Lesson 02


In the infinitive (basic form), Turkish verbs always end in -mak or -mek. ALWAYS! There are no exceptions. Isn’t that fantastic?! And here’s where we come to vowel harmony. Luckily, you already familiarized yourself with this in Lesson 1. Specifically, the endings -mak and -mek follow simple vowel harmony. Stated simply, this means:

When the last vowel in the verb stem is an a, ı, o, or u, then the verb has to end in ‑mak. Logically, the verbs end in -mek in all other cases (e, i, ö, or ü). Generally, verbs are simply learned in their basic form, but it can be helpful to know why one verb ends in -mak but the other in -mek.

A few examples:

yap|mak = to do
çık|mak = to go out
boz|mak = to break
uyu|mak = to sleep
sev|mek = to love
getir|mek = to bring
öl|mek = to die
düşün|mek = to think

Maybe it’s already evident here why there’s vowel harmony in the first place. As the name says, it’s all about harmony – in this case, when speaking. It sounds more harmonious to say yapmak instead of “yapmek,” and bilmek rolls off the tongue more easily than “bilmak.” If it isn’t that obvious to you yet, no worries. It will become clearer later.

So, now you already automatically know the difference between the verbs in their infinitive form and the verb stems and … TA-DA! You’ve learned how to form the


To be specific, the verb stem is automatically the command form for the second person singular as well. So:

yap! = Do!
çık! = Get out!
boz! = Break! (by the way, bozmak can also mean to make change)
uyu! = Sleep!
sev! = Love!
getir! = Bring!
öl! = Die! (not very friendly, but it’s just for the sake of the grammar at this point!)
düşün! = Think!

For the command form in the second person plural, the suffix -in is simply added to the verb stem. BE CAREFUL! This suffix follows complex vowel harmony, meaning that if the verb stem ends in

a or ı, the suffix -in becomes -ın
e or i, the suffix -in remains unchanged
o or u, the suffix -in becomes -un
ö or ü, the suffix -in becomes -ün

In our examples, this means:

yapın! = Do! [plural / formal]
çıkın! = Go! [plural / formal]
bozun! = Break! [plural / formal]
uyuyun! = Sleep! [plural / formal]
sevin! = Love! [plural / formal]
getirin! = Bring! [plural / formal]
ölün! = Die! [plural / formal]
düşünün! = Think! [plural / formal]

By the way: if a verb stem already ends in a vowel (like in uyu-), a y is inserted. You’ll encounter this often: when two vowels collide, Turks like to separate the squabblers with a y.


At this juncture, we’ll go ahead and teach you how to negate the command form, since this is relatively easy. The verb stem, which is the command form for the second person singular, is simply supplemented with -me or -ma – following simple vowel harmony, to be precise.

For the examples we’ve used so far, the negated command forms then look like this:

yapma! = Don’t do that!
çıkma! = Don’t get out!
bozma! = Don’t break!
uyuma! = Don’t sleep!
sevme! = Don’t love!
getirme! = Don’t bring!
ölme! = Don’t die!
düşünme! = Don’t think!

For negation in the second person plural or formal, the negation particle -me / -ma is placed before the familiar suffix -in.

BE CAREFUL! Because there can’t be two consecutive vowels, however, a y is inserted as well. Complicated? No. Take a look:

yapmayın! = Don’t do that! [plural / formal]
çıkmayın! = Don’t get out! [plural / formal]
bozmayın! = Don’t break! [plural / formal]
uyumayın! = Don’t sleep! [plural / formal]
sevmeyin! = Don’t love! [plural / formal]
getirmeyin! = Don’t bring! [plural / formal]
ölmeyin! = Don’t die! [plural / formal]
düşünmeyin! = Don’t think! [plural / formal]

Maybe you’ve now noticed that the last suffix is only -in or -ın. This still follows complex vowel harmony, but because the negating particle can only be -ma or -me according to simple vowel harmony, only -ın or -in can follow. As a result, uyuyun can’t become “uyumayun,” nor düşünün “düşünmeyün” when negating them, for example. It sounds strange, too – even for a Turk.

Vocabulary for Lesson 2:
açmak = to open; almak = to take, to receive; ağlamak = to cry; binmek = to get on; bırakmak = to leave alone, to let go; bozmak = to break, to make change; çıkmak = to get out; düşünmek = to think; getirmek = to bring; gülmek = to laugh; ölmek = to die; sevmek = to love; uymak = to fit in; vurmak = to hit; vermek = to give; yapmak = to do