moods > Turkish Imperative Mood

Turkish Imperative

The imperative mood is used in issuing commands.

It is formed by using the verb in its simplest root form:
Listen!, Sit!, Eat!

The subject you is implied. It is NOT generally stated.

This imperative is used for giving direct orders, requests, suggestions or warnings to a second person.

When the speaker gives a command regarding anyone else, it is still directed at the second person.

It is a request for permission, although it may be a rhetorical statement.

  • (You) Look at that.)
    [order]
  • Don't (you) leave your valuables in the car.
    [suggestion]
  • (You) Bring me another fork please.
    [request]
  • (You) Let him us to Taksim Square.
    [order]
  • (You) Let us be careful in the traffic.
    [warning]

The Turkish imperative is not so abrupt as it is in English.

It would be difficult to upset anyone when using the imperative.

Turkish Imperative Positive - Singular Persons

1st. Person: Geleyim!
Let me come!

Çarşıya seninle geleyim.
Let me come with you to the shops.

2nd. Person: Gel!
[familiar]
Come (you)!

Buraya gel!
Come (to) here!

3rd. Person: Gelsin!
Let him come!

Mehmet, pikniğe arabayı sürsün.
Let Mehmet drive the car to the picnic.

Turkish Imperative Positive - Plural Persons

1st. Plural: Gelelim!
Let us come!

Bu akşam televizyonu seyredelim.
Let's watch TV this evening.

2nd. Plural: Durun!
[formal]
(You) Halt!

Bu Kapıdan Giriniz! [public]
(You) Enter Through This Door!

3rd. Plural: Gelsinler!
(You) Let them come!

Kızlar dans etsinler.
Let the girls dance.

Singular Persons - Negative Imperative

1st. Neg. Person: Gitmeyeyim!
Let me not go!

Saçımı kestireyim mi kestirmeyeyim mi?
Should I get my hair cut or not?
["Let me? Let me not?"]

2nd.Neg. Person: Gitme! [familiar]
Don't go (you)!

Sakın ha, onu yapma!
Careful, don't do that!

3rd. Neg. Person: Gitmesin!
Let him not go!

Mehmet, Ayşe'yi öpmesin!
Don't let Mehmet kiss Ayshe!

Plural Persons - Negative Imperative

1st. Neg. Plural: Gitmeyelim!
Let us not go!

Bugün yüzmeyelim!
Let's not go simming today!

2nd. Neg. Plural: Gitmeyin! [formal]
Don't Go!

Beklemeyiniz [public]
(you) No waiting!

Sigara İçmeyiniz!
No Smoking! [public sign]

3rd. Neg. Plural: Gitmesinler!
Let them not go!

Çocuklar mesajımı görmesinler!
Don't let the children see my message!

Turkish First Person Imperative

Vowel harmony operates on the Imperative Suffixes.

Buffer -y- is inserted when suffixing vowel endings.

  • The First Person Sıngular adds the suffix:
    -(y)ayım-(y )eyim
    let me!
  • alayım
    [al-ayım]
    let me buy
  • bekleyeyim
    [bekle-y-eyim]
    let me wait.
  • The First Person Plural adds the suffix:
    -(y)alım -(y)elim
    Let us!
  • gidelim
    [gid-elim[
    Let's go!
  • okuyalım
    [oku-y-alım]
    Let's read!
Turkish Imperative Examples - First Person
  • alayım
    [al -ayım]
    let me buy / take, I should buy
  • yapmayım
    [yap-ma-y-ayım]
    let me not do, I should not do
  • bekleyelim
    [bekle-y-elim]
    let us wait, we should wait
  • beklemeyelim
    [bekle-me-y-elim]
    let us not wait, we shouldn't wait
  • bakmayayım
    [bak-ma-y-ayım]
    let me not look.
  • görüşelim
    [görüş-elim]
    let's meet up.

Turkish Second Person Imperative

  • The Second Person let you
    Is formed from basic verb stem after removing the infinitive Sign -mek /-mak
  • Positive:
    Bak Look!
    Gel! Come!
  • Negative:
    Bakma! Don't look!
    Gelme! Don't come!

Turkish Polite Imperative

There are two forms of the second person plural:

1. Formal Imperative

Used for addressing strangers or being polite adds -in to the verb stem.

  • Bakın! Look!
  • Bakmayın! Don't look!
  • Gelin! Come!
  • Gelmeyin! Don't come!

The Polite Form is used for addressing one person or a number of people in a group.

The verb stem is always accented in speech:

BAKmayın! Don't LOOK!
GITmeyin! Don't GO!

When speaking the imperative there is always heavy vocal stress on the verb stem:

YAPmayın onu
Don't do that!

Çiçeklere doKUNmayınız!
Don't TOUCH the flowers!

2. Public Imperative

Used for notices, advices or being extra polite, adds ‑iniz to the verb stem.

Used for public notices and signs and also in newspapers and on the television.

The public form is the most polite of all.

It can be used in direct conversation if you wish to be extra polite.

  • Positive Public Imperative:
    Bakınız! Look!
    Geliniz! Come!
  • Negative Public Imperative:
    Bakmayınız! Don't look!
    Gelmeyiniz! Don't come!

In the Imperative the negative particle -me- / -ma- always remains in it absolute form:

It does not abade to -mi-/-mı-

Third Person Imperative Let him do, let him not do

The Third Person Let him, Let her

  • (You) Let him do the talking.
  • (You) Let them build the bridge.
  • (You) Give him an allowance.
  • (You) Let sleeping dogs lie.

Turkish is similar:

It also uses the second person endings ‑sin ‑sın ‑sün ‑sun Let him…

Plural forms ‑sinler ‑sınlar ‑sünler ‑sunlar Let them…

This as a request for the third person imperative by attaching this suffix directly to the Verb stem.

[ie. there are no tense signs like -iyor- intervening.]

Present Continuous Tense Base Example

yazıyorsun
you are writing

Attached directly to the basic verb stem →
Let him… let them…

Yazsın!
Let him write!
Yazmasın!
Let him not write!

Simple Present Tense Base Example

beklersiniz you usually wait

Attached directly to the basic verb stem →
Let him… let them…

Beklesinler!
Let them wait!
Beklemesinler!
Let them not wait!

  • baksın
    [baksın]
    (You) let him look
  • bakmasın
    [bakmasın]
    (You) let him not look
  • girsinler
    [girsinler]
    (You) let then enter
  • girmesinler
    [girmesinler]
    (You) let them not enter

To re-iterate: 3rd Person imperative is formed by adding ‑sin ‑sinler (plural) directly to the verb stem.

There is no tense sign intervening.

Although this form of the verb appears to be of the second person in -sin , it actually is not.

It cannot be construed as so because the -sin suffix is added directly to the verb stem and not to a verb tense base.

Turkish Negative Imperative

gitmemek not to go
Oraya gitmeyelim.
Lets not go there.

bakmamak not to look
Ahmet mektuba bakmasın.
Let Ahmet not look at the letter

bulmamak not to find
Onu bulmasınlar.
Hopefully they won't find it.

beklememek not to wait
Beklemeyeyim!
I'd better not wait.

Kaldırımlara arabaları park etmesınler, trafik kurallarına uysunlar.
They should not park on the pavement, let them conform to the traffic regulations.

Neden egzersiz yapmayalım ki?
Why shouldn't we do that exercise?

Ukrayna bizi etkileyecek ama panik yapmayalım.
Ukraine will affect us but let us not panic.

Turkish Imperative Interrogative

The Interrogative Particle mi?/mı? is written separately but obeys vowel harmony rules:

Geleyim mi?
Should I come (too)?

Araba kullanalım mi?
[yürü-me-y-elim]
Should we use the car?

Kasabaya yürümeyelim mi?
Shouldn't we walk to town?

Partiye gelsinler mi?
Should they come to the party?

Turkish Imperative Examples
  • Singular Forms
  • olmak to become, to happen, to occur
  • olsun let it be
  • olmasın let it not be
  • koşmak to run
  • koşsun let him run
  • koşmasın let him not run
  • Plural Forms
  • olsunlar let them be
  • olmasınlar let them not be
  • koşsunlar let them run
  • koşmasınlar let them not run

While in the Hamam Turkish Bath you might say:

Keseci gelsin!
I am ready for the masseur!
[Lit: Let the masseur come]

The third person imperative ending is added directly to the verb stem:
Gelsın Let him come!

When added to a tense sign it is normal verb:
Geliyorsun! You are coming.

Don't get mixed up.!

Daily Turkish and "Formula Speak" Turkish Imperative Examples

(1) Sağ ol. (Sağol), Sağ olun, Sağ olunuz.
Thanks very much.
[LIT: Be healthy.]

This form is used a lot to thank someone for some extra service or for something that has put them out.

It is far more stronger than Teşekkür ederim.
Thank you.

When asking a stranger for the time you could answer:
Sağol Stay healthy! as a thank you for his trouble.

(2) Eksik olmayın(ız)
[Lit: Don't go missing!]

Used for telling someone you like their company and they should "stick around".

(3) Sakın!, Sakınınız!
Be careful! Watch out! Protect yourself!

The imperative sakınmak to avoid, to beware is used as an interjection to warn or advise.

  • Sakın ha!
    Just mind out!, Just watch it!
  • Onu yapmaktan sakınınız!
    Be careful of doing that!
  • Sakın bunu bir daha yapma!
    Don't you ever do that (this) again!

(4) Geçmiş olsun!
Let it pass!

A formula used to people who are ill:
Get better soon

Also used the those have had an accident or encountered a problem in life: Bad luck!

(5) Kolay gelsin!
May it come easy! Take it easy!

This is usually said to people who are carrying out a duty or their work.

(6) Neden olmasın?
Why let it not be?

This is the same as English
"Why not?"

Neden yok for Why not? is wrong.

It actually means "There is no reason!"

The Accelerative Imperative

Another form of the imperative involves the use of an auxiliary verb:
vermek to give

Postaneye koşuverin!
[from verb: koşuvermek]
Run to the Post Office!

The Accelerative verb formed from koşmak to run + vermek to give to run hurriedly

Onu yapıver!
Do it quickly!

English would say "Just get it done right now!"
from yapmak + vermek

Vowel Harmony operates on the Imperative Suffixes
  • Görsün! Let him see!
  • Alın! Take (you)!
  • Bulsunlar! Let them find!
  • Bulmasınlar! Let them not find!
  • Onu yapmayın! Don't do it (you)!
  • Gülünüz! Laugh (you)!

Some Turkish "Formula Speak"

There are many other Formula Speak with this aspect of the verb in daily use in Turkey

A good dictionary or phrase book will always contain them.

The barber might say to you when he has finished cutting your hair

Sıhhatler olsun! Good health to you!

This is said to one who is having a bath, a haircut or a shave.

After having a shave at the barbers he might finish off by saying:
Sinek kaydi! "The fly slipped!"

Turkish Form of the Imperative Showing Impatience

There is another form of the imperative which can be a little petulant or sound impatient.

It may be used if you have been waiting too long or in cases where notice has not been taken.

This form should be used with care by the learner.

It is at first best translated as: Why do you? or Why don't you?

The suffix -sana or -sene is added to the Positive Verb stems.

This becomes -sanıza or -senize when addressing a group of people.

Turkish Imperative (Impatient Form)
  • Baksana!
    Now look here!
  • Gelsene!
    Come on then! or Come along!
  • Otursanıza!
    Oh DO sit down! or Why don't (you all) sit down!!

There is only a positive form in Turkish.

It is sometimes translated as negative in English to arrive at the meaning.