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Lesson 02

2.1. VERBS

Turkish verbs always end on -mak or -mek. ALWAYS! There is no exception, isn’t that great? And now we arrived at the vowel harmony. What luck you hammered this vowel harmony into your head before. The endings -mak and -mek depend on the little vowel harmony. In detail:
If the last vowel of the verb stem is an a, ı, o or u then the verb always ends with -mak. Logically in all other cases (e, i, ö or ü) the verb ends with -mek. Normally you learn the verbs simply in their basic form but it could be helpful to understand why one verb ends with -mak but the other with -mek.

yapmak = to do
çıkmak = to go out
bozmak = to break
uyumak = to sleep

sevmek = to love
getirmek = to bring
ölmek = to die
düşünmek = to think

Maybe it is getting more clear why there is a vowel harmony anyway. As the name says it’s about the harmony, in fact at speaking. It sounds more harmonical to say yapmak instead of "yapmek". bilmek is also easier to speak out then "bilmak". Even if it’s not that clear for you, don’t mind. Later it will be much more clear for you.

Well, now that you know the difference between the basic verb (infinitve) and the verb stem you know also how to form the…


The verb stem is automatically the infinitive for 2nd person singular:
yap! = do! (2nd person singular)
çık! = get out! (2nd person singular)
boz! = break!(2nd person singular - bozmak can also be used for changing money, making bills to coins)
uyu! = sleep! (2nd person singular)
sev! = love! (2nd person singular)
getir! = bring! (2nd person singular)
öl! = die! (2nd person singular - not very kind but primary this is about the grammar)
düşün! = think! (2nd person singular)

For forming the infinitve in 2nd person plural you just add the suffix -in.

ATTENTION! This suffix is related to the GREAT VOWEL HARMONY, which means if the verb stem's last vowel is an
a or ı, suffix -in changes to -ın
e or i, suffix -in stays unchanged
o or u, suffix -in changes to -un
ö or ü, suffix -in changes to -ün

yapın! = do!
çıkın! = go out!
bozun! = break!
uyuyun! = sleep!
sevin! = love!
= bring!
= die!
düşünün! = think!

Remember that in Turkish the 2nd person plural is also the polite form in which you speak to unknown or elder people or respected persons (like your boss). In daily language it’s not unpolite to speak to people in 2nd person singular (sen = you, 2nd person singular) when it’s obvious that they are of same age or younger. If you are not sure, just choose the polite form. The reaction of your conversation partner will let you know if you exaggerate… ;-)

By the way: if a verb stem already ends with a vowel (like uyu-) we add a y prior to the suffix. You will notice that in such cases this happens often: If two vowels meet, the Turks prefers to separate these squabblers with a "y".


Now you also learn how to negate an imperative as this can be realized easily. You only have to add -me oder -ma to the verb stem, depending on the Little Vowel Harmony. For our know verb examples this then looks as follows:

yapma! = don't do! (2nd person singular)
çıkma! = don't go out! (2nd person singular)
bozma! = don't break! (2nd person singular)
uyuma! = don't sleep! (2nd person singular)
sevme! = don't love! (2nd person singular)
getirme! = don't bring! (2nd person singular)
ölme! = don't die! (2nd person singular)
düşünme! = don't think! (2nd person singular)

Negating in 2nd person plural just requires putting -me/-ma in front of the suffix -in.
Notice, as two vowels cannot put next to each other, again an y has to be inserted between the two suffixes:

yapmayın! = don't do! (2nd person plural)
çıkmayın! = don't go out! (2nd person plural)
bozmayın! = don't break! (2nd person plural)
uyumayın! = don't sleep! (2nd person plural)
sevmeyin! = don't love! (2nd person plural)
getirmeyin! = don't bring! (2nd person plural)
ölmeyin! = don't die! (2nd person plural)
düşünmeyin! = don't think! (2nd person plural)

Maybe you noticed that the last suffixes now just are -in or -ın. It is still following the GREAT VOWEL HARMONY but as the negation form just is either -ma or -me it can only follow -ın or -in. For example negating uyuyun cannot be "uyumayun" or düşünün cannot be "düşünmeyün" – sounds strange, even for a Turk.

açmak = to open; ağlamak = to cry; almak = to take; binmek = to get in, to board; bırakmak = to leave, to let go; bozmak = to break, to change money; çıkmak = to get out; düşünmek = to think; getirmek = to bring; gülmek = to laugh; ölmek = to die; sevmek = to love; uymak = to adapt yourself; vermek = to give; vurmak = to beat someone; yapmak = to make
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