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Turkish Language About the verb to be Positive

The verb to be is used in sentences to describe a state of being
The house is blue
Mehmet was ill
It will be a quick journey
If it is a big house
If it had not been out of sight.

The Verb "to be"

The verb "to be" is a now defective verb "imek" whose stem was "i-" which is found in four forms of vowel harmony "i,ı u,u." It also mutates to "-y" in the past and other forms when being suffixed to a word. This is no longer important in learning Turkish, but it does give the reason for many of the suffixes in modern use for the verb "to be".

Turkish Verb to be Positive - I am, you are

The Verb to be takes the form of a suffix in Turkish. It is subject to Vowel Harmony. Consonant Mutation occurs in 3rd person suffixes d ↔ t when added to words terminating in hard consonants ç f h k p s ş t. The buffer letter -y- is used when this suffix to a word which terminates in a vowel.

  • I am -(y)im -(y)ım -(y)üm -(y)um
  • you are -sin -sın -sün -sun
  • he/she/it is -dir/-tir -dır/-tır -dür/tür -dur/-tur
  • we are -(y)iz -(y)ız -(y)üz -(y)uz
  • you are -siniz -sınız -sünüz -sunuz
  • they are -dirler/-tirler -dırlar/-tırlar -dürler-/türler -durlar/-turlar

hastayım [hasta yım] I am ill
hastayız we are ill
mutlusun you are happy
mutlu bir kadınsın you are a happy lady
yorgundurlar [yorgun-durlar] they are tired
yorgunuz [yorgun-uz] we are tired
evim kırmızıdır my house is red
kırmızı bir evdir it is a red house
paltom uzundur my overcoat is long
uzun bir paltodur it is a long overcoat
köpeğim küçüktür my dog is small
küçük bir köpektir it is a small dog
cadde geniştir the road is wide
geniş bir caddedir it is a wide road
kedim mutludur my cat is happy
kediniz kahverengi renkliydir your cat is brown coloured
odam boştur [boş-tur] my room is full
odam doludur [dolu-dur] my room is big
mor renkli bir evdir itis a purple coloured house
ev mor renkliydir the house is coloured

Third Person Plural is very often omitted in conversation. It only for emphasis and for public advice, notices and warnings or stating fact: Apples are fruit. Elma meyvedir. [meyve-dir]

A Turkish Public Notice showing the use of -dir/-tir
Here is the use of -dir in a Public Notice.
A Turkish Public Notice showing the use of -dir
İtifaye çikişidır [çikiş i-dir]
araç park etmek yasaktır. [yasak-tır]
It is the fire-station exit parking is forbidden.

Turkish to be Past Tense - I was, you were

The past tense endings are use in all persons although sometime the -ler/-lar of the plural forms is omitted in conversation.
Note the use of the Buffer Letter -y- in the formation of the Past Tense for Verb stems which end in a vowel. This is to keep the final vowel of the verb stem separated by mutating the first vowel of the Past Tense endings -idim etc to -ydim etc. As every person suffix in the past tense begins with a -d then it follows that every person can be subject to consonant mutation to -t when added to a word ending in a hard consonant.

Turkish to be Past tense Suffixes
PersonSuffixConsonant MutatedAfter Vowels
I was-dim -dım -düm -dum-tim -tım -tüm -tum-ydim -ydım -ydüm -ydum
you were -din -dın -dün -dun -tin -tın -tün -tun-ydin -ydın -ydün -ydun
he/she/it was-di -dı -dü -du -ti -tı -tü -tu-ydi -ydı -ydü -ydu
we were -dik -dık -dük -duk -tik -tık -tük -tuk-ydik -ydık -ydük -yduk
you were-diniz -dınız -dünüz -dunuz -tiniz -tınız -tünüz -tunuz-ydiniz -ydınız -ydünüz -ydunuz
they were-diler -dılar -düler -dular -tiler -tılar -tüler -tular-ydiler -ydılar -ydüler -ydular

Turkish Vowel Harmony Verb to be

Both the present and past obey the rules of vowel harmony, which are summed up as follows:

Turkish Verb to be - A-UnDotted Vowels
Final vowel -a or is followed by in suffix.
yaşlıyız [yaşlı-yız] we are old
yaşlıydık [yaşlı-ydık] we were old
hastayım [hasta-yım] I am ill
hastaydım [hasta-ydım] I was ill

Final vowel -o or -u is followed by u in suffix.
bir vazodur [vazo-dur] it is a vase.
bir vazoydu [vazo-ydu] it was a vase.
yorgunsun [yorgun-sun] you are tired.
yorgundun [yorgun-dun] you were tired.

Turkish Verb to be - The E- Dotted Vowels
Final vowel -e or -i is followed by i in suffix.
bir deredir [dere-dir] it is a stream
bir dereydi [dere-ydi] it was stream
zenginsin [zengin-sin] you are rich
zengindin [zengin-din] you were rich

Final vowel or is followed by ü in suffix.
bir gözdür [göz-dür] it is an eye.
bir gözdü [göz-dü] it was an eye.
Türk'türler [Türk'-türler] they are Turkish.
Türk'tüler [Türk'-tüler] they were Turkish.

Turkish Consonant Mutation Verb to be

The present and past tense suffixes which begin in -d- undergo consonant mutation -dir becomes -tir and all the past tense suffixes beginning in -di become -ti after a final hard consonant the letters ç f h k p ş s t

  • büyüktür it is large
  • büyüktü it was large
  • gençtirler they are young
  • gençtik we were young
  • yavaştın you were slow
  • çabuktunuz you were quick
  • sabahtır it is morning
  • sabahtı it was morning
  • bir mektuptur it is a letter
  • bir mektuptu it was a letter
  • bir sepettir it is a basket
  • bir sepetti it was a basket
  • bir virüstür it is a virus
  • bir virüstü it was a virus
  • felakettir it is a disaster
  • felaketti it was a disaster
  • bir polistir it is a policeman
  • bir polisti it was a policeman
  • Mehmet' tir It is Mehmet
  • Mehmet' ti It was Mehmet
  • İstanbul' dayım I am in Istanbul

Suffixes are not fixed directly to Proper Names, an apostrophe comma is used to separate the suffix from a name or title:

Turkish Verb to be Present and Past Tense Examples

  • zenginim I am rich
  • zengindim - I was rich
  • yorgunum I am tired
  • yorgundun you were tired
  • pahalıdır it is dear
  • pahalıydı it was dear
  • küçüktür it is small
  • küçüktü it was small
  • hastayız we are ill
  • hastaydık we were ill
  • yaşlısın you are old
  • yaşlıydı he was old
  • yoksuldurlar they are poor
  • yoksuldular they were poor
  • gençtirler they are young
  • gençti he was young

Turkish to be Positive Interrogative - Am I?, Are you?

Asking questions, the interrogative particle -mi? is used to form questions. It is placed after the word it affects, and has the positive or negative present tense personal endings added here are the forms showing vowel harmony:

Turkish Interrogative Present to be
Turkish "to be" Questions Present Positive
am I?mıyım? miyim? muyum? müyüm?
are you?mısın? misin? musun? müsün?
is he/she/it? (fam.)mı? mi? mu? mü?
is he/she/it? formal, publicmıdır? midir? mudur? müdür?
are we?mıyız? miyiz? muyuz? müyüz?
are you?mısınız? misiniz? musunuz? müsünüz?
are they? (fam.)-lar mı? -ler mi? -lar mu? -ler mü?
are they? formal, publicmıdırlar? midirler? mudurlar? müdürler?

Except for the 3rd person form -lar mi? the Positive form of the Interrogative is written separately from the word it affects, but obeys the rules of Vowel Harmony. The longer forms which end in -dir are more formal and are used in instructions and public notices. They are not usually used in general conversation.

Turkish Present to be Positive Question Examples

Note that the question part is written separately from the verb but still obeys vowel harmony rules.

  • zengin miyim? am I rich?
  • yorgun musun? are you tired?
  • pahalı mı? is it dear?
  • büyük mü? is it big?
  • hasta mıyız? are we ill?
  • yaşlı mısınız? are you old?
  • gençler mi? are they young?
  • yoksullar mı? are they poor?

Turkish Past to be Interrogative - Was I?, Were you?

The Past tense personal endings are added to the question particle -mi and obeys Vowel harmony but is written separately.

Turkish to be Question Past Positive
Turkish to be Questions Past Positive
was I?mıydım? miydim? muydum? müydüm?
were you?mıydın? miydin? muydun? müydün?
is he/she/it?mıydı? miydi? muydu? müydü?
were we?mıydık? miydik, muyduk? müydük?
wer you?mıydınız? miydiniz? muydunuz? müydünüz?
are they?mıydılar? miydiler? muydular? müydüler?

Note the use of the Buffer Letter -y- in the formation of the Past Tense Questions. This is to keep the final vowel of the question tag -mi by mutating the first vowel of the Past Tense endings -idim etc to -ydim etc.

Turkish Past Tense Positive Question Examples

  • acı mıydı? was it bitter?
  • sıcak mıydı? was it hot?
  • hava soğuk muydu? was the weather cold?
  • mutlu muyduk? were we happy?
  • yorgun muydular? were they tired?
  • hasta mıydınız? were you ill? or have you been ill?
  • güzel miydi? was she beautiful?
  • ev büyük müydü? was it a large house?

Note that the question part is written separately from the verb but still obeys vowel harmony rules.

The Turkish Future will be

The Future of the verb "to be" is lacking in Turkish. It place is taken by the Future Tense of the Verb olmak to be, to become. Refer to Future Tense webpage.
Yarın hazır olacağım I will be ready tomorrow
Er geç zengin olacaksın You will become rich sooner or later
Bu gece parti çok güzel olacak It will be a great party tonight
All these are "state of being" sentences but Turkish uses the verb olmak to become to convey the future of the verb to be