Simple Present Tense
-er, -ir, -r

In Turkish, simple present is used to describe an action that is habitual or timeless. Unlike the present continuous tense that describes action that is currently being done, simple present describes action that is characteristic and unbounded in time.

For example, take pişirmek: to cook. If I say "pişiriyorum," (present continuous) I mean that I'm cooking something right now - I'm stirring the pot as we speak. If I say "pişiririm," (simple present), I am telling you that I am a cooker and I am the sort of person that cooks; I may not be cooking right now, but I do so sometimes.

Turkish English
Otobüs sekiz saatte gelir. The bus comes at 8:00.
O filmi severim. I like that film.
Her gün işe giderim. I go to work every day.
Kapıyı açar mısınız? Would you open the door?
Biz yazmayız. We don't write.
İçki içmezler. They don't drink alcohol.

Meaning and Usage

The simple present can be used in many different contexts. In addition to implying timelessness of an action, this tense also conveys willingness and intention.

Habitual or Repeated Action
Sık sık sinemaya giderim.
I go to the movies often.

Et yemez.
She doesn't eat meat.

Unchanging Facts
Kış sonbahardan sonra gelir.
Winter comes after autumn.

Su sıfır selsius derece altında donar.
Water freezes below zero degrees Celsius.

Expressing Possibility or Hope
Belki kazanır.
Maybe he will win.

Gelecek hafta İstanbul'da buluşuruz.
We'll meet up in Istanbul next week.

Making Requests or Offers
Onunla beni tanıştırır mısın?
Will you introduce me to her?

Çay içer misiniz?
Would you like tea?

Making a Promise
Yarın sana yazarım.
I will write to you tomorrow.

Sizin için akşam yemeği alırım.
I'll buy dinner for you.

Constructing the Simple Present

The simple present has three different suffixes, all which can be immediately identified by the presence of r. Which suffix to use depends on a few very simple rules.

If the verb stem ends in a vowel, simply add -r followed by the personal suffix.

Verb Simple Present English
kapamak kapar he closes
demek der he says
anlamak anlar he understands
yemek yeriz we eat
söylemek söylerim I speak

If the verb stem has more than one syllable (and does not end in a vowel), add -ir followed by the personal suffix. This suffix follows i-type vowel harmony.

Verb Simple Present English
kıskanmak kıskanır he is jealous of
konuşmak konuşur he says
süpürmek süpürürün you sweep
eğlenmek eğlenirler they have fun
ilgilenmek ilgilenirsiniz you are interested

If the verb stem has only one syllable (and doesn't end in a vowel), add -er followed by the personal suffix. This suffix follows e-type vowel harmony. This is one of the few cases in Turkish in which irregularities occur - we will address that next. Notice that the only difference between -er and -ir above is the type of vowel harmony the suffix takes.

Verb Simple Present English
binmek biner he gets on
yapmak yapar he does
etmek ederim I do
atmak atarız we throw
sormak sorarsın you ask

There are 13 exceptions to the above rule. The following collection of frequently used verbs have one syllable, but take the -ir ending instead of -er.

Verb English Simple Present (3rd singular)
bilmek to know bilir
gelmek to come gelir
vermek to give verir
görmek to see görür
ölmek to die ölür
almak to take alır
kalmak to stay kalır
sanmak to think sanır
varmak to arrive varır
bulmak to find bulur
durmak to stop durur
olmak to be olur
vurmak to strike vurur

There is one final rule that applies only very rarely. If a verb stem with one syllable is somehow extended with another suffix, you must use -ir instead of -er, even if the extended form has only one syllable itself. As an example, we look at three verbs extended with the passive voice suffix -n.

Verb Passive Voice Simple Present English
demek denmek dener it is said
demek denmek denir it is said
yemek yenmek yenir it is eaten
komak konmak konur it is put


The negative form of simple present isn't as intuitive as other tenses. Resist the tempation to just add the negative suffix -me and use these endings instead:

Verb Negative Suffix Turkish English
gelmek meyim gelmeyim I do not come
gelmek mezsin gelmezsin you do not come
gelmek mez gelmez he/she/it does not come
gelmek meyiz gelmeyiz we do not come
gelmek mezsiniz gelmezsiniz you do not come (polite or plural)
gelmek mezler gelmezler they do not come

The negative simple present, then, can be quickly recognized by the presence of -mez. The I and we form, however, drop the z and add a buffer y to avoid vowel collision with their respective personal endings. Both -mez and -me follow e-type vowel harmony.

Verb Negative Simple Present English
almak almayım I do not take
çabalamak çabalamazsın you do not strive
düşünmek düşünmaz he/she/it does not think
eklemek eklemeyiz we do not add
yemek yemezsiniz you do not eat
öpmek öpmezler they do not kiss


To form a question in the simple present, form a new question word by adding the personal suffix to the question particle mi. Put this new word after the simple present form of the verb (without its personal suffix).

Verb Simple Present Simple Present Question English
içmek içerim içer miyim? do I drink?
almak alırsın alır mısın? do you take?
koşmak koşar koşar mı? does he/she/it run?
görmek görürüz görür müyüz? do we see?
demek dersiniz der misiniz? do you say?
beğenmek beğenirler beğenirler mi? do they like?

The -ler form, as always, is irregular and optional.

Negative questions are formed as you might expect, except that the irregularity in the I and we cases disappears. Whereas the z in -mez was dropped in the negative form of these cases, it is present in negative questions. This actually makes things easier, as you can see from the examples.

Turkish English
içmez miyim? don't I drink?
almaz mısın? don't you take?
koşmaz mı? doesn't he/she/it run?
görmez müyüz? don't we see?
demez misiniz? don't you say?
beğenmezler mi? don't they like?