Turkish/Imperative and Optitative

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This article covers making commands, requests and suggestions in Turkish. The main two tenses used, Imperative and Optitative, were separate tenses in Turkish, but Imperative is no longer usable in the first person, and Optitative is no longer usable in the second and third persons, merging these two tenses into one big suggestive tense.

But it is not simple, since many persons have multiple endings possible, as will be shown later.

Formation[edit | edit source]

gitmek is used below as an example of a verb ending in a consonant, and uyumak is used as a verb ending in vowel. The reader should already be familiar with vowel harmony rules, in order to apply these endings to any verbs as desired.

gitmek
gideyim gidelim
git gidin
gitsin gitsinler
uyumak
uyuyayım uyuyalım
uyu uyuyun
uyusun uyusunlar

Similar to the future tense, the optative in the first persons may take many other forms in colloquial speech, some of which are shown below.

gidem gidek
arayam arayak
arıyım

The following suffixes exist in the second persons, as more formal or polite ways of requesting an action. Their usages will be covered later.

gitmek
gitsene gitsenize
gidesin gidesiniz
gidiniz
uyumak
uyusana uyusanıza
uyuyasın uyuyasınız
uyuyunuz

Interrogative forms are only possible in the first and the third persons.

gitmek
gideyim mi gidelim mi
gitsin mi gitsinler mi

Usage[edit | edit source]

2nd person imperative[edit | edit source]

The second person imperatives are the same as in English.

  • Gel! Come!
  • Susun! Shut up! (plural)
  • Kalemimi ver! Give my pencil back!

The doubla plural -(y)ınız is used in very formal contexts. Rules and directives often use this tense. Often used in conjunction with lütfen (please).

  • Çimlere basmayınız. Do not step on the grass.
  • Köpeği beslemeyiniz. Do not feed the dog.
  • Aşağıdaki karenin alanını bulunuz. Find the area of the square down below.

Haydi/Hadi meaning come on, is often used with this tense.

  • Haydi, başla! Come on, start!

-sana and -sanıza[edit | edit source]

These suffixes are used for persuasive utterances, rather than fully-fledged commands. They may also be used as reminders, or just as a more polite version of the normal imperatives. Haydi/hadi may also be used in conjunction with them.

  • Haydi, gitsenize! Come on, just go there!
  • İki saniye baksana. Can you help me? Literally: Look here for two seconds.

However, some people do not consider -sana polite enough, in which case you may use the following:

Aorist in interrogative form[edit | edit source]

Using the aorist in the interrogative form is a very polite way of asking someone to do something. Often used in conjunction with lütfen (please).

  • Tuzu uzatır mısın? Can you pass me the salt?
  • Lütfen pencereyi açar mısın? Could you please open the window?

Future tense used imperatively[edit | edit source]

Future tense may also be used imperatively, used by a more powerful/authoritative person for actions they want the speaker to perform. This usage is often considered rude.

  • Eve dönmeden çöpü atacaksın, tamam mı? You shall take out the garbage before I come home, okay?

Second person optatives[edit | edit source]

Further information: Turkish/Conditional

Second person optatives are rarely used in modern Turkish, and have a meaning similar to the conditional suffix used optatively. Third person optatives are almost never used.

3rd person imperatives (horatory)[edit | edit source]

Speakers of western languages may not be familiar with using imperative in the third person, and it does not have a direct translation into English. It is used to give commands to third persons. A loose translation could be let him ..., tell him to ..., he should ....

  • Çabuk buraya gelsin. Tell him to come here quickly.
  • Önce baban sana izin versin. Your father should give permission first.
  • Allah sizi korusun. Let god protect you!

Interrogative version of this suffix may be loosely translated as should he ...?.

  • O da gelsin mi? Should he come as well?

Optatives[edit | edit source]

The optative tenses may be translated into English as let me/us .... Often used in conjunction with haydi/hadi.

  • Haydi, kahveye gidelim! Come on, let's go to the café!
  • Önce ödevimi bitireyim. Let me finish my homework first.

Interrogative version of this suffix may be translated as shall I/we ...?.

  • Dönelim mi? Shall we return?
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