-elim, -eyim

The subjunctive expresses wishes and desires, while most commonly used to make a suggestion about future action. There are two forms: -eyim and -elim. When covering the subjunctive, most grammar books present it alongside the imperative since they serve such similar roles in modern Turkish. The English equivalent to the Turkish subjunctive is roughly let: here, let me do that, let's go.

yapayım let me do
gidelim let's go
dinleyelim let's listen
konuşmayalım let's not talk

Forming the Subjunctive

-eyim means let me do. Add it directly to the verb stem and harmonize it according to the e-type rules.

Verb eyim Subjunctive English
yapmak ayım yapayım let me do
yardım etmek eyim yardım edeyim let me help
vermek eyim vereyim let me give

-elim means let us do. Just like -eyim we add it directly to the verb stem and use e-type vowel harmony.

Verb elim Subjunctive English
gitmek elim gidelim let's go
almak alım alalım let's buy
koşmak alım koşalım let's run

Vowel conflict. When the verb stem ends in a vowel (in either case), add a buffer y.

Verb eyim/elim Subjunctive English
uyumak alım uyuyalım let's sleep
yemek eyim yiyeyim let me eat
demek eyim deyeyim let me speak

Negative. To form the negative subjunctive, add the negative suffix -me after the verbs stem and before the subjunctive suffix. Notice that this will always require a buffer y.

Verb Negative Subjunctive English
gitmek me gitmeyelim let's not go
içmek me içmeyeyim let me not drink
almak ma almayayım let me not buy

Questions. To form a question, simply add the question article mi as a separate word after the subjunctive verb form. Think of subjunctive questions as English shall questions: shall we go? or shall I help?

Verb Subjunctive Question English
gitmek gidelim gidelim mi? shall we go?
yardım etmek yardım edeyim yardım edeyim mi? shall I help?
atmak atayım atayım mı? shall I throw?
buluşmak buluşalım buluşalım mı? shall we meet up?

Negative questions. To form a negative question, simply add the question article mi as a separate word after the negative subjunctive form.

Verb Negative Subjunctive Question English
gitmek gitmeyeyim gitmeyeyim mi? shall I not go?
buluşmak buluşmayalım buluşmayalım mı? shall we not meet up?

Other Subjunctive Forms

eyim and elim cover only two of the subject cases: first person singular and plural. There are actually forms for every subject case, but they are very rarely used in modern Turkish in favor of the imperative forms (see the next section). They are characterized by an e (or a, following e-type vowel harmony) after the stem, and we present them here for completion.

Verb Subjunctive Ending Subjunctive English
gelmek eyim geleyim let me come
gelmek esin gelesin let you come, you should come
gelmek e gele let him/her/it come
gelmek elim gelelim let's come
gelmek esiniz gelesiniz let you come, you should come (plural or polite)
gelmek eler geleler let them come

Subjunctive with Imperative

Turkish grammar books often present the subjunctive and imperative together since they both serve to command or suggest something. Conceptually, it is useful to think of -eyim and -elim as the first person forms of the imperative.

Verb Imperative/Subjunctive Turkish English
gelmek eyim geleyim let me come
gelmek - gel come
gelmek sin gelsin let him come, he should come
gelmek elim gelelim let's come
gelmek sin gelsin come (plural or polite)
gelmek sinler gelsinler let them come

In learning Turkish, the above table will be most useful in your conceptual understanding of commands and suggestion. Whether the suffixes are technically subjunctive or imperative is fun grammar trivia, but practically, the table above is the most coherent when considering how the language is actually used.