When we learn a new language it’s normal to make mistakes. Especially, in the beginning, we keep repeating same mistakes over and over again until someone knowledgeable warns us about them. If we don’t correct them as soon as we notice, then they may become permanent.
That’s why I wanted to write this short article about 5 common mistakes I keep hearing from beginner learners in Turkish. But I have to say that sometimes even advanced students make the same mistakes. Now let’s move to what they are, and correct them.
1. Caddede çok arabalar var.
Çok insanlar partime geldi.
This one might be the most sticky among all five. I know it’s not easy to get rid of it! It probably happens because most other languages use the plural form in similar cases; And maybe just because it’s a simple mistake, people won’t warn you about it.
In Turkish, when there is a quantity adjective such as çok, bir sürü, birçok, or any numbers; you shouldn’t use plural suffixes after that, which are –lar,-ler. So when you say “çok arabalar” it’s wrong, correct is “çok araba” for example.
2. Dün hava çok güzel.
Geçen hafta Ayşe hasta.
I think this one is the easiest to correct because in any language when you talk about the past you use past tense. Then why do the students make this simple mistake? I guess the answer is that because Turkish is an agglutinative language; Which means When you make a sentence you add suffixes, So the right version of these sentences should be like that :
Dün hava çok güzeldi.
Geçen hafta Ayşe hastaydı.
Remember Past Tense Suffixes for verb to be:
-dı,-di, -du, -dü
-tı, -ti, -tu, -tü
3. Nerede yaşıyor musun?
Hangi kitabı aldın mı?
It doesn’t matter which tense you use, there is no question suffix when you use question words such as nerede, nasıl, kim, ne zaman…etc So it’s the opposite of English grammar.
Hangi kitabı aldın?
4. Üniversiteside okuyorum.
Well, this mistake needs more explanation because it’s a little confusing. First of all, we should understand why you add third person possessive ( sı,si,su,sü / -ı,-i,-u,-ü). For this let’s remember its explanation.
For example, you want to say “ I study at a university.”
Here you don’t mention the name of the university so it might be any of them, actually, the name of the university is not important here. Then no need to use possessive here because there is no relation with a particular university.
The right version of the sentence is: Üniversitede okuyorum.
But if you want to say the name of the university then use 3rd person possessive. Like:
İstanbul Üniversitesi ;
here the sentence becomes: “İstanbul Üniversitesi’nde okuyorum.”, which will be related to mistake number 5.
Of course, this rule is not just about the university. Whenever you use the name of something like a street, a museum, a mountain…etc, you need to add the possessive suffix, such as:
5. İstanbul Üniversitesi’de okuyorum.
İstanbul Üniversite’ye gidiyorum.
This mistake is related to number 4. The same rules work here too, but there is one more detail when you use case suffix with them.
Before that just a reminder about case suffix :
from : -dan,-den, / -tan,-ten
to : -a,-e / -ya,-ye
ın, on, at : -da, -de /-ta,-te
akkusative : -ı,-i,-u,-ü /-yı, -yi-,-yu, -yü
The rule is that when 3rd person possessive and case suffix are used one after another ( always first possessive then case suffix) there should be –N connector between them.
İstanbul Üniversitesi’nde okuyorum.
İstanbul Üniversitesi’ne gidiyorum.
You should be careful particularly with –ya, -ye and –yı,-yi,-yu,-yü because these suffixes lose –y letter when it is used with 3rd person possessive suffix.
If you have any question about them, you can write in the comments, I will answer as soon as I see it.