In Turkish language, you will see two different tenses that can be considered as present tense. ‘present continuous tense’ and ‘simple present tense’. Actually, the latter is specifically called aorist.
Turkish doesn’t use continuous tense for the things that English would use continuous tense. That’s why many sources confuse when naming them.
Simple Present Tense – Aorist
By its definition, aorist seems to fit into the present tense, but it differs from the simple present tense of English for lots of situations. 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).
The main suffix of the aorist is -r and depending on the verb base that it is attached, -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.
to love, like
to rejoice, to be pleased
to make someone happy
s/he makes someone happy
Emre herkesi sürprizleriyle sevindirir
Emre makes everyone happy with his surprises
Simple Present Tense – Example Sentences:
Please also try to understand for which type of time reference they are used. In that way, you’ll grasp the concept better.
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:
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 easiest one, third-person-plural is simply formed by adding -ler/-lar the plural suffix.
You(pl.) succeed it as you try
Bu filmi çok seversiniz
You (will) like this movie a lot
Check out Aorist video if you want to hear the pronunciations.
Present Continuous Tense in Turkish
If you want to express a current ongoing action, you must use 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:
I am working/studying
to comb/to scan
Bütün kitabı tarıyorum
I am scanning the whole book
I am combing my hair
For example, kırmak (eng. to break); kır (the verb root).
Check out Present Continuous Tense video if you want to hear the pronunciations.
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 spend a long 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:
The base of “Okumak” is “Oku-“* meaning study or read (a book).
But, 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” . “Mektep” comes from the same root (ktp) with Arabic word “Kitap” (eng. book)
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:
1. Üç yıldır burada kalıyoruz.
We have been living here for three years.
You may know before:
Turkish perfect tense does not exist. To give the same meaning, You use continuous tense 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 if you attach 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
You may 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
You can see an exception with the 3rd plural pronoun, onlar. You must place the plural suffix before the question suffix “mu”, and “mu” becomes “mı”.