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.)"

Turkish Passive Mood Verb Forms

The Active Mood:

The verb acts on the object of the sentence.

Kemal swept the street yesterday.

The subject "Kemal" and the object "the street".

The Passive Mood:

Signifies that the verb acts upon the subject of the sentence.

The street is being swept by Kemal

"the street" is the subject.

"Kemal" (the person doing the sweeping) is called "the agent" in grammar.

The Impersonal Passive

"the street" is the subject without any agent operating on it.

The street will be swept every day

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

  • Active: acımak to feel pain
  • Reflexive: acınmak to feel pain in oneself, to grieve
  • Causative: acındırmak to cause to grieve
  • Causative Passive: acındırılmak to be made to grieve
  • Active: tanımak to know
  • Reciprocal: tanışmak to know one another
  • Causative: tanıştırmak to introduce
  • Causative Passive: tanıştırılmak to be introduced

Negation -me- plus ability -ebil- and inability -eme- for Verb Mood are sufixed.

The tense suffixes:
‑iyor‑ ‑ir‑ ‑ecek‑ ‑di‑ ‑miş‑ are added.

The Person Suffix completes the verb.

  • Active Present Continuous
    yapmak to do
    yapıyorum I am doing
  • Passive Present Continuous
    yapılmak [yap-ıl-mak] to be done
    yapılıyor It is being done
  • Active Potential Simple Present
    yapabilmek [yap-abil-mek] to be able to do
    yapabilirim I can do
  • Passive Potential Simple Present
    yapılabilmek [yap-ıl-abil-mek] to be able to be done
    yapılabilir it can be done
  • Negative Active Present Continuous
    yapmamak [yap-ma-mak] to not do
    yapmıyorum I am not doing
  • Negative Active Present Continuous
    yapılmamak [yap-ıl-ma-mak] to not be done
    yapılmıyor it is not being done
  • Negative Passive Potential Future
    yapılamamak [yap-ıl-ama-mak] to not be able to be done
    yapılamayacak it will not be able to be done
  • Active Future Potential:
    Onu yapabileceğiz [yap-abil-eceğ-iz] we will be able to do it
  • Causative Future Potential:
    Onu yaptırabileceğiz [yap-tır-abil-eceğ-iz] we will be able to get it done

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 the student

It is second nature to a Turkish national.

Turkish Passive Mood Formation

The Turkish passive verb stem is formed by adding the passive suffix -il or -n (after a vowel) to the basic verb stem.

The verb stem can be an active , co-operative or a causative verb stem.

The suffix -il -ıl -ul -ül is added to the verb stem:
to be seen

Verb stem ending -l use suffix -in - ın - un -ün
to be found

For Verb stems ending vowel -n is added:
to be awaited

Turkish Passive - verb stems ending in a consonant

Active Mood PositivePassive Mood Positive
yapmakto doyapılmakto be done
kesmekto cutkesilmekto be cut
kırmakto breakkırılmakto be broken
Active Mood NegativePassive Mood Negative
yapmamakto not doyapılmamakto be not done
kesmemekto not cutkesilmemekto be not cut
kırmamakto not breakkırılmamakto be not broken

Turkish Passive Verb Examples

  • Active
    anlamak to understand
  • Active Causative
    anlatmak to explain
  • Passive Causative
    anlatılmak to be understood
  • Active
    kırmak to break
  • Active Causative
    kırdırmak to break something
  • Passive
    kırılmak to be broken
    [itself in a broken state]
  • Passive Causative
    kırdırılmak to be broken by somebody
  • Active Verb
    bulmak to find
  • Co-operative Active
    buluşmak to meet/to find each other
  • Co-operative Passive
    buluşulmak to be met/to be found together
  • Active
    anlamak to understand
  • Co-operative Active
    anlaşmak to agree/to understand each other
  • Co-operative Passive
    anlaşılmak to be agreed
  • Active
    çarpmak to hit, collide
  • Co-operative Active
    çarpışmak to collide with something
  • Co-operative Passive
    çarpışılmak to be in collision with something

None of Verbs above end in -l

Consequently the -il passive suffix is used.

Using 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

By practice and reading the logic of them quickly becomes clear to the student.

Turkish Passive verb stems ending in ‑l

For veb stems ending in -L the passive mood is formed by the addition ‑in ‑ın ‑ün ‑un

Active MoodPassive Mood
delmekto piercedelinmekto be pierced
bilmekto knowbilinmekto be known
almakto takealınmakto be taken
bulmakto findbulunmakto be found

Turkish Passive verb stems ending a vowel.

Verb stem ends in a vowel the passive sign is simply ‑n

Active MoodPassive Mood
beklemekto wait/to expectbeklenmekto be waited for / to be expected
kapamakto closekapanmakto be closed
yemekto eatyenmekto 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 Passive Agent - tarfından by

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

The Personal Pronouns:
my, your, his, our, their [the pronoun itself as the agent] IS suffixed with the ownership ‑in ‑ın ‑un ‑ün

It is followed by its version of tarafından by in agreement.

  • Benim tarafımdan pencere kapandı.
    The window was closed by me
  • Onun tarafından pencere kapandı.
    The window was closed by him.
  • The Agent: must agree with the subject:
  • benim → tarafımdan
  • senin → tarafından
  • onun → tarafından
  • bizim → tarafımızdan
  • sizin → tarafınızdan
  • onların → taraflarından
  • 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 Passive Mood Future

  • Active:
    kesmek to cut
  • Mehmet, yarın onu kesecek.
    Mehmet will cut it tomorrow.
  • Passive:
    kesilmek to be cut
  • Yarın o kesilecek.
    It will be cut tomorrow.
  • ALSO: Yarın o kesilecektir.
    It is to be cut tomorrow.
  • Active Potential Future:
    kesebilmek to be able to cut
  • Ali, yarın onu kesebilecek.
    Ali, will be able to cut it tomorrow.
  • Passive Potential Future:
    kesilebilmek To be able to be to be cut
  • Yarın o kesilebilecek.
    It will be able to be cut tomorrow.

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.

In Turkish the feeling of "self" is understood by using the reflexive form of the verb.

Mehmet yıkandı. Mehmet washed himself.

Examples of Reflexive Forms in English

I shave myself every day.
He washed himself in the garde.
You have cut yourself badly!
We helped ourselves to succeed.

This reflexive form of the verb stem is used to convey the reflexive meaning

The Reflexive suffix is ‑in ‑ın ‑un ‑ün which abrades to -n after a vowel.

The reflexive sign -n is the same as the passive form for those verbs whose stems end in a vowel,

The context of the sentence is usually enough to make the meaning passive or reflexive 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 ,to join, to attend.

This is really a "grey area" between passive and / or reflexive.

Examples of Use for the Reflexive Verb

The Actve Verb:
yıkamak to wash
çamaşırı yıkadım I washed the shirt

Reflexive Verb:
yıkanmak to wash oneself
yıkandım I had a wash, I washed myself

Similarly the verb soymak to undress
soymak to undress somebody [Active]
soyunmak to undress oneself [Reflexive]