Turkish/Present Tense

The all-purpose present tense suffix in Turkish is -(i)yor. This suffix used to be a full verb yormak, but has turned into a suffix in modern Turkish. Because of this, the o in the suffix is invariable, and does not harmonize with the stem. Instead, an ı, i, u or ü is added before the suffix, making the full form of the suffix -ıyor/-iyor/-uyor/-üyor.

Formation edit

In verbs ending with consonants edit

When the verb stem ends in a consonant, the ending -iyor is added to the stem, with respect to 4-way vowel harmony. The personal ending harmonizes with the o in the suffix.

Verb stem + appropriate form of (i)yor + personal ending
ben kırıyorum I am breaking
sen kırıyorsun you are breaking
o kırıyor he/she is breaking
biz kırıyoruz we are breaking
siz kırıyorsunuz you are breaking
onlar kırıyor(lar) they are breaking
ben geliyorum I am coming
sen geliyorsun you are coming
o geliyor he/she is coming
biz geliyoruz we are coming
siz geliyorsunuz you are coming
onlar geliyor(lar) they are coming
ben soruyorum I am asking
sen soruyorsun you are asking
o soruyor he/she is asking
biz sor}uyoruz we are asking
siz soruyorsunuz you are asking
onlar sor}uyor(lar) they are asking
ben ölüyorum I am dying
sen ölüyorsun you are dying
o ölüyor he/she is dying
biz ölüyoruz we are dying
siz ölüyorsunuz you are dying
onlar ölüyor(lar) they are dying

An important special case arises with the verbs etmek and gitmek, where the t in the stem softens to d when the suffix is added.

ediyorum I am doing
gidiyorum I am coming

In verbs ending with vowels edit

When the stem ends with a or e, the last vowel is dropped, and is replaced with ı, i, u or ü depending on the previous vowel. If the stem already ends with ı, i, u or ü; the suffix -yor is simply added without changing the stem, followed by the personal ending.

Verb stem + appropriate form of (i)yor + personal ending
ben ödüyorum I am paying
sen ödüyorsun you are paying
o ödüyor he/she is paying
biz ödüyoruz we are paying
siz ödüyorsunuz you are paying
onlar ödüyor(lar) they are paying
ben okuyorum I am reading
sen okuyorsun you are coming
o okuyor he/she is coming
biz okuyoruz we are coming
siz okuyorsunuz you are coming
onlar okuyor(lar) they are coming

An important special case to note is the verbs demek and yemek, which do not have a second-to-last vowel to harmonize with.

diyorum I am saying
yiyorum I am eating

Negative form edit

Since the usual negative suffix -ma/-me ends in a vowel, it turns into -mı/-mi/-mu/-mü when used with the present tense.

bakyorum I am not looking
göryorum I am not seeing

Interrogative/Question form edit

The question partice mu comes after the suffix, but before the personal ending. It is spelled separately from the stem. A y is appended before the personal ending in the first singular and plural person.

dönüyor muyuz Are we returning?
yanıyor mu Is it burning?

Negative questions are also possible.

kalkyor muyuz Aren't we leaving (Literally: Aren't we getting up)

Pronunciation edit

Stress edit

In the affirmative form, the ı/i/u/ü part of the suffix is usually stressed. In the interrogative form, the stress shifts to the yor part of the suffix. In the negative and negative interrogative form, the stress is on the last syllable of the verb stem.

  • Geliyorum
  • Gelmiyorum
  • Geliyor musun?

Dropping of the r in informal speech edit

The r in the suffix is often dropped in spoken language, so it is declined like this:

ben iyom I am drinking
sen iyon you are drinking
o iyo he/she is drinking
biz iyoz we are drinking
siz iyonuz you are drinking
onlar iyo(lar) they are drinking

In very informal contexts, such as texting/online chatting, the suffix is often spelled without the y, like bakıom (bakıyorum).

Usage edit

-yor is one of the most common suffixes in Turkish, because it can be used on a wide array of situations.

Progressive edit

For events happening in the present, we use the present progressive. This largely corresponds to the English present continuous tense.

  • Ne yapıyorsunuz? What are you doing?
  • Sofrayı hazırlıyorum. I'm preparing the table.
  • Niçin böyle düşünüyorsun? Why are you thinking like this?

-makta/-mekte edit

In very formal speech, the suffix -makta/mekte may be used as the present continuous as well. This may also be used to stress the continuity of the action in informal speech as well.

  • Meclis, yeni bir kanun tasarısını tartışmakta. The Parliament is currently debating a new bill.

Habitual edit

See also: Turkish/Aorist

The present tense covers many cases of the English simple present as well. -yor may be used habitually, as well as narratively.

  • Sabahları okula metroyla gidiyorum. Every morning, I go to school with the subway.
  • Genelde bu işlere zamanım yetmiyor. I don't usually have time for stuff like this.
  • Türkçe öğrenmek çok emek istiyor. Learning Turkish requires a lot of effort.

However, -yor contrasts with the Aorist -ar in this usage, so these distinctions will be further examined in that article.

Future edit

You can give your feedback about this page on the talk page.