11.1 THE CONDITIONAL
The conditional describes a hypothetical action or situation, or a condition. We tend to say this in English with an “if” clause: “if I am / were” or “if I do / did.”
In Turkish, the conditional is formed with the suffix -se / -sa.
This suffix follows simple vowel harmony:
If the last vowel of the verb stem is an e, i, ö, or ü, the suffix is –se.
If the last vowel of the verb stem is an a, ı, o, or u, the suffix is –sa.
bilsem = if I knew
bilsen = if you knew
bilse = if he / she / it knew
bilsek = if we knew
bilseniz = if you [plural] / you [formal] knew
bilseler = if they knew
yapsam = if I did
yapsan = if you did
yapsa = if he / she / it did
yapsak = if we did
yapsanız = if you [plural] / you [formal] did
yapsalar = if they did
The conditional is also possible in past tense. This looks as follows:
yapsaydım = if I had done
yapsaydın = if you had done
yapsaydı = if he / she / it had done
yapsaydık = if we had done
yapsaydınız = if you [plural] / you [formal] had done
yapsaydılar = if they had done
11.2 NEGATING THE CONDITIONAL
A conditional can be negated too, of course. For this purpose, we use -me / -ma, which you’re now generally familiar with:
bilmesem = if I didn’t know
bilmesen = if you didn’t know
bilmese = if he / she / it didn’t know
bilmesek = if we didn’t know
bilmeseniz = if you [plural] / you [formal] didn’t know
bilmeseler = if they didn’t know
yapmasam = if I didn’t
yapmasan = if you didn’t
yapmasa = if he / she / it didn’t
yapmasak = if we didn’t
yapmasanız = if you [plural] / you [formal] didn’t
yapmasalar = if they didn’t
11.3 VARIANTS OF THE CONDITIONAL
The conditional can also be used in connection with var or yok.
varsa = if there is / are
yoksa = if there isn’t / aren’t
Domates varsa, bana lütfen iki kilo verir misin? = If there are tomatoes, can you please give me two kilos?
11.4 IF IT WEREN’T FOR THAT LITTLE WORD “IF” (= EĞER) …
Another possibility for forming conditional sentences in Turkish is to use the word eğer. It’s not really an alternative – it’s more like an optional add-on since the suffixes –se / ‑sa remain. If a sentence starts with eğer, however, the listener knows immediately that a conditional sentence will follow.
Eğer domates varsa, bana lütfen iki kilo verir misin?
Vocabulary for Lesson 11:
akşam = evening; aramak = to search for, to call; cevap = answer; cevap vermek = to answer; çağırmak = to call; çarşı = downtown, market; eğer = if; pazar = bazaar, Sunday; sabah = (early) morning; zaman = time