Turkish Conditional "if" Tenses
In English the Conditional Tenses are formed with that very important little word "if"
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"
Eplanation of Condition and Result
Here are a few examples of Conditional Sentences. We recognize them and use them with ease in our Mother Tongue, English. As we shall see below Conditional Sentences are not so easy to recognize in Turkish, as 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 Present Condition Wide Tense Habitual- 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 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 use 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 our meaning in English. The same is true for Turkish thecorrect tenses and mood of condition and cesult 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-
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 which becomes varsa if there is, if there are with the addition of the -sa Conditional Suffix.
The negative of course is based on: yok there isn't, there aren't which becomes: 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.
We can extend this simple example to verb formations as follows:
The Conditional Tenses are formed by adding the Conditional Personal endings to the -(y)se- or -(y)sa- suffix to the verb in any suitable tense or mood. The mark of the Conditional Suffix follows Vowel Harmony Rules, therefore there are two forms -se or -sa to choose from. Some examples in differing Tenses and Moods are shown below to exhibit how Vowel Harmony affects the -se/-sa Conditional Suffix.
The Conditional Suffixes
If I -sem or -sam example yaparsam if I do
If you -sen or -san example giriyorsan if you are entering
If he -se or -sa example kesilecekse - if it will be cut, if it is to be cut
[passive form kesilmek to be cut from kesmek to cut]
If we -sek or -sak example anlaşmıyorsak if we are not agreeing
If you -seniz or -sanız example mutlu olmayacaksanız if you will not be happy
If they -seler or -salar example gelebilecekseler if they will be able to come
|Turkish Conditional Tense|
|Simple Present||Present Continuous|
|gelsem||If I come||geliyorsam||If I am coming|
|yazsan||If you write||yazmıyorsan||If you are not writing|
|gülse||If he laughs||gülecekse||If he will laugh|
|içsek||If we drink||içiyorsak||If we are drinking|
|görebilirseniz||If you can see||görmüyorsanız||If you are not seeing|
|yapıyorsalar||If they are doing||yapabilirseler||If they can do|
The Conditional Positive
Here are some examples of the main tenses in use of gelmek to come and gelmemek not to come
|Simple Actual Conditional|
|gelsem||if I were to come|
|gelsen||if you were to come|
|gelse||if he were to comes|
|gelsek||if we usually come|
|gelseniz||if you were to come|
|gelseler||if they were to come|
|Present Continuous Conditional|
|geliyorsam||if I am coming|
|geliyorsan||if you are coming|
|geliyorsa||if he is coming|
|geliyorsak||if we coming|
|geliyorsanız||if you are coming|
|geliyorsalar||if they are coming|
|Simple Habitual Conditional|
|gelirsem||if I (usually) come|
|gelirsen||if you (usually) come|
|gelirse||if he (usually) comes|
|gelirsek||if we (usually) come|
|gelirseniz||if you (usually) come|
|gelirseler||if they (usually) come|
|Future Intention Conditional|
|geleceksem||if I (will) come|
|geleceksen||if you (will) come|
|gelecekse||if he (will) come|
|geleceksek||if we (will) come|
|gelecekseniz||if you (will) come|
|gelecekseler||if they (will) come|
|Past Reality Conditional|
|geldiysem||if I came|
|geldiysen||if you came|
|geldiyse||if he came|
|geldiysek||if we came|
|geldiyseniz||if you came|
|geldiyseler||if they came|
|Past Unreality Conditional|
|gelseydim||If only I had come|
|gelseydin||If only had come|
|gelseydi||If only had come|
|gelseydik||If only we had come|
|gelseydiniz||If only you had come|
|gelseydiler||If only they had come|
Conditional Negative Tenses
|Negative Simple Actual Conditional|
|gelmesem||if I were not to come|
|gelmesen||if you were not to come|
|gelmese||if he were to not comes|
|gelmesek||if we usually do not come|
|gelmeseniz||if you were not to come|
|gelmeseler||if they were not to come|
|Negative Present Continuous Conditional|
|gelmiyorsam||if I am not coming|
|gelmiyorsan||if you are not coming|
|gelmiyorsa||if he is not coming|
|gelmiyorsak||if we are not coming|
|gelmiyorsanız||if you are not coming|
|gelmiyorsalar||if they are not coming|
|Negative Simple Habitual 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|
|gelmezseniz||if you (usually) do not come|
|gelmezseler||if they (usually) do not come|
|Negative Future Conditional|
|gelmeyeceksem||if I (will) not come|
|gelmeyeceksen||if you (will) not come|
|gelmeyecekse||if he (will) not come|
|gelmeyeceksek||if we (will) not come|
|gelmeyecekseniz||if you (will) not come|
|gelmeyecekseler||if they (will) not come|
|Negative Past Real Conditional|
|gelmediysem||if I had not come|
|gelmediysen||if you had not come|
|gelmediyse||if he had not come|
|gelmediysek||if we had not come|
|gelmediyseniz||if you had not come|
|gelmediyseler||if they had not come|
|Negative Past Unreal Conditional|
|gelmeseydim||If only I had not come|
|gelmeseydin||If only you had not come|
|gelmeseydi||If only he had not come|
|gelmeseydik||If only we had not come|
|gelmeseydiniz||If only you not had come|
|gelmeseydiler||If only they had not come|
Tuurkish 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. [or edeceklerdi] 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 which becomes gülümsüyorum I am smiling. The "conditional sign" -s(e)- + (üyorum) is part of the verb stem, so the verb itself can have the meaning to regard as laughing. If this method is applied to other "conditional verb stems", then very often we can translate the Turkish easily. If we mean the true conditional of the verb "to smile" the we say: gülümsüyorsam meaning If I smile/am smiling
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.
Although this is not really part of the conditional tense itself, it is mentioned here as an aid for understanding when reading Turkish.