Unreal Past Conditional

Negative PastUnreal Conditional
gelmeseydimIf only I had not come
gelmeseydinIf only you had not come
gelmeseydiIf only he had not come
gelmeseydikIf only we had not come
gelmeseydinizIf only you not had come
gelmeseydilerIf only they had not come

Turkish Conditional Examples in Various Tenses and Moods.

  • Erken varırsanız, beklemelisiniz.
    If you arrive early, you will have to wait.
  • Erken varırsanız, beklersiniz.
    If you arrive early, you would have to wait.
  • Erken varsaydınız, bekleyecektiniz.
    If you had arrived early, you would have had to wait.
  • Sana yardım edebilirlerse, yardım edecekler.
    They will help you if they can.
  • Sana yardım etseler, yardım ederler.
    They would help you if they could.
  • Sana yardım edebilseydiler, (yardım) ederlerdi.
    They would have helped you if they could have.
  • Fazla içersen sarhoş olursun.
    If you drink too much you get drunk.
  • Çok çalışmazsan, sınavı geçemeyeceksin,
    Unless you work hard you will not be able to pass your test.
  • Sigara içmeyi bırakırsan, daha uzun yaşarsın.
    If you stop smoking you will live longer.
  • Yağmur yağmasaydı dışarı çıkmayacaktık.
    We would not have gone out if it had not stopped raining.
  • Eğer buradan gitseydim sana yazardım.
    If I had gone away, I would have written to you.

Turkish Verbs of Condition

There are some verbs in the Turkish vocabulary that already have a "conditional feeling" within themselves.

They contain -sa-/-se- conditional sign within the verb stem itself.

The meaning of these verbs is best translated to regard as… + verb.

An example of this effect is the verb:
gülümsemek to smile
gülümsüyorum I am smiling.

The "conditional sign" -s(e)- + üyorum is part of the verb stem.

The verb itself has the meaning "to regard as laughing".

Applying this method to other "conditional of regard verb stems" the Turkish becomes more transparent.

  • If we mean the true conditional of the verb "to smile": →
  • gülümsüyorsam
  • If I smile / am smiling

Turkish "to consider as…" Verb List

  • küçümsemek
    to belittle
    [to consider as small]
  • kötümsemek
    to disparage
    [to consider as bad]
  • benimsemek
    to appropriate
    [to consider as personal]
  • çekimsemek
    to refrain from
    [to consider as absent]
  • gereksemek
    to consider as necessary
  • hafifsemek
    to take s.o lightly
    [to consider as light]
  • yakınsamak
    to converge
    [to consider as nearing]
  • umursamak
    to care
    [to have consideration]
  • çıkarsamak
    to infer, to deduce
    [to consider as resulting in…]

The resemblance between the conditional structure and the suffix "-semek" in Turkish is quite by chance.

This is not really part of the conditional tense itself.

It is mentioned here as an aid for understanding when reading Turkish.