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Lesson 07



The simple past describes actions which are completed, for example actions which happened yesterday, last week or longer time ago. So it is the tense for "experienced and/or narrated past".

Formed with the suffix –di it is determined by the GREAT VOWEL HARMONY, so it can be
-dı, -di, -du or -dü.

bilmek = to known (=> verb stem bil-)
bildim = I knew
bildin = you knew
bildi = he/she/it knew
bildik = we knew
bildiniz = you (plural or polite form) knew
bildiler = they knew

As you may have noticed in 1st person plural the personal pronoun suffix now ends with a "k" instead of "z".

Of course also in this tense the famous "Hard Consonantes" use their influence. But this time they don’t get softened. Do you remember the hint in lesson 3.2? Some suffixes get hardened when a word ends with one of the hard consonantes. Therefore the simple past suffix has to pass a two fisted training in order to being able standing these consonantes and is changed to -ti:

yapm = I did
yapn = you did
= he/she/it did
yapk = we did
yapnız = you (plural or polite form) did
= they did

Also here it might be more clear that it’s more easy to speak out yaptım instead of "yapdım". Otherwise it would just sound too... hmmm... just too soft!

Another example:
çalışmak = to work (=> verb stem çalış-)
çalışm = I worked
çalışn = you worked
= he/she/it worked
= we worked
= you (plural or polite forem) worked
çalışlar = they worked

At the same time the suffix -di is also to past form of "to be":
büyük = he/she/it was big

When ending on a vowel insert a y:
hastay = he/she/it was ill

Furthermore you probably had or had not something in the past:
Arabam var. = I had a car.
Arabam yoktu. = I didn't have a car.


Short and painless: Negation of simple past is made by the suffix -ma/-me which is put in front of the past tense suffix:

yapmam = I didn't do
yapman = you didn't do
= he/she/it didn't do
yapmak = we didn't do
yapmanız = you (plural or polite form) didn't do
= they didn't do

This time the –di suffix doesn’t have to be hardened as it is "protected" by the negation particle.

Another particle:
düşünmedim = I didn't think
düşünmedin = you didn't think
düşünmedi = he/she/it didn't think
düşünmedik = we didn't think
düşünmediniz = you (plural or polite form) didn't think
düşünmediler = they didn't think

Remember: "to be" in Turkish is negated with değil. So then -di as the past suffix of "to be":
büyük değildi = he/she/it wasn't big


With this past tense you describe exactly the same as in English: an action which was about to take place but wasn’t completed. So it is the past counterpart to the continuous present (-iyor). You were about to do something as something else happened.

Formed with the suffix -(i)yordu.

As this suffix follows GREAT VOWEL HARMONY it can have following forms: -ıyordu, -iyordu, -uyordu or -üyordu.

biliyordum = I was knowing
biliyordun = you were knowing
biliyordu = he/she/it was knowing
biliyorduk = we were knowing
biliyordunuz = you (plural or polite form) were knowing
biliyordular = they were knowing

yapıyordum = I was doing
yapıyordun = you were doing
yapıyordu = he/she/it was doing
yapıyorduk = we were doing
yapıyordunuz = you (plural or polite form) were doing
yapıyordular = they were doing

Example sentence:
Lale'yi düşünüyordum. Telefon çaldı. = I was thinking of Lale as the phone rang.

A certain action was taking place (thinking of Lale) as another action interrupted (the ringing of the phone).


For negation you need to put the letter -m in front of the past suffix:

bilmiyordum = I wasn't knowing
bilmiyordun = you weren't knowing
bilmiyordu = he/she/it wasn't knowing
bilmiyorduk = we weren't knowing
bilmiyordunuz = you (plural or polite form) weren't knowing
bilmiyordular = they weren't knowing

yapmıyordum = I wasn't doing
yapmıyordun = you weren't doing
yapmıyordu = he/she/it wasn't doing
= we weren't doing
yapmıyordunuz = you (plural or polite form) weren't doing
= they weren't doing

büyütmek = to extend, to exaggerrate; çalmak = to ring, but also: to steal; çalışmak = to work; dalmak = to dive; doldurmak = to fill in; kum = the sand; restoran = the restaurant; şemsiye = the sunshade; yazmak = to write; yüzmek = to swim
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