Turkish Adverbs

An adverb is a word (in some cases phrase) that modifies the meaning of a verb, adjective or other adverb. Turkish adverbs express manner, place, time etc. Turkish adverbs give the answer of when/ why/ where/ how or under what conditiones in sentences. English adverbs are often formed by -ly suffix, whereas Turkish adverbs mostly by –CA.

Let’s first see what is an adverb with an English example.

I really want to learn Turkish adverbs.
Türkçe belirteçleri gerçekten öğrenmek istiyorum.

“Really” intensifies the verb. It’s an adverb.

In many books, Turkish adverbs are categorized into four: adverbs of place, adverbs of quantity, adverbs of time, lastly adverbs of manner. But when you are learning a foreign language, you don’t need these categories.

Focus on the adverbs and their meanings. In this article, you’ll study the most popular Turkish adverbs that you must  know to be able to talk Turkish. Let’s begin:

In Turkish, almost all adjectives can serve you as an adverb.

More commonly than English, the repitition phrases act as adverbs. For example, “harıl harıl” means “incessantly” or “continuously” and is used very popularly, especially for studying.

Turkish Adverbs Example:

çok konuşuyor.
s/he is talking a lot.

tutarlı
consistent, coherent, noncontradictory

tutarlı konuşuyor
s/he’s talking consistently

tutarlı şahitlik
non-contradictory (consistent) testimony

salak (be careful when using it!)
dump, fool

salakça
foolishly

salakça işler yapma!
lit. do not do foolish things!

işleri salakça yapma!
lit. do not foolishly do the things!

Turkish Adverb Example Sentence:

ağır ağır çıkacaksın bu merdivenlerden.
you will climb these stairs slowly.

harıl harıl ders çalışmak. (idiom, popular)
to study incessantly.

In the examples above, the adverbial expression modifies the action. However, the adverbial also can modifies the adverb.

hızlı konuşmak
to talk fast

hızlı konuşuyorsun.
you’re talking fast.

çok hızlı konuşmak
to talk very fast

hızlı mı konuşuyoruz sizce?
Do you think we talk fast?

If an equivalent for -ly is being searched in Turkish, that would be -CA. But do not hurry to use it for every adjectives. Because almost all adjectives serve as an adverb. If you add –CA, you emphasize on the adverb.

i. güzel konuş

ii. güzelce konuş

iii. güzel güzel konuş

These three sentences have very similar meanings with nuances. “güzel konuşmak” means “to give a good speech”. The second one the same but with emphasis. First one covers the content of the speech whereas the second one covers the way one makes the speech.

Güzel güzel konuşun, kavga etmeyin.
lit. Talk good, do not fight.

The suffix -ce has other functions also. When added to a noun, it converts nouns into adverbs.

kafa
head, mind

kafaca
mentally

kafaca en uyumlu biz değiliz
we are not the best fit mentally

hasta (isim)
sick, ill

hastaca
sickly

hastaca bakıyor
s/he looks as if sick

“Hasta” can also be an adjective as in “Hasta adam” (eng. sick man). It is a Persian borrowed word. Hastane (eng. hospital; tr. hasta + hane (a persian last suffix) which means “section, digit”. see also: pastane, dershane, tophane)

When -ce is added after the words describing nationalities, the new word means the language that the nation speak. For example, “English” means “İngilizce” and “İngiliz” only means “English person”.

İspanyol
Spanish, Hispanic

İspanyolca
Spanish the language

Arap
Arabian

Arapça
Arabic

Türk
Turk

Türkçe
Turkish

Osmanlı Türkçesi
Ottoman Turkish

If you add -ce/-çe after the words indicating dates or numerical expressions, The newly-formed word becomes adverb.

Aylarca
For months

Aylarca seni bekledim
I have waited you for months

Saatlerce yürüdük
We have walked for hours

Yüzlerce
Hundreds

Yüzlerce insan
Hundreds of people

Yüzlerce insan Taksim’e yürümedüler
Hundreds of people marched to Taksim

When expressing time in a sentence, you can use certain nouns as adverbs

Yarın gelmeyeceğim
I will not come tomorrow

Gece gündüz
lit. night day – day and night

Gece gündüz seni düşünürüm
I think of you day and night

Güpegündüz ne yapıyorsun burada?
What are you doing here in broad daylight?

The examples above shows the nouns in absolute form. But also you can see adverbial nouns in dative or ablative cases.

Bir + den – Bir + e

Birdenbire suya atladı
S/he suddenly jump into the water

If you add the suffixes -en/-an after Arabic and Persian borrowings, you’ll form adverbial nouns.

Mana
Meaning

Manen
Spiritually, in sense

Kıyas
Comparison

Kıyasen
Comparing with, by analogy

Hala
Still

Halen
Currently, at present

You can form comperatives from adverbs using “çok” and “daha”.

Senden çok beni seviyor
s/he likes/loves me more than s/he does you.

Roman, hikayeden daha meşakatli okunuyor (passive sentence form)
Novels are harder to read than short stories

vakit geçirmek
spend time

Senden daha çok benimle vakit geçirmek istiyorlar
They want to spend time with me more than you

“Bile” and “Hatta” give the meaning of “even” if you use in a sentence.

Ekmeği bile bıraktık
We even left the bread

Konuşmasına bile izin vermediler
They did not even let her speak

As you might realize, “bile” modifies the sentence element used before itself. For the first example, it is the bread (obj.) whereas for the second it is the verb “to speak”.

You must know that “bile” and “hatta” have similarities but also differences in usage and meaning.

Matematiğe çalışıyorum, hatta en çok çalıştığım ders matematik
I study math, even it is the course that I study the most.

Matematiğe çalışmadığımı kim söylemiş, hatta en çok çalıştığım ders matematik
Who says that I do not study math? Actually that’s the course that I study the most

Hatta” is also used repetedly to make an emphasis on the meaning.

Hatta ve hatta annesi de gelmiyor.
Even her mother is not coming.

Adverbs of frequency

Adverbs like sometimes, always, rarely are called frequency adverbs.

Bazen
Sometimes

Bazen okula gitmek istemiyor
Sometimes s/he doesn’t want to go to school.

Rarely
Nadiren

Hazır yemeği nadiren yiyorum.
I eat fast food rarely.

Always
Daima, hep, her zaman

Adverbs of place and adverbs of direction are basically the Turkish translations of Up, Above, South etc.

Adverbs of Place is the adverbs that modifies the location where the action happens.

Yukarı
Up

Aşağı
Down

Sağ
Right

Sol
Left

İçeri
In

Dışarı
Out

Karşı
Opposite, Against

Burada
Here

Şurada
There

Orada
There

Öte
Beyond

Ön
Front

Uzak
Far

Kuzey
North

Güney
South

East
Doğu

West
Batı

The adverbs listed above can be formed for different cases. Some of them, such as “Orada” is the locative case of “Ora” which means “There” also.

Ora
That place

Orada
In that place

In dative form, the adverbs indicate the direction of the motion.

Oraya
To there

Oraya gitmeyin
Don’t go to there

Karşıya*
To opposite

Karşıya geçeceğim
I will go to the opposite

* “Karşı” is often used to describe the other continent in Istanbul. Let’s say you live in the European side in Istanbul. If you say “Karşıya geçeceğim” (lit.I’ll pass to the opposite), you mean that you will go to the Anatolian side.

Dışarı çıkmak
To go out

Karşı çıkmak
To object, to protest

Uzakta
At a distant

Uzaktakiler
The people who are far away

Ön
Front

Önlük
Apron

Uzak doğu
Far east

Orta doğu
Middle east

İçeriye girmek / içeri girmek*
lit. To go to in; to enter, to get into

This phrase is also used to describe “to go to jail“.

İçeriden gelmek
To come from the interior

İçeride oturmak
To sit inside (indoor)

If you add -rA to the Turkish demonstrative adjectives “o”, “şu”, “bu”, it turns the adjectives into nouns. These nouns can easily form dative, ablative and locative cases with “ora”, “bura”, “şura”.

 

 O (That)Bu (This)Şu (That)
-rAOra (There)Bura (Here)Şura (There)
-(y)AOraya (to there)Buraya (to here)Şuraya (to there)
-dAn (direction suffix)Oradan (from there)Buradan (from here)Şuradan (from there)
-lı (with/place of birth)Oralı (from there)Buralı (from here)Şuralı (from there)

Turkish Adverbs Examples:

Bura/Burası çok sıcak
It is very hot here

In the next two examples you’ll see a new suffix: -ı/-sı. It is the partitive suffix. Check the meaning with the next examples:

Koltuğun burası lekeli.
This part of the couch is stained

Koltuğun burasında leke var
There is a stain in this part of the couch

İzmir’i iyi bilirim ama oralı değilim
I know Smyrna well but I am not from there

Buralı olmadığın anlaşılıyor
It is obvious that you are not from here

Adverbs of time modify the verb and tell you when the action happens.

Some time adverbs, also, tell for how long and how frequent the action happens. Time adverbs are categorized in two in Turkish grammar books: definite and indefinite. You don’t need to distinguish these categories but focus on the words and their meanings.

In English, some of the time adverbs are Tomorrow, Yesterday, Annually, Weekly etc. These words corresponds in Turkish to Yarın, Dün, Yıllık or Her Yıl, Haftalık or Her Hafta. Indefinite adverbs are Often, Generally, Normally, Already. In Turkish, Sıkça, Genelde, Normalde, Çoktan, respectively.

Most of the definite adverbs appear in absolute case:

Dün geldik.
We came yesterday.

Her hafta pikniğe gideriz.
Each week we go for a picnic.

Nouns that indicates time sometimes take the plural suffix -ler/-lar + the third person suffix (-I) and become time adverb. Then it modifies the action with the meaning of frequency.

Time adverbs – Examples:

Sabah
Morning

Sabahları
(Every) Mornings

Sabahları çay içerim
I drink tea every morning

Her sabah çay içerim
I drink tea every morning

Locative case gives the meaning of “in, on, at“, as its name suggests. But you should know that forming the adverb in locative case is not the only way, nor the correct way in some cases. For example, “Gecede” or “Gecelerde” seems grammatically correct; However, “Her gece” or only “Gece” is more commonly used to express “every night” or “at night“.

For months and seasons, it is always Locative case.

Ocakta kar yağar.
It snows in January

İlkbaharda hep aşık olurum
I get in love in springs.

For the words “Kış” and “Yaz“, natives usually prefer to say “Kışın” and “Yazın“. The word “Yaz” comes from the ancient Turkish Yay/Yaz/yā which means Yayılmak, Açmak (eng. to spread, to open). On the other hand, “Kış” is from Kışmak/Kısmak/Kapanmak (eng. to thighten, to close). The word “Bahar” both exists in Persian and Arabic but it is known that Turkish borrowed it from the Persian language. Even though, you hear “Baharın“, it is not correct.

The dative form is used to describe a time in the future.

Haftaya içeriz
We would/will drink the next week

Gelecek aya öderim
I would pay the next month

Haftaya kalmaz gideriz
We would go before the next week

Gelecek aya kalmaz öderim
I would pay before the next week

You can see the dative form in many adverbs of time such as Eskiden, Çoktan, Önceden.

Eskiden is the Turkish equivalent of “of yore“. It is used to describe the actions that were happening in the past. For example, this word is popularly used when talking nostalgia.

Eskiden at arabaları vardı
There used to be horse-drawn vehicles

Çoktan” translates as “already” and “since long” and is widely used.

Bu yollardan biz çoktan geçtik *
lit. We have already passed through these roads.

* “Yollardan geçmek” here implies that they have experienced (they have seen before).

henüz
yet, freshly, just now

Henüz bu tür soruları çözemezsiniz
You cannot solve this type of questions yet.

ertesi
next, following

ertesi gün
the next day

ertesi sabah
the next morning

artık (bundan böyle, bundan sonra)
no longer

artık çikolata yiyemezsin bugünlük
you no longer can eat chocolate for today

*”Artık” is also used as “residual“. It derives from “artmak” which means “remain, increase“.

hemen (çabucak)
Immediately

Cenazeye hemen gitmeliyiz
We have to go to the funeral immediately

** You also can encounter “hemen hemen” which has a completely different meaning. It means “almost, about

Hemen hemen herkes seni sordu
Almost everyone has asked about you

şimdi (şu anda)
at the moment, now

Şimdi bana gidemeyeceğini mi söylüyorsun?
You are now saying to me that you can not go?

Şimdi” is also used as “Recently“. The word does not imply a punctual time even though it seems like. For example, in this sentence “Şimdi Türkiye kötü bir durumdan geçiyordu“, “Şimdi” represents a large period of time.

evvel / önce
ago, before

İki sene önce, kimse böyle konuşmuyordu.
No one was talking like this two years ago.

Evvel” is the Arabic equivalent of “Önce” and has lost its popularity in modern Turkish after the language reform.

yine / gene (bir daha, tekrar, yeniden)
again

Yine senin hakkında konuşuyorlar
There are talking about you again.

beri (-den bu yana)
since

Gittiğinden beri hiçbir şey yemedi
Gittiğinden bu yana hiçbir şey yemedi
S/he has not eaten anything since the time you left

More examples on Turkish adverbs

Yalnız (Sadece)

They both mean “Only”. Yalnızca is popullary used also. In some situations, Yalnız covers the meaning of But (last example).

Yalnız iki kitap mı okudun?
Yalnızca iki kitap mı okudun?
Have you read only two books?

Sadece bu kapıdan girebiliriz.
We only can enter through this door.

Yazmıştım, yalnız daha göndermedim.
I had written but I have not sent it yet.

Nitekim (Nasıl ki)

It is often translated as ” thus, hence” or “indeed, in fact”. You hear this word less day by day. Its ‘modern’ synonym is more widely used today: “sonuç olarak, nasıl ki”.

Bu kütüphanedeki kitaplar kurgu değil. Nitekim bu kitap bu kütüphaneye ait değil.
The books in this library are not fictional. Indeed this book doesnt belong to this library.

Halbuki (Oysaki)

Halbuki is an interesting word because hal is Arabic word, -bu is a Turkish and -ki is a Persian suffix. The final word means ‘Whereas, though’ or ‘Yet’ (If at the beginning of sentence). Its Turkish equivalent “Oysa ki” comes from two joining words which you probably know: O + ise.

Halbuki suçlu o değildi.
Yet s/he was not the guilty.

O kadar yürüdüm halbuki dükkan kapalıymış.
I have walked a lot (then I realized) though the kiosk was closed.

Oysaki kader ağlarını örmeye başlamıştı.
Proverb: lit. But the destiny has already begun to spin a web. (This proverb is used to describe things passing in your life but somehow you can not intervene)

Güya

Dictionaries suggest “though” as its translation; “allegedly” also sounds proper.

Güya ben almışım
I took it, though (He claims that I took it, I don’t even need it)

Güya sorumluluklarını yerine getirmişler
They say they fulfilled their responsibilities (Sure! If they did, we wouldn’t be experiencing this!)