Position of Turkish Adjectives
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Position of Turkish Adjectives

Position of Turkish Adjectives


Words that describe or modify nouns:

blue house, a rich man.

Adjectives Precede Nouns

Turkish adjectives always precede the nouns that they describe.

They cause no suffix to be added to the described noun.

The noun can be singular or plural.

The noun can be unspecific or specific according to context.

English uses "the" to make nouns particular and specific.

  • güzel kız
    (the) beautiful girl

  • sarı çıçekler
    (the) yellow flowers

  • açık kapı
    (the) open door

  • beyaz evler
    (the) white houses

  • mavi ev
    the blue house

  • mavi evler
    (the) blue houses

  • zengin adam
    the rich man

  • yorgun çocuklar
    tired children

When adjectives follow a noun the meaning is entirely different. It is a "Statement of Fact":

  • Adjectival Statement of Fact

  • ev, mavi
    the house is blue

  • evler mavi
    the houses are blue

  • adam, zengin
    the man is rich

  • Uzun geniş yol.The long wide road.
    is different to
    Uzun yol, geniş.The long road is wide.

  • Geniş yol, uzun.The wide road is long.
    is different to
    Yol, uzun geniş.The road is long and wide.

Emphasized and Public Forms of Turkish Adjectives

The verb "to be"-dir is lacking in the third person in Turkish.

It is used in public statements and notices:
Sigara içmek yasaktır.
Smoking is prohibited.

  • Uzun yol, geniştir.
    The long road is wide.

  • Uzun yol, geniş midir?
    Is the long road wide?

Turkish generally places a comma after the subject.

Emphasis is stressed by the use of the verb to be suffix -dir

This makes it a "Statement of Fact"
Yol geniştir[geniş-tir]
The roadISwide.

Non-agreement of Turkish Adjectives

Adjectives do not agree with the noun they describe in either number as in Spanish or gender as in French.

The adjective precedes the noun as it does in English.

Basic Rules for using adjectives in Turkish

  • Adjectives describe nouns.

  • Adjectives are placed before the noun.

  • Turkish adjectives are invariable.

  • Adjectives only have one form in number. [NO singular or plural.]]

  • Adjectives have no gender. [NO masculine, feminine or neuter forms.]

  • Adjectives are always the same! They are not suffixed.

  • Adjectives can be formed from both nouns or verbs as in English.

  • These rules apply both in English and in Turkish.

Adjectival Suffixes

In Turkish, words can often be recognized as adjectives by their endings.

This is similar to English where words can also be recognized as adjectives by their endings.

English example: -ful in the word beautiful"They built a beautiful house on the hill."

The -ful suffix adds the concept of beauty to the house.

There are other adjectival endings in English

English speakers recognize instantly the attribute being added by its ending.

One of these adjectival endings in the heading "Attribut-able"

This example also uses the "Ability Attribute" -able

"They have built a beautiful, desirable house on the hill"

Some other adjectival endings in English:

  • English Adjectival Suffixes

  • -ly as in the lovely view.

  • -ing as in the shaking branch.

  • -ive as in the positive result.

  • -en as in the broken arrow.

There are some other forms; each ending giving us a differing degree or meaning in concept.

This is the way that Turkish follows.

Adjectival Endings make easier to recognize the concept of meaning.

English Speakers do this automatically in their own tongue.

Turkish adjectives can often be recognized by their endings.

These are words in their own right and should not be considered as words with an added suffix.

Some Turkish Adjectival Suffixes

As with English an adjectival suffix points to the type of attribute of its noun.

English has many types of noun attribute are supplied by adjectives:

lovely, loving, loveable, lovelorn, loved
The root word carries the basic meaning.

Turkish Adjectival Suffix -ik -ık - uk - ük

This suffix forms adjectives where the described noun is in a state from which it cannot return

The nouns has assumed a permanent state.

yanmakto burn →
The adjective yanıkburnt [as a permanent state]

  • düşmek to fall →
    bir düşük yaprak
    a fallen leaf

  • kırmak to break →
    kırık şişeler
    broken bottles

  • kesmek to cut →
    kesik parçalar
    cut (up) parts

Do not mistake actual nouns which end in -ik as being adjectives.


Turkish Present Participle -en -an

Using the present participle düşenwhich falls /which is falling as an adjective then the meaning changes:

  • bir düşen yaprak
    a falling leaf

  • (a leaf which is falling)

  • düşen yapraklar
    falling leaves

Similarly using the past participle:

  • düşmüş olan
    which has fallen

  • düşmüş olan yapraklar nemlidir
    The leaves which have fallen are damp / The fallen leaves are damp.

Position of the Article in Turkish

bira, an, one can interpose between the adjective and its noun.

This has the effect of putting the emphasis on the adjective

It causes the noun it describes to become definite.

bir güzel kız güldü
a beautiful girl laughed.

An indefinite girl laughed ; therefore the adjective follows bir.

Güzel bir kız gördüm.
I saw a beautiful girl.

A definite girl was seen and she was definitely beautiful.

güzel followed by bir emphasizes all these points.

When the indefinite article is used with its noun, Turkish does separate them as we do in English:

  • büyük beyaz bir ev(dir)
    it is a big white house

  • yaşlı bir adam
    an old man

  • boş bir kutu
    an empty box

Turkish Adjectives used as Nouns

Turkish adjectives can also be used as nouns:

  • hasta
    ill, sick

  • bir hasta
    a patient

  • Hastalar hastanede.
    The patients are in hospital.

  • zengin

  • bir zengin
    a rich person

  • Otelde kalan bir zengin var
    There is a rich [person] who is staying at the hotel.

Intensified Turkish Adjectives

Many adjectives have an Intensified Form:

  • yeninew 
    yepyenibrand new

  • beyazwhite →
    bembeyazsnow white

  • dolufull →
    dopdolufull to the brim

Many of these are in daily use all the time.

Intensified Forms

Turkish Intensifying Doubled Adjectives

There are different intensification of meanings methods in Turkish. Some of them are "doublets"

(1) Repetition of Adjectives and Nouns in Turkish

In this version the adjective is repeated:

  • sabah sabah
    early in the morning(s)

  • Ahmet'i gördüm sabah sabah nereye gidiyordu merak ettim?

  • I saw Ahmet early in the morning and wondered where he was going?

  • akşam akşam
    later in the evening

  • Akşam akşam konuşmayalım şimdi çok yorgunum.

  • Let's not chat so late in the evening, I am very tired now.

  • sıcak sıcak
    really hot and fresh

  • İç şu çayı sıcak sıcak, soğutmadan hadi!

  • Drink that tea it's hot and fresh, come on don't let it cool down!

  • usul usul
    gently, quietly

  • Geldiğinde kapıyı usul usul çal, çocuk uyanmasın.

  • When you come knock the door gently and quietly so the child does not wake up.

  • yavaş yavaş
    slowing down

  • Burayı sevmediğini biliyorum, ama yavaş yavaş (zamanla) alışacaksın.

  • I know that you don't like it here, but you'll gradually get used to it (in time).

  • korka korka
    getting scared

  • Yeni arabayı almak istedim. Fiyatını korka korka sordum.

  • I wanted to buy a new car, I fainthartedly asked its price.

Many are in use.

Reduplicated FormsYavaş yavaş is a little bit different.

It indicates that "something will happen in due time."

Yavaş yavaş her şey düzelir, merak etme.
Don't worry, everything will be alright in (good) time.

When a "doublet" is used with a verb then it becomes a normal adverb:

Double adjectives form mostly adverbs:

ince adjective thin →
ince ince adverb thinly

Soğanları ince ince doğramalısın.
You must chop the onions up thinly.

When used as an adverb another word is required to intensify its meaning:

Soğanları çok ince doğramalısın.
You must chop up the onions very thinly.

(2) Differing Adjectives used jointly in Turkish

  • sessiz sedasız

  • Sonunda sessiz sedasız ortadan kayboldu.

  • In the end he slipped away calmly.

  • utana sıkıla
    timidly, ashamedly

  • Utana sıkıla patronun karşısına çıktı zam istemek için.

  • He went to the boss timidly because he wanted a rise.

  • sorgusuz sualsız
    beyond question, take for granted

  • Polis, herefi sorgusuz sualsız salıverdiler.

  • The police released the chap without any questioning!

  • hesap kitap
    calculate, sort out (finances)

  • Evimizin yeni dekorasyonu için hesap kitap yapmamız lâzım.

  • We need to calculate the cost of our house's new decoration.

  • bata çıka
    with difficulty

  • Çamurlara bata çıka sonunda lokantaya vardılar.

  • After wading through the mud they reached the cafe at last.

(3) Meaningless Adjectives used for Repetition in Turkish.

Two words are used, the second is meaningless.

  • karman çormanhodgepodge

  • Eve geldiğimde ortalık öyle karman çormandı ki iki saattır toparlamaya çalışıyorum.

  • It was such a hodgepodge around the house that I took two hours to clear it up.

  • karışık kuruşukall mixed up

  • Karışık kuruşuk işlerinizinden bıktım!

  • I'm fed up with these mix ups of yours!

  • kayıt kuyutrestrictions, paper work

  • Kayıt kuyut tamam, ancak ofısa giderim.

  • All the paper work is completed, I'll go on to the offıce.

  • zar zorhardly, scarcely

  • Çok kilo aldığımdan, oturduğum koltuktan zar zor kalkabiliyorum.

  • Because I've had put on so much weight, I hardly get up from my armchair.

(4) Adjective Repetition in Turkish with the letter "m"

The second word is changed to begin with letter m

This is called an m-doublet and can be applied to nouns and verbs indiscriminately.

If the second word is changed with a letter m it means and the suchlike.

While I was in Turkey I heard a mother say to her small child:
Sokağa çık, oyna moyna!
Go on the street and play about!

  • "m"-doublet examples

  • Cebimde para mara yok.

  • I have no cash or suchlike in my pocket.

  • Bugün sokakta araba maraba görülmez.

  • Today there are no cars or anything to be seen on the street.

  • Bira mira'yı ister misin?

  • Do you want a beer or anything?

If the original word already begins with an m then filan and / or falan is used to arrive at the suchlike meaning:

Müdürler "falan" de geliyor.The managers "and all that lot" are coming as well.

(5) Meaningless Prefixes to Turkish Adjectives

In fifth version only one word is used with meaningless prefixes

  • sımsıcak[sım-sıcak]nice an warm and comfy

  • kaskatı[kas-katı]totally rigid

  • darmadağınık[darma-dağınık]in a mess/disheveled

  • güpegündüz(in) broad daylight

  • Gelin güpegündüz kaçırıldı.

  • The bride was kidnapped in broad daylight.

  • kıpkırmızıbright red

  • Mehmet'in suratı utançtan kıpkırmızı döndü.

  • Mehmet's face turned bright red with embarrassment.

  • dapdarso very narrow

  • Pantolon dapdar görünüyor, kilo almışsınız ki.

  • The trousers look to be so narrow, It seems that you have put weıght on.

  • sapsarıbright yellow/blonde

  • Sapsarı saçlarıyla çekici görünüyor.

  • She looks very attractive with her bright yellow hair.

  • kupkurudried out

  • Nehir kupkuruydu, hiç akan su yok oldu.

  • The river was so parched, there was no flowing water at all.

(6) Two Meaningless words are used to produce a Turkish Adjectives

This is similar the the English constructions like pell-mell, helter-skelter, higgledy-piggeldy, mumbo-jumbo

  • hort zort / paldır küldür / zart zurtlike a bull a a gate, rudely and noisily

  • O kabadayı, tartışınca daima zart zurt (paldır küldür) eder.

  • When that bully argues he is always very rude.

  • harala gürelehustle and bustle

  • İşte ne yapalım, harala gürele gidiyor hayat.

  • What ever we do, life goes on with a hustle and bustle.

  • zırt pırtso often, so frequently

  • Belediye bugünler zırt pırt su kesintisi yapıyor.

  • The town corporation are so often cutting off the water (supply) these days.

  • palas pandırashelter skelter

  • Babam hastaymiş, hemen birgün sonra palas pandıras Manisa'daki babamın evine gittim.

  • It seems my father was ill, straight away a day later I went helter-skelter to my father's house in Manisa.

(7) Use of "mi" Interrogative Particle to Intensify Turkish Adjectives.

In seventh version "mi interrogative particle" is used:

çirkin mi çirkinreally ugly

kötü mü kötüreally bad

  • zengin mi zenginrich or rich!

  • Mehmet zengin mi zengin!

  • Mehmet is really loaded!, Is Mehmet rich or is he rich!

  • korkunç mü korkunçreally frightening

  • Film korkunç mu korkunçtu!

  • The film was so scary!

No other intensification should be used with this form: "Mehmet o kadar zengin mi zengin." is incorrect.

(8) Normal Intensification of Turkish Adjectives

Normal intensifying Words are Used "very, quite, etc."

  • çokmuch, many

  • Olay yerine kısa sürede çok sayıda jandarma ve sağlık görevlisi sevk edildi.

  • A large number of gendarmes and medical officers were despatched to the scene ın a short tıme.

  • bayağıcommon, quite, a sort of

  • ABD, Erdoğan'ı bayağı komik bulmuş!

  • Erdogan has found the USA quite/sort of funny!

  • epeya good deal of, goodish amount

  • Üzerinden epey / hayli / çok zaman geçti tam hatırlayamıyorum şimdi.

  • Since than quite a lot of time has passed I cannot remember completely now.

  • hatırı sayılır miktarda / orandaconsiderable amount/ratio

  • Üyelerimiz hatırı sayılır bir oranda yurtdışı gezisine katılacaklarını belirttiler.

  • They have indicated that a considerable number of our members will join the overseas tour.

  • haylifair amount, pretty much

  • Aile üyeleriyle sohbet eden Sayan'ın hayli kilo verdiği görüldü.

  • Sayan, who chatted with family members, was seen to lose a lot of weight.

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