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19. The verb "to be"

Learn Turkish
Lesson 19: The verb "to be"

In Turkish, we can express the English verb to be by adding a suffix to the end of a noun or adjective. Which suffix we add depends on the subject the verb applies to.

Singular Plural
First person (y)İm (y)İz
Second person sİn sİnİz
Third person (lEr)

The y is between parentheses as usual, since it is only present as a buffer letter to prevent two vowels from ending up next to each other.

Below you can see the suffix for to be applied to several words. Here Kişiyim for example means I am a person, and Kadınız means We are women. You can guess the rest of the meanings yourself.

Note that nouns ending in ç, p, t or k can change when followed by a vowel. Their last letter can change into c, b, d and ğ or g respectively. As a general rule, nouns consisting of multiple syllables change their last letter, and nouns consisting of single syllables don't. However, there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, which you will need to memorize.

Suffix Kişi Gül Çocuk Ağaç.
Ben (y)İm Kişiyim. Gülüm. Çocuğum. Ağacım.
Sen sİn Kişisin. Gülsün. Çocuksun. Ağaçsın.
O Kişi. Gül. Çocuk. Ağaç.
Biz (y)İz Kişiyiz. Gülüz. Çocuğuz. Ağacız.
Siz sİnİz Kişisiniz. Gülsünüz. Çocuksunuz. Ağaçsınız.
Onlar (lEr) Kişi(ler). Gül(ler). Çocuk(lar). Ağaç(lar).

Again, the lEr at the end of the third person plural is not always present. We don't use lEr when speaking about inanimate objects. When referring to humans or animals, lEr is optional and is often not used when the subject is present in the sentence, already indicating plurality.

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