Turkish Past To Be Suffix

Lessons > Speaking Turkish in 30 Days

Positive – Past To Be

In this lesson, we will continue from where we left with “To Be” sentences. We learned how to make statement sentences in the Present Tense, now we will learn how to make them in Past Tense.

We learned that the sentence order for making To Be sentences in the Present Tense was “Pronoun + Noun / Adjective + Person suffix”. The sentence order for making statement sentences in the past tense is also similar, the only difference is the personal suffix.

Let’s look at the chart to see how the personal suffix is conjugated in the Past Tense:


The Past Tense personal suffix always starts with the “-dı/-di/-du/-dü” letters. If the noun or the adjective end in a vowel, we have to insert the buffer letter “-y” to make it easier for the sound to glide. This is also related to the topic of Vowel Harmony.

If the noun or the adjective ends in the consonants “ç,f,h,k,p,s,ş,t” we need to change the “-d” letter inside the suffix to a “-t” letter because of similar pronunciation (the articulation of the letters) and easier gliding of the sounds.

Let’s see some positive statement sentence examples:

  • Ben bir öğretmendim
  • I was a teacher.
  • Sen mutluydun
  • You were happy.
  • Onlar heyecanlıydı
  • They were excited.
  • Biz başarılıydık
  • We were successful.

Negative – Past To Be

If you want to make negative past statement sentences, you need to include the “değil” word which means “not” in Turkish, plus the past tense personal suffix. The sentence structure is similar to what we learned in the Negative Present Statement sentences.

 Negative +
Person Suffix

Here are some sentence examples:

  • Ben (bir) asker değildim
  • I wasn’t a soldier.
  • Sen rahat değildin
  • You weren’t relaxed.
  • O (bir) doktor değildi
  • He wasn’t a doctor.
  • Onlar Türk değildiler
  • They weren’t Turkish.

Positive Questions

Now that you know about positive past statement sentences, lets learn how to make some positive past questions. If you remember from the Day 3 lesson, the sentence order and most of the structure for making question sentences is the same with past questions, the only difference is the personal suffix “-dı/di” which we add right after the question word “-mı/-mi/-mu”.


Most people have problems memorizing or basically understanding the vowel harmony for personal suffix and it may take some time until you can automatically place the correct personal suffix. But once you understand it, you won’t forget it that easily.

Let’s see some sentence examples:

  • Sen rahat ydın?
  • Were you comfortable?
  • Siz misafir miydiniz?
  • Were you guests?
  • Onlar çalışan ydı?
  • Were they employees?
  • O bir tavşan ydı?
  • Was it a rabbit?

Negative Questions

For this last part of this lecture, lets learn how to make negative past statement questions. The same rules apply for this type of question. Basically, the sentence starts with a personal pronoun, then an noun or an adjective, followed by the negation “değil” meaning “not” and finally the question word “-mi” followed by the past personal suffix.

Negative +
Person Suffix
Bendeğil miydim
Sendeğil miydin
Odeğil miydi
Bizdeğil miydik
Sizdeğil miydiniz
Onlardeğil miydiler

Here are some examples sentences:

  • Sen Ali değil miydin?
  • Weren’t you Ali?
  • O (bir) profesör değil miydi?
  • Wasn’t she a professor?
  • Siz hasta değil miydiniz?
  • Weren’t you sick?
  • Onlar Avusturyalı değil miydiler?
  • Weren’t they Australians?

You should be able to start making simple sentences thanks to these last four lectures. Coming up, we will learn how to make Present Simple sentences and some Wh- questions to go along with them.

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