Turkish Past Definite Tenses

Was it seen? or Was it heard?

There are two Past Tenses in Turkish.

Definite Past and Indefinite Past

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:

Definite Past Suffix:
‑di‑ / ‑ti‑ ‑dı‑ / ‑tı‑ ‑dü‑ / ‑tü‑ ‑du‑ / ‑tu‑
- to which the Personal suffixes are added.

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 Past Indefinite Tenses

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.

The Sign of indefinite Past suffix is the:

Inferential Suffix: ‑miş‑ ‑mış‑ ‑müş‑ ‑muş‑
- to which the personal suffixes are added.

Turkish Definite Past tenses

  • 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
  • Necessitative Past:
  • Gelmeliydim
    [Gel-meli-ydim]
  • I had to come
  • Conditional Past:
  • Gelseydim
    [Gel-se-ydim]
  • If only I had come
  • Pluperfect:
  • Gelmiştim
    [Gel-miş-tim]
  • I had come

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

Turkish Definite Past Conjugation

  • Question:
  • Mehmet çıktı mı? Has Mehmet gone out?
  • Definite Answer:
  • O çıktı. He has gone out.
  • ["I saw him go."]
  • E-Verb - gelmek
  • geldim
  • I came
  • geldin
  • you came
  • geldi
  • he came
  • geldik
  • we came
  • geldiniz
  • you came
  • geldiler
  • they came
  • A-Verb - anlamak
  • anladım
  • I understood
  • anladın
  • you understood
  • anladı
  • he understood
  • anladık
  • we understood
  • anladınız
  • you understood
  • anladılar
  • they understood
  • İ-Verb - içtmek
  • içtim
  • I drank
  • içtin
  • you drank
  • içti
  • he drank
  • içtik
  • we drank
  • içtiniz
  • you drank
  • içtiler
  • they drank
  • I-Verb - çıkmak
  • çıktım
  • I left
  • çıktın
  • you left
  • çıktı
  • he left
  • çıktık
  • we left
  • çıktınız
  • you left
  • çıktılar
  • they left
  • Ö-Verb - görmek
  • gördüm
  • I saw
  • gördün
  • you saw
  • gördü
  • he saw
  • gördük
  • we saw
  • gördünüz
  • you saw
  • gördüler
  • they saw
  • O-Verb - koşmak
  • koştum
  • I ran
  • koştun
  • you ran
  • koştu
  • he ran
  • koştuk
  • we ran
  • koştunuz
  • you ran
  • koştular
  • they ran
  • Ü-Verb - gülmek
  • güldüm
  • I laughed
  • güldün
  • you laughed
  • güldü
  • he laughed
  • güldük
  • we laughed
  • güldünüz
  • you laughed
  • güldüler
  • they laughed
  • U-Verb - bulmak
  • buldum
  • I found
  • buldun
  • you found
  • buldu
  • he found
  • bulduk
  • we found
  • buldunuz
  • you found
  • buldular
  • they found

The Turkish Inferential Mood

  • I think that he might have gone out.
    [doubt]
  • Presumably he has arrived.
    [possibility]
  • He has left as far as I know.
    [reportative]
  • I think that the bus left at 6 o'clock.
    [uncertainty]
  • They say that you have been ill.
    [hearsay]
  • 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.

  • Present Indef.
  • Geliyormuşum
  • [Gel-iyor-muş-um]
  • I am probably coming.
  • Future Indef.
  • Gelecekmişim.
  • [Gel-ecek-miş-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.

Turkish Indefinite Past Tense Conjugation

  • Question:
  • Mehmet çıktı mı? Has Mehmet gone out?
  • Indefinite Answer:
  • O çıkmış. He has gone out.
  • ["As far as I know."]

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

  • E-Verb
    Indefinite
  • 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
    Indefinite
  • 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
    Indefinite
  • 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
    Indefinite
  • 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
    Indefinite
  • 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
    Indefinite
  • 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
    Indefinite
  • 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
    Indefinite
  • 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.

  • A-Verb
    Negative 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
  • E-Verb
    Negative 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

Turkish Interential Negative Forms

Perfect Past Tense Indefinite [Heard] the suffix -mış- is suffixed to the negative verb.

  • A-Verb
    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
  • E-Verb
    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

Turkish Negative Indefinite Past Model:

yapmamak [yap-ma-mak] to not do

  • Indefinite
    Negative
  • 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]
  • Indef. Positive
    Interrogative
  • 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?]
  • Indef. Negative
    Interrogative
  • 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

It is written separately together with the relevant personal pronoun:

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

Turkish Definite Past Continuous Tense

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

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

  • Positive Past
    Continuous
  • 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 Past
    Continuous
  • 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 Indefinite
    Continuous
  • 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 Indefinite
    Continuous
  • 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.

  • Past Continuous
    Pos. Interrogative
  • bekliyor muydum?
  • Was I waiting?
  • bekliyor muydun?
  • Were you waiting?
  • bekliyor muydu?
  • Was he waiting?
  • bekliyor muyduk?
  • Were we waiting?
  • bekliyor muydunuz?
  • Were you waiting?
  • bekliyorlar mıydı?
  • Were they waiting?
  • Past Continuous
    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.

  • Okula gittin mi?
    Did you go to school?
  • Okula gitmeli miydin?
    Did you have go to school?
  • Ayşe ders çalıştı mı?
    Has Ayshe done her lesson?
  • Mehmet televizyon seyrediyor muydu?
    Was Mehmet watching television?
  • Mehmet televizyonu seyrediyor muydu?
    Was Mehmet watching the television?
  • Kemal gazete okudu mu?
    Did Kemal read a newspaper?
  • Kemal gazeteyi okudu mu?
    Did Kemal read the newspaper?
  • Kemal bu gazeteyi okudu mu?
    Did Kemal read this newspaper?
  • Serhan içki içti mi?
    Did Serhan drink alcohol?
  • Serhan içki içiyor muydu?
    Was Serhan drinking alcohol?
  • Faruk Ankara'ya gitti mi?
    Has Faruk gone Ankara?
  • 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."

Turkish 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."

Turkish 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 forgottenunutmuşmuşsunyou 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