Lesson 07



With the past simple tense, we describe actions that have already been completed. These can be things that we did or experienced yesterday, last week, or even longer ago in the past, for example. This can best be summed up as the “experienced and / or explained past.”

It’s formed with the suffix -di.

This suffix follows complex vowel harmony, meaning it can take on the forms

-dı, -di, -du, and -dü.

With the personal pronoun suffixes, this looks as follows:

bilmek = to know (the verb stem is bil-)
bildim = I knew
bildin = you knew
bildi = he / she / it knew (as always, the basic form is also the third person)
bildik = we knew
bildiniz = you [plural] / you [formal] knew
bildiler = they knew

The personal pronoun suffixes look different in this tense: the first person plural ends with z instead of k, and the second person singular and plural are only introduced with n.

The well-known situation with the “hard consonants” takes effect in this case as well, of course. However, there’s no softening! Do you remember the reference in Lesson 3.2 and the ablative / locative? For some suffixes, the hard consonants cause a “hardening” of the subsequent suffix. The past tense suffix therefore has to undergo tough training to stand up to these consonants – and thus becomes –ti (-tı, -tu, -tü):

yaptım = I did
yaptın = you did
yaptı = he / she / it did
yaptık = we did
yaptınız = you [plural] / you [formal] did
yaptılar = they did

In this situation, too, it’s clearly easier to say yaptım instead of “yapdım.” Otherwise, it sounds … well … too soft!


çalışmak = to work (the verb stem is çalış-)
çalıştım = I worked
çalıştın = you worked
çalıştı = he / she / it worked
çalıştık = we worked
çalıştınız = you [plural] / you [formal] worked
çalıştılar = they worked

The suffix -di is also the “to be” suffix in the past simple at the same time:

büyük = he / she / it was large

With vowel endings, a y is inserted:

hastay = he / she / it was sick

Furthermore, you can have had or not have had something in the past, too. Then you say:

Arabam vardı. = I had a car.
Arabam yoktu. = I didn’t have a car.


Quick and painless – negations are formed with the particle -ma / -me before the past tense suffix:

yapmam = I didn’t
yapman = you didn’t
yapma = he / she / it didn’t
yapmak = we didn’t
yapmanız = you [plural] / you [formal] didn’t
yapmalar = they didn’t

The -di isn’t hardened this time because it’s “protected” by the negating particle.

Another example:

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] / you [formal] didn’t think
düşünmediler = they didn’t think

As a reminder, “to be” is negated with değil, so this is the case with -di as the “to be” form as well:

büyük değildi = he / she / it wasn’t large


With this narrative form, you can explain things from the past that were happening in the moment. It’s therefore the “past counterpart” of the present continuous. You were in the process of doing something when something else took place. This will become clearer with the examples below, but first you should learn how to form this tense:

with the suffix -(i)yordu.

The suffix follows complex vowel harmony, meaning it can take on the forms

-ıyordu, -iyordu, -uyordu, and -üyordu.

biliyordum = I knew (at that moment)
biliyordun = you knew (at that moment)
biliyordu = he / she / it knew (at that moment)
biliyorduk = we knew (at that moment)
biliyordunuz = you [plural] / you [formal] knew (at that moment)
biliyordular = they knew (at that moment)

yapıyordum = I was doing
yapıyordun = you were doing
yapıyordu = he / she / it was doing
yapıyorduk = we were doing
yapıyordunuz = you [plural] / you [formal] were doing
yapıyordular = they were doing

Sample sentence:

Lale’yi düşünüyordum. Telefon çaldı. = I was thinking about Lale when the phone rang.

A certain action was happening (thinking about Lale) – and thus wasn’t completed yet – when another event happened (the phone rang).


The past continuous is negated with the letter -m before the past tense suffix:

bilmiyordum = I didn’t know (at that moment)
bilmiyordun = you didn’t know (at that moment)
bilmiyordu = he / she / it didn’t know (at that moment)
bilmiyorduk = we didn’t know (at that moment)
bilmiyordunuz = you [plural] / you [formal] didn’t know (at that moment)
bilmiyordular = they didn’t know (at that moment)

yapmıyordum = I wasn’t doing
yapmıyordun = you weren’t doing
yapmıyordu = he / she / it wasn’t doing
yapmıyorduk = we weren’t doing
yapmıyordunuz = you [plural] / you [formal] weren’t doing
yapmıyordular = they weren’t doing

Vocabulary for Lesson 7:
büyütmek = to enlarge, to exaggerate; çalmak = to ring, but also: to steal; çalışmak = to work; dalmak = to dive, to plunge; doldurmak = to fill, to fill out; kum = sand; restoran = restaurant; salata = salad; şemsiye = umbrella (for rain or sun); yazmak = to write; yüzmek = to swim