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LPT Symbol Adjective Heaven
Bring in the Nouns-helpers...

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Now with Sound !

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Ordinary adjective usage
Adjectives in comparative situations
Intensive adjectives
Diminutive adjectives...
...ending in -ca (-ce)
...ending in -cik (-cIk, -cük, -cuk)
ending in -msI (-ImsI, -imsi, -umsu)
ending in -mtIrak (-ImtIrak, -imtIrak, -umtIrak)
Are prefixes only used to intensify adjectives?
Participles used as adjectives
Word order and Turkish adjectives…

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Turkish Adjectives

Ordinary uses of Adjectives

The other morning, we were careening down the road toward the Aegean coastal resort town of KusadasI in a beat-up dolmus – thinking about Turkish adjectives.

That may sound a little strange to you, but you have to realize
that the alternative to thinking about Turkish adjectives was
thinking about the danger we were in --
as we careened down the road in a beat-up dolmus!!!
It was not a happy choice of thoughts...

Click here to learn what Driving in Turkey is really like…

Anyway…a particularly nasty bump in the road bounced us such that our head came to rest on the shoulder of a fellow passenger, two seats over and one row back. And we couldn’t help noticing the opening paragraph of the novel she was trying to read…

"As I awoke, my bloated head throbbed painfully from the cheap red wine of the awful night before. It was a dank steamy morning; the sopping wet bedsheets clung to my aching body and as I removed the edge of the spit-stained pillow from my sputtering mouth, I tasted dirty duck-feather. A subdued light peeked through the swamp-green curtains. And when I reached out my shaking hand to stroke my boyfriend’s shapely butt, I felt a rough furry texture that emitted a muffled ‘oink’. Something was wrong…"

Are those red words the adjectives, Marvin?
Don't bother me, Mabel. I'm concentrating on the literature.

As you look at that English-language paragraph now, you probably notice that the adjectives perform ordinary ‘modification’ of ordinary nouns, and help to give the nouns a little more life. Well, you can use Turkish adjectives in the same ordinary way. For example,

HIzlI kahverengi köpek yavas budala postacIyI IsIrdI.
(The quick brown pooch bit the slow foolish mailman.)

But, as in English, Turkish adjectives may be used in more interesting ways…

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Adjectives used in comparative situations

Expressing inequality and equality…

When there is general inequality between (among) compared items, use ‘-den/dan daha’ (more) or ‘-den/dan daha az’ (less) together with the ordinary adjective…

Bradley, Brunhilde’den daha çalIskandIr -- Bradley is more industrious than Brunhilde.

Bradley, Brunhilde’den daha az çalIskandIr -- Bradley is less industrious than Brunhilde.

Bradley, Brunhilde ve Benjamin’den daha çalIskandIr -- Bradley is more industrious than [both] Brunhilde and Benjamin.

Please, tell me about the other uses of the suffix ‘-den/dan’…

If one of the compared items is definitely superior (or inferior) to the other(s), you’ll normally use ‘en’ together with the adjective…

Bradley en sisman ögrencidir – Bradley is the fattest (most fat) student.

Brunhilde en gülünç ögrencidir – Brunhilde is the funniest (most comical) student.

En güzel ve en güvenli araba edseldir – The best looking and safest car is the Edsel. burp ĝ¤°`°¤ĝ,¸¸,ĝ¤°

Here’s a little chart that demonstrates the ‘unequal’ comparative use of Turkish adjectives:

Ordinary use

One item better/worse than the other(s)

One item clearly superior/inferior to other(s)

akIllI insan
(an intelligent person)
-den daha akIllI insandIr (...is a more intelligent person than...) en akIllI insandIr
(...is the most intelligent person)
büyük ev
(a big house)
-den daha büyük evdir
(...is a bigger house than...)
en büyük evdir
(...is the biggest house)
güzel gün
(a pretty day)
-den daha az güzel gündü
(...was a less pretty day than...)
en kötü gündü
(...was the worst day)

When there is equality between (among) compared items, you may use ‘gibi’ or ‘kadar’ together with the ordinary adjective form…

Bradley, Brunhilde gibi çalIskandIr – Bradley, like Brunhilde, is industrious.

Bradley, Brunhilde kadar çalIskandIr -- Bradley is as industrious as Brunhilde.

Bradley, Brunhilde ve Benjamin gibi çalIskandIr – Bradley, like Brunhilde and Benjamin, is industrious.

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Intensive Adjectives

Now, one of the more interesting Turkish adjectival constructions arises when you add a prefix to ‘intensify’ the meaning of an adjective.

You'll recall that we've had plenty of occasion to add suffixes
to Turkish words, but this is the first (and almost only) occasion when it's acceptable (not to mention, correct and proper) to add a prefix...

Intensifying prefixes ending in m, p, r, s

Prefixes ending in ‘m’...

Ordinary adjective Intensified Example English meaning

baska (other)

bambaska bambaska kadIn a completely different woman

beyaz (white)



bembeyaz araba

an entirely white car

bos (empty)


bombos kafa

an absolutely empty head

burusuk (puckered, wrinkled)


bumburusuk deri

extremely wrinkled skin

dik (perpendicular)



dimdik asker

a precisely erect soldier
düz (flat)


dümdüz yüzey

a perfectly flat surface

sIcak (hot)


sImsIcak kahve

extremely hot coffee

sIkI (tight)


sImsIkI etek

a very tight skirt

sIkI (tight)


Yavrum, sImsIkI sarIl bana!

Hold me real tight, honey!
[Oops, here's a prefixed word that's used as an intensified adverb...Well, we did say almost -- now didn't we...?]

siyah (black)


simsiyah bulutlar

deep black [storm] clouds

takIr (rattling sound)

tamtakIr tamtakIr fIçI

a completely empty barrel

yesil (green)


yemyesil çayIr

an absolutely green meadow

bok (excrement)

bombok bombok alet

an utterly useless tool
[although the root word, bok, is considered off-color, the use of bombok is quite common in everyday conversation]

Sentence sample...
'Deli' Googenheim bambaska bir karakter.
'Crazy' Googenheim was quite a different character.
No one remembers Red Skelton's famous alter-ego?

Prefixes ending in ‘p’...

(spicy hot)


apacI tamale

an outrageously hot tamale


apIk apIk ihanet an openly obvious infidelity

Ik (clear)

apIk apIk sinyal a very clear signal


Thanks JJG 3/00

apayrI yatak odalarI

completely separate bedrooms

aydIn (bright)


apaydIn ana baba

a perfectly enlightened parent

(living, lively)
Thanks JJG 3/00
capcanlI partia very lively party



dapdagInIk yatak

an entirely messy bed



dapdar oda

an extremely narrow room



dopdolu su deposu

an absolutely full water tank


hIphIzlI hIphIzlI sürat motoru an really fast speedboat



ipince dilim

a razor-thin slice



kapkara gece

a pitch black night



kapkaranlIk gelecek

a completely dark outlook


kIpkIrmIzI kIpkIrmIzI yüz

a bright red face


kIpkIzIl kIpkIzIl gül

a crimson red rose



kupkuru toprak

parched dry earth

(yellow, pale)


sapsarI gecelik

a stark pale nightgown



taptaze hüner

an absolutely fresh talent



upuzun burun

an amply long nose



yepyeni gün

a brand new day



IpIslak saç

sopping wet hair

Sentence sample...
Sharon Stone IpIslak tisörtte çok iyi görünüyor.
Sharon Stone looks great in a sopping wet tee shirt.
Nobody except us has fantasies?

Oh sure. Right...

Prefixes ending in ‘r’

temiz (clean)


tertemiz hal

a spotlessly clean state of affairs

çabuk (quick) çarçabuk çarçabuk yemek

a very quick meal

Sentence sample...
Michael Schumacher tertemiz bir araba kullanIyor.
Michael Schumacher drives a mighty clean car.
European Formula One racing?

Prefixes ending in ‘s’

belli (obvious) besbelli besbelli yalan a very obvious lie
bütün (entire) büsbütün Sirketimiz büsbütün faaliyete geçti. Our company is fully and completely operational.
[Aha, here's another prefixed word that's used as an intensified adverb...]
cavlak (bald) cascavlak cascavlak bas a wholly hairless head
dogru (true) dosdogru dosdogru cevap an entirely correct answer
katI (hard) kaskatI kaskatI engel a rock hard barrier
koca (large)


koskoca yIlan

an really big snake
kocaman (huge)



koskocaman bina

an enormous building
mavi (blue)


masmavi gökyüzü

a completely blue sky
pembe (pink) pespembe pespembe flamingo
yes, it's the same word...
a shocking pink flamingo
mor (purple) mosmor mosmor patlIcan a deep purple eggplant/aubergine
tamam (complete) tastamam tastamam fiyasko an absolutely perfect failure
yuvarlak (round)


yusyuvarlak göz a completely round eye
Sentence sample...
Genghis Khan kaskatI bir adamdI.
Genghis Khan was a very stern fellow.
And he was cruel to animal-rights activists, too...

Examples of intensified adjectives with irregular prefixes are:

acayIp (strange)

Thanks JJG 3/00
acelacayIp kIz

a very strange gal

acele (hurry) alelacele
Thanks JJG 3/00
alelacele yazmIs

very hastily written
[Yet another prefixed word that's used as an intensified adverb...]

çIplak (naked) çIrIlçIplak çIrIlçIplak saldIrganlIk

totally naked aggression

çevre (surroundings)

çepeçevre çepeçevre ates

an all encompassing fire

gündüz (daytime)

güpegündüz Güpegündüz hIrsIzlIk yaptI.

He did the robbery in broad daylight.

karIsIk (mixed)


karamkarIsIk durum

a completely fouled up situation

parça (piece)


paramparça vazo

a totally shattered vase

(very upset)


permeperisan bir hale

an extremely upsetting situation

renk (color)

rengarenk rengarenk çiçekler

multi-colored flowers

saglam (healthy) sapasaglam

[Also see illustrative cartoon below...]
sapasaglam yaslI adam a perfectly healthy old timer
yalnIz (alone) yapayalnIz yapayalnIz hayat

life all alone

zengin (rich) zevzengin
Note: Before we get a deluge of 'cards and letters' complaining that this is not an officially sanctioned Turkish word, let us simply point you to our source: Bahâ'î (1926). In that original work by Veled Çelebi Izbuduk you will find this usage in a Nasreddin Hoca story on page 104 -- or click to see it here.
bir dil

a very rich language

A sign of the times...
UyarI: Plajda çIrIlçIplak dans etmek yasaktIr --
pazar günleri.

Warning: No totally nude dancing on the beach --
on Sundays.

Monday thru Friday was fully booked so
we got lumped together with
a group from Milwaukee on Saturday.

Perfectly healthy, for the moment...

Passer-by to beggar: You're a perfectly healthy guy.
If you'd try working instead of begging...
Oh well, any moment now [neyse]...it won't matter...[bos ver]

Thanks to:
Karikatürler - 2
by Selçuk Erdem
Parentez YayIlarI
Istanbul (1999/2000)

Do you think you can now construct your own intensified adjectives – based on the examples above? Do you see any rules for the intensive prefixes ending in m, p, r, s?

Well, we only see one incontrovertible one…

The intensifying prefix will always begin with the same two letters as the adjective you want to intensify.
Brilliant, what…? Nothing gets by us…!

By the way, G.L Lewis
(usually a friend of Turkish language strugglers everywhere)
makes one other pretty obscure observation about these prefixes. He says…
Adjective Prefixes ending in ‘p’ are ‘usually’ constructed
with back vowels (a, I, u, o) rather than
front vowels (e, i, ö, ü).

(That’s a real winner, innit?
Sooorry, G.L. We still love you...)

G.L.'s 'rule' rightly predicts, for example,
that you use the prefix ‘tap’ with the adjective 'taze' to make
the intensified adjective ‘taptaze’ (extremely fresh).
But then, the 'rule' doesn't hold for ‘yep’ in ‘yepyeni’ (brand new)...

And that’s about it, in the way of
so-called rules for these prefixes.

Looks like we’re back to the need
for rote memorization again…

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Thanks to Mehmet Hengirmen
for some of the ideas that appear on this page...

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