Turkish Negatives

Learn how to make sentences negative in Turkish

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Negative Sentences in Turkish

Negation in verbs is conveyed through the suffix –me or –ma. This suffix is added to the verb stem, forming the negative infinitive.

vermek “to give” ver- >> ver + me >> vermemek “not to give”

almak “to take” al- >> al + ma >> almamak “not to take”

To form the negative verb in the Present Tense, the vowels a and e in –ma and –me change into the vowels ı,u or i,ü through Vowel Harmony.

If the last vowel (or the only vowel) of the verb stem is a or ı, then the vowel is ı, making –mıyor.

ağla- >> ağla + mı + yor >> ağlamıyor “he/she/it is not crying”

If the last vowel of the verb stem is o or u, then the vowel is u, making –muyor.

ol- >> ol + mu + yor >> olmuyor “it is not happening, not working”

If the last vowel of the verb stem is e or i, then the vowel is i, making –miyor.

iç- >> iç + mi + yor >> içmiyor “he/she/it is not drinking”

If the last vowel of the verb stem is ö or ü, then the vowel is ü, making –müyor.

gül- >> gül + mü + yor >> gülmüyor “he/she/it is not laughing”

Verb stems ending in a vowel do not drop this vowel, unlike the positive conjugation.

anla- >> anla + mı + yor >> anlamıyor “he/she/it does not understand”

Bugün okula gitmiyoruz. We’re not going to school today.
Sigara içmiyorum. I don’t smoke.
Çocuklar bir şey yemiyorlar. The children aren’t eating anything.

Consonant mutation does not occur in the verbs gitmek (to go) and etmek (to do), unlike the positive conjugation.

git- >> git + mi + yor >> gitmiyor “he/she/it is not going”

et- >> et + mi + yor >> etmiyor “he/she/it is not doing”

Double negation is used in Turkish.

Hiçbir şey bilmiyorum. I don’t know anything (lit. “I don’t know nothing.”)
New York’a hiç gitmedim. I’ve never been to New York (lit. “I haven’t never went to New York .”)
Bana hiç kimse yardım etmiyor. No one is helping me. (lit. “No one is not helping me.”)

There is one exception to this rule: Sentences in which the particles "ne.....ne (de)" are used. "ne....ne (de)" has the meaning of "neither....nor" in English.

Ne o ne de kardeşi Almanca biliyorlar. Neither he, nor his brother know German.
Ne kalmak istiyorlar, ne bir şey yemek istiyorlar. They neither want to stay, nor want to eat something.

Yet, it should also be noted that some speakers still observe double negation with "ne....ne (de)". In either case, the meaning (neither...nor) does not change (that is, the sentence pertains the negative meaning).

Ne ben ne de oğlum hiçbir şey hatırlamıyoruz. Neither me, nor my son remember anything.



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