https://www.duolingo.com/AlexinNotTurkey

[Grammar] Word Order

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Turkish is a Subject-Object-Verb language, meaning that sentences take on a different word order than that of English, French, German, or most other languages that English speakers most commonly study. That being said, a background in Japanese, Korean, or Hungarian will prove very useful. The verb always comes at the end of the sentence in written Turkish (spoken Turkish allows for some flexibility).

For example: Ben gazete okurum. Literally “I newspaper read.”, meaning, “I read newspapers.”

3 years ago

32 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/yalcintarkan

Word order in the sentence hardly makes a sentence wrong or meaningles. On the other hand in many cases it may make nuances in the meaning. As a rule of thumb, we can say that closer the word to the main verb at the end of the sentence its importance rises. Lets have a look at an example :

1.Dün Ahmet ile okula gittik. 2.Ahmet ile okula dün gittik. 3.Okula dün Ahmet ile gittik.

All has the exactly same words but just in different order. All are completely correct and means "We went to the school with Ahmet yesterday" or we may say in a way "I and Ahmet went to the school yesterday". but most important thing in the first sentence is "we went to the school" where ? to school. In the second one important thing is that it happened yesterday, and in the third sentence I stress out that I was with Ahmet when it happened.

And even "Gittik Ahmet ile dün okula" or "Gittik okula dün ahmet ile" are NOT wrong at all (with the same meaning) but you can not hear frequently in daily life but just is poems or novels.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rheazdenka

Hello! Since I have just begun learning Turkish, your explanations were of great help.Thank you.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/inci1001

I have never heard any native Turkish people say either "Gittik Ahmet ile dün okula" or "Gittik okula dün ahmet ile". This is not right grammatically, Even in this sentence it won't be correct; "Gittik Ahmet ile dün okula ama okul kapalıydı" (I and Ahmet went to the school yesterday but it was closed). The correct way is "Ahmet ile dün okula gittik ama okul kapalıydı."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ektoraskan

Let's not generalize. I can easily imagine myself say "gittik ahmet'le dün okula." It's not grammatically wrong. It's just unusual and reserved to certain contexts.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/A1fie
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Agreed

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UneJamKuqEZi

With an affirmative sentence, and the object is in the accusative, couldn't the word order be really flexible, because I speak Albanian (which is somewhat close to Turkish) and in the language, we also have the accusative case, and usually when there is an affirmative sentence with the object in the accusative, the object can be placed anywhere in the sentence.

For example, in Albanian:

Unë e haj mollën - I eat the apple (SVO) (The most used version)
Unë mollën e haj - I eat the apple (SOV)
Mollën unë e haj - I eat the apple (OSV)
Mollën e haj unë - I eat the apple (OVS)
E haj unë mollën - I eat the apple (VSO)
E haj mollën unë - I eat the apple (VOS)

All of these sentences make sense. But I was wondering, is it the same in Turkish?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ektoraskan

You keep using the word "imperative", but there are no imperative in your sentences. Did you mean "affirmative"?

Anyway it's the same in Turkish.

Unë e haj molen - Ben yiyorum elmayı (SVO)

Unë molen e haj - Ben elmayı yiyorum (SOV) (The most used version)

Molen unë e haj - Elmayı ben yiyorum (OSV)

Molen e haj unë - Elmayı yiyorum ben (OVS)

E haj unë molen - Yiyorum ben elmayı (VSO)

E haj molen unë - Yiyorum elmayı ben (VOS)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UneJamKuqEZi

Yes, sorry, I meant affirmative. I got the two mixed up.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DavirJon

I'm agree with the opinion that a verb should be at the end of a sentence or a grammatical basis in majority of cases (except poems)

I'm a native Uzbek language speaker, our languages' sentence construction is very similar and cases with the verb at the beginning or in the middle sound really strange

So I'd like to use previous example with apples to demonstrate

These two options are acceptable:

Ben elmayı yiyorum - Men olmani yeyapman (SOV) (The most used version)

Elmayı ben yiyorum - Olmani men yeyapman (OSV)

But this sentence - Elmayı yiyorum ben - Olmani yeyapman men (OVS) - may be acceptable only being modified into - Olmani yeyatgan men(dir) (Copula) - which is translated like "The one who is eating the apple is me" so the construction is changed from OVS into OS with adding the adverb "yeyatgan". In Turkish this sentence would be "Elma yeyin ben(dir)" but I'm not sure (I'm a beginner)

But the other contructions with a verb not at the end are not acceptable in spoken Uzbek:

Ben yiyorum elmayı - Man yeyapman olmani (SVO)

Yiyorum ben elmayı - Yeyapman men olmani (VSO)

Yiyorum elmayı ben - Yeyapman olmani men (VOS)

So the correct constructions are SOV, OSV and maybe OS

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ektoraskan

Can I respectfully disagree? :) The default sentence structure is Subject-Object-Verb. This is the neutral (and I don't mean 'natural') form of the sentence. It's neutral, in the sense that nothing is particularly stressed. You can change the word order as you want, thus you can get: OVS, VSO, SVO, SOV and what not. This doesn't make your sentence wrong at all. You're just stressing a word in the sentence by doing so. And this is not at all a flexibility that only spoken Turkish has, in fact, I dare say that in novels, you get all sorts of sentence order. Long story short: Don't be afraid to change the word order (within some limits). As long as the word endings are correct, your sentence will be correct.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Selcen_Ozturk
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I agree with you partially, objects and subjects can usually be moved around, but in a proper sentence verb (or the "predicate") should always be at the end, unless you are writing a poem. We would of course also use such constructions from time to time while speaking.

In addition, nominative objects can almost never be placed before the subject ("elma ben yerim" said no one ever)

So especially for the beginning, it is good that learners stick to some "rules" :)

For the course, keep your verbs at the end! As Turkish is very flexible, we already have hundreds, sometimes thousands of alternatives added. We really cannot add weird versions.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Guy_Bailey
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Ama "I eat an apple (It is I who eats the apple)" demek isteniyorsa, nasıl olucak o zaman? Bence "Elma yiyen benim" değil (ama mümkün), "Elma ben yerim" olacaktır. Cümlenin öznesini kim olduğunu ve cümlenin tümleci (berlirtme durumu) de ne olduğunu iyi bilinir, yani belirsiz anlam yok

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Selcen_Ozturk
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"Elma ben yerim" is totally nonsense in Turkish and no native speaker would ever say that

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Guy_Bailey
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Okay. I can understand for this sentence, but say we change it just a bit because no native English speaker would say "I eat an apple" as a stand-alone sentence (though correct, it lacks a temporal phrase). Let's say "Elmayı ben yerim". Would that work with the emphasis being on the subject of the sentence?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/A1fie
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I see where you are coming from. As a general rule "the constituent which you want to emphasise" comes before the predicate in Turkish. In English you would achieve the same effect by stressing that word or capitalizing it in written form. So look at these examples. The emphasised constituents are capitalized:

Ali goes to the POST OFFICE everyday --> Ali her gün POSTANEYE gider.

Ali goes to the post office EVERYDAY --> Ali postaneye HER GÜN gider.

ALİ goes to the post office everyday. --> Postaneye her gün ALİ gider.

However "Elma ben yerim" is plain wrong. This rule isn't applicable to all sentences especially the ones without articles.

On the other hand "Elmayı BEN yerim (kızkardeşim değil)" ("I" eat the apple [not my sister]) is correct.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UmarHussai3

Hi Alexin,

I found the dative pronouns a little tricky when translating into english, things such as I read them a book aren't really eloquent or proper in English (to my ears anyway) is this a lack of understanding from me perhaps?

Many thanks for all your hard work

Umar.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/miacomet
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Actually, sentences like "I read them a book." are perfectly good English! English used to have a dative case, like Turkish, but it's mostly gone now. But you can still put two objects after some verbs, like read, give, or make. The first one is dative (or indirect) and the second one is accusative (or direct). If it makes more sense to you, you can usually move the dative object to the end and add to or for in English without changing the meaning.

For example, in the sentence "He is giving us the cake.", the first object is "us", which is dative, and the second object is "the cake", which is accusative. This can just as easily be said "He is giving the cake to us." in English. Both sentences sound natural. In Turkish, you have to match the case endings: us is dative, so bize, and the cake is accusative, so pasta. The full sentence would be "O bize pasta veriyor."

Hope this helps!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UmarHussai3

Thanks, makes a lot of sense! =)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SiobhanMar16

Actually, to a native English speaker "I read them a book" is perfectly OK. There are two objects: 1) a direct object (a book) and 2) an indirect object ("them" or "to them"). You can change the order of the direct and indirect object but you have to add "to" if the indirect object comes second "I read a book to them". That is one of the few examples of flexible word order in English.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SheriefElg

I know ben (single first person-I), why is "um" added? Does "gazete okurum" sound better?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/podious

I can recommend this description for your problem. It is clearly explained in here. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9041808

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SheriefElg

Given the referred-to sentence structure in Turkish, when I say, "he brings my book to me", does the order seem like "my book he brings"?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexinNotTurkey
Mod
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More like "It is my books that he brings to me." It still sounds totally grammatical, but there is a special stress in the sentence. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Odgir
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Is there any rule for time and place? What should be the first in a neutral sentence?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/A1fie
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I can't remember a rule but usually time comes first unless you want to emphasize it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moonpanther
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Hi everyone, I am truly enjoying my experience of learning Turkish except for one thing: I haven't a good idea of how to study the vocabulary of this language. I understand that the meaning and context of vocabulary are due to suffixes in many cases, but I've really passed the point where I can expect to memorize everything (even common words) without some flashcards or some vocabulary lists to help. My apologies if this isn't the right place to post this; there was no section with the heading "Vocabulary." Many thanks.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shahrazad26

I am really having a hard time getting used to the verb being at the end of the sentence. I hope it gets easier later.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shaunak296

It's the same for Marathi Here's a sentence and translation:

Mi San Francisvola gelo I San Francisco went P.S. I couldn't figure out how to type in Marathi in the iPad :(

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AhmedLinZ

Thanks for this useful article

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nadjet138164

i wanna ask a question Oku means "read" Okurum means "i read" i need to know each pronoun and his Finals,Please

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DunyaSaad

Hello...i don't know how to set the grammar in Turkish , the vowels letters in the end of each word

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shahrazad26

Dunyasaad, you need to read the grammar for the seven cases. Maybe redo those lessons.

Or are you talking about the vowel harmony? Because I find that much easier.

2 years ago
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