Conjunctions

Merriam Webster defines Conjunction as: an uninflected linguistic form that joins together sentences, clauses, phrases, or words. Some common conjunctions are “and,” “but,” and “although.”

 
Conjunctions are the words used to connect sentences or phrases. Most famous ones are And (tr. Ve), Because (tr. Çünkü) and But (tr. Ama). Conjunction is translated into Turkish as Bağlaç. The word Bağlaç is derived from the root Bağlamak which means to link, to tie, to connect. Conjunctions and particles are often confused by Turkish students. Thus, In Turkish sources, one point is overly emphasised: Particles when removed from the sentence cause the meaning change. When removed conjunctions, the meaning may be narrowed but not changed.

Here are some Turkish conjunctions: Ama, De, Da, İse, İle, Ki, Madem, Fakat, Hatta, Ya da, Yahut etc.

De / Da: This conjunction is quite popular nowadays because of its mistaken writing. Before its meaning, let’s emphasize its correct spelling:
De / Da has to be written separately, not attached to the word! It is an enclitic conjunction (that always needs to follow another word). If you make a mistake, you could even be warned!

dahi anlamindaki de

dahi anlamindaki de kanabitches.com

Kanabitches.com is a website run by Istanbulian Serra Aybars where you can find hand-made canvases about daily life things. It is quite fun if you are interested.

Most commonly, de/da gives the meaning of too, including, also.

Example:

Ben de kazandım
I won too

Meyve de yiyemiyorum
I can not eat fruit either

Burada sigara da içemezsin
You can not (do anything) here including smoking.

Çocuk da yaparım, kariyer de
I make a baby also I do a career.

As we will see next, In Turkish, Ve (eng. And) is not used as much as in English. Rather, there are several conjunctions or suffixes covering the same meaning. When De/Da comes between two words, it gives the meaning of and.

Example:

Gitmişler de gelmişler.
They have gone and they have arrived

Dinledim de beğenmedim
I have listened to it and didn’t like it

When used repeatedly, it gives the meaning of Both, And.

Çantanı da cetvelini de almayı unutma
Do not forget to take your bag and ruler.

Atention: Da / Da follows vowel harmony rules but never becomes Te / Ta.

VE (and)

As mentioned before, Ve is not used as much as it is in English. There are suffixes and conjunctions covering the same meaning such as -ip, ile and de/da. We will now see examples.

Example:

Bu kız ve bu çocuk
This girl and this child

Bu kızla bu çocuk
This girl and this child

In speech, the latter structure is more popularly used. İle usually comes between two nouns.

Eve geldim ve olanları gördüm
I arrived home and saw what happened

Eve gelip olanları gördüm
I arrived home and saw what happened

-İp always comes after verb roots. The time is often determined by the second verb.

Eve gelip olanları görecektim
I was going to arrive home and see what happened

Çağırmış da gelmişler
S/he has called them and they arrived

Bulur da fazlasını ister
One finds but asks for more

Ama (Ancak, Lakin, Fakat) [but]

All the four words have the same meaning. The most common one is Ama which is an borrowing from Arabic. Further, the last two ones, Lakin and Fakat are also borrowed from Arabic. It is quite interesting though why there are so many borrowed words meaning the same even without a slight difference. Ancak, on the other hand, comes from ancient Turkish.

Example:

Oraya gittim ama sizi göremedim

Oraya gittim fakat sizi göremedim

Oraya gittim ancak sizi göremedim

Oraya gittim lakin sizi göremedim

I went there but I couldn’t see you

Lakin and Fakat are less commonly used in modern Turkish. They are more preferred in literary language. For example, let’s say there is a period drama on TVs from the 19th century. In the script, you would not hear Ama or Ancak but Fakat or Lakin.

The correct spelling of Lakin is with â. (Lâkin) Nevertheless, there is no similar word with which one would confuse their meaning. Because of that, the use of ‘â’ is avoided.

When ama is at the end of sentence, it means though.

Example:

Bu kadarı da fazla ama!
This is way too much, though

There is also another expression giving the same meaning of these four words. It is ‘ne var ki’. However, there is an extra in the meaning. See the example:

Oraya gittim ne var ki sizi göremedim
I went there but (surprisingly) I couldn’t see you

Madem, Madem ki (Since)

It is translated as ‘seeing that’. The first a in Madem is pronunciated long. Both uses (madem and madem ki) are popular and do not have a difference in meaning.

Madem ki bilmiyorsun, neden fikir belirtiyorsun.
Seeing that you don’t know, why are you saying a lot.

Ne … ne … ne (Neither nor)

This use may look a little bit strange but it is quite common and very useful. You can use it almost for every verb and noun without undergoing lots of grammatics. So, please give your full attention to learn it.

Example:

Ne sever, ne nefret eder.
S/he neither likes, nor hates.

The number of “ne” is not limited:

Ne sever, ne söver, ne nefret eder.
S/he neither likes, nor damns, nor hates.

If you form a long sentence with this conjunction, the last “ne” usually takes “de/da” (doesn’t have to though).

Ne sever, ne söver, ne de nefret eder.
S/he neither likes, nor damns, nor hates.

Ne ekmek almışsınız ne de su.
(I see that) You bought neither bread nor water.

Ne okumak beğenirler, ne de kitap.
lit. They neither likes ‘reading’, nor book.

Gerek … Gerek(se)

The pattern of this conjunction is very similar to that of Ne … Ne …. You may also find some sentences where the last Gerek appears as Gerekse (Gerek + ise). The English equivalent of this conjunction doesn’t cover the same meaning yet it is whether … or …. Gerek is derived from the verb “Gerekmek” which means “To require”.

Gerek emekli gerekse çalışan kişilere iş imkanı
Job opportunity to the retired or the employee

You would see this type of conjunction mostly in the literary Turkish language. You must learn the meaning, but using in daily speech is not necessarily essential.

Hem … Hem (de)

Hem comes from the Persian language. It gives a very similar meaning of De/Da. Unlike the conjunction of Gerek, this type of conjunctions is very commonly used in both daily speech and literary language. It is translated as both … and …

Bu tür bağlaçlar hem günlük konuşmalarda hem de edebi dilde bolca kullanılmaktadır.
This type of conjunctions is very commonly used in both daily speech and literary language.

There are more conjunctions similar to the ones we have learned. We’ll cover the rest shortly since they are very similar.

İster … İster(se) (eng. Either … or)

İster buraya gelsinler ister eve gitsinler.
They can (either) come here or go home, doesn’t matter.

Ha … ha … (eng. Both … and; Or)

Ha kazanmışsın ha kaybetmişsin, sen benim değerli kızımsın.
lit. You won or you lost (doesn’t matter) you are my precious daughter.

Ha elma ha armut
Both apple or pear

Ya … Ya (da) … (eng. … or …)

Ya trene bineriz ya da uçağa bineriz.
We travel Either on train or plane.

ise

It’s correct translation is if it is for the most of the time. If used after a noun, it emphasizes the noun. Sometimes, it means whereas (in the third example).

Example:

Sen ise kendini kandırıyordun
And you, you were fooling yourself.

Yazmayı ve okumayı severim; okulu ise hiç sevmiyorum
I like writing and reading. School, however, I really dislike.

Kedi memeli bir hayvandır, kaplumbağa ise yumurtalı.
Cats are mammals whereas turtles are ovipara.

Ki

Ki is a very tiny but quite versatile and useful Turkish conjunction. It is borrowed from Persian in the 13th century and make Turkish develop new abilities. Lewis states that the importation of this Persian conjunction opened the door to the Indo-European pattern of a sentence, which is in many respects the reverse of the native Turkish literary pattern. Persian and Arabic grammar structures have been imported during many years of cultural interactions. Due to that, Turkish has gained enormous flexibility, especially in poetry and literary language.

Example:

Korkarım ki* telofonunu kaybettim.
I am afraid that I lost your phone.

Elbette ki erken gelecekler.
Of course that they will come early.

Susmalısın ki duyalım. (Duymamız için susman gerekiyor)
You should be quite so we can here.

Çalışmalısın ki başarasın. (Başarmak için çalışmalısın)
You should work/study so as to succed.

Odaya bir girdik ki her şey darmadağın.
We entered the room and (we have found that) everything is all over the place.

Öyle kötü ki yenmesi imkansız.
It is too unsavoury that it is impossible to eat.

Perhiz yapmalısın ki kilo veresin.
You should diet so that you can lose kilo.

*I am afraid is translated as Korkarım ki into Turkish. However, you don’t often say this phrase in Turkish. You’d rather say Sanırım or Galiba. Unfortunately, dubbed or subtitled movies cause this kind of ‘weird’ translations. You must be careful when learning a foreign language by watching subtitled movies or series. It is essential to expose yourself the language spoken by the natives.

Even though Ki seems very tiny, consisting of two letters, it cannot be omitted in a sentence. Because most of the cases it changes the meaning dramatically.

Example:

You may omit:

Elbette ki erken gelecekler.
Of course that they will come early.

Elbette, erken gelecekler.
They will come early of course.

You can not omit:

Çalışmalısın ki başarasın.
You should study/work so you can succeed.

Öyle kötü ki yenmesi imkansız.
It tastes incredibly bad so it is impossible to eat.

‘Çalışmalısın, başarasın’ doesn’t exactly mean what is trying to be meant nor ‘Öyle kötü yenmesi imkansız’.

Perhiz yapmalısın ki kilo veresin.
You should be on a diet so that you can lose weight

Perhiz yapmak
Be on a diet

Perhiz is a Persian borrowing and often appears in modern Turkish even though Diyet yapmak or Diyete girmek is more popular nowadays.

Başkanın neresi doğru ki
Are there anything that the president doing right

Eğer kebap yediysen -ki yediğine eminim- çok lezzetli olduğunu bilirsin.
If you have eaten kebap -well, surely you did- you’d know how delicious it is.

Çünkü (Şundan dolayı)

Its English equivalent is Because. Its usage is very similar to Because.

Kitabı okumadım çünkü yazar çok yanlı yazıyor.
I didn’t read the book because the author writes very non-objectively.

In Turkish diction lessons, this is often emphasised that the correct pronunciation of this word is Çünki. In speech it must be pronunciated as Çünki. But do not confuse, the correct spelling is always Çünkü.

Diğer taraftan

It means On the other hand. There is also one more alternative: Öte yandan. They do not have much difference in meaning.

Diğer taraftan, halk protesto ediyordu.
On the other hand, the society was protesting.

Bir yanda sen, öte yanda annem.
On one side, you, on other side, my mother.

This conjunction is used to give the meaning of in addition to also.

Bi taraftan okuyorum diğer taraftan mektubu yazıyorum.
I read, in addition to that, I write the letter.

In these sentences, Diğer taraftan can be replaced by Öte yandan. The meaning doesn’t change at all not even slightly.

Yoksa

Yok+ise(sa) conveys the meanings of if not and Or. There is also Aksi takdirde which is an old saying having the same meaning of Yoksa.

Bunu mu alsam yoksa şunu mu?
Should I buy this, or that?

Yap şunu! Yoksa ben yapacağım.
Do it! Or I am doing to do it.