Turkish Past Simple Tense

Lessons > Speaking Turkish in 30 Days

Positive – Past Simple

After 10 Days, we finally came to the Past Simple Tense. There is actually a logical reason why it took us 10 lessons to come to this subject because we needed to learn certain subjects like the “Genitive Case” and “Spatial Post positions” to make our lessons and examples richer in context. There are so many parts of speech in Turkish that we have yet to uncover. We will cover all the fundamental topics that need to be covered in these 30 days.

You should now have understood the basic principals of verb conjugation with the earlier “Present Simple” and “Present Continuous” tenses in Turkish. The rules are going to be always similar and logical from now on.

As you know, we use the Past Simple Tense to talk about actions someone did or witnessed in the past. Making Past Simple sentences in Turkish is pretty simple, we add the “-di/-dı/-du/-dü” or “-ti/- tı/-tu/-tü” to the end of the root of the verb in addition to the personal suffix which is added right after the Past Tense suffix.

 a/ıe/io/uö/ü
Ben-dım-dim-dum-düm
Sen-dın-din-dun-dün
O-dı-di-du-dü
Biz-dık-dik-duk-dük
Siz-dınız-diniz-dunuz-dünüz
Onlar-dılar-diler-dular-düler

If the last syllable of the verb ends in the consonants “f/s/t/k/ç/ş/h/p” we change the “-d” to a “-t” in the above chart. A nice way to memorize this rule is remembering the phrases “Fıstıı Şahap” or “Çift Haseki Paşa”.

Let’s seem some examples. This time the examples will get a bit more complex, using the grammar that we’ve learned so far:

  • Dün, okul arkadaşım Ali’den kitap ödünç aldım.(ödünç almak).
  • Yesterday, I borrowed a book from my school friend Ali.
  • Babam eski arabasını sattı. (satmak).
  • My father sold his old car.
  • Bir kuş kafamın üstüne sıçtı (sıçmak – slang).
  • A bird shat on my head.

Just a small reminder, Turkish doesn’t have the “Present Perfect” tense where we talk about action that have been completed but still have its effects (like experiences). Instead, we use additional words to convey the “Perfect Aspect” in Turkish.

  • Bu kitabı daha önce okudum.(okumak)
  • I have read that book (before).
  • Amerika’ya önceden gittim. (gitmek)
  • I have visited United States (before).

Negative – Past Simple

Making negative past simple sentences is similar to making a negative sentence in any Turkish tense. We add the “-ma/-me” negative suffix between the root of the verb and the Past Tense suffix.

 a/ı/o/ue/i/ö/ü
Ben-madım-medim
Sen-madın-medin
O-madı-medi
Biz-madık-medik
Siz-madınız-mediniz
Onlar-madılar-mediler

Here are some examples:

  • Bu sabah kahvaltı yapmadım. (yapmak)
  • I didn’t have breakfast this morning.
  • Dün gece ödevimi bitirmedim. (bitirmek)
  • Last night, I didn’t finish my homework.
  • Hakan geçen hafta sonu partiye katılmadı. (katılmak)
  • Hakan didn’t attend the party last weekend.

The Perfect Aspect

As I mentioned earlier with positive sentences, Turkish doesn’t have the “Perfect Tense”. In order to make negative perfect tense sentences in Turkish, you can use the words “daha/henüz” meaning “yet” to convey the “Perfect Aspect”.

  • Film daha / henüz bitmedi.
  • The film hasn’t ended yet.
  • Arkadaşlarım daha / henüz tatilden gelmedi.
  • My friends haven’t come back from holiday yet.

Positive Questions

In order to make positive question sentences in Past Simple, we add the “mi/mı/mu/mü” question particles after the conjugated verb.

 a/ıe/io/uö/ü
Ben-dım mı?-dim mi?-dum mu?-düm mü?
Sen-dın mı?-din mi?-dun mu?-dün mü?
O-dı mı?-di mi?-du mu?-dü mü?
Biz-dık mı?-dik mi?-duk mu?-dük mü?
Siz-dınız mı?-diniz mi?-dunuz mu?-dünüz mü?
Onlar-dılar mı?-diler mi?-dular mı?*-düler mi?*

Let’s see some examples:

  • Dün Can ile okulda görüştün mü (görüşmek)?
  • Did you meet with Can at school yesterday?
  • Yemeğini bitirdin mi?
  • Did you finish your meal?
  • Aşkım, bana doğum günü hediyesi aldın mı?
  • Did you buy me a birthday present, my love?

Usage of Wh- Questions

You can also use the question words “Ne/Nerede/Kim/Nasıl/Ne Zaman/Niye or Neden” meaning “What/Where/Who/How/When/Why” to make question sentences in Past Tense. In this case, you don’t use the question particle “mi/mı/mu/mü”. The verb comes after the question word here:

  • Dün gece neden gelmedin? (gelmek)
  • Why didn’t you come last night?
  • Yeni arabanla dünya turu ne zaman yaptın? (yapmak)
  • When did you do a world tour with your new car?
  • Ayşe ile nasıl tanıştınız? (tanışmak)
  • How did you meet Ayşe?

Negative Questions

When making negative questions in Past Simple, you simply add the question particle “-ma/-me” after a negative sentence:

 a/ı/o/ue/i/ö/ü
Ben-madım mı?-medim mi?
Sen-madın mı?-medin mi?
O-madı mı?-medi mi?
Biz-madık mı?-medik mi?
Siz-madınız mı?-mediniz mi?
Onlar-madılar mı?-mediler mi?
  • O kitabı okumadın mı?
  • Didn’t you read that book?
  • O kitabı henüz okumadın mı?
  • Haven’t you read that book yet?
  • Ofise daha gelmedin mi?
  • Haven’t you come to the office yet?
  • Ayşe daha eve dönmedi mi?
  • Hasn’t Ayşe returned back home yet?

The negative question for Past Simple will be more functional if you include the “Perfect Aspect” words that we’ve learned. Even though you can still make them without these words, the negative question sentences in Past Simple in Turkish are usually literally translated into the English Negative Present Perfect Tense Questions a lot.

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