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Useful Turkish Phone Words and Phrases

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When you first start learning a language, it can be hard enough having face-to-face conversations with native speakers. Can you imagine how challenging a phone conversation would be? During a phone call, we have no body language cues to fall back on—only our own language skills and the patience of our interlocutor. 

But listen up, Turkish learners: You no longer need to get tense when making or receiving a call in Turkish!

In this article, we’ll introduce you to Turkish phone terminology as well as several Turkish phone words and phrases to help you navigate your next phone call.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Phone-Related Vocabulary
  2. Making a Call
  3. Receiving a Call
  4. Phone/Connection Issues
  5. Sample Turkish Phone Conversations
  6. Discover More About Turkish with TurkishClass101

1. Phone-Related Vocabulary

Below, you’ll find some useful terms that will make your life easier next time you need to talk about phones or phone conversations in general. 

TurkishEnglish
TelefonPhone
Cep telefonuCell phone / Mobile phone
Telefon numarasıPhone number
Şarj aletiCharger
Sms / MesajSMS
Arama / ÇağrıCall
Gelen aramaIncoming call
MeşgulBusy
AramakTo call
ÇalmakTo ring
Mesaj bırakmakTo leave a message
Sesli mesaj bırakmakTo leave a voicemail
KapatmakTo hang up

2. Making a Call

Are you hesitant to make a call in Turkish? Are you worried you won’t be able to express yourself correctly? 

In this section, you’ll learn a variety of useful phrases for each part of a typical phone conversation in Turkish. To make sure you’re well-equipped for any type of phone call, we’ve included two sets of phrases for each part: formal and informal. 

Making a Call

Introduction

Formal

In formal contexts, there are a few different ways of answering the phone in Turkish:

TurkishEnglish
MerhabaHello
GünaydınGood morning
İyi günlerGood day
İyi akşamlarGood evening

Informal

When you’re making an informal call, you can start the conversation one of the following greeting words:

TurkishEnglish
AloHello
MerhabaHello
SelamHi

The word alo has no literal meaning and it’s only used in phone conversations. The only exception is when it’s used as a slang term, usually to draw someone’s attention if you think they haven’t heard you (or have pretended not to). Please note that it doesn’t sound too polite in this context. 

For more useful words and phrases related to introductions, please read our article Turkish Greetings: How to Introduce Yourself in Turkish

Providing more information

Formal

Now that you’ve greeted the person you called, it’s time to introduce yourself. Here are three ways you could give your name and state where you’re calling from: 

TurkishEnglish
___ firmasından arıyorum.I’m calling from ___ company.
Ben ___ firmasından John.This is John from ___ company.
Ben ___ firmasının genel müdürü John Denning.This is the general manager of ___ company, John Denning.

Informal

In most cases, the receiver will be able to see your name or number come up on their cell phone screen. But if you have a private number or are using a landline, you may need to introduce yourself. Here are a few introductions in Turkish you could use during an informal call: 

TurkishEnglish 
Ben John.This is John. 
John ben.This is John. 
Ben Mary’nin arkadaşı John.This is Mary’s friend, John. If you’re calling a friend and someone else picks up the phone, you can introduce yourself this way.                          
Mary’nin arkadaşı John ben.This is Mary’s friend, John.

A Woman Talking via a Blue Handset

Stating your reason for calling / Making a request

Now, it’s time for you to tell the answering party why you’re calling or whom you’re trying to reach. 

Formal

These are common questions or requests you might have when calling a company, store, or business: 

TurkishEnglish
Çalışma saatlerinizi öğrenebilir miyim?May I ask about your work hours?
Adresinizi sormak için aramıştım.I called to ask for your address.
Satın alma müdürünüzle görüşebilir miyim?May I speak to your Purchasing manager?
Finans departmanından biri ile görüşebilir miyim?Can I speak to someone from the Finance department?

Informal

Here are some informal Turkish phone phrases you can use to state your reason for calling or to ask for someone: 

TurkishEnglish 
Sinemaya gidelim mi diye sormak için aradım.I called to ask if we could go to the movies. 
Ali’nin numarasını soracaktım.I was going to ask Ali’s number. 
Mehmet ile konuşabilir miyim?Can I talk to Mehmet?If you’re calling a friend and one of their family members answers, you can ask for them using one of these phrases.
Mehmet evde mi?Is Mehmet at home?
Mehmet orada mı?Is Mehmet there?

Leaving a message

If you’re unable to reach the person you called, you can leave them a message as shown below.

Formal

TurkishEnglish
Aradığımı söyleyebilir misiniz lütfen?Could you please tell him/her that I called?
Beni aratabilir misiniz lütfen?Could you please have him/her call me?

Informal

TurkishEnglish
Beni aramasını söyler misin?Can you tell him/her to call me?
Notumu iletebilir misin lütfen?Can you pass on my note, please?

Concluding a call

Before you hang up, you should thank the receiver and tell them goodbye. 

Formal

TurkishEnglish
Teşekkür ederim, iyi günler.Thank you, have a good day.
Teşekkürler, iyi akşamlar.Thanks, have a good evening.
Hoşçakalın.Goodbye.

Informal

TurkishEnglish
Hoşçakal.Bye.
Bay bay.Bye-bye.
Görüşürüz.See you.

If you’d like some more inspiration, we also have a free vocabulary list of the most common ways to say goodbye

3. Receiving a Call

Are you afraid of picking up the phone if a Turkish speaker calls? That’s quite understandable! 

Memorizing and practicing some of the Turkish phone words and phrases below will help you build confidence and enter any phone conversation better prepared.

Answering a call

Formal

Here are some formal greeting words you can use when picking up the phone: 

TurkishEnglish 
Buyurun.Yes, please.The word buyurun is used in many different contexts. It also means: “Welcome!” / “Here you go!” / “Have a seat!” / etc.
___ firması, nasıl yardımcı olabilirim?___ firm, how may I help you? 
Merhaba.Hello. 
Günaydın.Good morning. 
İyi günler.Good day. 
İyi akşamlar.Good evening. 

Informal

TurkishEnglish
Alo.Hello.
Merhaba.Hello.
Selam.Hi.

Asking for information

If you need to get some info from the caller, the following Turkish phone phrases will help you ask the relevant questions and get the info you’re after.

Formal

TurkishEnglish
Kiminle görüşüyorum?With whom am I speaking?
Kimsiniz?Who is this?
Nereden arıyorsunuz?Where are you calling from?
Hangi firmadan arıyorsunuz?Which company are you calling from?

Informal

TurkishEnglish
Kim arıyor diyeyim?Whom should I say is calling?

Checking availability / Transferring a call

Here are some phrases you can use if the caller asks to speak to someone:

Formal

TurkishEnglish
Lütfen hatta kalın.Please stay on the line.
Aktarıyorum.I’m transferring.

Waiting to be Transferred

Informal

TurkishEnglish
Bir saniye, bakayım.One second, let me check.
Veriyorum.I’m putting him/her on the phone.

Taking a message

Of course, the person the caller asked for may not be available. In this case, it would be polite to ask if the caller would like to leave them a message. 

Formal

TurkishEnglish
Mesaj bırakmak ister misiniz?Would you like to leave a message?
Bir mesajınız var mıydı?Did you have a message?

Informal

TurkishEnglish
Gelince arasın mı?Should he call you when he comes?
Aradığını söylerim.I will let him/her know that you called.

Concluding a call

Formal

TurkishEnglish 
İyi günler.Have a good day. 
İyi akşamlar.Have a good evening. 
Hoşçakalın.Goodbye. 
Rica ederim.You are welcome.You would use this phrase if the calling party thanked you.

Informal

TurkishEnglish
Hoşçakal.Bye.
Bay bay.Bye-bye.
Görüşürüz.See you.

4. Phone/Connection Issues

When we make a phone call, there’s always a chance we’ll encounter issues of some sort. Whether there’s a bad connection, your phone’s battery is running low, or you didn’t quite understand what the other person said, you can use one of these phrases to express that there’s a problem.

TurkishEnglish
Pardon, tekrar edebilir misiniz lütfen?“Sorry, could you say that again please?”
Sizi duyamıyorum.“I can’t hear you.”
Sizi çok zor duyabiliyorum.“I can barely hear you.”
Sesiniz gelmiyor.“I can’t hear you.”
Hat kesildi.“The line has been cut off.”
Şarjım bitmek üzere.“I’m about to run out of battery.”
Pardon yanlış oldu.“Sorry, I dialed the wrong number.”
Bağlantı çok kötü.“The connection is very bad.”

No Connection

5. Sample Turkish Phone Conversations

Now that you’ve learned several useful phrases for a phone call in Turkish, it’s time to see how these expressions might be used in a real conversation. Below, you’ll find two Turkish phone conversation examples: one informal and one formal. 

Informal

Two friends are talking on the phone and planning to go out to dinner on Saturday evening. Let’s see how their telephone conversation goes.

A: Merhaba. (“Hello.”)

B: Selam, ne haber? (“Hi, what’s up?”)

A: İyilik, senden? (“I’m fine, how about you?”)

B: Ben de iyiyim, sağol. (“I’m fine, too, thank you.”)

A: Cumartesi akşamı ne yapıyorsun? (“What are you doing on Saturday evening?”)

B: Henüz bir planım yok. (“I don’t have a plan yet.”)

A: Yemeğe gidelim mi? (“Shall we go to dinner?”)

B: Olur, tabi. Nereye gidelim? (“Okay, sure. Where shall we go?”)

A: Deniz’in yerine gidelim mi? (“Shall we go to Deniz’s Place?”)

B: Olur ama rezervasyon yaptırmak lazım. (“Okay, but we need to make a reservation.”)

A: Sorun değil, ben hallederim. Saat 8 iyi mi? (“No problem, I’ll take care of it. Is eight o’clock okay?”)

B: Tamam, sağol. Cumartesi akşamı saat 8’de orada görüşürüz o zaman. (“Okay, thank you. I’ll see you there at eight o’clock on Saturday evening, then.”)

A: Okey, görüşürüz. (“Okay, see you.”)

B: Bay bay. (“Bye-bye.”)

Formal

In this Turkish phone call, one of the friends is calling to make a reservation at Deniz’s Place. Note how the tone and language change here to match the formal context.

A: Deniz’in yeri, ben Ece. (“Deniz’s Place, this is Ece.”)

B: İyi günler. Cumartesi akşamı için rezervasyon yaptırmak istiyorum. (“Good day. I’d like to make a reservation for Saturday evening.”)

A: Tabi. Saat kaçta? (“Sure. At what time?”)

B: 8’de lütfen. (“At eight, please.”)

A: Saat 8’de yerimiz mevcut. Kaç kişilik rezervasyon yaptırmak istiyorsunuz? (“We have availability at eight. How many people do you want to make the reservation for?”)

B: İki kişi için. (“For two people.”)

A: 28 Kasım Cumartesi akşamı saat 8 için 2 kişilik rezervasyonunuzu yaptım. Başka yardımcı olabileceğim bir şey varmı? (“I made your reservation for two people for eight on Saturday evening, November 28th. Is there anything else I can help with?”)

B: Yok, teşekkür ederim. İyi günler. (“No, there isn’t. Thank you. Have a good day.”)

A: Rica ederim. İyi günler. (“You are welcome. Have a good day.”)

Making a Reservation

6. Discover More About Turkish with TurkishClass101

Did you enjoy learning these Turkish phone call phrases with us? We hope that you now feel more confident and prepared for making and taking calls, and that the sample conversations we provided were useful to you. 

If you’d like to continue learning useful Turkish words and phrases, then create your free lifetime account on TurkishClass101.com. We provide numerous audio and video lessons, tons of free vocabulary lists, and a variety of other free resources (like this dictionary) that you can refer to. For a more accelerated and personal learning approach, Premium PLUS members can also take advantage of our MyTeacher service which allows you to practice and study with a private teacher. 

Always on the go? Then download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Last but not least, please continue to provide us with feedback so we can continue to improve and best serve your language learning needs!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish

Handy Turkish Words for Beginners

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Are you a yeni başlayan (“beginner”) in Turkish?

If you’ve just started learning the language, it’s a good idea to begin with the basics. 

Acquiring a rudimentary vocabulary is the first step toward proficiency. By learning the essential Turkish words for beginners, you’re building a base upon which to further develop your language skills. With only a few words, you’ll be able to start communicating with native speakers and fulfilling your daily obligations while in Turkey. Then, you can start working on the grammar and building sentences using the simple words you’ve learned. 

In this article, we’ve compiled a masterlist of the most useful Turkish beginner words. We’ve included everything from numbers to conjunctions to ensure you’re not missing out on any essentials! 

Ready? Let’s start with something simple.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Numbers
  2. Pronouns
  3. Nouns
  4. Adjectives
  5. Adverbs
  6. Verbs
  7. Conjunctions
  8. Discover More About the Turkish Language on TurkishClass101.com

1. Numbers

One of the first things you should add to your Turkish vocabulary are numbers. We use them every day in a variety of contexts, from shopping to planning dates. 

Let’s count from 0 to 10 in Turkish:

0Sıfır
1Bir
2İki
3Üç
4Dört
5Beş
6Altı
7Yedi
8Sekiz
9Dokuz
10On

The Numbers 1-5 Represented by Colorful Blocks

Important note: 

When a Turkish noun is plural and preceded by a number, the noun does not take the usual -lar / -ler plural suffixes. Rather, it retains its singular form as the number indicates that it’s plural. 

Examples:

  • Elma – “Apple”
  • Bir elma – “One apple”
  • İki elma – “Two apples”

2. Pronouns

As you start speaking Turkish, pronouns will have your back time and again. There are four categories of pronouns we’ll be looking at today: personal, demonstrative, possessive, and interrogative

Personal Pronouns

There are six personal pronouns in Turkish. Since Turkish has no grammatical gender, there’s only one personal pronoun for the third person singular (he / she / it).

I would like to point out one more thing: The second person plural pronoun (siz) also functions as the polite form of the second person singular.

English Pronouns
TurkishEnglish
BenI
SenYou
OHe / She / It
BizWe
SizYou
OnlarThey

Demonstrative Pronouns

TurkishEnglish
BuThis
ŞuThat
BunlarThese
ŞunlarThose

Possessive Pronouns

TurkishEnglish
BenimMy
SeninYour
OnunHis / Her / Its
BizimOur
SizinYour
OnlarınTheir

Interrogative Pronouns

TurkishEnglish
NeWhat
KimWho
HangiWhich

You’ll see some of these pronouns used in example phrases below. Take note, because understanding their use in context will be helpful as you start learning how to build sentences with your new vocabulary. 

3. Nouns

Nouns are the words we use to label people, places, things, and concepts. Unlike some other languages, Turkish nouns do not have grammatical gender. 

Below, you’ll find the most essential nouns in Turkish for beginners grouped by category. If you want to pick up even more words, though, you should check out our dedicated Turkish nouns article

Time 

Here are the days of the week and some other words related to time.

TurkishEnglish
PazartesiMonday
SalıTuesday
ÇarşambaWednesday
PerşembeThursday
CumaFriday
CumartesiSaturday
PazarSunday
GünDay
HaftaWeek
AyMonth
YılYear
SaatHour
DakikaMinute

Now, let’s use some of these words with numbers:

  • Üç ay – “Three months”
  • İki saat – “Two hours”
  • Beş dakika – “Five minutes”

Places

TurkishEnglish
Dünya World
KıtaContinent
Ülke Country
Şehir  City
Deniz Sea
RestoranRestaurant
MarketMarket
Hastane Hospital
Postane Post office

Let’s see how these words might be used with the Turkish pronouns we saw earlier: 

  • Şu market – “That market”
  • Benim ülkem – “My country”
  • Hangi restoran? – “Which restaurant?”

Transportation

While trying to get around in Turkey, you’ll benefit from knowing the basic words and terms for transportation. 

TurkishEnglish
MetroSubway
OtobüsBus
TaksiTaxi
ArabaCar
TrenTrain
UçakAirplane
BisikletBicycle
Yol              Road
Trafik ışıklarıTraffic lights
Otobüs durağıBus stop
HavaalanıAirport
Tren istasyonuTrain station

And here’s how these beginner Turkish words might be used with pronouns:

  • Bu otobüs durağı – “This bus stop”
  • Benim arabam – “My car”
  • Hangi otobüs? – “Which bus?”

Technology

Technology is everywhere. Who knows where and when you’ll need to know a few technology-related words?

TurkishEnglish
İnternetInternet
Web sitesi Website
Wi-Fi          Wi-Fi
Bilgisayar  Computer
Dizüstü bilgisayarLaptop
TabletTablet
Cep telefonuCellphone
Şarj aletiCharger

School

If you’ve decided to pursue your studies in Turkey, memorizing these essential school-related terms will prove useful. 

TurkishEnglish
OkulSchool
LiseHigh school
OrtaokulMiddle school
İlkokulElementary school
ÖdevHomework
ÖğretmenTeacher
SınavExam
KitapBook
DefterNotebook
KalemPen / Pencil

Occupations

Knowing the terms for common occupations will come in handy when introducing yourself or someone else. 

TurkishEnglish
Doktor                 Doctor
Hemşire     Nurse
Avukat                   Lawyer
Mühendis             Engineer
Öğretmen              Teacher
İş adamı                Businessman
İş kadınıBusinesswoman
Yönetici                 Manager
Mimar                    Architect

A Doctor and a Nurse

Family Members

Here are some nouns you can use to introduce your family:

TurkishEnglish
AileFamily
Spouse
Kız evlatDaughter
Erkek evlatSon
AnneMom
BabaDad
EbeveynParent
KardeşSibling
KuzenCousin
ÇocukChild

Body Parts

In case of a medical emergency, knowing the body parts in Turkish will be crucial. Here’s a handy list for your reference: 

TurkishEnglish
VücutBody
Baş / KafaHead
OmuzShoulder
KolArm
ElHand
BacakLeg
AyakFoot
YüzFace
GözEye
BurunNose
AğızMouth
KulakEar
ParmakFinger

Food and Beverages

Food is vital to our wellbeing, so these words should be some of the first you memorize! You’ll use them while grocery shopping, ordering at a restaurant, or cooking at home. 

TurkishEnglish
Sebze        Vegetable
EtMeat
TavukChicken
BalıkFish
MeyveFruit
TatlıDessert
SuWater
BiraBeer
ŞarapWine
ÇayTea
Türk kahvesiTurkish coffee

You can learn even more Turkish nouns for food, utensils, and tableware on our website. 

4. Adjectives

Adjectives are used to describe nouns, whether we’re talking about objects, people, feelings, situations, or environments. As a beginner in Turkish, learning a few common adjectives will help you better express yourself and add flair to your speech or writing.

Describing Objects

You just need two words to describe an object: the correct noun and the adjective of your choice. Below are some frequently used adjectives for describing objects.

TurkishEnglish
Büyük Big
Küçük Small
Uzun Long
KısaShort
İnce  Thin
Kalın  Thick
Geniş  Wide
Dar  Narrow
AğırHeavy
HafifLight
SivriSharp
YassıFlat
Sert  Hard
YumuşakSoft

Now, let’s use some of these adjectives with the nouns we learned above:

  • Büyük şehir – “Big city”
  • Dar yol – “Narrow road”
  • Yumuşak kalem – “Soft pen/pencil”
  • Küçük burun – “Small nose”

Describing People

TurkishEnglish
Güzel Beautiful
YakışıklıHandsome
Çekici Attractive
ÇirkinUgly
Kısa boylu Short
Uzun boyluTall
Zayıf Thin
ŞişmanFat
Yaşlı  Old
Genç  Young

Examples:

  • Güzel çocuk – “Beautiful child”
  • Yakışıklı öğretmen – “Handsome teacher”
  • Genç bir mühendis – “A young engineer”

Describing Emotions

TurkishEnglish
MutluHappy
Üzgün Sad
Heyecanlı Excited
Şaşkın Surprised
NeşeliJoyful
Kızgın Angry
Gergin Tense
Sinirli Nervous
Sakin Calm
Endişeli Worried

Examples:

  • Mutlu bir anne – “A happy mother”
  • Endişeli bir baba – “A worried father”

Describing the Weather

TurkishEnglish
YağmurluRainy
BulutluCloudy
RüzgarlıWindy
GüneşliSunny
KarlıSnowy
SisliFoggy
SoğukCold
SıcakHot
IlıkWarm

Examples:

  • Yağmurlu bir gün – “A rainy day”
    Soğuk bir gün – “A cold day”

A tRainy Day

5. Adverbs

An adverb gives additional information about a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause. It basically answers questions regarding where, when, how, and why something happened. You can refer to our relevant blog article for more about adverbs.

Once we go over some verbs in the following section, you’ll see some examples of how these adverbs might be used. 

Qualitative Adverbs

TurkishEnglish
İyiWell
KolaycaEasily
SessizceQuietly
HafifçeLightly
BasitçeSimply
AçıkçaFrankly / Openly / Clearly

Adverbs That Indicate the Time of Action

TurkishEnglish
Dün Yesterday
Dün gece Last night
Bugün Today
Bu sabah This morning
Bu gece Tonight
Yarın Tomorrow
Gelecek hafta Next week
Şimdi Now
Hemen Immediately
Hemen şimdi Right now

Adverbs That Show Quantity / Measurement

TurkishEnglish
AzLittle / Few / A bit
BirazSome / A little
ÇokMuch / Many / Very / Too much

Adverbs That Indicate Frequency

TurkishEnglish
BazenSometimes
AslaNever
DaimaAlways
Sık sıkFrequently
NadirenRarely

Interrogative Adverbs

TurkishEnglish
Ne zamanWhen
Ne kadar  How much / How long
NasılHow
NiçinWhy

6. Verbs

Verbs are the most important building block of sentences. They show actions, occurrences, processes, conditions, and states of being.

Verbs Used for Daily Routine

TurkishEnglish
Uyumak To sleep
Uyanmak To wake up
Kalkmak To get up
Gelmek To come
Gitmek To go
Yemek To eat
İçmek To drink
Çalışmak To work
Ders çalışmak To study

Eating

Examples:

  • O sessizce gitti. – “He/she/it went quietly.”
  • Dün gece çok az uyudum. – “I slept very little last night.”
  • O ne kadar ders çalışır? – “How long does he study?”

Action Verbs

TurkishEnglish
Koşmak To run
Oynamak To play
Yürümek To walk

Examples:

  • O sık sık koşar. – “He/she/it frequently runs.”
  • O ne zaman koşar? – “When does he/she/it run?”

Verbs of Emotion

TurkishEnglish
SevmekTo love
Nefret etmekTo hate
İstemekTo want

Examples:

  • Seni seviyorum. – “I love you.”
  • Ondan niçin nefret ediyorsun? – “Why do you hate him/her/it?”

A Couple Walking Down the Street Holding Hands

Possession Verbs

TurkishEnglish
Sahip olmakTo have / To own
Ait olmakTo belong

Example:

  • Bu araba bana ait. – “This car belongs to me.”

Verbs Related to the Senses

TurkishEnglish
DuymakTo hear
GörmekTo see
KoklamakTo smell

Thought-related Verbs

TurkishEnglish
DüşünmekTo think
BilmekTo know
İnanmakTo believe
HatırlamakTo remember

 Example:

  • Onu daima iyi hatırlayacağım. – “I will always remember him/her/it well.”

7. Conjunctions

Conjunctions are those small words we use to connect words or phrases together. These are essential beginner words in Turkish as they’ll allow you to sound more fluid when speaking and add clarity to your writing, even if you have a limited vocabulary. 

Here are some common conjunctions in Turkish:

TurkishEnglish
Fakat / AmaBut
ÇünküBecause
VeAnd
VeyaOr
BöyleceSo

Examples:

  • Okula bisiklet ile veya araba ile gidiyorum. – “I go to school by bike or by car.”
  • Kuzenim mutlu ama endişeli. – “My cousin is happy but worried.”

8. Discover More About the Turkish Language on TurkishClass101.com

You’ve now learned quite a number of useful beginner Turkish words. However, there are many more words to memorize and grammatical concepts to explore. 

Learning Turkish is simple with TurkishClass101. We provide our students with numerous audio lessons and recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and a variety of free resources (including this Turkish dictionary) that you can refer to. You can also utilize our MyTeacher service, which allows you to study and practice 1-on-1 with a native Turkish teacher. 

What’s more, you can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

It’s our goal to help you learn Turkish in a fun and effective manner, all at your convenience. As such, we welcome any feedback or questions you may have! 

Before you go: How many of these words did you know already? Were most of them new to you? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments! 

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Turkish Filler Words: Engage in More Natural Conversations

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We all grow up learning and using our mother tongue, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that we do a perfect job of utilizing it—especially when it comes to conversations.

For example, do you know how many filler words you use when conversing?

A Group Giving a Speech in Front of an Audience

In this article, we’ll discuss what filler words are and why we use them. We’ll also introduce you to the most common Turkish filler words, list the pros and cons of using them, and give you some advice on how to limit their use while still employing them for natural conversations in Turkish.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. What are filler words and when do we use them?
  2. The Top Turkish Filler Words
  3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words
  4. How to Control Your Use of Filler Words
  5. Discover More About Turkish on TurkishClass101.com

1. What are filler words and when do we use them?

Fillers are sounds, words, or short phrases that are most often used to “fill” a pause in speech. Some of them might have meaning when used by themselves or in other contexts, but lack any real value when used as a filler. They’re usually specific to a language, though they can also be regional, communal, or cultural.

When to use them

If they don’t add anything to the sentence, then why do we use them?

One reason is that it’s habitual: We tend to use them without thinking. However, there are several other reasons. Here are some circumstances under which you might use fillers:

  • When you need to buy some time while you find the right word or phrasing

    I’m sure that sounds similar to “um” and “ehm” are used in most languages for this purpose. It may be okay to use them once or twice in a conversation, but overusing them can really become annoying.

A Head Drawn with Chalk on a Chalkboard, with Question Mark Sticky Notes on It

What is next?

  • When you don’t know how to complete a sentence

    There are some cases where we don’t want to finish a sentence or don’t know what to say to complete it. In such cases, fillers come to the rescue.
  • When you’re uncertain about something

    Sometimes fillers help us hide any uncertainties we have during a conversation.
  • When you need to speak more indirectly in order to be polite
  • When you need to approach delicate topics gently

2. The Top Turkish Filler Words

Below are some filler words in Turkish that you can use if you really need to:

#1

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Eee“Um” / “Ehm”

As in English, this filler is used to buy some time so the speaker can think about what they want to say next. It gives the speaker time to organize their thoughts.

Example:

İstatistiklere göre Türkiye’de Corona virüsü nedeniyle, eee, 10 bin 27 kişi öldü.
“According to the statistics, in Turkey, umm, 10027 people died because of the Coronavirus.”

In this example, the filler eee is used by the speaker to buy time while they try to remember the exact number.

#2

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Şey“Thing”“Well”

Şey normally means “thing,” but when it’s used as a filler, it just helps the speaker buy some time to find the right word(s).

This can be a lifesaver for Turkish learners. If you can’t remember a word, just throw this one into the conversation—a native speaker will complete the thought for you!

Example:

A: Bugün kaç soru çözdün? (“How many questions did you solve today?”)
B: Şey, galiba 30. (“Well, I think 30.”)

Here, it’s used to gain time to remember the number of questions solved. 

#3

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Falan filan“Blah blah blah” / “And so on”

You can use this Turkish filler if you don’t want to give more examples or if you don’t know how to complete a sentence. Do keep in mind, however, that this filler reduces the impact of what you’re saying. A better alternative might be ve benzerleri, ve bunun gibi (“others, etc.”). 

Example:

A: Günün nasıl geçti? (“How was your day?”)
B: Evi temizledim, alışverişe gittim, ders çalıştım, falan filan işte. (“I cleaned the house, went shopping, studied, and so on.”)

In the example, the speaker probably did even more things during the day, but they cut their speech short by using falan filan.

#4

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Yani“This is to say” / “In short” / “Well”

We use the Turkish filler word yani when we think something we said was not clear and we need to give further explanation. In addition, we can use it if we’re uncertain about what we’re saying. 

Example:

A: O iyileşti mi? (“Did he recover?”)
B: Yani, sanırım. (“Well, I think so.”)

In this case, the filler expresses uncertainty.

#5

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Ivır zıvır“Knick knack”

This filler is used to define multiple objects when we either don’t want to name each one or don’t feel like mentioning the objects at all. 

Example:

A: Marketten ne aldın? (“What did you buy from the market?”)
B: Ivır zıvır. (“Knick knacks.”)

In this case, the person who went to the market doesn’t want to mention what he/she bought there.

#6

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
İşte öyle bir şey“Something like that”

We use this filler when there’s uncertainty or when we don’t want to talk about something any further.

Example:

A: Sana yalan söylediği için mi onunla konuşmuyorsun? (“Are you not talking to him because he lied to you?”)
B: İşte öyle bir şey. (“Something like that.”)

Here, the person doesn’t want to talk about the real reason he/she is avoiding their friend.

#7

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Zımbırtı“Thing” / “Stuff”

We prefer to use this word for unnecessary or dysfunctional objects. We can also use it if we don’t know the name of an object or if we can’t remember it.

Example:

Şu zımbırtıyı verebilir misin lütfen?
“Can you give me that thing, please?”

The speaker either doesn’t know the name of the object or can’t remember it.

#8

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Zamazingo“Thing” / “Thingumabob”

This is another common filler used when we don’t know or can’t remember what something is called. 

Example:

Şu zamazingoyu gözümün önünden kaldırabilir misin lütfen?
“Can you take that thing out of my sight, please?”

The person either doesn’t know the name of the object or can’t remember it. 

#9

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Söyleyiver şunu / Sen söyle“Tell me that” / “You tell me”“You name it”

You can use this phrase if you’re trying to remember something.

Example:

A: Toplantıda kimler vardı? (“Who were in the meeting?”)

B: Jack, Mary, Lucy, Paul ve bir de, sen söyle, satış departmanındaki yeni gelen adam. (“Jack, Mary, Lucy, Paul, and, you tell me, the newcomer in the sales department.”)

The person either doesn’t know the name of the person or can’t remember his name. 

#10

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Anlarsın ya“You understand”“You know”

We use this one when we don’t want to complete a sentence.

Example:

İkisi sürekli beraberler. Anlarsın ya!

“The two are always together. You know!”

The person doesn’t want to talk further here, but he/she is implying that there is something going on between the two.

#11

TurkishLiterallyEnglish
Ondan sonra“After that” / “Then”

This Turkish filler is used to buy some time so that we can remember the next thing we’re going to say. 

Example:

Sabah Terry ile okula gidiyorduk, ondan sonra işte, bana beni sevdiğini söyledi.

“Terry and I were going to school in the morning, then he told me that he loved me.”

Ondan sonra (“then”) is used here as a filler word because it’s not explaining what happened next; it’s rather explaining what happened during the action.

3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words

Pros

If used sparingly, filler words can be an advantageous addition to your conversations. The greatest benefit of using them as a language learner is that they’ll help your speech sound more natural. As long as you can control and limit their usage, there’s no need to eliminate them. 

Let’s take a look at more advantages:

  • Native speakers might think you have a good grasp of the language, and this will make you more confident.
  • You’ll sound cool and more natural.
  • It will help you gain time when you can’t remember something.
  • It might even sound relatable.

Cons

All of the advantages we discussed might turn into disadvantages if you use filler words in formal meetings, conferences, or interviews. Below are some drawbacks you might encounter:

  • If you’re speaking at an event and use filler words a lot, the audience might become bored and disengaged; they might also think you’re not well-prepared, less talented, and even repellent.
  • If you use them in a formal meeting or an interview, you won’t leave a good impression.
  • You might look confused and less confident.
  • It might reduce your credibility and prestige.
A Speaker in Front of a Microphone

4. How to Control Your Use of Filler Words

Again, you don’t need to avoid filler words completely. All you need to do is be aware of how, when, where, and how frequently you use them and learn to limit their usage. Here’s how you can prevent them from getting out of your control:

  • If using filler words is habitual for you, then becoming aware of it will help you regain control. If you don’t know when you tend to use filler words, you can record your speech or have somebody listen to you, so that you can find out where you get stuck. This will make it easier for you to restrict your filler word usage in those situations. 
  • Don’t be stressed and try to relax during your speech.
  • It’s okay to slow down and pause for a few seconds to think. It will give you time to gather your thoughts and choose your words.
The Pause Symbol
  • Filler words are usually used in longer and more complicated sentences. Therefore, try to use simpler, shorter sentences.
  • Watch and listen to lecturers, spokesmen, debaters, or public figures to figure out how they control their speech tempo.
  • Using your body language might be a good way to show that you’re thinking without using fillers. 
  • We tend to use filler words when we switch from one idea to another (in other words, during transitions). Therefore, you can plan your transitions in advance. For example: “Let’s move on with ___,” or “Let’s switch to ___.”
  • If you’re giving a professional speech, you’re likely to use the most fillers during the Q&A session because you’ll need to respond to things you might not be prepared for. Don’t hesitate to use honest phrases like, “Let me think about that for a second.” Believe me: The audience will appreciate your sincere approach as you consider their question.
  • Make sure to practice before you get in front of the audience. The introduction and conclusion usually draw the most attention, so make sure to practice these the most. 

Do you want to learn more phrases that can help you sound like a local? Then see our vocabulary list of the Essential Idioms That Will Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker

5. Discover More About Turkish on TurkishClass101.com

We hope you now feel more confident about using filler words in Turkish and have a better idea of how to limit their use in your own language. Which fillers do you use most often? Let us know in the comments! 

If you’d like to know even more about Turkish vocabulary and conversation, then you need to bookmark TurkishClass101. We provide numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and a variety of free resources (like this dictionary) you can refer to.

Don’t forget that there’s also MyTeacher, a Premium PLUS service that allows you to learn and practice with a private teacher.

TurkishClass101

Better still, you can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.
Last but not least, please continue to provide us with feedback about all the resources provided at TurkishClass101.com!

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Commonly Used Turkish Love Phrases

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Love is one of the most profound feelings one can experience, and one of the best. They say that it even has its own language. We can certainly imply our love for someone through a glance or a gesture, but it’s best expressed with words. Because we cannot read each other’s minds, verbalizing our feelings and acknowledging those whom we value is essential for a solid relationship. In addition, it’s always best to use sincere words and phrases rather than fancy, exaggerated ones. 

If a Turk has caught your eye or stolen your heart, you might be wondering: 

How do I say “I love you,” in Turkish

After reading this article, you’ll be more than prepared to express your love in Turkish at every stage of your relationship. 

Let’s start with the Turkish word for love:

  • “Love” – Aşk / Sevgi

Now, let’s proceed with our guide to Turkish love phrases and other sweet, romantic words.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Showing your interest
  2. Are you in a relationship now?
  3. Your special moment and beyond…
  4. Turkish terms of endearment
  5. Popular love quotes in Turkish
  6. Discover more about the Turkish language with TurkishClass101

1. Showing your interest 

Let’s say you’ve just met someone you really like. You want to get to know them and maybe even have a date. How can you show the lucky guy or girl what you think about them? 

It’s difficult to find the right words to say to someone you don’t know, especially if you’re speaking in another language. To help you express yourself correctly and leave a good impression, we’ve compiled plenty of useful examples in Turkish for you below. Good luck!

A Man and Woman Shaking Each Other’s Hands at a Bar

First impression

A- Compliments

One of the best ways to show your interest during a first meeting is to offer him or her a compliment. Most people enjoy being complimented, as long as the words are sincere. Of course, you must also mind your tone and gestures!

Let’s start with the different ways you can say “compliment” in Turkish:

  • “Compliment” – İltifat / Övgü / Kompliman

Below are some Turkish compliments you can use to show admiration for the physical appearance of someone you like. Please note that the informal “you” is used in the sample sentences all throughout the article.

TurkishEnglish
Çok güzelsin. You are very beautiful.
Çok yakışıklısın.  You are very handsome.
Çok güzel gözlerin var.You have beautiful eyes.
Gülüşün ne kadar güzel.  Your smile is beautiful.
Saçların çok güzel.  Your hair is very beautiful.

If you would like to learn even more compliments for different circumstances, you can refer to my article Learn the Top Turkish Compliments for Any Situation on TurkishClass101.com. 

B- Trying to get a date?

So, you’ve managed to get their attention and now it’s time to get a date. You need to use the right phrases to be successful at landing your first—or second, or third—meeting with this person. Here are some phrases you can use to ask him or her out:

TurkishEnglish
Seni tekrar görmek isterim.I’d like to see you again.
Seni tekrar görebilir miyim?Can I see you again?
Hafta sonu ne yapıyorsun?What are you doing on the weekend?
Yarın akşam yemeğe çıkabilir miyiz?Can we go out to dinner tomorrow night?
Telefon numaranı alabilir miyim?Can I have your phone number?

A Napkin with the Words Call Me! Written on It, along with a Phone Number

Giving your phone number to him/her

2. Are you in a relationship now?

Once you’ve taken things a step further by making your relationship official, you can start using different Turkish love phrases to let your partner know your true feelings for him/her.

A- You like him/her!

As your relationship grows and you spend more time with the person, your feelings are likely to grow stronger. Here are a few different phrases you can use to express these deepening feelings to your partner: 

TurkishEnglish
Seni çok beğeniyorum.I like you very much.
Seni özlüyorum.  I miss you.
Hep seni düşünüyorum.I’m always thinking about you.
Seni düşünmeden duramıyorum.I can’t stop thinking about you.

B- You have fallen in love!

There’s no hiding it: You’re in love and up in the clouds! 

You want to tell your beloved how you feel about him/her at every opportunity. Below are some sweet love expressions in Turkish you can use to share your feelings. 

TurkishEnglish
Seni seviyorum!I love you!
Seni bütün kalbimle seviyorum.I love you with all my heart.
Sana aşık oldum.I’ve fallen in love with you.
Sana deli oluyorum.I’m crazy about you.
Sen benim hayatımın anlamısın.You are the meaning of my life.

Two hHands Forming a Heart Shape against the Setting Sun

I love you!

3. Your special moment and beyond…

Here comes that exciting moment and (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime event: proposing marriage! 

First, let me tell you what “marriage proposal” is in Turkish:

  • “Marriage proposal” – Evlenme teklifi / Evlilik teklifi

So, how can you propose in Turkish? What else can you say at this stage of your relationship, and afterwards? Below are a few different phrases you should consider. I wish you good luck and happiness!

TurkishEnglish
Benimle evlenir misin?Will you marry me?
İyi günde kötü günde, hastalıkta sağlıkta benimle olur musun?Would you be with me in good times and in bad times, in sickness and in health?
Seninle yaşlanmak istiyorum.I want to age with you.
Hemen nişanlanalım.Let’s get engaged immediately.
Senden çocuklarım olsun istiyorum.I’d like to have kids with you.

A Man Proposing to a Woman

Marriage proposal

4. Turkish terms of endearment

Terms of endearment please us greatly, and we use these terms for not only our significant other but also our friends and family. Here are some frequently used Turkish love words to give you some inspiration:

TurkishEnglish
AşkımMy love
SevgilimMy darling
HayatımMy life
CanımMy sweetheart
TatlımMy sweetie
BebeğimMy baby
BitanemMy only one
MeleğimMy angel
Ruh eşim / ikizimMy soulmate

A Married Couple with Three Children Celebrating a Holiday

Love is everywhere

5. Popular love quotes in Turkish

Over the centuries, a lot has been said about love. There are many books, poems, stories, articles, and myths on the topic…not to mention a good number of quotes. Some of these quotes are anonymous, some are put forward by famous people, and some are used so frequently that they’ve become proverbs. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used love quotes in Turkish.

A- Common quotes

Quotes are usually motivational and inspirational, especially the ones about love. I hope you enjoy reading through the following love quotes in Turkish, many of which you can hear in daily life:

Quote in TurkishTranslation in English
Gözler kalbin aynasıdır.The eyes are the windows of the soul.

Literally: Eyes are the mirror of the heart.
Aşkın gözü kördür.Love is blind.

Literally: Eyes of love are blind.
Aşk ateşten gömlektir.Love is a bed of nails.

Literally: Love is a shirt made of fire.
Aşk ağlatır, dert söyletir.Literally: Love makes you cry, trouble makes you talk.
Aşk yaşanır, anlatılmaz.Literally: Love is lived, not explained.
Sevgi paylaştıkça artar.Love increases when shared.

B- Quotes from Rumi

Whenever I use Turkish quotes in my articles, I make sure to include some Rumi quotes as well. This is because his quotes always have profound meanings, make us think, and help us gain a different point of view on some topics.

Rumi was a poet, theologian, scholar, and Sufi mystic; he is considered the symbol of peace and tolerance.

Here are some of his quotes on love. I hope you gain as much insight from them as I have!

Quote in TurkishTranslation in English
Aşk sayıya sığmaz, ölçüye gelmez sevgidir.Love is an endearment that doesn’t fit into numbers and measurements.
Aşığın hastalığı bütün hastalıklardan ayrıdır.The disease of the lover is different from all diseases.
Aşk sandığın kadar değil, yandığın kadardır.Love is not as much as you think, it’s as much as you are burnt.
Aşk, öyle engin bir denizdir ki, ne başlangıcı ne de sonu vardır. Love is such a vast sea that it has neither beginning nor end.
Bırаkаcаğın еli hiç tutmа, tutаcаğın еli isе hiç bırаkmа. Sаhtе sеvgililеrе gül olmаktаnsа, gеrçеk sеvgililеrе ԁikеn ol.Don’t ever hold the hand you will leave, don’t ever leave the hand you will hold. Instead of being a rose to fake lovers, be a thorn to real lovers.

6. Discover more about the Turkish language with TurkishClass101

In this article, you’ve learned… 

  • …how to say “I love you,” in Turkish.
  • …how to express love in Turkish using a variety of words and phrases.
  • …several beautiful quotes about love in Turkish to really spice things up. 

Which of these love phrases, endearment terms, or quotes is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! 

If you’d like to learn even more Turkish, bookmark TurkishClass101.com. We have numerous audio recordings, vocabulary lists, and free resources you can refer to. With a Premium PLUS account, you’ll also have access to our MyTeacher service, which allows you to learn and practice 1-on-1 with your own teacher. Are you always on the go? Then you can download the TurkishClass101 app for free and use it wherever you are.

Last but not least, please continue to provide us with feedback about all the resources provided at TurkishClass101.com. We love hearing from you!

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Negation in the Turkish Language – HAYIR!

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In life, there are times when we just need to say “no.” Whether we’re refusing something offered to us, rejecting an action or idea, or letting someone know we weren’t responsible for something, this little word and its friend “not” come in handy on a daily basis. 

However, whatever the intentions behind your negative sentences, the way you say them makes a huge difference!

No!

Today, you’ll learn about negation in the Turkish language. This article will cover everything you need to know, from how to form basic negative sentences to how double negation works. 

Let’s dive in!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Negation in Sentences
  2. Negation in Interrogative Sentences
  3. Double Negation
  4. Access Full Turkish Grammar Content on TurkishClass101.com

1. Negation in Sentences

In Turkish, negative sentences can be formed in one of two ways:

1. By using negation words
2. By using suffixes

Let’s take a closer look at each Turkish negation method. 

A- Negation Words

If you wish to negate a noun clause, place the word değil (“not”) at the end of the sentence. This will give you the form: 

X is not Y. 

Let’s take a look at some examples:

Turkish (+)English (+)Turkish (-)English (-)
Bu benim kitabım.This is my book.Bu benim kitabım değil.This is not my book.
Selen güzel bir kız.Selen is a beautiful girl.Selen güzel bir kız değil.Selen is not a beautiful girl.

Here are some other words you can use to make a sentence negative in Turkish: 

Hayır (No)

  • Hayır, kızgın değilim. (No, I am not angry.)

Yok (There isn’t / There aren’t)

  • Bu dairede balkon yok. (There isn’t a balcony in this apartment.)
  • Burada hiç araba yok. (There aren’t any cars here.)

Ne…ne[de] (Neither…nor)

  • Ne kedi severim, ne de köpek. (I like neither cats nor dogs.)

In most cases, ne…ne (de) is used with a positive verb. However, there are also some cases where it’s used with a negative verb. Here are some examples:

  • Ne Paris’e, ne de Roma’ya hiç gitmemiş. (She/he has gone to neither Paris nor Rome.)
  • Ne sevdim diyebilirim, ne de sevmedim. (I can say neither that I liked it nor disliked it.)

And here are some words that are only used in negative sentences (with one exception, which we’ll talk about later): 

Hiç (Ever / Never / At all)

  • Siyahı hiç sevmem. (I don’t like black at all.)
  • Kanada’yı hiç görmedim. (I have never seen Canada.)             

Asla (Never)

  • Onunla asla bir daha konuşmayacağım. (I will never talk to him/her again.)

Hiç kimse (Nobody)

  • Hiç kimse fikrimi değiştiremez. (Nobody can change my opinion.)

Hiç bir şekilde (In no way)

  • Hiç bir şekilde seni affetmeyeceğim. (In no way will I forgive you.)

Hiçbir yerde (Nowhere / Anywhere)

  • O hiç bir yerde uzun süre kalamaz. (He/she can’t stay anywhere too long.)

A Quick Note on Negative Prefixes 

Unlike English, Turkish has very few words that take a prefix in order to become negative (think “unprepared” or “improper”). We have only the negation prefixes and , which are inherited from Ottoman Turkish and are rarely used today. Here are some examples:

  • Tamam (Complete)
  • -tamam (Incomplete)
  • Haberdar (Informed)
  • haber (Uninformed)

B- Suffixes

There are a few different Turkish negative suffixes you should know about. They are: 

-me / -ma 

To make a verb negative, the suffix -me is added to the root of the verb if the last syllable of the verb has an -e, -i, , or .

Infinitive (Turkish)Infinitive (English)Negative (Turkish)Negative (English)
SeçmekTo chooseSeçmemekNot to choose
İçmekTo drinkİçmemekNot to drink
GörmekTo seeGörmemekNot to see
GülmekTo laughGülmemekNot to laugh

To make a verb negative, the suffix -ma is added to the root of the verb if the last syllable of the verb has an -a, , -o, or -u.

Infinitive (Turkish)Infinitive (English)Negative (Turkish)Negative (English)
KalmakTo stayKalmamakNot to stay
SarılmakTo hugSarılmamakNot to hug
KoymakTo putKoymamakNot to put
UyumakTo sleepUyumamakNot to sleep

A verb may have many suffixes (such as those used to show the tense and the personal pronoun), but the negating suffix is always immediately after the verb root. All of the other suffixes follow the negating suffix, ordered just as though the verb were positive. Below are some examples:

Verb: To drink (İçmek)
Negative: Not to drink (İçmemek)

Personal PronounSimple Present Tense (+)Simple Present Tense(-)Future Tense (+)Future Tense (-)Simple Past Tense (+)Simple Past Tense (-)Reported Past Tense (+)Reported Past Tense(-)
Ben (I)İçerimİçmemİçeceğimİçmeyeceğimİçtimİçmedimİçmişimİçmemişim
Sen (You)İçersinİçmezsinİçeceksinİçmeyeceksinİçtinİçmedinİçmişsinİçmemişsin
O (He/She/It)İçerİçmezİçecekİçmeyecekİçtiİçmediİçmişİçmemiş
Biz (We)İçerizİçmeyizİçeceğizİçmeyeceğizİçtikİçmedikİçmişizİçmemişiz
Siz (You)İçersinizİçmezsinizİçeceksinizİçmeyeceksinizİçtinizİçmedinizİçmişsinizİçmemişsiniz
Onlar (They)İçerlerİçmezlerİçeceklerİçmeyeceklerİçtilerİçmedilerİçmişlerİçmemişler

Did you notice that the present continuous tense is not on the table? This is because there’s an exception. In the present continuous tense, the suffixes -mı, -mi, -mu, and -mü are used to make the verb negative based on the vowel in the last syllable of the verb:

  • If it’s “a” or “ı,” -mı is used.
  • If it’s “e” or “i,” -mi is used.
  • If it’s “o” or “u,” -mu is used.
  • If it’s “ö” or “ü,” -mü is used.

Verbs with a or ı in the last syllableVerbs with e or i in the last syllableVerbs with o or u in the last syllableVerbs with ö or ü in the last syllable

Personal PronounTo take (Almak)Not to take (Almamak)To cut (Kesmek)Not to cut (Kesmemek)To ask (Sormak)Not to ask (Sormamak)To cover (Örtmek)Not to cover (Örtmemek)
Ben (I)AlıyorumAlyorumKesiyorumKesmiyorumSoruyorumSormuyorumÖrtüyorumÖrtyorum
Sen (You)AlıyorsunAlyorsunKesiyorsunKesmiyorsunSoruyorsunSormuyorsunÖrtüyorsunÖrtyorsun
O (He/She/It)AlıyorAlyorKesiyorKesmiyorSoruyorSormuyorÖrtüyorÖrtyor
Biz (We)AlıyoruzAlyoruzKesiyoruzKesmiyoruzSoruyoruzSormuyoruzÖrtüyoruzÖrtyoruz
Siz (You)AlıyorsunuzAlyorsunuzKesiyorsunuzKesmiyorsunuzSoruyorsunuzSormuyorsunuzÖrtüyorsunuzÖrtyorsunuz
Onlar (They)AlıyorlarAlyorlarKesiyorlarKesmiyorlarSoruyorlarSormuyorlarÖrtüyorlarÖrtyorlar

Negation

-maz / – mez 

This suffix is added to the verb roots or stems in order to make them negative adjectives.

Examples:

  • Utan (verb root) 
    • Be ashamed
  • Utanmaz adam (becomes adjective) 
    • Shameless man 
  • Bilin (verb stem) 
    • Be known
  • Bilinmez kader (becomes adjective) 
    • Unknown fate

-madan / -meden

This suffix forms verbal adverbs; it comes after the verb root and makes it an adverb.

The suffix -madan is added to the root of the verb if the last syllable of the verb has an –a, , -o, or -u.

Al (verb root) / Take

  • Almadan / Without taking
  • Onu almadan gelme. / Don’t come without taking him/her/it.

Kır (verb root) / Break

  • Kırmadan / Without breaking
  • Kalbini kırmadan konuş. / Talk without breaking his/her heart.

Soy (verb root) / Peel

  • Soymadan / Without peeling
  • Elmayı soymadan yeme. / Don’t eat the apple without peeling it.

Kuru (verb root) / Dry

  • Kurumadan / Without drying
  • Yerler kurumadan basma. / Don’t step on the floor before it is dried.

The suffix -meden is added to the root of the verb if the last syllable of the verb has an -e, -i,, or .

Ver (verb root) / Give

  • Vermeden / Without giving
  • Vermeden alınmaz. / You can’t take without giving.

Bit (verb root) / Finish

  • Bitmeden / Without finishing
  • Ödevin bitmeden gitme. / Don’t go without finishing your homework.

Gör (verb root) / See

  • Görmeden / Without seeing
  • Beni görmeden gitme. / Don’t leave without seeing me.

Gül (verb root) / Laugh

  • Gülmeden / Without laughing
  • Gülmeden konuş / Talk without laughing

-maksınzın / -meksizin 

This suffix is added to the verb roots or stems in order to make them negative. The suffix -maksızın is added to the root of the verb if the last syllable of the verb has an -a,, -o, or -u. The suffix -meksizin is added to the root of the verb if the last syllable of the verb has an -e, -i, , or .

Bak (verb root) / Look

  • Bakmaksızın / Without looking
  • Arkasına bakmaksızın gitti. / (S)he went without looking back.

Sevil (verb stem) / Be loved

  • Sevilmeksizin / Without being loved
  • O sevilmeksizin sevdi. / (S)he loved without being loved.

-sız / -siz / -suz / -süz 

The -sız suffix makes negative adjectives from nouns. It may be used as -siz / -suz / -süz based on the vowel harmony.

  • Akıl (Mind)
  • Akılsız (Mindless)
  • Düşünce (Thought)
  • Düşüncesiz (Thoughtless)
  • Tuz (Salt)
  • Tuzsuz (Saltless)
  • Ölüm (Death)
  • Ölümsüz (Immortal)

-meyip / -mayıp 

These suffixes (based on the vowel harmony) are added to the verb roots and form another negation in the Turkish language.

Git (verb root) / Go

  • Gitmeyip / Without going
  • Keşke gitmeyip kalsaydın. / I wish you didn’t go, and stayed.

Gör (verb root) / See

  • Görmeyip / Without seeing OR Not seeing
  • Taksiyi görmeyip otobüse bindim. / I didn’t see the taxi, and got on the bus.

Ağla (verb root) / Cry

  • Ağlamayıp / Without crying OR Not crying
  • Ağlamayıp konuşmalıydın. / You should have spoken and not cried.

Koş (verb root) / Run

  • Koşmayıp / Without running OR Not running
  • Koşmayıp yürüseydin yorulmazdın. / You wouldn’t get tired if you didn’t run, and walked instead.

2. Negation in Interrogative Sentences

In Turkish, negative interrogative sentences are also formed in two ways:

1. By using negation words
2. By using suffixes

Negative Questions

A- Negation Words

We use the word değil (not) to make negative interrogative sentences. Here are some examples:

  • Sevgi üzgün değil mi? (Isn’t Sevgi sad?)
  • Bu ev sizin değil mi? (Isn’t this house yours?)
  • Beni arayan sen değil miydin? (Weren’t you the one who called me?)

B- Suffixes

Below, you’ll find the most important suffixes for Turkish negation when forming interrogatives. 

-me / -ma 

These suffixes are used exactly the same way as they’re used in negative declarative sentences. The conjugations for tense and the exception in the present continuous tense apply here as well. Below are some examples:

  • Dans etmeyi sevmez misin? (Don’t you like dancing?)
  • Bugün okula gitmeyecek misin? (Won’t you go to school today?)
  • Notumu okumadın mı? (Didn’t you read my note?)
  • Yemek yapmamış mı? (Hasn’t he/she cooked?)
  • Beni dinlemiyor musun? (Aren’t you listening to me?)

Last but not least, I would like to point out that exception I mentioned earlier in this article. The word hiç can also be used in affirmative interrogative sentences, but it has a negative meaning:

  • Hiç gider miyim sanıyorsun? (Do you think I’ll ever go?)

Here, the person implies that he/she won’t go. Although it’s used in an affirmative interrogative sentence, it has a negative meaning.

  • Senin gibi birine güvenir miyim hiç? (Would I ever trust someone like you?)

Again, the person implies here that he/she doesn’t trust the other person. Although it’s used in an affirmative interrogative sentence, it has a negative meaning.

3. Double Negation

In English, double negation normally leads to a positive meaning:

[ I don’t want nothing. ] = [ I want something. ]

However, this is not always the case in Turkish. There are certain cases where a double negative can result in a negative meaning, rather than a positive meaning. 

A- Negative verb + Olmaz (not to be)

  • Değişik mutfakları denemezsen olmaz. (It’s not okay if you don’t try other cuisines.)

Meaning: You need to try other cuisines.

  • Söz verdim, gitmezsek olmaz. (I promised; it’s not okay if we don’t go.)

Meaning: We need to go.

In both examples, the meaning is positive.

B- Negative verb + Kalmaz (not left)

  • Ona söylersen duymayan kalmaz. (If you tell him/her, there will be no one who does not hear.)

We can reword this as: If you tell him/her, everybody will hear.

  • Bunu gizlemezsen bilmeyen kalmaz. (If you don’t hide this, there won’t be anyone who doesn’t know it.)

In both examples, the meaning is positive.

C- Negative verb + Değil (not)

Söylediklerini anlayor değil. (It’s not that he/she doesn’t understand what you are saying.)

Meaning: He/she understands what you are saying.

Yine de her şey güzel olmadeğil. (It’s not that everything wasn’t good.)

Meaning: Everything was good.

In both examples, the meaning is positive.

D- Yok (there isn’t) + Değil (not)

Zamanım yok değil ama gitmeliyim. (It’s not that I don’t have time, but I have to go.)

In other words: I have time, but I have to go.

Param yok değil ama bunu alamam. (It’s not that I don’t have money, but I can’t buy this.)

In other words: I have money, but I can’t buy this.

In both examples, the meaning is positive.

E- Hiç (none / not at all) + Yok (there isn’t)

  • Bende sabır hiç yok. (I don’t have patience at all.)

Double Negation

Unlike all the other sentences we’ve looked at here, this sentence has a negative meaning although there is double negation.

F- Word + -sız / -siz olmaz (not to be)

  • Bu parti sensiz olmaz. (This party won’t be without you.)

Here’s another sentence with a negative meaning. 

G- Word + -sız / -siz değil (not)

İnan bana, o ilgisiz değil. (Believe me, he/she is not uninterested.)

Meaning: He/she is interested.

This double negation sentence has a positive meaning.

4. Access Full Turkish Grammar Content on TurkishClass101.com

Stay positive, but use Turkish negation words and sentences whenever you need to. 

Be sure to let us know in the comments if you still have any questions regarding negation in Turkish. We’ll be glad to help you out!

If you would like to learn about negation in the Turkish language in more detail, then bookmark TurkishClass101, which has numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and plenty of free resources you can refer to. You can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Stay Positive

While a free lifetime account will give you everything you need, consider upgrading to Premium PLUS to gain access to your own personal tutor through our MyTeacher service. 

Happy learning!

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Why learn the Turkish language? Here are 10 great reasons.

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Learning any language comes with added benefits, from improved brain functionality to broader career opportunities. 

But considering the many world languages you have to choose from, why study Turkish in particular?

Whether you already have a motivation of your own or have no idea how to answer this question, believe me when I say that there are more great reasons to learn this language than you might think. 

In this article, I’ll discuss 10 compelling reasons why you should learn Turkish. To further motivate you, I’ll even talk about why this language isn’t that difficult to learn! 

Let’s dive in.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. There are many Turkish speakers across the globe.
  2. Turkish is one of the requirements for global business.
  3. You’ll be able to study in Turkey or join an exchange program.
  4. Do you enjoy learning about different cultures?
  5. Do you love history?
  6. Are you a nature-lover?
  7. Interested in architecture and handcrafts?
  8. Are you into international cuisine?
  9. Are you a people person?
  10. Are you addicted to Turkish series and movies?
  11. Why is Turkish Easy to Learn?
  12. Discover More About Turkish on TurkishClass101.com

1. There are many Turkish speakers across the globe.

Turkish is among the 15 most widely spoken first languages in the world. It’s spoken by about 75 million people as their first language and by about 15 million as their second language. The vast majority of Turkish speakers are in Turkey, though the language has also been given official status in some other countries. These include:

  • Northern Cyprus
  • 38 municipalities of Kosovo
  • 2 municipalities of Republic of Macedonia
  • Kirkuk Governorate in Iraq

Turkish speakers can also be found in some of the countries that were within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire in the past. Those countries are: 

  • Iraq
  • Bulgaria
  • Greece
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Romania
  • Serbia

Additionally, there are Turkish-speaking communities in Germany, France, the U.K., the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, and the U.S.A.

Wouldn’t you enjoy learning a language that’s spoken by so many people?

Furthermore, Turkish belongs to a language family that includes thirty Turkic languages. These languages have a lot of similarities, so learning Turkish will help you build a strong foundation for languages such as: 

  • Kazakh
  • Kyrgyz
  • Tatar
  • Uzbek
  • Uighur

These Turkic languages are spoken in strategically important regions like the Caucasus, the Balkans, China, and the former Soviet Union. 

2. Turkish is one of the requirements for global business.

The world is getting smaller with globalization, isn’t it? 

While globalization certainly covers international business, it goes so much farther than that. Not only are goods, services, and resources exchanged between countries, but so are intangible things such as culture, beliefs, and ideas. Also keep in mind that connections are made not only geographically, but also virtually.

Beyond import, export, and production, there’s a key element of international business that favors speakers of second and third languages: marketing! This is because, when you learn a foreign language, you’re also learning about the culture and history behind it—and this is key when it comes to presenting products and information in other countries. 

All of this to say: Turkey is a major player in the world of international business. If you plan on doing business globally, there’s a high chance you’ll need to know Turkish. In addition, knowing at least the basics of the language can help you find a job here locally and give you a headstart in the hiring process.

Globalization

3. You’ll be able to study in Turkey or join an exchange program.

Do you plan on studying in Turkey? If so, you’ll need to speak at least a little Turkish. 

The U.S. Department of State offers exchange programs for American citizens who want to develop their personal growth via educational and cultural programs. 

If you’ll be in Turkey with one of these programs, odds are you’ll be attending English-language classes and staying with an English-speaking host family. Still, you’ll need to speak Turkish to a certain extent to carry out daily activities like shopping, socializing, etc. Furthermore, studying the language can help you get a deeper understanding of the culture.

Years ago when I was in the U.S., I tutored a handful of air force officers who were going to work in Ankara for a while, as well as a young student who was going to visit Turkey through a student exchange program. The student was very smart and eager to learn Turkish. I tutored him for about an hour a week for five months. You know what? Two months after he had arrived in Turkey, he called me speaking in Turkish! I couldn’t believe it, and it was a very emotional moment for me. He was speaking Turkish fluently and answering every single question I asked him. He had a little accent, but I was still very proud of him.

Believe me: You can also learn Turkish easily. Make sure to use TurkishClass101 to expedite your learning progress!

4. Do you enjoy learning about different cultures?

Do you want to embrace different cultures? Do you want to figure out how to talk to people from different backgrounds?

If you enjoy studying different cultures, Turkish culture is probably a good one to spend time on. Turkey has a deep, rich, and interesting culture with a history dating back 4000 years and many recorded interactions with different ethnicities.

If you know the language, then you can do research, read sources in Turkish, and travel to Turkey. This will help you explore the culture in greater depth.

5. Do you love history?

As I mentioned above, Turkish history is over 4000 years old and it tells the story of many empires. There are countless sources regarding the history of Turkey available in the original language, so knowing Turkish would allow you access to them and make it possible to perform deeper research.

How about seeing traces of the country’s history in their original locations? Another great reason to learn Turkish is that it will make your travels here go much smoother, so you can visit the country and see a variety of remnants from thousands of years ago: 

  • Historical places
  • Antique cities
  • Tools
  • Utensils
  • Weapons
  • Coins
  • Tombs
  • Statues
  • Structures 

Did you know that two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are in Turkey? These are the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and Temple of Artemis.

6. Are you a nature-lover?

Do you love nature and take every opportunity to explore natural beauties all around the world?

As mentioned in the previous point, learning Turkish will allow you to visit Turkey with far fewer difficulties. This means you’ll be able to view all sorts of natural beauties unique to the country. To give you just a few examples: 

  • The fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, which were formed by wind erosions
  • Travertine terraces in Pamukkale
  • Ölüdeniz in Fethiye
  • Butterfly Valley
  • The waterfalls in Antalya 

Another benefit of knowing Turkish in this context is that you’ll better understand how some of these were formed.

Pamukkale

7. Interested in architecture and handcrafts?

Are you into the art, science, and history behind designing buildings? Are you impressed with the historical buildings made thousands of years ago with little technology and under primitive conditions?

Turkey is a great place to observe many structures of ancient history. You can see many mosques, churches, madrasas, caravanserais, bridges, palaces, castles, fountains, etc., that were built by the architects of ancient times.

Even if you can’t visit Turkey, knowing the language would allow you to read about the architectural details of these structures from original sources in Turkish.

Topkapi Palace

On the other hand, if you love learning about different types of handcrafts, you can study (and perhaps experience firsthand) the variety of handcrafts the Turkish people learned to perform throughout history. These include things like: 

  • Carpet and rug weaving
  • Mother of pearl inlaid
  • Filigree
  • Ceramics and tiles
  • Pottery making
  • Marbling (ebru)
  • Calligraphy
  • Coppersmithing
  • Miniature work
  • Glass work
  • Embroidery
  • Leather tanning
  • Meerschaum
  • Xylography

Learning Turkish would allow you to study both the architecture and the handcrafts of Turkey in as much detail as you’d like! 

8. Are you into international cuisine?

If you’re really into international food, then you must be aware of the reputation Turkish cuisine (which has been influenced by the Ottoman Empire) has made for itself. It’s known, in particular, for its variety and incredible flavors.

Another reason to learn Turkish, then, is that it will make traditional Turkish recipes more accessible to you and allow you to order food in Turkey with greater ease.

Turkish Food

9. Are you a people person?

If you enjoy interacting with other people, especially those from different cultures, Turkish people should be one of your first choices. They’re known to be very friendly, talkative, helpful, and hospitable.

However, keep in mind that some Turkish people speak English and others do not. Therefore, in order to meet and communicate with a lot of Turkish people, you should consider learning at least a little Turkish. 

10. Are you addicted to Turkish series and movies?

In the past decade, Turkish series and movies have grown in popularity. I have many friends from other countries who never miss an episode of certain Turkish series and ask me a lot of questions about them. If you’re anything like them, why don’t you start learning the Turkish language? Doing so will allow you to watch and listen to different forms of Turkish media in their original tones and language.

Watching TV

11. Why is Turkish Easy to Learn?

Now that we’ve discussed why to learn Turkish, there’s one more topic we should cover: Is Turkish easy to learn? 

Well, Turkish grammar is a bit different from that of English, which intimidates some new learners. But overall, Turkish isn’t as difficult as you might think. 

Let’s see why:

  • Turkish uses the Latin alphabet. This is the alphabet used by the majority of languages worldwide, so you won’t have to learn completely from scratch. There might be additional letters or some letters that are missing when compared to some other languages that use this alphabet; you’ll just need to learn the pronunciation of any unfamiliar letters.
  • There are no accents in Turkish. This is different from languages like French, where you have to remember whether the accent mark is to the left or to the right.
  • Turkish has no grammatical gender.
  • The word order in Turkish is flexible. The typical order is SOV (Subject-Object-Verb), which is different from English, but changing the order does not change the meaning of the sentence. If you put an object or a verb at the beginning of a sentence, for example, only the word you’re emphasizing will change. Therefore, in most circumstances, changing the word order is not a huge deal. 
  • There are many rules, but there are also very few exceptions. Therefore, if you learn the rules, mastering Turkish will be a piece of cake for you!
  • There are many online resources. TurkishClass101 is the best resource to find everything you need.

12. Discover More About Turkish on TurkishClass101.com

In this article, we talked about why you should learn Turkish and gave you some examples of why this language really isn’t that hard to learn. 

Have we inspired you to start (or continue) learning Turkish? 

If so, bookmark TurkishClass101.com, where you can find numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and an array of free resources (including this Turkish dictionary you can refer to). It’s our goal to help you get a better grasp of the Turkish language and culture in the fastest and most fun way possible. 

Don’t forget that there’s also MyTeacher, a Premium PLUS service of TurkishClass101 that allows you to study and practice with a private tutor. 

You can download the TurkishClass101 app for free and use it wherever you are. 

Happy learning!

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How to Use Tenses in the Turkish Language

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Verbs are one of the most important elements of a sentence. But unfortunately, their infinitive forms don’t make much sense when used in a sentence; verbs must be conjugated to indicate the time of the action, as well as whether the action has been completed or is still happening. 

We make these distinctions by using tenses.

A Signpost with Signs for Now, Tomorrow, and Yesterday

Tenses in the Turkish language carry certain conjugation rules with them—and when conjugation enters the scene, things get interesting! This is because it brings with it pronouns and vowel harmony.

Don’t worry, though. You just need to study the rules and practice, practice, practice!

Before we look at each tense in detail, let’s go over the basics of conjugation.

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  1. Conjugation
  2. Present Tense
  3. Past Tense
  4. Future Tense
  5. Auxiliary Verbs
  6. How TurkishClass101 Can Speed Up Your Turkish Learning

1. Conjugation

There are certain factors that Turkish verbs conjugate for. Let’s see what they are:

I. Person / Subject

Verbs get different suffixes based on the person/subject used in the sentence. 

II. Number of Subjects

Verbs will also receive different suffixes based on whether the subject is singular or plural. 

III. Politeness Level

In Turkish, the plural “you” is used the same way it is in English, though we also use it as a polite, formal way of addressing someone. The plural “you” and polite “you” follow the same conjugation rules in Turkish. 

IV. Tense

Verbs are conjugated differently according to each tense.

    → This is only an overview. If you would like to study Turkish conjugation in greater depth, please see our article on Turkish Conjugation Rules.

Now, let’s look closer at that final point and go over all of the tenses in Turkish.

2. Present Tense

There are two subdivisions of the Turkish present tense: the present continuous and the simple present.

I. Present Continuous Tense

This tense is used for actions that are happening now. It’s used with the following time-related words and phrases:

  • Şimdi          –       “Now”
  • Şu anda     –       “At the moment”
  • Hemen       –       “Immediately”

Conjugation here is based on the tense and the personal pronoun. Vowel harmony also comes into play. 

Verb + (ı)yor / (i)yor / (u)yor / (ü)yor + suffix to indicate the personal pronoun

Tense conjugation with vowel harmony

The following suffixes are used for all verbs, whether they end with a consonant or a vowel. However, if the verb root ends in a vowel, the vowel must be dropped before the suffixes are added.

 a/ıe/io/uö/ü
Ben (I)-ıyorum-iyorum-uyorum-üyorum
Sen (You) [s]-ıyorsun-iyorsun-uyorsun-üyorsun
O (He/She/It)-ıyor-iyor-uyor-üyor
Biz (We)-ıyoruz-iyoruz-uyoruz-üyoruz
Siz (You) [p]-ıyorsunuz-iyorsunuz-uyorsunuz-üyorsunuz
Onlar (They)-ıyorlar-iyorlar-uyorlar-üyorlar

Here are some examples:

Ben açıyorum.
“I am opening.”
Ben seçiyorum.
“I am choosing.”
Ben okuyorum.
“I am reading.”
Ben bölüyorum.
“I am dividing.”
Sen açıyorsun.
“You are opening.”
Sen seçiyorsun.
“You are choosing.”
Sen okuyorsun.
“You are reading.”
Sen bölüyorsun.
“You are dividing.”
O açıyor.
“He/she/it is opening.”
O seçiyor.
“He/she/it is choosing.”
O okuyor.
“He/she/it is reading.”
O bölüyor.
“He/she/it is dividing.”
Biz açıyoruz.
“We are opening.”
Biz seçiyoruz.
“We are choosing.”
Biz okuyoruz. 
“We are reading.”
Biz bölüyoruz.
“We are dividing.”
Siz açıyorsunuz.
“You are opening.”
Siz seçiyorsunuz.
“You are choosing.”
Siz okuyorsunuz.
“You are reading.”
Siz bölüyorsunuz.
“You are dividing.”
Onlaç açıyorlar.
“They are opening.”
Onlar seçiyorlar.
“They are choosing.”
Onlar okuyorlar. 
“They are reading.”
Onlar bölüyorlar.
“They are dividing.”

II. Simple Present Tense (Aorist Tense)

The simple present (aorist) tense is used to indicate that an action happens in general or as a routine. It’s used with the following time words:

  • Her gün                 –       “Every day”
  • Her zaman/daima       –       “Always”
  • Sık sık/Sıklıkla      –       “Often”
  • Genellikle             –       “Usually”  

Now, here are the rules for simple present tense conjugation in Turkish.

1. The following suffixes are added to the verb root for verbs ending with a vowel:

 Last Vowel of the Verb Root
 a/ıExamplee/iExampleo/uExampleö/üExample
Ben (I)-rımBen tararım. 

“I comb.”
-rimBen yerim.

“I eat.”
-rumBen korurum.

“I protect.”
-rümBen yürürüm.

“I walk.”
Sen (You)
[s]
-rsınSen tararsın. 

“You comb.”
-rsinSen yersin.

“You eat.”
-rsunSen korursun.

“You protect.”
-rsünSen yürürsün.

“You walk.”
O
(He/She/It)
-rO tarar. 

“He/she combs.”
-rO yer.

“He/she/it eats.”
-rO korur.

“He/she/it protects.”
-rO yürür.

“He/she/it walks.”
Biz (We)-rız  Biz tararız. 

“We comb.”
-riz Biz yeriz.

“We eat.”
-ruz  Biz koruruz.

“We protect.”
-rüz Biz yürürüz.

“We walk.”
Siz (You) [p]-rsınız  Siz tararsınız. 

“You comb.”
-rsiniz  Siz yersiniz.

“You eat.”
-rsunuz  Siz korursunuz.
“You protect.”
-rsünüz  Siz  yürürsünüz.

“You walk.”
Onlar (They)-rlar  Onlar tararlar. 

“They comb.”
-rler  Onlar yerler.

“They eat.”
-rlar  Onlar korurlar.

“They protect.”
-rler  Onlar yürürler.

“They walk.”

2. Verbs that have one syllable and end with a consonant take the following suffixes:

 Last Vowel of the Verb Root
 a/ı/o/uExamplee/i/ö/üExample
Ben (I)-arımBen kaçarım.

“I escape.”
-erimBen içerim. 

“I drink.”
Sen (You) [s]-arsınSen kaçarsın.

“You escape.”
-ersinSen içersin. 

“You drink.”
O (He/She/It)-arO kaçar.

“He/she/it escapes.”
-erO içer. 

“He/she/it drinks.”
Biz (We)-arızBiz kaçarız.

“We escape.”
-erizBiz içeriz. 

“We drink.”
Siz (You) [p]-arsınızSiz kaçarsınız.

“You escape.”
-ersinizSiz içersiniz. 

“You drink.”
Onlar (They)-arlarOnlar kaçarlar.

“They escape.”
-erlerOnlar içerler. 

“They drink.”

Keep in mind that the following verbs do not follow this rule:

  • Almak                                –       “To take”
  • Bilmek                               –       “To know”
  • Bulmak                              –       “To find”
  • Durmak                             –       “To stop”
  • Gelmek                              –       “To come”
  • Görmek                              –       “To see”
  • Kalmak                              –       “To stay”
  • Olmak (helping verb)     –       “To be”
  • Ölmek                                –       “To die”
  • Sanmak                             –       “To suppose”
  • Vermek                             –       “To give”
  • Varmak                              –       “To arrive”

3. The following suffixes are added to the verb root of verbs that have more than one syllable and end with a consonant:

  Last Vowel of the Verb Root
 a/ıExamplee/iExampleo/uExampleö/üExample
Ben (I)-ırımBen bayılırım. 

“I faint.”
-irimBen getiririm.

“I bring.”
-urumBen  otururum.

“I sit.”
-ürümBen götürürüm.

“I take.”
Sen (You) [s]-ırsınSen bayılırsın.

“You faint.”
-irsinSen getirirsin.

“You bring.”
-ursunSen oturursun.

“You sit.”
-ürsünSen götürürsün.

“You take.”
O (He/She/It)-ırO bayılır.

“He/she/it faints.”
-irO getirir.

“He/she/it brings.”
-urO oturur.

“He/she/it sits.”
-ürO götürür.

“He/she/it takes.”
Biz (We)-ırız  Biz bayılırız.

“We faint.”
-iriz  Biz getiririz.

“We bring.”
-uruzBiz otururuz.

“We sit.”
-ürüzBiz götürürüz.

“We take.”
Siz (You) [p]-ırsınızSiz bayılırsınız.

“You faint.”
-irsinizSiz getirirsiniz.

“You bring.”
-ursunuzSiz oturursunuz.

“You sit.”
-ürsünüzSiz götürürsünüz.

“You take.”
Onlar (They)-ırlarOnlar bayılırlar.

“They faint.”
-irlerOnlar getirirler.

“They bring.”
-urlarOnlar otururlar.

“They sit.”
-ürlerOnlar götürürler.

“They take.”

Keep in mind that the helping verbs etmek and olmak do not follow this rule. Please refer to the “Auxiliary Verbs” section below for more information. 

3. Past Tense

I think you’ll find the Turkish past tense interesting. Why? Because there are two different types of past tense, one of which does not exist in most other languages.

A Woman in Deep Thought about Something

Let’s see what they are.

I. Definite Past Tense

In Turkish, the definite past tense is used to indicate that an action happened in the past. It’s used with the following time words:

  • Dün                    –       “Yesterday”
  • Geçen hafta         –       “Last week”
  • 3 gün once           –       “3 days ago”

Conjugating the definite past tense is a little more complicated than what we’ve seen so far. You need to know the last vowel and the last letter of the verb in order to use the correct rule. 

 Last Vowel of the Verb Root 
 a/ıe/io/uö/ü
PERSONIf the very last letter of the verb root is one of these letters: “ç/f/h/k/s/ş/t/p”If the very last letter of the verb root is any other consonantIf the very last letter of the verb root is one of these letters: “ç/f/h/k/s/ş/t/p”If the very last letter of the verb root is any other consonantIf the very last letter of the verb root is one of these letters: “ç/f/h/k/s/ş/t/p”If the very last letter of the verb root is any other consonantIf the very last letter of the verb root is one of these letters: “ç/f/h/k/s/ş/t/p”If the very last letter of the verb root is any other consonant
Ben (ı)-tım-dım-tim-dim-tum-dum-tüm-düm
Sen (You) [s]-tın-dın-tin-din-tun-dun-tün-dün
O (He/she/it)  -tı-dı    -ti-di  -tu-du-tü-dü
Biz (We)-tık-dık-tik-dik-tuk-duk-tük-dük
Siz (You) [p]-tınız-dınız-tiniz-diniz-tunuz-dunuz-tünüz-dünüz
Onlar (They)-tılar-dılar-tiler-diler-tular-dular-tüler-düler

Here are a few examples to help you understand how the Turkish definite past tense is conjugated:

Ben kalktım.
“I got up.”
Ben erteledim.
“I postponed.”
Ben yoruldum.
“I got tired.”
Ben öptüm.
“I kissed.”
Sen kalktın.
“You got up.”
Sen erteledin.
“You postponed.”
Sen yoruldun.
“You got tired.”
Sen öptün.
“You kissed.”
O kalk.
“He/she/it got up.”
O erteledi.
“He/she/it postponed.”
O yoruldu.
“He/she/it got tired.”
O öp.
“He/she/it kissed.”
Biz kalktık.
“We got up.”
Biz erteledik.
“We postponed.”
Biz yorulduk.
“We got tired.”
Biz öptük.
“We kissed.”
Siz kalktınız.
“You got up.”
Siz ertelediniz.
“You postponed.”
Siz yoruldunuz.
“You got tired.”
Siz öptünüz.
“You kissed.”
Onlar kalktılar.
“They got up.”
Onlar ertelediler.
“They postponed.”
Onlar yoruldular.
“They got tired.”
Onlar öptüler.
“They kissed.”

 

II. Reported Past Tense

I know you’re curious to know what this is! The reported past tense in Turkish is used in the following cases:

  • When the speaker is explaining something he/she has heard but not witnessed:

    Babam telefonumu bulmuş.           –       “My father has found my phone.”
    (My father told me he found it, but I didn’t actually see him find it.)

  • When the speaker is telling a story:

    Küçük bir çocuk varmış.                   –       “There was a young child.”
    (I haven’t seen the child; it’s just a character in a story.)

  • When the speaker is telling someone that he/she has done something without noticing it:

    Telefonumu sessize almışım.         –       “I muted my phone.”
    (I didn’t realize I muted it.)

    Bu filmi daha önce seyretmişim.    – “I have seen this movie before.”
    (I’ve started watching a movie, but realize that I’ve seen it before and forgot.)

  • When the speaker is telling someone about their dream: 

    Rüyamda çok gençmişim.               –       “I was very young in my dream.”
    (It’s like storytelling; you’re telling someone about your dream, which is not reality.)

Someone Sound Asleep and Dreaming
  • When the speaker is imagining something and talking about it with someone:

    Mesela, ben doktormuşum.         –       “For example, I was a doctor.”
    (This is again not reality; you’re imagining that you were a doctor.)

Now that you know when to use this tense, let’s see how it’s conjugated.

 
Last Vowel of the Verb Root
 a/ıExamplee/iExampleo/uExampleö/üExample
Ben (I)-mışımBen atmışım. 

“I threw.”
-imBen seçmişim.

“I chose.”
-um Ben korumuşum.

“I protected.”
ümBen gülmüşüm.


“I laughed.”
Sen (You) [s]-mışsınSen atmışsın. 

“You threw.”
-sinSen seçmişsin.


“You chose.”
-sunSen korumuşsun.


“You protected.”
sün Sen gülmüşsün.


“You laughed.”
O (He/She/It)-mışO atmış. 

“He/she threw.”
miş O seçmiş.

“He/she/it chose.”
muş O korumuş.

“He/she/it protected.”
müş O gülmüş.

“He/she/it laughed.”
Biz (We)-mışızBiz atmışız. 

“We threw.”
-izBiz seçmişiz.

“We chose.”
-uzBiz korumuşuz.

“We protected.”
üz Biz gülmüşüz.

“We laughed.”
Siz (You) [p]-mışsınızSiz atmışsınız. 

“You threw.”
-sinizSiz seçmişsiniz.

“You chose.”
sunuzSiz korumuşsunuz.

“You protected.”
sünüzSiz gülmüşsünüz.

“You laughed.”
Onlar (They)-mışlarOnlar atmışlar. 

“They threw.”
-lerOnlar seçmişler.

“They chose.”
-larOnlar korumuşlar.

“They protected.”
-lerOnlar gülmüşler.

“They laughed.”

4. Future Tense

This tense is used for actions that will happen in the future. It’s used with the following time words:

  • Yarın                      –       “Tomorrow”
  • Gelecek hafta       –       “Next week”
  • Gelecek Pazartesi    –       “Next Monday”

 Verbs Ending with a Consonant Verbs Ending with a Vowel 
 a/ı/o/ue/i/ö/üa/ı/o/ue/i/ö/ü
Ben (I)-acağım-eceğim-[y]acağım-[y]eceğim
Sen (You) [s]-acaksın-eceksin-[y]acaksın-[y]eceksin
O (He/She/It)-acak-ecek-[y]acak-[y]ecek
Biz (We)-acağız-eceğiz-[y]acağız-[y]eceğiz
Siz (You) [p]-acaksınız-eceksiniz-[y]acaksınız-[y]eceksiniz
Onlar (They)-acaklar-ecekler-[y]acaklar-[y]ecekler

There are two verbs that do not follow these rules:

  • Demek                   –       “To say” / “To tell”
  • Yemek                 –       “To eat”

When conjugating these verbs for the future tense, the letter “e” changes to “i,” and then the suffixes outlined above are added. For example:

  • Ben yiyeceğim.     –       “I will eat.”
  • Sen diyeceksin.   –       “You will tell.”

A Woman about to Eat Skewered Meat

She’s going to eat.

Here are a few examples of how the Turkish future tense is used:

Ben kalacağım.
“I will stay.”
Ben seçeceğim.
“I will choose.”
Ben uyuyacağım.
“I will sleep.”
Ben eleyeceğim.
“I will eliminate.”
Sen kalacaksın.
“You will stay.”
Sen seçeceksin.
“You will choose.”
Sen uyuyacaksın.
“You will sleep.”
Sen eleyeceksin.
“You will eliminate.” 
O kalacak.
“He/she/it will stay.”
O seçecek.
“He/she/it will choose.”
O uyuyacak.
“He/she/it will sleep.”
O eleyecek.
“He/she/it will eliminate.” 
Biz kalacağız. 
“We will stay.”
Biz seçeceğiz.
“We will choose.”
Biz uyuyacağız.
“We will sleep.”
Biz eleyeceğiz.
“We will eliminate.” 
Siz kalacaksınız.
“You will stay.”
Siz seçeceksiniz.
“You will choose.”
Siz uyuyacaksınız.
“You will sleep.”
Siz eleyeceksiniz.
“You will eliminate.” 
Onlar kalacaklar.
“They will stay.”
Onlar seçecekler.
“They will choose.”
Onlar uyuyacaklar.
“They will sleep.”
Onlar eleyecekler.
“They will eliminate.” 

5. Auxiliary Verbs

The main auxiliary verbs in Turkish (also known as helping verbs) are:

Etmek                               –       “To do” / “To make” / “To perform”     
Olmak                              –       “To become” / “To happen” / “To occur”
Yapmak                            –       “To do” / “To make”

Here are some examples of how they’re used:

Teşekkür etmek                –       “Thank you”
Pişman olmak                   –       “To regret”
Katkı yapmak                    –       “To contribute”

A Card in Front of a Present that Says Thank You!!

Thank you! / Teşekkür ederim!

Now, let’s see how they’re conjugated:

PronounPresent ContinuousSimple PresentDefinite PastReported PastFuture
Ben (I)EdiyorumEderimEttimEtmişimEdeceğim
Sen (You) [s]EdiyorsunEdersinEttinEtmişsinEdeceksin
O (He/She/It)EdiyorEderEttiEtmişEdecek
Biz (We)EdiyoruzEderizEttikEtmişizEdeceğiz
Siz (You) [p]EdiyorsunuzEdersinizEttinizEtmişsinizEdeceksiniz
Onlar (They)EdiyorlarEderlerEttilerEtmişlerEdecekler
Ben (I)OluyorumOlurumOldumOlmuşumOlacağım
Sen (You) [s]OluyorsunOlursunOldunOlmuşsunOlacaksın
O (He/She/It)OluyorOlurOlduOlmuşOlacak
Biz (We)OluyoruzOluruzOldukOlmuşuzOlacağız
Siz (You) [p]OluyorsunuzOlursunuzOldunuzOlmuşsunuzOlacaksınız
Onlar (They)OluyorlarOlurlarOldularOlmuşlarOlacaklar
Ben (I)YapıyorumYaparımYaptımYapmışımYapacağım
Sen (You) [s]YapıyorsunYaparsınYaptınYapmışsınYapacaksın
O (He/She/It)YapıyorYaparYaptıYapmışYapacak
Biz (We)YapıyoruzYaparızYaptıkYapmışızYapacağız
Siz (You) [p]YapıyorsunuzYaparsınızYaptınızYapmışsınızYapacaksınız
Onlar (They)YapıyorlarYaparlarYaptılarYapmışlarYapacaklar

6. How TurkishClass101 Can Speed Up Your Turkish Learning

By now, you should be much more familiar with the different Turkish-language tenses, how to form them, and when to use each one. How confident do you feel so far? 

If you would like to reinforce what you’ve learned today, then create your free lifetime account with TurkishClass101! We provide numerous Turkish lessons for learners at every level, in both audio and video formats. In addition, we offer our learners a variety of free resources, including an online Turkish-English dictionary for quick reference and themed vocabulary lists

Premium PLUS members also get access to our MyTeacher service, which allows you to learn and practice with your own private tutor. 

Finally, make sure you download our free app so you can learn Turkish anywhere, anytime. 

Happy learning!

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How Fast Can You Learn Turkish?

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Learning a new language is a process that requires time and effort; it can’t be completed overnight. 

As an aspiring Turkish learner, you’re likely wondering at this point: Okay, so how long does it take to learn Turkish? 

I can understand why you want to know the length of your learning journey in advance. This information can help you decide whether to take the plunge or not, make plans, and get prepared for your upcoming studies. 

But you know what? There’s no formula where you can plug in a few variables and calculate the time right away! It’s not that simple. 

However, there are a few factors that can be taken into consideration.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Factors That Affect Your Language Learning Progress
  2. Proficiency Levels
  3. Useful Tools to Help You Learn Turkish Effectively
  4. Learn Turkish Online with TurkishClass101!
  5. Utilize TurkishClass101 to Learn Turkish the Easy Way!

Factors That Affect Your Language Learning Progress

A number of factors are involved in determining how long it takes to learn Turkish. Following is a breakdown of each one and how it will affect your ability to learn the Turkish language. 

Your Reason for Learning 

The first thing you need to do is determine your reason for learning Turkish. 

Will you use it for managing a business relationship or for social conversations? Will you be writing academic papers in Turkish or do you need it to search for information on the internet? Or maybe you need it because you’ll be traveling or studying in Turkey? 

Your objective will determine the proficiency level you need to achieve, which in turn will tell you how long you’ll need to study. 

In addition, your goal can clue you in on how to use your time. If there’s some urgency to attain a certain level of Turkish, you have to plan accordingly and be more systematic. If there’s no urgency, you can extend your studies over a longer period of time. 

Your Learning Environment

What are your learning methods? What resource(s) are you using? Are you attending a college course, seeing a private tutor, or learning online? And how intensive are your courses? 

These are all factors that can speed up or slow down your progress! 

Your Native Language

If your native language is structured very differently from Turkish in terms of alphabet/script, grammar, phonology, syntax, etc., it will take longer for you to learn Turkish. 

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the United States has categorized all world languages into four groups, according to their linguistic and/or cultural differences from English. Category I languages are the easiest for English speakers to pick up, while Category IV languages are the most difficult. Turkish is considered a Category III language. To give you an idea, a few other languages in this category include: 

  • Bulgarian
  • Czech
  • Finnish
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hungarian
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Tagalog

Now, how long does it take to learn the Turkish language based on the estimations of the FSI? They’ve estimated that it takes 44 weeks or 1100 hours to reach a professional working level in Category III languages.

Your Previous Language Learning Experience

If you have prior language learning experience or were raised bilingual, it will take you less time to learn a new language. This is because you’ve been down that road before. You already know the best methods for studying, memorizing vocabulary, and practicing your skills, so you’ll find the process much easier than a monolingual would. 

Your Capability and Talent

I think we have to accept that some people are more talented at learning new languages than others. Those who have natural ability or are inclined to learn new languages are definitely at an advantage.

A Speedometer Reading 0 MPH

Learning pace

Proficiency Levels

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR or CEFRL) is the international standard for determining one’s proficiency level in a language. It has six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.

Let’s take a look at these levels and go over what you can accomplish in Turkish at each stage.

Beginner Level

The beginner stage encompasses levels A1 and A2 of the CEFR scale, and it’s also referred to as the “Basic User” level. 

Once you complete the beginner level:

  • You can carry out daily conversations and perform tasks such as introducing yourself, shopping, asking and answering simple questions, and meeting your urgent requirements.
  • You will know some basic nouns, adjectives, and verbs.

To get a better idea of what you’ll be learning as you approach this level, check out the beginner lesson 5 Sentence Patterns for Beginners on TurkishClass101.com. 

100-120 hours of study will be required to reach this level. Flashcards will be useful at this stage.

You can take the A1 or A2 TOMER test at Istanbul University or Anadolu University in order to prove your proficiency. 

Intermediate Level

CEFR refers to this stage as “Independent User,” which consists of the B1 and B2 levels. 

Once you complete the intermediate level:

  • You can (to a certain degree) speak and understand Turkish, read newspapers and articles in Turkish, and even think in Turkish.
  • You will know even more vocabulary, including pronouns, adverbs, and conjunction words.
  • You will also be familiar with some of the tenses used in Turkish. 

Are you curious what intermediate-level lessons will look like? Then head over to our lesson 25 Must-Know Intermediate Phrases!

450-490 hours will be required to get to this level. Talking with native speakers, reading Turkish content, and watching Turkish television shows will be very helpful in getting to this stage.

You can test for the B1 or B2 level through TOMER at Istanbul University or Anadolu University. You can also get B2-level certification if you take and pass the TYS (Türkçe Yeterlik Sınavı) / TPE (Turkish Proficiency Exam).

A Certificate of Achievement Paper

Advanced Level

CEFR refers to this stage as “Proficient User” and it consists of the C1 and C2 levels. 

Once you complete the advanced level:

  • You can carry out deeper conversations about culture, science, art, literature, and politics. 
  • You can engage in more complex situations, such as trade or business-related exchanges. 

To get an idea of what you’re dealing with at this point in your learning journey, have a look at our lesson 25 Must-Know Advanced Phrases

1000-1100 hours will be required to get to this level. In addition to watching, listening to, and reading Turkish content, being able to live or study in Turkey for a while will help you attain this level of fluency much faster.

You can get C1 and C2 certification if you take and pass the TYS (Türkçe Yeterlik Sınavı) / TPE (Turkish Proficiency Exam).

A Woman Thinking in Front of a Blackboard with Thought Bubbles Drawn in Chalk

Useful Tools to Help You Learn Turkish Effectively

Now that you have a better idea of how long it takes to learn the Turkish language, you can start preparing yourself accordingly. To give you a headstart, here are a few tips on how to study Turkish for the best results. 

  • Schools and private lessons. 

    These are two of the best and quickest ways to learn Turkish. However, both are quite expensive and offer little (if any) flexibility timewise.
  • Learning on your own

    If traditional classes are not a practical option for you, you might be wondering how to learn Turkish by yourself. While the idea may seem daunting, there are plenty of effective ways to learn from home!

    For example, you can learn Turkish online (oftentimes, for free). TurkishClass101 is a great resource you can use, but we’ll talk more about us later. 😉
  • Real-life application. 

    Whichever path you take, the most important thing is to put together and apply everything you’ve learned. You can do this by…

    …reading Turkish blogs, articles, books, and newspapers.
    …listening to Turkish radio channels or podcasts.
    …watching TV shows, videos, and movies in Turkish.
    speakers

    Of course, you should also consider moving to Turkey and living there for a while. This will help you improve in all aspects of your learning!
A Man Reading at a Cafe

Just a reminder: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Be brave and try to use the things you’ve learned.

Learn Turkish Online with TurkishClass101!

Would you like to learn Turkish online in a fun and effective way? If yes, all you need to do is visit TurkishClass101.com and create your free lifetime account. 

So, what great resources do we offer our learners? How can we benefit your studies? 

A Single Resource for All

TurkishClass101.com provides lessons and other learning materials that cover all aspects of the Turkish language, for learners at every level. You can find tons of written, audio, and video materials covering Turkish grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, as well as exercises to improve your listening, writing, and speaking skills. We also have plenty of lessons about Turkish culture, so you can get the full experience! 

Free Resources

Many of the resources we offer are free, and they’re a great place to start if you need to pick up the Turkish-language basics. Here are just a few examples of what you can expect from our free content: 

We also have numerous vocabulary lists, a Word of the Day feature, and a Turkish dictionary to help you build up your vocabulary base! 

Premium and Premium PLUS Services

Upgrading to a Premium account will give you access to even more content not accessible with a basic account. While this upgrade isn’t necessary to learn the language or use our site, it will help you learn more efficiently with a broader range of resources. 

To speed up your progress and further enhance your learning, you can upgrade to Premium PLUS. The most notable feature of this subscription is our MyTeacher service, which allows you to study and practice with a private teacher. 

This service will also give you: 

  • One-on-one interaction with your personal teacher
  • Guidance & ongoing assessment
  • Weekly assignments and badges for the assignments you complete
  • Constructive feedback

Learn On the Go 

Location is no longer a roadblock in your Turkish studies! With today’s technology, you can continue learning wherever you are. Download the free InnovativeLanguage101 app and use it anywhere, anytime.

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Utilize TurkishClass101 to Learn Turkish the Easy Way!

In this article, we answered the question: How fast can you learn Turkish? We also guided you concerning the best ways to learn Turkish both online and offline, so that you can make the most of your study time. 

Don’t lose any more time—start utilizing all of the resources TurkishClass101.com has to offer. 

Already a member? Feel free to leave us feedback on your experiences so we can continue to get better, and make your learning journey even more enjoyable. 

Before you go: How likely are you to start learning Turkish after reading this article? Is there anything still holding you back? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help!

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The Top 30 Inspirational and Motivational Turkish Proverbs

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I believe proverbs are an important part of any culture. Though we don’t know under what circumstances or by whom they were put forward, they have been passed down from one generation of people to another. They serve to teach us life lessons while showing us different points of view. 

As a learner of the Turkish language, you’ll greatly benefit from studying Turkish proverbs and sayings. Doing so will expand your vocabulary, help you better understand the inner workings of the language, and provide you with insight into the core values and traditions of Turkish culture

In this article, you’ll learn thirty inspirational and motivational Turkish proverbs with their English translations. We’ve categorized them by topic, so feel free to skim through and find a topic or theme that interests you!

    → By the way, to spice up your Turkish conversations even more, you may want to brush up on these Essential Idioms That Will Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker!

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
      1. Turkish Proverbs About Time
      2. Turkish Proverbs About Hope
      3. Turkish Proverbs About Friendship
      4. Turkish Proverbs About Happiness
      5. Turkish Proverbs About Trust
      6. Turkish Proverbs About Money
      7. Turkish Proverbs About Wisdom
      8. Miscellaneous Proverbs
      9. Learn More with TurkishClass101!

      1. Turkish Proverbs About Time

      Time is many things to us. It’s full of opportunity, it’s always running out, there’s never quite enough of it, and we’re always looking for the best ways to spend the time we do have. With this in mind, here are some Turkish proverbs about time: 

        1TurkishZaman her şeyin ilacıdır.
      LiterallyTime is the medicine of everything.
      Equivalent in EnglishTime is the best medicine.
      As time passes, all the troubles we experience are forgotten or the sorrow we feel decreases.

      Example:

      Üzülme, bugünler de geçecek; zaman her şeyin ilacıdır.

      “Don’t worry, these days will be over, too; time is the best medicine.”

        2TurkishSakla samanı, gelir zamanı.
      LiterallySave the hay, its time will come.
      Equivalent in EnglishKeep a thing seven years and you’ll find a use for it.
      If you hold onto something you have for long enough, it will eventually become useful.

      Example:

      İyi ki kızımın bebek arabasını saklamışım, şimdi senin çok işine yarayacak. Eee, sakla samanı gelir zamanı.

      “Fortunately, I saved my daughter’s stroller. It will be very useful for you now. See, keep a thing for seven years and you’ll find a use for it.”  

        3TurkishVakit nakittir.
      LiterallyTime is cash.
      Equivalent in EnglishTime is money.
      This proverb emphasizes that time is a valuable resource.

      Example:

      Bir an önce işe gitmeliyim. Eee, ne de olsa vakit nakittir.

      “I have to go to work as soon as possible. Well, after all, time is money.”  

        4TurkishBugünün işini yarına bırakma.
      LiterallyDon’t leave today’s work for tomorrow.
      Equivalent in EnglishNever put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
      This one emphasizes that one should not delay doing something that can be done today. 

      Example:

      Ödevimi yarın yaparım deyince babam bugünün işini yarına bırakma dedi.

      “When I said I would do my homework tomorrow, my father said ‘Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.’ “

        5TurkishSona kalan dona kalır.
      LiterallyThe one who stays the last, is left for the frost.
      Equivalent in EnglishThe devil takes the hindmost.
      The people who lag behind will either lose or not have any benefits.

      Example:

      Ali amca çocuklara şeker veriyor, koşun; sona kalan dona kalır.

      “Uncle Ali is giving candy to the children, run; the devil takes the hindmost.”

        6TurkishErken kalkan yol alır.
      LiterallyThe one who gets up early proceeds.
      Equivalent in EnglishThe early bird catches the worm.
      This proverb advises that if someone does something immediately (or before anyone else), he/she will have an advantage.

      Example:

      Daha 5 saatlik yolumuz var, artık yola çıksak iyi olur. Ne de olsa, erken kalkan yol alır.

      “We have five more hours to go, we’d better get going. After all, the early bird catches the worm.”

      A Businessman Checking His Watch

      2. Turkish Proverbs About Hope

      We could all use some uplifting words now and then, especially when we’re at our lowest point. Whether you or a loved one needs some encouragement, these two Turkish proverbs about hope will deliver! 

        7TurkishÇıkmadık candan umut kesilmez.
      LiterallyIf the person didn’t die, there is still hope.
      Equivalent in EnglishWhile there’s life, there’s hope.
      If something didn’t fail completely, there is still a chance to save it.

      Example:

      Üzülme, son aday henüz açıklanmadı. Çıkmadın candan umut kesilmez.

      “Don’t worry, the last candidate has not been announced yet. While there’s life, there’s hope.”

        8TurkishGün doğmadan neler doğar.
      LiterallyBefore the sun rises, a lot of things rise.
      Equivalent in EnglishTomorrow is another day.
      A person should never lose hope, because nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow.

      Example:

      Öyle hemen umudunu kaybetme. Gün doğmadan neler doğar.

      “Don’t lose your hope. Tomorrow is another day.”

      3. Turkish Proverbs About Friendship

      A true friendship is one of the most precious things a person can experience—and a fake or weak friendship can be one of the worst things! The following Turkish proverbs about friendship offer advice on how to choose friends wisely and how to be a good friend yourself. 

        9TurkishBana arkadaşını söyle sana kim olduğunu söyleyeyim.
      LiterallyTell me who your friend is, I will tell you who you are.
      Equivalent in EnglishTell me who you go with, and I’ll tell you who you are.
      This proverb means that a person’s friends are a reflection of who he/she is.

      Example:

      John o gruba girdiğinden beri her gün kavga ediyor. Eee, ne demişler ‘Bana arkadaşını söyle sana kim olduğunu söyleyeyim.’

      “Since John got into that group, he’s been fighting every day. Well, they say, ‘Tell me who you go with, and I’ll tell you who you are.’ ”  

        10TurkishDost kara günde belli olur.
      LiterallyA real friend is understood on a bad day.
      Equivalent in EnglishA friend in need is a friend indeed.
      A person who stays by your side during difficult times is someone you can really rely on.

      Example:

      İflas ettiğinden beri Mary dışında hiçbir arkadaşı yanında değil.  Eee, dost kara günde belli olur.

      “Since she went bankrupt, none of her friends are with her except for Mary. Well, a friend in need is a friend indeed.”

      Three Old Ladies and an Old Man Laughing While Playing Cards

        11TurkishDost acı söyler.
      LiterallyReal friend talks bitter.
      A real friend always tells the truth—including when their friend is wrong—even if it hurts.

      Example:

      Kusura bakma bu olayda sen hatalısın; dost acı söyler.

      “Sorry, in this case you are wrong; real friend talks bitter.”

      4. Turkish Proverbs About Happiness

      We all desire happiness, but there are days when it seems impossible to find. Below are a couple of Turkish proverbs about happiness that provide insight on the topic. 

        12TurkishKutlu gün doğuşundan bellidir.
      LiterallyA happy day is known from the way of the sunrise.
      The affairs that will lead to happy and good results manifest themselves from the beginning.

      Example:

      Başından beri her şey o kadar iyi gitti ki, işi senin alacağını biliyordum. Büyüklerin dediği gibi: ‘Kutlu gün doğuşundan bellidir.’

      “Everything went so well from the start that I knew you would get the job. As the elderly say: ‘A happy day is known from the way of the sunrise.’ “

        13TurkishUlu ağacın gürültüsü dal ile, mutlu evin yakışığı döl ile.
      LiterallyThe noise of the great tree with the twig, the light of the happy house with the offspring.
      Just as a tree grows by branching, the happiness of a family is reinforced by the children it raises.

      Example:

      Onlar çok kalabalık bir aile. Eee, ne de olsa Ulu ağacın gürültüsü dal ile, mutlu evin yakışığı döl ile.

      “They are a very crowded family. Well, after all, the noise of the great tree with the twig, the light of the happy house with the offspring.”

      A Father and His Two Children in a Field

      5. Turkish Proverbs About Trust

      Knowing who (or what) to trust is an important skill to have, but it can also be one of the most difficult things to determine. To give you a bit of advice on the matter, here are a couple of Turkish proverbs about trust. 

        14TurkishGüvenme varlığa, düşersin darlığa.
      LiterallyDon’t trust wealth, you would fall into poverty.
      People should not be extravagant with their spending if they have a lot of money. If they don’t manage their money properly, they can find themselves in poverty. 

      Example:

      Paranı çarçur etme; ne derler ‘Güvenme varlığa, düşersin darlığa.’

      “Don’t waste your money; they say, ‘Don’t trust wealth, you would fall into poverty.’ “

        15TurkishGüvenme dostuna, saman doldurur postuna.
      LiterallyDo not trust your friend, he/she will fill your skin with hay.
      This proverb implies that before you trust someone, you should test him/her. If you trust someone blindly, he/she might deceive you.


      Example:
      Sen herkese çok güveniyorsun. Şu atasözünü hiç duymadın mı? ‘Güvenme dostuna, saman doldurur postuna.’

      “You trust everyone very much. Have you ever heard of this proverb? ‘Do not trust your friend, he/she will fill your skin with hay.’ “

      6. Turkish Proverbs About Money

      As we all know, every language has plenty of quotes and proverbs about money and how to use it wisely. Below are some famous Turkish proverbs about money.

        16TurkishParayı veren düdüğü çalar.
      LiterallyThe one who gives the money blows the whistle.
      Equivalent in EnglishHe who pays the piper calls the tune.
      The one who pays for something is the one who has a say in related matters.

      Example:

      Sen de ona para verseydin, sana da dondurma getirirdi; parayı veren düdüğü çalar.

      “If you had given him money, he would have brought you ice cream, too; who pays the piper calls the tune.”  

        17TurkishPara parayı çeker.
      LiterallyMoney draws money.
      Equivalent in EnglishThem as has, gits.
      If someone has money, he/she can make more money with it since money brings more advantages and opportunities.

      Example:

      Jane lotoyu tutturmuş. Eee para parayı çeker.

      “Jane has won the lottery. Well, them as has, gits.” 

        18TurkishEkmek aslanın ağzında.
      LiterallyBread is in the mouth of the lion.
      Equivalent in EnglishMoney doesn’t grow on trees.
      This proverb means that it’s not easy to earn money; it requires a lot of effort.

      Example:

      Paranı çarçur etmemelisin. Malum, ekmek aslanın ağzında.

      “You shouldn’t waste your money. As you know, bread is in the mouth of the lion.”

        19TurkishPara ile imanın kimde olduğu bilinmez.
      LiterallyIt’s not known who has money or faith.
      Faith is something within the heart of a person, so we don’t know who really has faith in God. Likewise, we really don’t know how much money a person has.

      Example:

      Joe amcanın 10 milyon dolar miras bırakmasına çok şaşırdım. Para ile imanın kimde olduğu bilinmez.

      “I was surprised that Uncle Joe left a legacy of ten million dollars. It’s not known who has money or faith.” 

        20TurkishPara insana dil, elbise insana yol öğretir.
      LiterallyMoney teaches man a language, clothes teach the way.
      Your wealth and position determine your place in society, and can give you more or less prestige than others.

      Example:

      O adamı lotoyu kazanana dek hiç kimse sevmezdi. Şimdi etrafında bir sürü insan var. Eee, para insana dil, elbise insana yol öğretir.

      “Nobody liked that man until he won the lottery. Now there are a lot of people around him. Well, money teaches man a language, clothes teach the way.”

      Several Hundred Dollar Bills

      7. Turkish Proverbs About Wisdom

      Wisdom is another concept that people in every culture talk a lot about. Below are a few great Turkish proverbs that offer general words of wisdom for many of life’s circumstances. 

        21TurkishAkıl akıldan üstündür.
      LiterallyOne mind is better than another one.
      Equivalent in EnglishTwo heads are better than one.
      We can’t know it all. It’s good to ask for other people’s opinions, because they may have better ideas than we do. 

      Example:

      Sana da sorayım. Ne de olsa akıl akıldan üstündür. Sence ona nasıl davranmalıyım? 

      “Let me ask you as well. After all, two heads are better than one. How do you think I should treat him/her?”

        22TurkishAkıl yaşta değil baştadır.
      LiterallyWisdom isn’t at age, it’s on the head.
      Equivalent in EnglishWisdom doesn’t come with age.
      A person doesn’t need to be old in order to think wisely, or to realize what’s going on. Using one’s brain and learning from experience leads to wisdom. Therefore, a person is not wise just because they’re old; a person who is young may also be wise.

      Example:

      Çok genç ve tecrübesiz olmasına rağmen durumu iyi idare etti. Ne de olsa, akıl yaşta değil baştadır. 

      “Although he is very young and inexperienced, he managed the situation well. After all, wisdom doesn’t come with age.”

        23TurkishAkla gelmeyen başa gelir.
      LiterallyThe one that doesn’t come to mind, happens.
      Equivalent in EnglishThe unexpected always happens.
      We shouldn’t forget that things can happen, even if we don’t expect or foresee them.

      Example:

      Kapının önünde zili tamir ediyordum. Kapı açık diye anahtarımı almadım. Bir rüzgar esti, kapı kapandı. Akla gelmeyen başa geliyor.

       “I was fixing the bell in front of the door. I didn’t get my key because the door was open. The wind blew, the door got closed. The unexpected always happens.”

      Image of a Human Brain with Strings of Light, Symbolizing Neural Connections

        24TurkishAkıllı düşmandan değil; salak dosttan kork.
      LiterallyBe afraid of a stupid friend, not of a smart enemy.
      People who act thoughtlessly, do not see the truth, and cannot see the consequences of the words they say, may unknowingly harm their friends—even if they have good intentions. On the other hand, we can anticipate and predict what a smart enemy can do and take precautions. 

      Example:

      En iyi arkadaşım patavatsızca konuşup, beni zor durumda bıraktı. Akıllı düşmandan değil; salak dosttan kork.

      “My friend talked thoughtlessly and put me in a difficult situation. Be afraid of a stupid friend, not of a smart enemy.”  

        25TurkishCahile söz anlatmak, deveye hendek atlatmaktan güçtür.
      LiterallyIt is more difficult to speak to an ignorant person than to get a camel over a ditch.
      Equivalent in EnglishLike getting blood from a turnip.
      This proverb means that it’s impossible to explain something to an ignorant person.

      Example:

      Hepimiz en az üç kez anlattık ama anlamadı. Cahile söz anlatmak, deveye hendek atlatmaktan güç.

      “All of us told him at least three times, but he didn’t understand. It’s like getting blood from a turnip.”

      8. Miscellaneous Proverbs

      To wrap up, let’s look at some of the best Turkish proverbs on a variety of other concepts! 

        26TurkishOlacakla öleceğe çare yoktur.
      LiterallyThere is no cure for the things that will happen or the person that will die.
      Equivalent in EnglishWhatever will be, will be.
      We can’t control everything. Whatever is meant or predetermined to take place will take place.

      Example:

      O kadar uğraştım ama yine de olmadı. Anladım ki olacakla öleceğe çare yok.

      “I tried so hard, but it still didn’t happen. I realized that whatever will be, will be.” 

        27TurkishLafla peynir gemisi yürümez.
      LiterallyThe cheese ship doesn’t move with words.
      Equivalent in EnglishActions speak louder than words.
      This one means that nothing happens when we only talk about it; action is needed. In other words, what you do is more important than what you say.

      Example:

      O hep konuşuyor, hiçbir şey yaptığı yok ama lafla da peynir gemisi yürümez. 

      “He/she always talks, he/she does nothing, but actions speak louder than words.” 

        28TurkishKomşunun tavuğu komşuya kaz görünür.
      LiterallyThe neighbor’s chicken seems like a goose to the neighbor.
      Equivalent in EnglishThe grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
      This proverb means that what other people have always seems better than what we have.

      Example:

      Sally Jen’in elbisesini çok beğendi. Halbuki aynısı onda da var. Komşunun tavuğu komşuya kaz görünür.

      “Sally liked Jen’s dress very much. However, she has the same dress. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  

        29TurkishSütten ağzı yanan yoğurdu üfleyerek yer.
      LiterallyThe one who is burnt by the milk, eats yogurt by blowing on it.
      Equivalent in EnglishOnce burnt, twice shy.
      If someone has had an unpleasant experience in the past, they become more cautious.

      Example:

      O hemen David’in evlenme teklifini kabul etmek istemiyor. Eee, sütten ağzı yanan yoğurdu üfleyerek yer.

      “He doesn’t want to accept David’s marriage proposal right away. Well, once burnt, twice shy.” 

        30TurkishAltın pas tutmaz.
      LiterallyGold doesn’t get rusted.
      Nobody can dishonor someone who is honorable and dignified.

      Example:

      O ne derse desin, herkes beni biliyor. Altın pas tutmaz.

      “No matter what he/she says, everyone knows me. Gold does not get rusted.”  

      9. Learn More with TurkishClass101!

      In this article, we went over a bunch of Turkish proverbs with their English translations. Now you can impress your Turkish friends, colleagues, or even your boss by using these popular Turkish proverbs at the right moment. 

      Would you like to continue your Turkish studies in the fastest, easiest, and most fun way possible? Then bookmark TurkishClass101.com! We provide numerous video and audio lessons, tons of vocabulary lists, and a number of free resources (such as this Turkish dictionary), all designed to help you get a better grasp of the language. We also provide the MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members; this service allows you to work and practice one-on-one with your own personal language tutor. 

      Interested? You can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

      Happy learning! 

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish

Istanbul Travel Guide: The Best Places to Visit in Istanbul

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Hello, everyone! Are you all ready for a tour of Istanbul? I’m your Istanbul travel guide, and as your guide, I can guarantee that every single one of you will find an activity you’re interested in. 

Do you love history or architecture? Are you a nature-lover? Are you traveling just to enjoy the beautiful scenery? Do you like partying and nightlife? Are you into shopping? Do you enjoy trying different cuisines? 

Even if you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you’ll be able to find your every point of interest in Istanbul. 

It’s a magical city where you’ll…

  • …find yourself in the middle of a fascinating history.
  • …be fascinated by the architecture dating back centuries.
  • …become speechless because of the marvelous scenery.
  • …taste the best food in the world.
  • …be able to buy authentic items, spices, etc.
  • …see its other face at night and enjoy the lively atmosphere at a nightclub.

Have we given you enough reasons to visit Istanbul? Great! Read on to learn everything you need to know before packing your bags.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. All About Istanbul!
  2. 10 Must-See Places in Istanbul
  3. Turkish Survival Phrases for Travelers
  4. Learn More with TurkishClass101!

All About Istanbul!

The Turkish City of Istanbul

General Information

To kick off our Istanbul visit guide, here’s some general information you should know about the city before packing your bags.

  • Istanbul is located in northwestern Turkey in the Marmara region
  • With 15.5 million residents, it’s the most populous city in Turkey and in all of Europe. 
  • It has a surface area of 2063 sq. mi (roughly 5343 sq. km).
  • It’s a transcontinental city because the Bosphorus connects the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea. The Bosphorus also divides the city into two sides: European/Thracian and Asian/Anatolian.
  • Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world. Its history goes back to about 2500 years ago. It has had many different names over the span of its history, two of which were Byzantium and Constantinople.
  • It has served as the capital of four different empires: the Roman Empire between the years of 330-395, the Byzantine Empire between the years of 395-1204 and 1261-1453, the Latin Empire between 1204-1261, and finally the Ottoman Empire between 1453-1922.
  • Most people think that Istanbul is still the capital of Turkey, but this is not true; Ankara is the current capital of Turkey.
  • Istanbul has microclimates because of its size and various topographies. Furthermore, it’s inclusive of two different seas. It has oceanic and humid subtropical climates in the north part of the city and on the Bosphorus coast. It has Mediterranean climate in the south part of the city and on the Marmara Sea. 
  • While talking about climate, I can hear you asking, “What is the best time to visit Istanbul?” Perfect question. The best time to visit Istanbul is from March to May or from September to November, because the weather conditions are milder in those months.
  • Istanbul is the center of trade and industry in the country due to its strategic location. It’s at an intersection of land and sea routes, which definitely keeps the trade and industry alive. Istanbul is the leading city of Turkey not only economically, but also historically and culturally.
  • Istanbul has the highest number of English-speaking people in Turkey. You won’t have any communication problems in most hotels, restaurants, or shops. Places like Sultanahmet, Spice Bazaar, and Grand Bazaar have guides who speak English (and a few other languages).

Istanbul Travel Tips

Here are some essential tips on how to visit Istanbul—and how to prepare beforehand—for the best possible experience. 

  • You must have a visa to visit Istanbul. It’s not a complicated process; you can apply for an e-visa.
  • Make sure to have your passport with you at all times.
  • Turkey’s currency is the Turkish Lira. There are exchange bureaus within the city, primarily at popular touristic areas. However, in order to get into the city from the airport, you’ll need some cash. Although you won’t get the best rates at the airport, you might want to exchange a small amount there.
  • If you plan to visit Istanbul in winter, you might want to bring a small umbrella with you.
  • Make sure to have a camera. I know we all have smartphones that have cameras, but you might prefer a more professional one that will help you immortalize the moment.
  • Last but not least, I need to answer the most commonly asked question: “Is Istanbul safe to travel to?” Yes, Istanbul is mostly safe for travelers, but there are a few areas you need to stay away from (especially at night). Also, watch out for pickpockets at places like Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, the Grand Bazaar, and the Spice Bazaar.

10 Must-See Places in Istanbul

Because there are so many unique sights and experiences in Istanbul, it can be difficult to know which places you should prioritize during your stay. In this section, we’ll introduce you to the very best places to visit in Istanbul. Let’s get to it! 

1 – Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Camii)

Hagia Sophia was built in 537 during the reign of the Roman Emperor Justinian I. He employed the talent of Greek geometers to design the place, which was meant to serve as a Christian cathedral. However, in 1453, Mehmet the Conqueror had the cathedral converted into a mosque.

This work of art was the inspiration for other mosques, including: 

  • The Blue Mosque
  • The Suleymaniye Mosque
  • The Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex
  • The Rustem Pasha Mosque

It was restored a couple of times over the years.

Hagia Sophia

In 1931, the mosque became closed off to the public before reopening as a museum in 1935. This reopening was accomplished via the efforts of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. 

According to the statistics provided by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Hagia Sophia was Turkey’s most-visited tourist place in 2015 and 2019. It was also placed on World Monuments Watch in 1996 and 1998.

In 2006, it became forbidden to use the Hagia Sophia as a place of worship, either as a mosque or a church. A small room was reserved for the Christian and Muslim staff to use as a prayer room.

There has been a lot of pressure from other world countries to convert it back to a church. Contrary to this, a new decision has very recently been made by the Council of Ministers to revert it to a mosque. It’s been said that the mosaics in the building will be preserved, but they will be covered with curtains, carpets, etc. during the prayers. It has also been declared that the doors of Hagia Sophia will always remain open to all Muslims and non-Muslims.

After this change, UNESCO will be re-evaluating the status of Hagia Sophia, which was on the World Heritage List.

2 – Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı)

Topkapi Palace is the palace where the Ottoman Empire was managed for about 400 of its 600 years. It’s also where the sultans lived and could accommodate about 4000 people at a time. Mehmet the Conqueror ordered its construction and it was built in 1478.

It was first used as a museum in 1924. When first established, it was on an area of approximately 700,000 m²; it now has an area of only 80,000 m².

It consists of hundreds of rooms and chambers, some of which are not open to visitors. A couple of the most interesting parts that are open to the public include the Ottoman Imperial Harem (where the sultan’s family would spend the day) and the treasury where the Spoonmaker’s Diamond and the Topkapi Dagger are displayed. 

The palace has many amazing Islamic art pieces, hand-painted tiles, splendidly decorated rooms, and safeguarded towers. Is that all? Of course not! You’ll also find Ottoman garments, weapons, miniatures, and Islamic relics on display. Also, don’t forget to see the illuminated manuscripts (such as the Topkapi manuscript).

The palace is located within the Historic Areas of Istanbul, which was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1985.

3 – Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı)

This is the largest ancient cistern in Istanbul, and it’s located 490 feet (150 meters) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the European side of Istanbul. It was built in the sixth century by the order of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. There was previously a basilica located here, hence the name Basilica Cistern

As one of the most fascinating museums in Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern has a ceiling supported by 336 marble columns and today has little water because it’s open to the public. There are two Medusa heads used as the bases of two columns. One head is sideways and the other one is upside-down. There’s no written record concerning these two Medusa heads.

The cistern is not only used as a museum, but also hosts many national and international events.

It was used as a location in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love and was also featured in other movies. Furthermore, it was the subject of Dan Brown’s novel, Inferno.

Just a reminder: If you have asthma, it might not be suitable for you to visit this wonderful place due to the high humidity.

4 – Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

The Blue Mosque was built between the years of 1609 and 1616 during the reign of Ahmet I. It’s located next to Hagia Sophia and is regarded as the last great mosque of the classical era.

It contains the tomb of Ahmet, a madrasah (a word which refers to any kind of educational institution), and a hospice. It’s called the Blue Mosque because its interior walls are decorated with hand-painted blue tiles. It has five major domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes.

The Blue Mosque

Its upper area is adorned with 20,000 hand-painted glazed ceramic tiles with sixty different tulip designs. The lower areas have 200 stained glass windows that are illuminated.

Many of the lamps inside the Blue Mosque were coated with gold and gems, but all of those items have either been taken out or stolen.

Pope Benedict XVI visited this mosque in 2006. It was considered an important event because this was only the second time in history that a pope visited an Islamic place of worship.

5 – Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent (Süleymaniye Camii)

This mosque was ordered to be built by the Ottoman sultan Suleyman. Built at the highest end of the city to aggrandize the sultan, it was completed in 1557 by Mimar Sinan—the best engineer and architect of the time.

It has four minarets with ten galleries, representing that Suleyman the Magnificent was the tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

It’s actually a complex that also has religious and cultural structures. Originally, it had the mosque, a hospital, public baths (hamam), a primary school, four Qur’an schools, a medical college, a Caravanserai, and a public kitchen where the poor people were served food. Many of these structures still exist, though the public kitchen is now a well-known restaurant and the hospital is the Turkish Army’s factory. Outside the mosque, you’ll also find the tomb of Mimar Sinan.

6 – Yedikule Fortress (Yedikule Zindanları or Yedikule Hisarı)

Yedikule Fortress means “Fortress of the Seven Towers.”

The Byzantine Emperor Theodosius wanted to welcome his visitors (kings, etc.) elegantly, so he wanted a Golden Gate to be built. His son, who inherited the throne after the death of Theodosius, had four towers built and had them combined with the Golden Gate.

After the conquest of Istanbul, three more towers were built at the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Every one of these towers has a name.

Unfortunately, only some of the fortresses still exist today. There are about seventeen pieces (cannonballs, marble columns, etc.) displayed outdoors.

7 – The Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)

Built in 1348 as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ in Latin), this is a high, cylindrical medieval stone tower that is cone-capped. It was the city’s tallest structure when it was built.

It underwent several restorations before becoming open to the public in 1960. 

There are two elevators you can take to the upper levels, where there’s a restaurant and a café. The panoramic view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus from here is spectacular. There’s also a nightclub where you can watch a Turkish show and have a great time.

8 – Cruise the Bosphorus

If you would like to see more of Istanbul, you can have a cruise on the Bosphorus. Boats leave in the mornings and go toward the Black Sea. You can have your lunch at Anadolu Kavagi before walking up the hill to Yoros Castle for an amazing view. Just relax and enjoy the beauty of Istanbul!

The Bosphorus

9 – Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı)

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets the world over, and one of the oldest. As a matter of fact, it’s considered the first shopping mall in the world. Today, it’s one of the most famous attractions in Istanbul. It includes 61 covered streets, more than 4000 shops, and 26,000 employees.

The Grand Bazaar

Its construction began not long after the conquest of Istanbul, in an attempt to revive the city’s economy. 

For the past couple of years, the Grand Bazaar has been undergoing restoration. 

10 – Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı)

The Spice Bazaar is the second most popular covered shopping area after the Grand Bazaar. You can buy Turkish delight, dried fruits, nuts, herbs, olives, and different kinds of spices. It now has a total of 85 shops in it. 

There’s also a mosque called New Mosque (Yeni Camii) next to the bazaar. You might want to visit it while you’re in the area, so you can admire its tile-work and gold leaves.

Bonus

It’s impossible to talk about every point of attraction in Istanbul in just one article. But I did want to mention a few more places to visit in Istanbul if you have time: 

  • The Chora Church (Kariye Museum)
  • Rustem Pasha Mosque
  • Eyup Sultan Mosque
  • Fatih Mosque
  • The Hippodrome
  • Dolmabahçe Palace
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
  • Carpet Museum
  • Pera Museum

In addition to these, you should also visit Ortakoy (a popular neighborhood) and Istiklal Street (a famous street of Istanbul).

Dolmabahçe Palace

Turkish Survival Phrases for Travelers

Here are a few words and phrases that will help you communicate with locals while you visit Istanbul.

EnglishTurkish
Hello.Merhaba.
Goodbye.Hoşçakalın.
Please.Lütfen.
Thank you.Teşekkür ederim.
Excuse me.Afedersiniz.
Do you speak English?İngilizce biliyor musunuz?
Can you help me?Bana yardım edebilir misiniz?
I don’t understand you.Sizi anlamıyorum.
Where is the restroom?Tuvalet nerede?
How much is this?Bu ne kadar?

Learn More with TurkishClass101!

I hope this Istanbul travel guide gave you a much better idea of what to expect from this beautiful city and which spots you should definitely see. However, there’s still a lot more to know about the city, country, culture, and language!

You can get practical information on all these things by visiting TurkishClass101.com. We provide numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and free resources (including a Turkish-English dictionary you can refer to). In addition, our Premium PLUS members have access to MyTeacher—a feature that allows you to learn and practice with your very own personal tutor. 

Interested? You can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

By the way, which of these Istanbul locations are you most interested in seeing, and why? We look forward to hearing from you!

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