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Passive voice

(n , ın/in/un/ün , ıl/il/ul/ül)

Verbs can be stated in the active voice or the passive voice.

In the active voice, the person or thing that is carrying out the action is clear. We know who the "doer" is.

In the passive voice, we are only aware of who/what the action is being performed upon. We don't always know who is doing the action. In English, we generally express the passive voice using "to be".

Active voicePassive voice
to watchto be watched
to opento be opened
to readto be read
to findto be found

In Turkish, we can convert a verb into the passive voice by attaching certain suffixes to its root. We obtain the verb root by removing the "mak/mek" from the infinitive form. For example, the verb root of "izlemek" would be "izle", "bulmak" would be "bul" and "açmak" would be "aç".

There are three different passive voice suffixes that we can attach based on the spelling of the verb root. We focus on whether its last letter is a vowel or consonant.


Case 1 - Ends in vowel: ("n")

[verb root + "n" + "mak/mek"]

The first case is when the verb root has a vowel at the end of it. To convert it into the passive voice we attach a "n" after it.

Active voicePassive voice
izlemek (to watch)izlenmek (to be watched)
okumak (to read)okunmak (to be read)
yıkamak (to wash)yıkanmak (to be washed)

Examples:

Active: Ben video izledim - I watched a video
Passive: Video izlendi - The video was watched

Active: Müezzin ezan okuyacak - The muezzin will read azan
Passive: Ezan okunacak - Azan will be read

Active: Biz bulaşıkları yıkadık - We washed the dishes
Passive: Bulaşıklar yıkandı - The dishes were washed


Case 2 - Ends in "l": ("ın/in/un/ün")

[verb root + "ın/in/un/ün" + "mak/mek"]

The second case is when we the verb has the letter "l" at the end of it. To convert it into the passive voice we attach one of "ın/in/un/ün" after it based on its last vowel:

Last vowel of verb roota/ıe/io/uö/ü
Suffix-ın-in-un-ün
Active voicePassive voice
bulmak (to find)bulunmak (to be found)
silmek (to erase)silinmek (to be erased)
satın almak (to buy)satın alınmak (to be bought)

Examples:

Active: Ben anahtar buldum - I found a key
Passive: Anahtar bulundu - A key was found

Active: Öğretmen tahtayı sildi - The teacher erased the blackboard
Passive: Tahta silindi - The blackboard was erased

Active: Onlar bu arabayı satın aldılar - They bought this car
Passive: Bu araba satın alındı - This car was bought


Case 3 - Ends in consonant: ("ıl/il/ul/ül")

[verb root + "ıl/il/ul/ül" + "mak/mek"]

The third case is when the verb root ends in a consonant besides "l". To convert it into the passive voice we attach one of "ıl/il/ul/ül" after it based on its last vowel:

Last vowel of verb roota/ıe/io/uö/ü
Suffix-ıl-il-ul-ül
Active voicePassive voice
açmak (to open)ılmak (to be opened)
unutmak (to forget)unutulmak (to be forgotten)
beğenmek (to like)beğenilmek (to be liked)

Examples:

Active: Ben pencereyi açtım - I opened the window
Passive: Pencere açıldı - The window was opened

Active: Sen çantayı trende unuttun - You forgot the bag on the train
Passive: Çanta trende unutuldu - The bag was forgotten on the train

Active: Yunus durumumu beğenmiş - Yunus liked my status (on Facebook)
Passive: Durumum beğenilmiş - My status was liked