Turkish/Nominal Sentences

(Redirected from Turkish/To be or not to be)

In Turkish, not every sentence has to have a verb. In fact, even a single noun can be a sentence. There are two types of these sentences, copular sentences and var/yok sentences, both of which will be covered in this article.

Copular Sentences edit

In Turkish, there is no verb to be. Instead, the following suffixes are appended into a noun to convey the meaning of to be:

Copular Suffixes
ben (y)im I am
sen sin you are
o he/she is
biz (y)iz we are
siz siniz you are
onlar (ler) they are

All of these suffixes are subject to vowel harmony, as explained in its article. The y in parenthesis is added if the word stem ends in a vowel. However, in the third person, no suffix is used. This means, a sentence in Turkish may be as simple as this:

  • O bir öğretmen. He is a teacher.

Speakers of Russian may be familiar with this.

Pronoun dropping edit

In Turkish, similar to many other languages, the pronoun is usually omitted while forming a sentence. The rules of pronoun dropping are rather complex, and are covered in Turkish/Pronouns. It is for now enough to know that the pronoun isn't necessary. Therefore, the following examples are completely valid:

  • Evdeyim. I'm home.
  • Aptalsın. You are dumb.
  • Öğrenciyiz. We are students.
  • Bizimlesiniz. You are with us.

The suffix for onlar is used only when the pronoun is dropped.

  • Onlar evde. They are home.
  • Evdeler. They are home.

Negative edit

In order to negate a copular sentence, the word değil is used. Copular suffixes are appended to değil instead.

  • Öğretmen değilim. I'm not a teacher.
  • Zeki değilsin. You aren't smart.

The word değil is pronounced /dɛjil/ in formal speech, and /diːl/ in casual speech.

Questions edit

Questions are formed with mı/mi/mu/mü, which undergoes vowel harmony, but is written as a separate word. The question particle comes before the copular suffixes, but after değil.

  • Aptal mısın? Are you dumb?
  • Sırada mıyız? Are we next?
  • Öğretmen değil misin? Aren't you (a/the) teacher?

var/yok Sentences edit

There is... edit

To say that a thing exists, we just use the word var.

  • Vakit var. There is time.
  • Üç çocuk var. There are three children.

To say that a thing does not exist, we use the word yok.

  • Hiç vakit yok. There isn't any time/There is no time.
  • Evde soğan yok. There aren't onions in the house.

Questions may be formed by adding the word after var and mu after yok.

  • Domates var mı? Are there tomatoes?
  • Kimse yok mu? Isn't there anyone?/Is there no one?

I have... edit

Turkish also lacks a verb for to have. Instead, we just use var/yok together with possessive suffixes.

  • Kaç çocuğun var? How many children do you have? Literally: How many of your children are there?
  • Yakıtım yok. I don't have fuel. Literally: My fuel doesn't exist.

Noun constructs and possessive suffixes are covered in greater detail in another article.

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