Present Tense in Turkish

In Turkish language, it can be said that there are two types of tenses that can be considered as present tense. Present continuous tense and ‘simple present tense’. Actually, the latter is specifically called aorist.

Simple Present Tense – Aorist

By its definition, aorist seems to fit into present tense, but it differs from the simple present tense of English for lots of situation. Some sources consider aorist as simply present tense but you may want to learn the distinct features of aorist (that would greatly help you to understand and have a better idea). But anyway both of them are explained on this page with examples.

The main suffix of aorist is -r and depending on the verb base that it is attach, -r can transform to -ır,-ir.-er,-ur,-ar. You’ll decide which letter is the best by vowel harmony rules.

Simple Present Tense – Examples:

In Turkish, Simple Present Tense or Aorist is called ‘geniş zaman’ which literally translates into ‘broad tense’. Simple Present Tense is used to describe actions that are done ‘almost’ always. My favorite example of it is ‘döner’ which means ‘(thing) that rotates always’. The following example also shows you how a verb can be derived from another verb by adding suffixes.

Sevmek
to love, like

Sevinmek
to rejoice, to be pleased

Sevindirmek
to make someone happy

Sevindirir
s/he makes someone happy

Emre herkesi sürprizleriyle sevindirir
Emre makes everyone happy with his surprises

Ben SenO
VERB+ -rim-rsin-r
tara- tararımtararsıntarar
kır- kırarımkırarsınkırar
sev- severimseversinsever

Simple Present Tense – Example Sentences:

Aside from understand the example sentences, please try to understand for which type of time period they are used. In that way, you’ll grasp the concept of it.

Telefonu öyle tutarsan ekranını kırarsın.
If you hold your cellphone like that, you’ll break the screen.
(The biggest problem of modern life)

O tatlıyı çok sever.
He/She/it likes very much sweet things.

Simple Present Tense (Aorist) Plural:

BizSizOnlar
VERB+ -riz-rsiniz-rler
tara- tararıztararsınıztararlar
kır- kırarızkırarsınızkırarlar
sev- severizseversinizseverler

Simple Present Tense – Example:

Plurals of Simple Present Tense are very easy to form. For the first-person-plural you simply convert ‘m’ to ‘z’ which applies for almost any tenses. (Remember that the last letter of ‘biz’ is ‘z’). For the second-person-plural, you add ‘iz’ without changing anything. (Siz and ‘iz’). The last and the easist one, third-person-plural is simply formed by adding -ler/-lar the plural suffix.

Başarmak
to succeed

Yaptıkça başarırsınız
You(pl.) succeed it as you try

Bu filmi çok seversiniz
You (will) like this movie a lot

If you want to see more details, as sugguested before, please visit the aorist page.

Present Continuous Tense in Turkish

To express a current ongoing action, Present continuous tense is used. Things are habitually done are expressed by using the present tense in English. In contrast in Turkish, habitual things are expressed using aorist (tr. Geniş zaman).

Present continuous tense is easy to form. The suffix “-yor” is attached to the root of the verb. The verb does not undergo changes unless,

1. Verb root ends with e/a, “e/a” transforms into one of “i,ü,ı,u” depending on the vowel harmony.

2. Verb root ends with a consonant, there comes buffer vowel to prevent the sequency of two consonants

Present Continuous Tense Example:

Çalışıyorum
I am working/studying

Taramak
to comb/to scan

Bütün kitabı tarıyorum
I am scanning the whole book

Saçımı tarıyorum
I am combing my hair

For example, kırmak (eng. to break); kır (the verb root).

Present Continuous Tense is also used to express the actions for which English uses perfect tense.

Contrary to English, simple tense sentence structure can be easily used to express an action in the future or in the past. In that case, a word indicating the time such as tomorrow, next year or last year has to be used. Also, simple present tense is used to express the actions for which English uses perfect tense. Thus, Turkish students learning English spends a good deal of time to understand the perfect tense concept.

Geçen yıldan beri Türkçe çalışıyorum.
I have been studying Turkish since last year.

If you eliminate the phrase indicating time (geçen yıldan beri), the meaning dramatically changes. Only “Türkçe çalışıyorum” means “I study Turkish” or “I am studying Turkish”. On the other hand, “Yarın Türkçe çalışıyorum.” means you will study Turkish tomorrow. However, the subject is emphasized in this case (what will you study? -Turkish). This grammatical flexibility is very beneficial for new-learners!

Present Continuous Tense Conjugations:

SINGULAR

Ben SenO
VERB+ yorumyorsunyor
oku- okuyorumokuyorsunokuyor
kal- kalıyorumkalıyorsunkalıyor
iç- içiyorumiçiyorsuniçiyor

The base of “Okumak” is “Oku-“* meaning study or read (a book).

Do not hurry to think “Okul” (eng. school) comes from the verb “Okumak”; it rather comes from French école. One century ago, “Mektep” was commonly used for “Okul” which comes from the same root (ktp) with Arabic word “Kitap” (eng. book)

Examples:

1.Üçüncü sınıfta okuyorum.
I study in third grade

2.Şu sıra Orhan Kemal okuyorum.
I read Orhan Kemal these days

Present Continuous Tense Plural:

Biz SizOnlar
VERB + yoruzyorsunuzyorlar
oku- okuyoruzokuyorsunuzokuyorlar
kal- kalıyoruzkalıyorsunuzkalıyorlar
iç- içiyoruziçiyorsunuziçiyorlar

Examples:

1. Üç yıldır burada kalıyoruz.
We have been living here for three years.

It is mentioned earlier that in Turkish perfect tense does not exist; therefore, continuous tense is used with a phrase indicating time (e.g. Üç yıldır).

2.Bodrum katında kalıyorlar.
They live in the basement.

3. Sabahtan beri içiyoruz.
We have been drinking since the morning.)

Present Continuous Tense Negative (Interrogative Form):

Question suffix “mu” makes the sentence interrogative when attached at the end of a present base. The structure of the base is formed for the third person, he, she, it (tr. O). In this way, you can form question sentences that you will have “Yes” or “No” answer.

Continuous Tense Negative Table Singular

Ben SenO
muyummusunmu
Positive satıyor muyumsatıyor musunsatıyor mu
Negative satmıyor muyumsatmıyor musunsatmıyor mu

As you notice, the question form is not complex. When reading Turkish, you will notice that people often write the question suffix joined to the verb. For example, satıyormuyum? or satmıyormusun? This is a popular mistake and this kind of mistakes “unofficially” reveals if someone had a good education or not. Because of that, you should care about this and similar mistakes when writing Turkish. Making this clerical error in a formal mail would give a bad impression.

Continuous Tense Negative Table Plural

Biz SizOnlar
muyuzmusunuzmular
Positive satıyor muyuzsatıyor musunuzsatıyorlar mı
Negative satmıyor muyuzsatmıyor musunuzsatmıyorlar mı

Here, we see an exception with the 3rd plural pronoun, onlar. The plural suffix is placed before the question suffix “mu”, and “mu” becomes “mı”.