Have to in Turkish

Most people use the “must” modal verb to portray something that the “have to” modal verb normally portrays, but its not entirely correct. The modal verb “have to” is used to give the meaning of “obligation”.

An obligation comes from the inside while a necessity can also come from an outside force. In Turkish, we make this modal verb by adding the “-me/-ma” suffix to the verb root, then the personal suffix and finally the word “lazım” which means “need/required” in English. For the negative form, just add another “-me/-ma” before the “have to” suffix (this time without an additonal personal suffix of course), but this changes the modal to “shouldn’t”.


Ben-mam lazım-mem lazımBen-maman lazım-memen lazım
Sen-man lazım-men lazımSen-maman lazım-memen lazım
O-ması lazım-mesi lazımO-maması lazım-memesi lazım
Biz-mamız lazım-memiz lazımBiz-mamamız lazım-mememiz lazım
Siz-manız lazım-meniz lazımSiz-mamanız lazım-memeniz lazım
Onlar-maları lazım-meleri lazımOnlar-mamaları lazım-memeleri lazım


Let’s see some example sentences:

  • Tüm öğrencilerin bu kitapları okuması lazım.

(All students have to read these books.)


  • Türkçe öğrenmek için çok çalışmam lazım.

(I have to study hard to learn Turkish.)


  • Her akşam yatmadan önce ne yapman lazım?

(What do you have to do every night before sleeping?)

Dişlerimi fırçalamam lazım!

(I have to brush my teeth!)


Because the negative of “have to” becomes a different modal verb when used, the correct way to say “don’t have to” is by adding the word “değil” meaning “not” to the end of positive “lazım” conjugation.

  • Bu kitabı okumaman lazım.

(You shouldn’t read this book)


  • Bu kitabı okuman lazım değil.

(You don’t have to read this book)

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