An adverb is a word (in some cases phrase) that modifies the meaning of a verb, adjective, or other adverbs. Turkish adverbs express manner, place, time etc. Turkish adverbs give the answer of when/ why/ where/ how or under what conditions 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 repetition phrases act as adverbs. For example, “harıl harıl” means “incessantly” or “continuously” and is used very popularly, especially for studying.
Turkish Adverbs Example:
s/he is talking a lot.
consistent, coherent, noncontradictory
s/he’s talking consistently
non-contradictory (consistent) testimony
salak (be careful when using it!)
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 modify the adverb.
to talk fast
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 adjective. 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.
kafaca en uyumlu biz değiliz
we are not the best fit mentally
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”.
Spanish the language
If you add -ce/-çe after the words indicating dates or numerical expressions, The newly-formed word becomes adverb.
Aylarca seni bekledim
I have waited you for months
We have walked for hours
Hundreds of people
Yüzlerce insan Taksim’e yürümediler
Hundreds of people marched to Taksim
When expressing time in a sentence, you can use certain nouns as adverbs
I will not come tomorrow
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 show 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.
Spiritually, in sense
Comparing with, by analogy
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
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 repeatedly 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 okula gitmek istemiyor
Sometimes s/he doesn’t want to go to school.
Hazır yemeği nadiren yiyorum.
I eat fast food rarely.
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.
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.
In that place
In dative form, the adverbs indicate the direction of the motion.
Don’t go to there
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.
To go out
To object, to protest
At a distant
The people who are far away
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“.
To come from the interior
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”.
|Oraya (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:
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:
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.
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).
yet, freshly, just now
Henüz bu tür soruları çözemezsiniz
You cannot solve this type of questions yet.
the next day
the next morning
artık (bundan böyle, bundan sonra)
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“.
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
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)
Yine senin hakkında konuşuyorlar
There are talking about you again.
beri (-den bu yana)
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
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 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)
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!)