verbs > Turkish Past Tense

Turkish Past Definite Tenses

Was it seen? or Was it heard?
There are two Past Tenses in Turkish. The Definite Past Tenses ("Seen Tenses") are used when you have personal knowledge and witness of the action.

Definite Past tenses are like the English:
Past Perfect Tense I have made it
Past Simple Tense I made it
Past Imperfect Tense (Past Continuous) I was making it
Past Pluperfect Tense I had made it.

The Sign of the Definite Past is the addition of the suffix -di-/-ti-, -dı-/-tı-, -dü-/-tü-, -du-/-tu- according to Vowel harmony and Consonant Mutation Rules, to which the Personal suffixes are added.

  • Continuous Past:
  • Geliyordum
  • [Gel-iyor-dum]
  • I was coming
  • Simple Past:
  • Gelirdim
  • [Gel-ir-dim]
  • I used to come
  • Future Past:
  • Gelecektim
  • [Gel-ecek-tim]
  • I was going to come
  • Pluperfect:
  • Gelmiştim
  • [Gel-miş-tim]
  • I had come
  • Necessitative Past:
  • Gelmeliydim
  • [Gel-meli-ydim]
  • I had to come
  • Conditional Past:
  • Gelseydim
  • [Gel-se-ydim]
  • If only I had come

Suffix -miş does not convey any inferential meaning in the Pluperfect Tense.

Formation of Definite Past Tenses

The Past Tense Suffix sign is -dı- -di- -du- -dü-
Personal suffixes are added to complete the verb in number.

The past tense suffix follows vowel harmony and consonant mutation rules. It mutates to -tı- -ti- -tu- -tü- when added to verb root ending in p ç k t ş

Turkish Definite Past Conjugation

  • E-Verb Stem
  • gelmek to come
  • geldim I came
  • geldin you came
  • geldi he came
  • geldik we came
  • geldiniz you came
  • geldiler they came
  • A-Verb Stem
  • anlamak to understand
  • anladım I understood
  • anladın you understood
  • anladı he understood
  • anladık we understood
  • anladınız you understood
  • anladılar they understood
  • İ-Verb Stem
  • içtmek to drink
  • içtim I drank
  • içtin you drank
  • içti he drank
  • içtik we drank
  • içtiniz you drank
  • içtiler they drank
  • I-Verb Stem
  • çıkmak to leave
  • çıktım I left
  • çıktın you left
  • çıktı he left
  • çıktık we left
  • çıktınız you left
  • çıktılar they left
  • Ö-Verb Stem
  • görmek to see
  • gördüm I saw
  • gördün you saw
  • gördü he saw
  • gördük we saw
  • gördünüz you saw
  • gördüler they saw
  • O-Verb Stem
  • koşmak to run
  • koştum I ran
  • koştun you ran
  • koştu he ran
  • koştuk we ran
  • koştunuz you ran
  • koştular they ran
  • Ü-Verb Stem
  • gülmek to laugh
  • güldüm I laughed
  • güldün you laughed
  • güldü he laughed
  • güldük we laughed
  • güldünüz you laughed
  • güldüler they laughed
  • U-Verb Stem
  • bulmak to find
  • buldum I found
  • buldun you found
  • buldu he found
  • bulduk we found
  • buldunuz you found
  • buldular they found

The Turkish Inferential Mood

The Indefinite Past Tenses ("heard tenses") are used to transfer information that the speaker has not witnessed.

There is no Inferential Tense in English, not many languages have one.

Inference is communicated by other ways by English speakers. These examples show that the speaker is not an eyewitness.

  1. I think that he might have gone out. [doubt]
  2. Presumably he has arrived. [possibility]
  3. He has left as far as I know. [reportative]
  4. I think that the bus left at 6 o'clock. [uncertainty]
  5. They say that you have been ill. [hearsay]
  6. Its pretty sure that they have left the car in the garage. [probability]

The Inferential Tense used for reporting unwitnessed events, or implying possibility, doubt or uncertainty. It is often used in telling jokes and stories.

The form "it seems…" gives the sense of inference in these examples by showing that there is a doubt in what is being stated. There are many ways of modifying speech in English to show these various nuances of doubt, uncertainty or hearsay.

All these modifications and nuances are inherent in the turkish inferential -miş- tense itself. Extra words of explanation are not required for clarification purposes.

Formation of Indefinite (Inferential) Past Tenses

The indefinite Past suffix is -miş- -mış- -müş- -muş- to which the personal suffixes are added.

  • Continuous Indef.
  • Geliyormuşum
  • [Gel-iyor-muş-um]
  • I am probably coming.
  • Future Indef.
  • Gelecekmişim.
  • [Gel-ecekm-iş-im]
  • It seems I shall come
  • *Simple Indef.*
  • Gelirmişler.
  • [Gel-ir-miş-ler]
  • It seems they (will) come.
  • "must" Indef.
  • Gelmeliymişim.
  • [Gel-meli-ymiş-im]
  • They say I must have come.

***Simple tenses are used for "untimed" future events. The Simple Tense is widely used in spoken and written Turkish.

  • Question:
  • Mehmet çıktı mı?
  • Has Mehmet gone out?
  • Past definite ans:
  • O çıktı.
  • He has gone out.
  • [I saw him go.]
  • Past indefinite ans:
  • O çıkmış.
  • He has gone out.
  • [As far as I know.]

This "doubt" within the -miş inferential tense itself.

Turkish Interential Negative Forms

  • Negative Verb
    yapmamak to not do
  • Ben yapmamışım ki.
    I did not do it.
    [Did I?]
  • Sen yapmamışsın ki.
    You did not do it.
    [looks like..]
  • O yapmamış ki.
    He did not do it.
    [surely?]
  • Biz yapmamışız ki.
    We did not do it.
    [forgot to]
  • Siz yapmamışsınız ki.
    You did not do it.
    [ever?]
  • Onlar yapmamışlar ki.
    They did not do it.
    [already]
  • Pos. Past ?
  • Onu yapmış mıyım?
    Have I done it
    [I'm not sure]
  • Onu yapmış mısın?
    Have you done it
    [at all?]
  • Onu yapmış mı?
    Has he done it
    [yet?]
  • Onu yapmış mıyız?
    Have we done it
    [I wonder]
  • Onu yapmış mısınız?
    Have you done it
    [possibly]
  • Onu yapmışlar mı?
    Have they done it
    [surely?]
  • Neg. Past ?
  • Onu yapmamış mıyım?
    Haven't I done it
    [I wonder?]
  • Onu yapmamış mısın?
    Haven't you done it
    [at all?]
  • Onu yapmamış mı?
    Hasn't he done it
    [then?]
  • Onu yapmamış mıyız?
    Haven't we done it
    [I wonder?]
  • Onu yapmamış mısınız?
    Haven't you done it
    [at all?]
  • Onu yapmamışlar mı?
    Haven't they done it
    [surely?]

The interrogative particle -mi follows the verb and is written separately together with the relevant personal pronoun:

ki is an object it/that to complete the sentence.

Onu yapmamış mısınız? You haven't (gone and) done it have you? [doubt and incredulity]

  • E-Verb Stem
  • gelmişim
  • I have come
  • gelmişsin
  • you have come
  • gelmiş
  • he has come
  • gelmişiz
  • we have come
  • gelmişsiniz
  • you have come
  • gelmişler
  • they have come
  • A-Verb Stem
  • anlamışım
  • I have understood
  • anlamışsın
  • you have understood
  • anlamış
  • he have understood
  • anlamışız
  • we have understood
  • anlamışsınız
  • you have understood
  • anlamışlar
  • they have understood
  • İ-Verb Stem
  • içmişim
  • Ihave drunk
  • içmişsin
  • you have drunk
  • içmiş
  • he has drunk
  • içmişiz
  • we have drunk
  • içmişsiniz
  • you have drunk
  • içmişler
  • they have drunk
  • I-Verb Stem
  • çıkmışım
  • I have left
  • çıkmışsın
  • you have left
  • çıkmış
  • he have left
  • çıkmışız
  • we have left
  • çıkmışsınız
  • you have left
  • çıkmışlar
  • they have left
  • Ö-Verb Stem
  • görmüşüm
  • I have seen
  • görmüşsün
  • you have seen
  • görmüş
  • he has seen
  • görmüşüz
  • we have seen
  • görmüşsünüz
  • you have seen
  • görmüşler
  • they have seen
  • O-Verb Stem
  • koşmuşum
  • I have run
  • koşmuşsun
  • youhave run
  • koşmuş
  • he have run
  • koşmuşuz
  • we have run
  • koşmuşsunuz
  • you have run
  • koşmuşlar
  • they have run
  • Ü-Verb Stem
  • gülmüşüm
  • I have laughed
  • gülmüşsün
  • you have laughed
  • gülmüş
  • he has laughed
  • gülmüşüz
  • we have laughed
  • gülmüşsünüz
  • you have laughed
  • gülmüşler
  • they have laughed
  • U-Verb Stem
  • bulmuşum
  • I have found
  • bulmuşsun
  • you have found
  • bulmuş
  • he have found
  • bulmuşuz
  • we have found
  • bulmuşsunuz
  • you have found
  • bulmuşlar
  • they have found

Turkish Negative Past Tenses

Perfect Past Tense Definite (Seen) -dı is suffixed to the negative verb.

Perfect Past Tense Indefinite (Heard) the suffix -mış- is suffixed to the negative verb.

Turkish Past Negative Conjugation

  • Past Definite
  • anlamadım
  • I didn't understand
  • anlamadın
  • you didn't understand
  • anlamadı
  • he, she, it didn't understand
  • anlamadık
  • we didn't understand
  • anlamadınız
  • you didn't understand
  • anlamadılar
  • they don't understand
  • Past Inferential
  • anlamamışım
  • I did not understand
  • anlamamışsın
  • you did not understand
  • anlamamış
  • he did not understand
  • anlamamışız
  • we did not understand
  • anlamamışsınız
  • you did not understand
  • anlamamışlar
  • they did not understand
  • Past Definite
  • gitmedim
  • I didn't go
  • gitmedin
  • you didn't go
  • gitmedi
  • he, she, it didn't go
  • gitmedik
  • we didn't go
  • gitmediniz
  • you didn't go
  • gitmediler
  • they don't go
  • Past Inferential
  • gitmemişim
  • I have not gone
  • gitmemişsin
  • you did not go
  • gitmemiş
  • he did not go
  • gitmemişiz
  • we did not go
  • gitmemişsiniz
  • you did not go
  • gitmemişler
  • they did not go

A Turkish Joke in the Inferential Tense

  1. Sınıfta öğretmen sormuş - Dalda üç kus var, birini vurdum kaç tane kalır?
    In class a teacher asked "There were three birds on a branch, I hit one how many are left?"
  2. Çocuk cevaplamış - Hiç kalmaz öğretmenim.
    A child answered "None at all remained, sir"
  3. - Olur mu oğlum? - demiş öğretmen - 2 tane kalır.
    "Really, my lad?" said the teacher "Two of them remain."
  4. Olmaz öğretmenim - demiş çocuk - Siz birini vurunca diğerleri aptal değil ya sesten ürküp kaçarlar...
    "No way, sir" said the child "When you hit one of them, the others not being fools, were startled by the sound and flew off.."
  5. Öğretmen sasırmış ve - Aferin oğlum! Cevabin yanlış ama düşünce tarzını beğendim. - demiş.
    The teacher was surprised and "Well done, my lad!" Your answer is wrong but I like your style." he said
  6. Sonra çocuk - Öğretmenim, ben de size bir şey sormak istiyorum: Karsıdan üç tane bayan geliyor, üçü de dondurma yiyor, ama biri yalayarak, biri ısırarak, diğeri de emerek yiyor dondurmayı. Sizce bunlardan hangisi evlidir?
    Then the child said "Sir, I want to ask you something: There are three ladies coming opposite and they are eating ice cream, but one is licking, one eating and on sucking the ice cream. Which one do you think is married?"
  7. Öğretmen kızmış ama, cevap veremedi dedirtmemek için belli etmemiş - Yalarak yiyen evlidir -demiş.
    The teacher got angry but not to show that he could not answer "The one licking is married" he said.
  8. Çocuk - Olur mu öğretmenim ne alakası var! Parmağında yüzük olan evlidir - demiş - Ama düşünce tarzınızı beğendim.
    The child "Really sir? What a thing to say! the one with the ring on her finger is married" he said "But I like your style."

Quotation marks (" ") are not use in the Turkish speech above. Instead It is normal when writing Turkish to use the dash (-).

Turkish Definite Past Continuous Tense (gram: imperfect)

Formation: verb stem + present tense suffix [-iyor-] + past tense suffix [-di-] + personal ending.

These meanings are witnessed. The must be construed as "true".

Turkish Definite Past Continuous

  • Positive
  • gelmek
  • to come
  • geliyordum
  • I was coming
  • geliyordun
  • you were coming
  • geliyordu
  • he was coming
  • geliyorduk
  • we were coming
  • geliyordunuz
  • you were coming
  • geliyorlardı (-dular)
  • they were coming
  • Negative
  • gitmemek
  • to not come
  • gitmiyordum
  • I wasn't going
  • gitmiyordun
  • you weren't going
  • gitmiyordu
  • he wasn't going
  • gitmiyorduk
  • we weren't going
  • gitmiyordunuz
  • you weren't going
  • gitmiyorlardı (-dular)
  • they weren't going

Turkish Indefinite Past Continuous

Formation: verb stem + present tense suffix [-iyor-] +[-miş-] + personal ending.

The meaning must be construed as "hearsay"

  • Positive
  • bilmek
  • to know
  • biliyormuşum
  • I was knowing
  • biliyormuşsun
  • you were knowing
  • biliyormuş
  • he was knowing
  • biliyormuşuz
  • we were knowing
  • biliyormuşsunuz
  • you were knowing
  • biliyorlarmış -muşlar
  • they were knowing
  • Negative
  • okumamak
  • to not read
  • okumuyormuşum
  • I wasn't reading
  • okumuyormuşsun
  • you weren't reading
  • okumuyormuş
  • he wasn't reading
  • okumuyormuşuz
  • we weren't reading
  • okumuyormuşsunuz
  • you weren't reading
  • okumuyorlarmış -muşlar
  • they weren't reading

Turkish Past Continuous Tense Interrogative Positive

Was I going?, Were you crying?, Was he waiting?, Were we arranging?, Were you saying?, Wre they selling?

The verb stem is suffixed with -iyor + past tense personalised question tags - written separately.

  • Pos. Interrogative
  • beklemek to wait expect
  • bekliyor muydum?
  • Was I waiting?
  • bekliyor muydun?
  • bekliyor muydu?
  • bekliyor muyduk?
  • bekliyor muydunuz?
  • bekliyorlar mıydı?
  • gitmek to to
  • gidiyor muydum?
  • Was I going?
  • gidiyor muydun?
  • gidiyor muydu?
  • gidiyor muyduk?
  • gidiyor muydunuz?
  • gidiyorlar mıydı?

Turkish Past Continuous Tense Interrogative Negative

The past tense question tags are written separately.

  • Neg. Interrogative
  • gitmiyor muydum?
  • Wasn't I going?
  • ağlamıyor muydun?
  • Weren't you crying?
  • beklemiyor muydu?
  • Weren't you waiting?
  • toplamıyor muyduk?
  • Weren't we arranging?
  • söylemiyor muydunuz?
  • Weren't you saying?
  • satmıyorlar mıydı?
  • Weren't they selling?

Examples of Questions in the Definite Past Tenses

The mi? question particle follows the full verb in the Past Tense.

  1. Okula gittin mi?
    Did you go to school?
  2. Okula gitmeli miydin?
    Did you have go to school?
  3. Ayşe ders çalıştı mı?
    Has Ayshe done her lesson?
  4. Mehmet televizyon seyrediyor muydu?
    Was Mehmet watching television?
  5. Mehmet televizyonu seyrediyor muydu?
    Was Mehmet watching the television?
  6. Kemal gazete okudu mu?
    Did Kemal read a newspaper?
  7. Kemal gazeteyi okudu mu?
    Did Kemal read the newspaper?
  8. Kemal bu gazeteyi okudu mu?
    Did Kemal read this newspaper?
  9. Serhan içki içti mi?
    Did Serhan drink alcohol?
  10. Serhan içki içiyor muydu?
    Was Serhan drinking alcohol?
  11. Faruk Ankara'ya gitti mi?
    Has Faruk gone Ankara?
  12. Faruk Ankara'ya gidebildi mi?
    Was Faruk able to go Ankara?

Turkish Past Definite Perfect Tense Conjugation "I had written"

The Past Perfect Definite is formed by adding the Definite past tense suffix to the Past Tense -miş form of the verb.

There is no hearsay or doubt in the meaning of this tense as it is made definite and specific by the addition of the past definite suffix in -di.

This tense signifies the definite Past in The Past. "I had done it."

  • Definite Past Perfect
  • gelmiştim [gelmiş-tim]
  • I had come
  • unutmuştun
  • you had forgotten
  • yürümüştü
  • he had walked
  • bilmiştik
  • we had known
  • çıkmıştınız
  • you had gone out
  • anlamıştılar
  • they had understood

Turkish Past Indefinite Perfect Tense Conjugation

The Past Perfect Indefinite is formed by adding the indefinite past tense suffix -miş to the past tense -miş form of the verb.

There is hearsay or doubt in the meaning of this tense as it is made indefinite and unspecific by the addition of the past indefinite suffix in -miş.

This tense signifies the indefinite Past in The Past. "(I thought) I had done it."

  • Indefinite Past Perfect
  • gelmişmışım [gelmiş-miş-im]
  • I had come (it seems)
  • unutmuşmuşsun
  • you had forgotten
  • yürümüşmüs
  • he had walked
  • bilmişmişiz
  • we had known
  • çıkmışmışsınız
  • you had gone out
  • anlamışmışlar
  • they had understood

The Turkish indefinite past perfect IS USED in daily conversation. It is also used for sarcasm as in English:

"You just had to be rude to your teacher yesterday! (apparently)"

Turkish Past Perfect Tense Conjugation
DefiniteIndefinite
gelmiştim I had come gelmişmişim I had come
unutmuştun you had forgotten unutmuşmuşsun you had forgotten
yürümüştü he had walked yürümüşmüş he had walked
bilmiştik we had known bilmişmişiz we had known
çıkmıştınız you had gone outçıkmışmışsınızyou had gone out
anlamıştılar they had understoodanlamışmışlar they had understood

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