Lesson 05


5.1 “TO BE”

To be something in Turkish requires only a few suffixes:

First person singular (I am): -(y)im / -(y)ım / -(y)um / -(y)üm
Second person singular (you are): -sin / -sın / -sun / -sün
Third person singular (he / she / it is): -dir / -dır / -dur / -dür
First person plural (we are): -(y)iz / (y)ız / -(y)uz / -(y)üz
Second person plural (you [plural] / you [formal] are): -siniz / -sınız / -sunuz / -sünüz
Third person plural (they are): -dirler / -dırlar / -durlar / -dürler

The suffixes therefore follow complex vowel harmony.

The y in parentheses is only inserted when the word ends with a vowel.

Generally, the suffix in the third person singular and plural is omitted in colloquial speech. For the sake of completeness, however, we’ve included it anyway. 

Now a few sample sentences:

İyiyim. = literally this means: “I am good,” which makes sense under certain circumstances. But generally, it means: “I am doing well.”
İyisin. = You are doing well.
İyi(dir). = He / she is doing well.
İyiyiz. = We are doing well.
İyisiniz. = You [plural] / you [formal] are doing well.
İyi(dir)ler. = They are doing well.

Kötüsün. = You are doing badly. or You are bad.
Hastayım. = I am sick.

As always, an apostrophe is used with proper nouns:

İstanbul’dur. = That is Istanbul.
Mehmet’im. = I am Mehmet.

Examples in combination with the locative:

Evdeyim. = I am at home.
Türkiye‘deyiz. = We are in Turkey.
Lokantada(dır). = He / she is in the restaurant.

The “to be” suffix is a verb in the broader sense. Do you remember? Verbs are always placed at the end of the sentence. Here, the sentence consists of just one word, but with the “verb” at the end.

Combinations are the general rule with the corresponding question words, too:

Nasılsın? = How are you?
Kimsiniz? = Who are you [formal]?
Nerdeyiz? = Where are we?


To express “not being,” we need an additional word: değil.

This is placed in front of the “to be” suffix. Therefore, if an adjective such as iyi or hasta is used, this stands alone and değil is given the appropriate “to be” suffix – not the adjective.

The examples:

İyi değil(ler). = They are not doing well.
Kötü değilsin. = You are not doing badly. or You are not bad.
Hasta değilim. = I am not sick.
Evde değilim. = I am not at home.
Türkiye’de değiliz. = We are not in Turkey.
Lokantada değil(dir). = He / she / it is not in the restaurant.


Turkish doesn’t have an explicit verb for “to have something.” Instead, it is a combination of the possessive suffixes and var / yok. Since you’re already familiar with both, you know how someone “has” something in Turkish:

Bisikletimvar. = I have a bike. Literally: There is my bike.
Cep telefonuyok. = He / she doesn’t have a cell phone. Literally: There isn’t his / her cell phone.

You’re already familiar with this possessive + var / yok construction in connection with the question particle mi (examples from Lesson 3.4.1):

Sigaranvar ? = Do you have a cigarette?
Kaleminizvar ? = Do you [plural] / you [formal] have a pen?

Vocabulary for Lesson 5:
bu = this; büyük = large; cep = pants / jacket pocket; cep telefonu = cell phone; çanta = bag; hasta = sick; iyi = good; kötü = bad, evil; küçük = small; poşet = shopping bag; şu = that