• Turkish grammar
  • 1 The Turkish alphabet
  • 2 The Turkish pronunciation [0/2]
  • 3 Turkish cases [0/11]
  • 4 Turkish articles [0/1]
  • 5 Turkish nouns [0/5]
  • 6 Turkish adjectives [0/2]
  • 7 Turkish adverbs [0/11]
  • 8 Turkish pronouns [0/12]
  • 9 Turkish prepositions and postpositions [0/10]
  • 10 Verbs in Turkish [0/32]
  • 10.1 Turkish infinitive [0/2]
  • 10.2 The verb ''to be'' in Turkish (conjugation) [0/3]
  • 10.3 Turkish verb conjugation and tenses [0/12]
  • 10.4 Causative verbs in Turkish [0/2]
  • 10.5 Passive verbs in Turkish [0/2]
  • 10.6 Reflexive verbs in Turkish [0/2]
  • 10.7 Reciprocal verbs in Turkish [0/2]
  • 10.8 Modal verbs in Turkish [0/3]
  • 10.9 Auxiliary verbs in Turkish [0/2]
  • 10.10 Subjunctive verbs in Turkish [0/2]
  • 11 Turkish sentence structure and phrases [0/7]
  • Modal verbs are the verbs that explain ideas such as possibility, impossibility, necessity, probability and sufficiency. In English, the words 'can, must, should, may...' are used in combination with modal verbs.

    1. Can/could in Turkish: -(y)ebil

    The suffix -(y)ebil or -(y)abil are used to show ability and possibility according to the vowel harmony rules. In English, the word 'can' and past form of it 'could' are used to express a possibility. 

    enlightenedVerb root + -(y)ebil/-(y)abil + case suffix + personal suffix

    Last vowel of the verb Use
    a, ı, o, u -(y)abil
    e, i, ö, ü -(y)ebil


    Adding the letter 'y'

    The letter 'y' is added before the '-ebil/-abil' if the verb root ends in vowel.

    • yürümek (to walk): Parka yürüyebilirdin. (You could walk to the park.)
    • anlamak (to understand): Seni anlayabiliyorum. (I can understand you.)

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    Example table

    The verb Turkish sentence Translation
    gelmek (to come) Seninle gelebilirim. I can come with you.
    sürmek (to drive) Onlar araba sürebilirler. They can drive a car.
    çalışmak (to work) Birlikte çalışabiliriz. We can work together.
    konuşmak (to talk) Benimle konuşabilirsin. You can talk with me.


    Expressing the impossibility

    The suffix '-(y)eme or -(y)ama' is used to express the impossibility.

    • O iyi şarkı söyleyemez. (She can't sing well.)
    • Bu havada koşamam. (I can't run when it's raining.)


    2. Should/must in Turkish: -meli,-malı

    The suffixes '-meli/-malı' are used to show necessity. In English, the words 'must', 'have to' and 'should' are used to express a necessity.

    enlightenedVerb root + -meli/-malı + case suffix + personal suffix

    Last vowel of the verb Use
    a, ı, o, u -malı
    e, i, ö , ü -meli


    Necessity expressed with 'gerek/lazım'

    One of the words 'gerek/lazım' are also used to express necessity.

    • Eve gitmem gerek / lazım. = Eve gitmeliyim. (I need to go to home.)
    • Ödevini yapman gerek / lazım. = Ödevini yapmalısın. (You should/need to do your homework.)

    Necessity expressed with 'zorunda'

    Lastly, the word '-mek/mak zorunda' is used to express necessity. 

    enlightenedIf we compare, the word 'lazim/gerek' means "need  to do something"  and 'zorunda' is "have to do something," 

    • Eve gitmek zorundayım. (I have to go home.)
    • Ödevini yapmak zorundasın. (You have to do your homework.)


    Example table

    The verb Turkish sentence Translation
    öğrenmek (to learn) Fransızca öğrenmelisin. You should/must learn French.
    gelmek (to come) Bizimle gelmeli. He should/must come with us.
    okumak (to read) Bu kitabı okumalıyım. I should/must read this book.
    uyumak (to sleep) Erken uyumalısın. You should/must sleep early.