Turkish has a fairly neat system for altering verbs to make them passive, causative, reciprocal, or reflexive, by adding an element between the verb stem and the tense. All the elements in this section obey the rules of vowel and consonant harmony.

Passive verbs are generally formed by the addition of -il (for verb stems ending in consonants) or -n (for verb stems ending in vowels), and less often by -l, -in, or -len in making a noun into a verb:

Ayşe kötü yaptı – Ayşe did it badly

Kötü yapıldı – It was done badly

Kimliğini öğrendim – I learnt his/her identity

Kimliği öğrenildi – His/her identity was learnt

Cenk evi temizledi – Cenk cleaned the house

Ev temizlendi – The house was cleaned

Reflexive sentences also have -in or -n (and much less often -l or -il) added to the verb. These are different to the passives, and you will come to recognise them over time. They are also, unlike passive verbs, able to take a subject:

Soyundum – I have taken my clothes off.

Uyandın – You woke (yourself) up

Abdullah yıkandı – Abdullah washed himself

Çok sevindim – I pleased (myself) very much (meaning “I became very pleased”)

Kız süslendi – The girl decorated herself (meaning “the girl dressed up”)


Causatives are marked by -r, -t, -ir or -tir/-dir (according to consonant harmony):

Yattım – I lay down

Yatırdım – I lay someone else down or I put down/invested some money

Musa öldü – Musa died

Harun Musa’yı öldürdü – Harun murdered Musa

Harun Defne’ye Musa’yı öldürttü – Harun had Defne murder Musa (double causative)

Yapıyorum – I am doing (it).

Yaptırıyorum – I am having it done (by someone else).

Ararım – I will look (for it)

Aratırım – I will have it searched for (by someone else).

Saçını mı kestirdin? – Did you have your hair cut (by someone else)?


Reciprocal elements are used when two things are acting on one another rather than a single subject acting on an object. They are -ş or -iş, or occasionally -leş in making a noun into a verb:

Sevmek – To like/love/caress

Sevmek – To make love together

Bakmak – To look

Bakışmak – To exchange glances

Telefon ettim – I telephoned (him/her)

Telefonlaştık – We talked on the telephone


You can often include causative, passive, reflexive, and reciprocal elements together:

Musa öldürüldü – Musa was murdered (to die + causative + passive)

Uyuşturuldum – I was anaesthetised (to sleep + reciprocal + causative + passive)

Kabullendireceğim – I will make (him/her/them) accept (it) (acceptance + passive verb + causative)

Tartışıldı – It was debated (to weigh + reflexive + passive)

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