ad tamlaması compound nouns possesive suffix ilgi eki iyelik eki

Compound Nouns In Turkish (Ad Tamlamaları)

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The feature of this structure (compound nouns / tamlamalar) is; It connects concepts and names that cannot be explained in a single word. In other words, it removes the words in the sentence from being independent words, thus creating a semantic relationship between the words. As usual, suffixes are used to connect nouns.

This is a subject that foreigners and even most Turks confuse. It is not an easy thing to understand right away. For this reason, we will explain the rules one by one and give examples. After you study this subject, try to repeat it and use it all the time. Thus, your ears and tongue will get used to this structure over time and you will realize that you understand and use it without thinking. We will examine this subject in three main sections in terms of the suffixes thay have.

1. Defined Compound Nouns (Belirtili Ad Tamlaması)

Thanks to defined compound nouns (belirtili ad tamlaması) you will be able to grasp and use nouns that belong to something or to whom. In other words, you will be able to tell who owns something. Just before detailing the subject, please carefully review the image tamlaması compound nouns possesive suffix ilgi eki iyelik eki

When you examine the image above, you can understand that the owner of the hat is the man, that is, who the owner of the hat is. You can see that this is done by combining two words and adding suffixes to the end of both words when combining them. This is exactly what the “defined compound nouns” phrase is. Of course, as in almost every lesson, there are some classical rules in Turkish that we need to know. Well, let’s see what these are.


  • The suffix that comes to the end of both words has 4 different forms. After checking the vowel harmony, the suffix containing the most suitable vowel is selected. -ın -in -un -ün (genitive suffix / ilgi eki) at the end of the 1st word and -ı -i -u -ü (possesive suffix / iyelik eki) suffixes at the end of the 2nd word.
  • If root word end with “p, ç, t or k” they will become to “b, c, d, g“. Because the suffixes start with a vowel. This rule is about consonant harmony. If you still have questions about consonant harmony check this article. For example;

Bebek (baby) > bebeğ + in

Çorap (sock) > çorab + ı

bebeğin çorabı (baby’s socks)


Note that this rule does not valid to words that have been translated into Turkish from a foreign language. That is, the letters p, ç, t, k do not turn into b, c, d, g! E.g;

  • bisiklet (bike) > bisikletin, bisikletin
  • ceket (jacket) > ceketin, ceketi
  • market (market) > marketin, marketi
  • park (park) > parkın, parkı
  • kek (cake) > kekin, keki
  • saç (hair) > saçın, saçı
  • If words end with an any vowel you have to put a “buffer letter (kaynaştırma harfi)“ between word and suffix.Because two vowels cannot stand side by side in Turkish. So we have to use buffer letter. The consonants -n in the first word and -s in the second word are used as buffer letters. For example;

öğrenci: student > öğrenci + nin

çanta: bag > çanta + sı

öğrencinin çantası (student’s bag)


Just su(water) and ne(what) doesn’t follow this rule. They will take the buffer letter“y”. For example;

  • suyun kokusu (smell of water)
  • öğrencinin suyu (student’s water)
  • Neyin kokusu (smell of what)
  • Öğrencinin nesi (what of student)

Example Sentences

  • Kapının kolu (handle of the door)
  • Dolabın kapısı (closet door)
  • Doktorun hastası (doctor’s patient)
  • Öğretmenin öğrencisi (teacher’s student)
  • Ayşe’nin okulu (Ayşe’s school)
  • Atatürk’ün sözü (Atatürk’s word)
  • Kızın saçı (girl’s hair)
  • Saçın rengi (color of hair)


2. Undefined Compound Nouns (Belirtisiz Ad Tamlaması)

In this structure, however, it is not entirely clear who or what the noun in phrase belongs to. In other words, it does not specify who belongs to what. In general, the first word refers to the prominent feature of the mentioned noun, which is different from others. For example, it can indicate why a substance is used and what it does work or what is for.


All but one of the rules we mentioned above for the “defined compound nouns phrase” are also valid here. In this structure, the first word does not take any suffixes. Only the second word takes suffixes in accordance with the rules we have explained above. You will get a good grasp of it with the following examples.

Example Sentences

  • Güneş gözlüğü (sunglasses) literally: glasses of/for sun
  • Matematik kitabı (math book) literally: book of math
  • Bebek kıyafeti (baby outfit) literally: outfit of/for baby
  • Sınıf öğretmeni (classroom teacher) literally: teacher of classroom
  • Spor ayakkabı(Sneakers) literally: shoe of/for running
  • Koşu bandı (treadmill) literally: tape of/for running
  • Çalışma masası (Study desk): literally: desk /of/for sudy
  • Doğum günü pastası (Birthday cake) literally: cake of/for birthday



3. Compound Noun Chain (Zincirleme Ad Tamlaması)

As you can guess from its name, it is a structure created by combining more than one compound noun phrase. This structure is used for concepts that can be described in at least 3 words. This phrase is formed by combining at least 3 nouns. It can contain “defined compound nouns or undefined compound nouns”. Let’s see example words.

Example Sentences

  • Emine’nin bebeğinin adı (Emine’s baby’s name)
  • Kızın dayının adresi (The address of the girl’s uncle)
  • Domates çorbanın tadı (The taste of tomato soup)
  • Üniversite öğrencilerinin sorunu (The problem of university students)
  • Komşunun çocuğunun hastalığı (Neighbor’s child’s illness)
  • Öğrencinin babanın dükkanı (The student’s father’s shop)
  • Onun bisikletinin tekerleği (The wheel of his bike)
  • Orman havanın ferahlığı (The freshness of the forest air)
  • Yaşlı adamın bakıcının önlüğü (The old man’s caregiver’s apron)
  • Ayşe’nin ceketinin cebi (Ayşe’s jacket pocket)
  • Fransız edebiyatının romanları (Novels of French literature)
  • İstanbul’un arka sokaklarının yoksulları (The poor of the back streets of Istanbul)

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