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Turkish Passive Mood

The Passive Mood:
Signifies that the verb acts upon the subject of the sentence:
"The man (subj.) was bitten by the dog."
The Active Mood:
Signifies that the verb acts on the object of the sentence:
"The dog bit the man (obj.)."

Order of Verbal Mood Suffixes

The order that the suffixes are added to the verb as as follows:
1. Reflexive
2. Reciprocal
3. Causative
4. Passive

acımak to feel pain (active)
acınmak to feel pain in oneself, to grieve (reflexive)
acındırmak to cause to grieve (causative)
acındırılmak to be made to grieve (passive)

tanımak to know (active)
tanışmak to know one another (reciprocal)
tanıştırmak to introduce (causative)
tanıştırılmak to be introduced (passive)

Negation -me- plus ability -ebil- and inability -eme- are added after these. After which the tense suffixes: -iyor- -ir- -ecek- -di- -miş- are further added to complete the verb.
yapmak to do, yapıyorum I am doing [Active Present Continuous]
yapılmak to be done, yapılıyor It is being done [Passive Present Continuous]
yapabilmek to be able to do, yapabilirim I can do [Active Potential Simple Present]
yapılabilmek to be able to be done, yapılabilir it can be done [Passive Potential Simple Present]
yapmamak to not do, yapmıyorum I am not doing [Negative Active Present Continuous]
yapılmamak to not be done, yapılmıyor it is not being done [Negative Active Present Continuous]
yapılamamak to not be able to be done, yapılamayacak it will not be able to be done [Negative Passive Potential Future]
Onu yapabileceğiz we will be able to do it [Active Future Potential]
Onu yaptırabileceğiz [yap-tır-abil-eceğ-iz] we will be able to get it done [Causative Future Potential]

There are many other tenses and persons that can be built up using the causative and cooperative verbs in all tenses and persons. This is one of the difficulties for Turkish learners using and recognizing the verb forms and their meanings easily, it takes practice for us, but of course it is second nature to a Turkish national.

Turkish Passive Mood Verb Forms

The Passive Mood signifies that the verb acts upon the subject of the sentence whereas in the Active Mood the verb acts on the object of the sentence.
The Active Sentence
The Active Verb (in Past Tense) with the subject Kemal and the object the street.
Kemal swept the street yesterday.

The Passive Sentence
The Passive Verb (in Present Continuous tense) here The street is the subject and Kemal (the person doing the sweeping) is called the agent in grammar.
The street is being swept by Kemal

The Impersonal Passive
The Passive Verb (in Future Tense here) the street is the subject without any agent operating on it.
The street will be swept every day
Or in the Past Tense:
The street was swept yesterday

The Turkish passive verb stem is formed by adding the passive suffix -il or -in to the basic verb stem. The verb stem of course can be an indicative, co-operative or a causative verb stem.

For verbs Stems ending in a consonant, except -l, the suffix -il [subject to Vowel Harmony] is added to the verb stem. For those verb stems which themselves end on -l then the suffix -in [subject to vowel harmony] is added.

Turkish Passive, verb stems ending in a consonant
Active Mood PositivePassive Mood Positive
yapmak to do yapılmak to be done
kesmek to cut kesilmek to be cut
kırmak to break kırılmak to be broken
Active Mood Negative Passive Mood Negative
yapmamak to not do yapılmamak to be not done
kesmemek to not cut kesilmemek to be not cut
kırmamak to not break kırılmamak to be not broken


Causative and Co-operative Passive with -il
Active VerbPassive Verb
yapmak Activeto doyapılmak Passiveto be done
Active Causative
to get something done yaptırılmak
Passive Causative
to be done
Active Potential
to be able to do s.o. yapılabilmek
Passive Potential
to be able get s.o. done
yapmamaknot to doyapılmamaknot to be done
yaptırmamaknot to get something done yaptırılmamaknot to get s.o. done
yapamamaknot to be able to do s.o. yapılamamaknot to be able get s.o. done

Turkish Causative Passive Verb Examples

anlamak to understand Active Verb
anlatmak to explain Active Mood Causative
anlatılmak to be understood Passive Verb Causative

kırmak to break Active Verb
kırdırmak to break something Active Mood Causative
kırılmak to be broken (itself in a broken state) Passive Verb
kırdırılmak to be broken by somebody Passive Mood Causative

Turkish Co-operative Passive Verb Examples

bulmak to find Active Verb
buluşmak to meet/to find each other Co-operative Active
buluşulmak to be met/to be found together Co-operative Passive

anlamak to understand Active Verb
anlaşmak to agree/to understand each other Co-operative Active
anlaşılmak to be agreed

çarpmak to hit, collide Active Verb
çarpışmak to collide with something Co-operative Active
çarpışılmak to be in collision with something Co-operative Passive

None of the Causative or Co-operative Verb in the table above have a stem which ends in -l, therefore the -il passive suffix is used. From the examples above it can be seen that by the use of short suffixes Turkish can say in one word which would take many more in English. The use of the differing verb forms is rather difficult at first, but by practice and reading the logic of them quickly becomes clear to the student.

Turkish passive verbs whose stem ends in -l

When the verb stem ends in -L then the passive mood is formed by the addition -in -ın -ün -un


Turkish Passive verb stems ending in -l
Active Mood Passive Mood
delmek to pierce delinmek to be pierced
bilmek to know bilinmek to be known
almak to take alınmak to be taken
bulmak to find bulunmak to be found

Verbs whose stem ends in a vowel

When the verb stem ends in a vowel then the passive sign is simply -n


Turkish Passive verb stems ending a vowel.
Active Mood Passive Mood
beklemek to wait/to expect beklenmek to be waited for/to be expected
kapamak to close kapanmak to be closed
yemek to eat yenmek to be eaten

Examples of the Passive

Active Verb Ali, pencereyi kapadı Ali closed the window.
Impersonal Passive Verb Pencere kapandı The window was closed (ie. not open)
Passive Verb Ali tarafından pencere kapandı The window was closed by Ali.
In the last example above we can see that it was Ali who closed that window: by Ali. Ali is the agent by which the window was closed.

Turkish has a particular construction in the Passive to denote the agent acting on the subject. Proper nouns Ali tarafından by Ali. are NOT suffixed with the ownership (genitive) -in -ın -un -ün
For pronouns such as my, your, his, our their the agent (the pronoun itself) IS suffixed with the ownership -in -ın -un -ün and followed by tarafından by. Benim/Onun tarafımdan/tarafından pencere kapandı. The window was closed by me/him.
The agent tarafımdan/tarafından/tarafımızdan/taraflarından must agree with the subject benim/senin/bizim/onların.

Pencereyi kapattı. He closed the window.
Pencere onun tarafından kapatıldı. The window was closed by him.
Pencere Mehmet tarafından kapatıldı. The window was closed by Mehmet.
Hesap, benim tarafımdan ödenecek. The bill will be paid by me.
Kitap, onların tarafından yazılacak. The book will be written by them.
Top, Mustafa tarafından bulundu. (NOT Mustafa 'nın) The ball was found by Mustapha.
Araba, Ali tarafından temizleniyor. The car is being cleaned by Ali.

Turkish Reflexive Verb Form

The reflexive form of the verb is used when the action of the verb refers back to the subject as opposed to the object. In English this is usually shown by the use of the reflexive pronouns myself, yourself, ourselves etc. However in Turkish the feeling of "self" is understood by using the reflexive form of the verb. Mehmet yıkandı. Mehmet washed himself.

Other Examples of Reflexive Forms in English
I shaved myself
He washed himself
You have cut yourself
We helped ourselves

This reflexive form of the verb stem is used to convey the reflexive meaning and takes the form of the suffix -in -ın -un -ün or -n after verb stems ending in a vowel.

The reflexive sign -n is the same as the passive form for those verbs whose stems end in a vowel but the context of the sentence is usually enough to make the meaning passive or reflexive quite evident.

Rarely, the -il suffix is used for the reflexive meaning. The verb üzmek is to make someone sad and its reflexive/passive üzülmek is to get sad (oneself). Katmak is to add/join and its reflexive/passive katılmak is to get added, hence to join, to attend. This is really a "grey area" between passive and/or reflexive.

Examples of Use for the Reflexive Verb
If we take the verb yıkamak to wash we would say:
çamaşırı yıkadım I washed the shirt
However if we say I washed myself, I had a wash then the reflexive form must be used:
yıkandım I had a wash, I washed myself
Similarly the verb soymak to undress
soymak to undress somebody [Active]
soyunmak to undress oneself [Reflexive]