115. The positive capability and possibility suffix

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Lesson 115: The positive capability and possibility suffix

In this lesson you will learn about the positive version of capability suffix -(y)Ebil. We use the capability suffix to express:

  • capability (main purpose of this suffix)
  • possibility of doing something
  • politely making requests or asking for permissions

You add this suffix right after the verb root. For example yap-abil-ir-im, I can do it. Another example, yürü-y-ebil-ir-im, I can walk.

Note that the i in -(y)Ebil does not obey vowel harmony. So yap-abıl-ır-ım is not correct.

You might have noticed that there is a -bilmek in -(y)Ebil. In fact, we always conjugate the verb -bilmek when we are using the capability suffix. So there's always a tense after the -(y)Ebil. It can be past, present, continuous etc.

Capability Suffix Turkish English
Past yap-abil-di-m I was able to do (it).
Aorist koş-abil-ir-sin You can run.
Continuous gör-ebil-iyor-sunuz You can see.*
Future yi-yebil-ece-ğim I will be able to eat.

*Notice how you can't combine capability and the continuous tense in English.

So good news, no need to learn new conjugations!

The usage of the continuous tense combined with the capability suffix is highly context-dependent. Therefore, we will not use it at this moment.

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