Turkish Causative Mood

The active form of the verb gives the sense of: "doing something" and the passive form "something is being done".

The Causative sense is "to have something done by somebody, to get something done by something."

In the case where English uses "get done by" or "to have done by" Turkish uses the Causative form of the verb.

  • The Active Verb
    I'm going to clean the car
    [to clean it myself]
  • The Causative Form
    I'll get John to clean the car
    [to get, to cause John to clean it.]

Tukish Causative Uses

One of the duties of the Causative is to make a Transitive Verb (which takes an Object) out of an Intransitive Verb (which has no Object).

  • Active Verb
    pişmek [piş-mek]
    to cook (by itself)
  • [intransitive - no object]
    [i.e. The eggs are cooking in the pan.]
  • Cuasative Verb
    pişirmek [pişirmek]
    to cook something
  • [transitive - with object]
  • "to cook" is transitive:
    Ali [the subject] is cooking the eggs [the object]

In these examples some of the active forms are intransitive whilst their causative form is the transitive Verb.

This is the reason that the Turkish verb for to eat is yemek yemek

The first yemek means food and the second yemek means to eat

  • Yemek to eat is a transitive verb in Turkish so it needs an object.
  • Ali, lokantada yemek yiyor.
    Ali is eating food in the cafe.
  • Turkish must supply an object yemek food for the verb yemek to eat
    The English verb to eat can be transitive or intransitive.
  • Intansitive:
    Ali is eating in the cafe.
  • Transitive:
    Ali is eating breakfast (obj.) in the cafe.
  • The Intransitive verb:
    durmak [dur-mak]
    to halt (by itself) is such a word.
  • Araba caddede durdu.
    The car stopped in the street.
    There is no object in the sentence.
    It is intransitive.
  • The Transitive verb:
    durdurmak [dur-dur-mak]
    to stop sb. is such a word:
  • Mehmet, arabayı caddede durdurdu
    Mehmet stopped the car in the street.
    The object in this sentence is arabyı the car.
    It is transitive.

Turkish Causative Verb Formation

The causative verb stem is usually formed by adding:
‑dir‑ / ‑tir‑ ‑dır‑ / ‑tır‑ ‑dur‑ / ‑tur‑ ‑dür ‑/ ‑tür‑

The suffix follows vowel Harmony Rules and is subject to consonant mutation.

The resulting causative new verb stem can have all mood and tense endings added as required.

Most verbs are regular in their causative formation:

  • Active Verb: bakmak to look
    Causative Verb: baktırmak to cause to look
    Bize arkamıza baktırdılar.
    They made us look behind (us)
  • Active Verb: itmek to push
    Causative Verb:ittirmek to cause to push
    Koltuğu geri ittirdim.
    I had the seat pushed backwards.
  • Active Verb: koşmak to run
    Causative Verb: koşturmak to cause to run
    Kamyonete bağladıkları atı kilometrelerce koşturdular.
    They ran the horse tied to the lorry for kilometers.
  • Active Verb: satmak to sell
    Causative Verb: sattırmak to cause to sell
    Ekonomik Bunalımdan fabrika sattırdılar.
    They had the factory sold due to the Economic Depession.
  • Active Verb: gülmek to laugh
    Ona güldüm.
    I laughed at him
    Bana güldü.
    He laughed at me
  • Causative Verb:güldürmek to make laugh
    onu güldürdüm
    I made him laugh
    beni güldürdü
    He made me laugh
  • Active Verb: bilmek to know
    onu biliyorum I know that.
  • Causative Verb: bildirmek to make known
    Mehmed' e haberi bildirdik
    We made the news known to [informed] Mehmet.
  • Active Verb: çalışmak to work
    Bugün çalışıyorum I am working today
  • Causative Verb: çalıştırmak to cause to work
    Bugün, arabamyla Mehmet'i çalıştırıyorum
    Today, I am getting Mehmet to work on my car.
  • Active Verb: unutmak to forget
    Çantamı unuttum I forgot my bag
  • Causative Verb: unutturmak to cause to forget
    Mehmed'e çantasını unutturduk
    We've let Mehmet forget his bag.

Turkish Causative Verbs Extended with Verb Moods

  • Potential Causative Verb Stem
    onu güldürebilirsiniz
    you can make her laugh
  • beni güldüremeyecek
    he will not be able to make me laugh
  • bizi güldüremediler
    they couldn't make us laugh
  • Necessitative Causative Verb Stem
    Mehmet seni güldürmeliydi.
    Mehmet should have made you laugh.
  • onu yaptırmalıyım.
    I should have it done.

Turkish Irregular Causative Forms

The Formation of the Turkish Causative is one area where there is some irregularity in the language.

  • 1. Basic verb Stems ending in a vowel or -r form their causative by the addition of the suffix -t to produce the causative verb stem:
  • Active Verb: oturmak to sit
    Causative Verb: oturtmak to seat somebody
  • Active Verb: anlamak to understand
    Causative Verb: anlatmak to make understand [ENG: to explain]
  • Active Verb: boyamak to paint
    Causative Verb: boyatmak to get / have something painted

2. Single Syllable Verbs - Causative Formation

Some single syllable verbs form their causative by the addition of -ır

i.e The initial -d/-t of the causative verb sign is dropped.

This generally happens when the basic verb stem terminates in or but there are other verbs included in this group.

Some verbs which end in or take the full -tir suffix.

The problem of these irregularities is not too great as the number of verbs involved is quite small although some of them are fairly common.

These verbs are best learned separately.

Irregular Single Syllable Causative Verb Stems

Basic VerbCausative Verb
artmakto increaseartırmakto cause to increase
batmakto sinkbatırmakto cause to sink
bitmekto finishbitirmekto finish off
doğmakto be borndoğurmakto give birth
doymakto be filleddoyurmakto fill up s.o.
düşmekto falldüşürmekto cause to fall/to drop s.o
geçmekto passgeçirmekto cause to pass
göçmekto move / migrategöçürmekto evict
içmekto drink/smokeiçirmekto cause to drink
kaçmakto escapekaçırmakto miss/let escape
pişmekto cook (by itself)pişirmekto cook something
şaşmakto be surprisedşaşırmakto surpise s.o.
şişmekto swellşişirmekto cause to swell
taşmakto overflowtaşırmakto cause to overflow
uçmakto flyuçurmakto cause to fly
  • 3. A few verbs ending in -k take -ıt as their causative sign.
  • Active Verb:akmak to flow
    Causative Verb: akıtmak to caus e to flow
  • Active Verb: sarkmak to hang down
    Causative Verb: sarkıtmak to hang s.o. up
  • Active Verb: ürkmek to have a scare
    Causative Verb: ürkütmek to startle
  • 4. There are few verbs which take -ar or -er as their causative sign.
  • Active Verb: çıkmak to go out / to exit
    Causative Verb: çıkarmak to take out [ENG: to extract]
  • Active Verb: gitmek to go
    Causative Verb: gidermek to send away / to remove
  • Active Verb: kopmak to snap itself
    Causative Verb: koparmak to break s.o.off
  • Active Verb: onmak to mend
    Causative Verb: onarmak to have repaired
  • 5. One verb is completely irregular.
  • Active Verb: görmek to see
    Causative Verb: göstermek to show

All these are common verbs and should be learnt as irregularities

Causative Verb differences in English

In the translation of the Turkish Causative a different verb may be used in English.

It is sometimes it is difficult to select the correct English verb in translation from Turkish.

The causative of bilmek "to know" in Turkish →
bildirmek "to make know, to cause to know".

In English this may be "to notify, to publish, etc."

This difference in English verb use must be considered when translating causative verbs from Turkish into English and vice versa.

Practice and observation are necessary to ensure correct understanding and use of this verb form:

Examples of Different Verb Use in English

  • In the following a different verb is used in English:
  • Active Verb:
    anlamak to understand
  • Cevabı anladım.
    I understood the answer.
  • Causative Verb:
    anlatmak to explain
    [Lit: to cause to understand]
  • Cevabı anlattım.
    I explained the answer.

In English the causative verb is often a different verb altogether from the active verb

Turkish uses the causative mood form of the active Form.

to dietokill / to murder
[LIT : cause to die]

to seeto show
[LIT: cause to see]

to haltto stop
[LIT: cause to halt]

Causing a Third Party to Act In Turkish

This is a doubled causative verb formed by adding -t or sometimes -tir to the regular causative verb.

  • I made him paint the car.
  • I got him to paint the car.
  • I had him paint the car

All the above are translated:
Arabayı ona boyattırdım.
[ boya-t-tır-dım]

In this case we are causing a third party to act as an agent.

In these type of sentences the agent has the -a or -e [Motion Towards - indirect object] case endings:
[ie. I caused FOR him to paint the car.]

The verb is basically a doubled causative form. boya-t-tir-mak.

Other doubled causatives are formed similarly.

The Turkish Double Causative

The Doubled Causative is used when you get someone else to do the job.
[You cause them to have the job done.]

  • I got my car repaired at the garage.
    Arabamı garajda tamir ettirdim.
    [uses a single causative.]
  • I got the garage to repair my car.
    Arabamı garaja tamir ettirttim.
    [uses a double causative].
  • anlattırmak
    to have something explained
  • tamir ettirtmek
    [et-tir-t-mek ]
    to have something repaired
  • yaptırtılmak
    to have something done

If two letters -tt- occur together, they are both pronounced individually.

These forms crop up quite regularly, especially in newspaper reports about agencies, governments etc. having something carried out by a third party.