There are two main present tenses in Turkish: –iyor and –er/ir.

İyor is a present continuous tense, like “is doing”. The changes according to vowel harmony but the o never changes, so all additional vowels added onto –iyor harmonise on that basis.

Okuyor. – He/she/it is reading.

Yapıyorlar. – They are doing (it).

Hep bana bakıyorsun. – You keep (lit. “are always”) looking at me.

 

-İyor, unlike the present continuous in English, can also be used for recurring or timeless events.

Kabul ediyorsunuz. – You (formal or plural) accept (it).

Her gün arabamı sürüyorum. – I drive my car every day.

 

It can also, as in English, be used for things that will happen in the near future:

Yarın futbol maçına gidiyor musunuz? – Are you (formal or plural) going to the football match tomorrow?

Gidiyoruz. – We are going.

 

The negative of –iyor is –miyor:

Yapmıyorum. – I am not doing (it).

Sürmüyorum. – I am not driving.

Kabul etmiyorsun. – You do not accept (it).

 

The other present tense is -er/ir, and concerns situations in a “wider” present than –iyor: hence Turks call it the geniş zaman (wide tense). The best way to demonstrate how it is used is to compare it to –iyor:

Yapar mısın? – Will you do it (now for me)?

Yapıyor musun? – Are you doing it (now)?

Sürerim – I will/generally/regularly drive.

Sürüyorum. – I am driving (now).

Otobüsle geliriz. – We will/generally come by bus

Otobüsle geliyoruz. – We are coming by bus

 

Most verbs take –ir, but one-syllable verbs often take –er, and in both cases the vowel obeys vowel harmony rules.

The negative of the -ir/er tense is as follows:

mem/-men/-mez/-memiz/-meniz/-mezler

 

The -ir/er tense is also used to state universal or general truths:

İnek böğürür. – Cows moo.

Oradan kazanmaz. – He/she won’t win from there.

Daire 360 derece içerir. – A circle has 360 degrees


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