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Past Tense


There are 5 fundamental tenses in Turkish. These are:

  1. Present simple tense (Geniş zaman)

  2. Present continuous tense (Şimdiki zaman)

  3. Future tense (Gelecek zaman)

  4. Past tense with -di (-di'li geçmiş zaman) --> Regular past tense

  5. Past tense with -miş (-miş'li geçmiş zaman) --> Also called the story past tense

Past tense with -di (-di'li geçmiş zaman) --> Regular past tense

There is no suffix for the regular past tense. The only point is that you must use the past tense form of to be. Be careful about the harmony rules though, as always. The use of the past tense with -di is almost the same as the English past tense.

  • To tell an action that took place in the past.

    • He came. --> Geldi.

  • To make a statement that was true in the past.

    • She was beautiful. --> Güzeldi.


The same way regular past tense is applied to verbs, it can also be applied to nouns and adjectives using the past tense form of to be. The meaning in this case is the same as the meaning of 'was' in English.

He was good. --> İyiydi.

I was successful. --> Başarılıydım.


Regular past tense of a word is constructed this way:

word root + (negative) + past tense to be


Let's see how a verb is used in regular past tense on the following examples:

gel-di --> geldi --> he came

git-me-di --> gitmedi --> he did not go

oku-di --> okudu --> he read

kapat-dik --> kapattık --> we closed

koş-din --> koştun --> you ran

ara-diniz --> aradınız --> you called (plural you)

konuş-me-di --> konuşmadı --> he did not talk

ver-me-dim --> vermedim --> I did not give

çalış-ma-dik --> çalışmadık --> we did not work

ye-diler --> yediler --> they ate

bekle-me-diler --> beklemediler --> they did not wait


Note that making the past tense of a verb and making the past tense of a noun or adjective is the same, but only as long as they are positive. The negative suffix for verbs is -me, but negatives of nouns and adjectives are constructed using değil. Değil is not a suffix, it is used as a seperate word. Let's see a few examples to how nouns and adjectives are expressed in past tense.

She was beautiful. --> Güzeldi.

She was not beautiful. --> Güzel değildi. (Note what we did is just to replace the suffix -me for verbs with the word değil in the case of nouns and adjectives. The ordering is still the same. Past tense of to be, which followed -me for verbs, is now put after değil)

You were not kids. --> Çocuk değildiniz.


Let's see how these personal suffixes are used on some example verbs:

English Turkish
to wait --> beklemek
i waited (ben) bekle-dim --> bekledim
you waited (sen) bekle-din --> bekledin
he  \

she  |  waited

it    /

(o) bekle-di --> bekledi
we waited (biz) bekle-dik --> bekledik
you waited

(siz) bekledi-niz --> beklediniz

they waited (onlar) bekle-diler --> beklediler
to work --> çalışmak
i worked (ben) çalış-dim --> çalıştım
you worked (sen) çalış-din --> çalıştın
he  \

she  |  worked

it    /

(o) çalış-di --> çalıştı
we worked (biz) çalış-dik --> çalıştık
you worked

(siz) çalış-diniz --> çalıştınız

they worked (onlar) çalış-diler --> çalıştılar

satruncica, Redheaddd, JasminXO33, H─▒yanet Sarmal─▒, Ursulalee and 45 others liked this lesson

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