Lesson 09


The narrative is a tense that, like the simple past tense, describes a completed action. However, the significant difference is that we’re not explaining something “firsthand.” We’ve heard about it from someone else, for example, and are reporting it. We weren’t there. This narrative form is typical for jokes, fairy tales, and stories as well.

It’s formed with the suffix -miş.

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

-mış, -miş, -muş, and -müş.

Using the verb examples you’re familiar with, this looks as follows:

bilmişim = I (reportedly) knew (“that’s what they say”)
bilmişsin = you (reportedly) knew
bilmiş = he / she / it (reportedly) knew
bilmişiz = we (reportedly) knew
bilmişsiniz = you [plural] / you [formal] (reportedly) knew
bilmişler = they (reportedly) knew 

yapmışım = I (reportedly) did (“that’s what they say”)
yapmışsın = you (reportedly) did
yapmış = he / she / it (reportedly) did
yapmışız = we (reportedly) did
yapmışsınız = you [plural] / you [formal] (reportedly) did
yapmışlar = they (reportedly) did

The suffix -miş is also the “to be” suffix in the narrative at the same time:

büyükmüş = he / she / it was (reportedly) large

With vowel endings, a y is inserted:

hastaymış = he / she / it was (reportedly) sick

And “have” or “didn’t have” in the indefinite past:

Arabası varmış. = He / she / it (reportedly) had a car.
Arabası yokmuş. = He / she / it (reportedly) didn’t have a car.


To negate the narrative, the suffix -miş is simply preceded by the word particle -ma / ‑me:

bilmemişim = I (reportedly) didn’t know
bilmemişsin = you (reportedly) didn’t know
bilmemiş = he / she / it (reportedly) didn’t know
bilmemişiz = we (reportedly) didn’t know
bilmemişsiniz = you [plural] / you [formal] (reportedly) didn’t know
bilmemişler = they (reportedly) didn’t know

yapmamışım = I (reportedly) didn’t
yapmamışsın = you (reportedly) didn’t
yapmamış = he / she / it (reportedly) didn’t
yapmamışız = we (reportedly) didn’t
yapmamışsınız = you [plural] / you [formal] (reportedly) didn’t
yapmamışlar = they (reportedly) didn’t

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

büyük değilmiş = he / she / it (reportedly) wasn’t large

Vocabulary for Lesson 9:
adam = man; ama = but; altın = gold; çok = very, much; geçirmek = to spend (time); gün = day; insan = human; insanlık = humanity; kadın = woman; kişi = person; köy = village; pahalı = expensive