"Onların kitapları"

Translation:Their books

March 29, 2015

This discussion is locked.


I read in a relatively older book (from 1967) that this form, the third person plural, is actually ambiguous. It can mean both "Their book" and "Their books". I wonder if this is still true today, or the ambiguity has been resolved in general use as described below. Let me paraphrase from the book (Elementary Turkish), applied to this example:

The word "kitapları" may be the singular (kitap) plus the third plural possessive suffix (-lari) required by the first member (onların), i.e. "kitap-ları". If so, the words "onların kitapları"mean "(the) book of them" (their book).

But the word "kitapları" may also be the plural (kitaplar) plus the third plural possessive suffix (-ları) required by the first member (onların). Two plural suffixes never come on the same noun: hence the logically expectable "kitap-lar-ları" does not occur.

Thus "Onların kitapları" may mean both

"(the) book of them" (their book)

"(the) books of them" (their books)

The ambiguity may be resolved in one of two ways: the context is left to show whether one or more books is intended; a singular possessive suffix is given the second member, even though the first member is plural: "Onlarin kitabı", "(the) book of them" (their book), in which "book" is indubitably singular.


True. And omitting "onları" makes it even more ambiguous, as "kitapları" can also mean "his/her books". (Not to mention the fact that kitapları also happens to be the plural accusative.)


what will translation they have books


To distinguish between "their book" and "their books", can I use "onların birkaç kitapları" for "their books"?


Birkaç requires singular: Onların birkaç kitabı.

Or you can use bazı: Onların bazı kitapları.


Thank you! That's useful to know


This question in particular may not be the best place to ask, but how does one combine the accusative and plural forms of a noun?


I would look the exactly same as this. Namely: [noun root] + [plural suffix] + [accusative case] :)


In the introductory text below the 3 tiles with the Possessives lessons, it says that the 3rd person plural possessive suffix is the same as for the 3rd person singular. An example is given for "kedi", which in both cases is "kedisi". But, from what I had learned elsewhere thus far I understood it should be "kedileri", and the sentence above confirms that too: 3rd person plural is -leri or -lari. So why the difference in the introductory text?


I was wondering the same thing. I feel like I'm missing something, because most other learners do seem to be aware that the 3rd person plural possessive suffix is sometimes -leri / -ları and sometimes -(s)I, but I can't find info about this in the Tips & Notes, nor the grammar portal. Was this explained elsewhere?


Meisje, look at this: https://turkishexplained.com//vh1htm. Very complete and clear.


Do if we add var to this sentence it will become they have books right?



  • Onların kitapları --> Their books
  • Onların kitapları var. --> They have books.


what does it mean "onlarin kitaplarin" ?


Why is that? I am confused about when to put the posessive suffix to the noun and when the -i.


Answer for this please ? Onlarin masa....... what would be the possesive ending for something possesed that ends in a vowel?


Does it mean "their table" or "his/her tables"? What about "masası"?


Masaları = his/her tables / their table / their tables.

Masası = his/her table

If you want to say their table, one table only, then you have to use "onların": Onların masası.

Learn Turkish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.