Ability Suffix (-abil -ebil) in Turkish can/could/able/may

Yeterlilik / Ability Suffix (-abil -ebil) in Turkish can/could/able/may

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How to say can can’t could in Turkish?

This lesson about “How to say can can’t could in Turkish?” So we will learn ability suffix in Turkish can/could/able/may (-abil -ebil)

It is a structure that indicates having competence and capacity in any aspect (material or knowledge, power, experience, etc.) that can or cannot do a job. This meaning is provided by the suffixes -abil or -ebil. In the most basic sense, this is the usage area! Apart from this meaning, it can be used in several senses. Before we start the lesson, let’s take a look at all usage areas.

1. Power, capacity, talent, experience, money, time, etc. ability to do the job:

  • Ben bu halteri kaldıramam. (I can’t lift this barbell.)
  • Usain Bolt, yüz metreyi 9 saniyede koşabilir. (Usain Bolt can run a hundred meters in 9 seconds.)

1. When giving and permitting permission:

  • Arkadaşımla buluşabilir miyim? (Can I meet my friend?)
  • Evet, buluşabilirsin. (Yes, you can meet.)

2. When asking for something kindly:

  • Tuzu uzatabilir misin? (Can you pass the salt?)
  • Çok soğuk, camı kapatabilir misin? (It’s too cold, could you close the window?)

3. When recommending something or when making offer:

  •  Çok sıkılıyorsan bu filmi izleyebilirsin. (If you are bored, you can watch this movie. )
  • Birlikte akşam yemeği yiyebiliriz. (We can have dinner together.)

4. Probablities:

  • Yarın yağmur yağabilir. (It may rain tomorrow.)
  • İşim biraz uzayabilir. (My work may take a little longer.)



  • There are two form of this suffix: -ebil and -abil. Again we are going to check vowel harmony like every time we do. There two form so we will check 2 way vowel harmony. If the last vowel of the word is “a, ı, o  or  u” the suffix will be “-abil“. But if the last vowel of the word is “e, i, ö  or  ü” the suffix will be “-ebil”. Pay attention the last vowel doesn’t change. It is “i” in both of forms -abil and -ebil suffixes.
  • Another simple rule is… If the last letter of root word is a any vowel, we will put “y” letter between suffix and root word. Remember! Two vowel can not be stay side by side in Turkish language.
  • Positive sentences:

verb + (y)abil + tense suffix + personal suffix

oku + yabil + ir + im = okuyabilirim (I can read)

  • Negative sentences:

verb +(y)a + negative suffix + tense suffix + personal suffix

oku + ya + ma + m = okuyamam (I can’t read)



“Apart from the above” mentioned structure, there are 2 different negative forms of this structure. These 2 ways are usually done with the simple present tense. But they are different in meaning. You should pay attention to this point.

1. Negative sentences with the suffixmayabil (may not): It has a meaning of possibility depending on the will and will of the person. Whether the action will take place is in the hands of the person and he is undecided. There is a possibility that he will do it on his own will, there is also the possibility that he will not.

  • Yazın köye gitmeyebilirim. (I may not go to the village in the summer.)
  • Seni beklemeyebilirim. (I may not wait for you.)

2. Negative sentences with the suffix amayabil (may not be able): It has a meaning of possibility beyond the will of the person. It is not in the hands of the person whether the act will occur or not. The person wants to do the act, but there is a possibility that obstacles may arise against his/her will.

  • Yazın köye gidemeyebilirim. (I may not be able to go to the village in the summer.)
  • Mezun olunca iş bulamayabilirim. (I may not be able to find a job after graduation.)


Sample Sentences With -abil / -ebil

  • Ben gitar çalabilirim ama piyano çalamam. (I can play the guitar but not the piano.)
  • O, bisiklete binemez ama otomobil kullanabilir. (He cannot ride a bicycle but can drive a car.)
  • Sen, basketbol oynayabilirsin ama tenis oynayamazsın. (You can play basketball but not tennis.)
  • Salata yapabilirsiniz ama yemek yapamazsınız. (You can make a salad, but you can’t cook it.)
  • Yarasalar gündüz uyuyabilirler ama gece uyuyamazlar. (Bats can sleep during the day, but cannot sleep at night.)
  • Duvarı boyayabiliriz ama resim yapamayız. (We can paint the wall, but we cannot draw picture.)
  • Borç verebilirim ama borç veremem. (I can lend money, but I cannot lend.)
  • Bukalemun renk değiştirebilir ama uçamaz. (The chameleon can change color but cannot fly.)
  • İnsan günlerce aç kalabillir ama susuz kalamaz. (A person can starve for days, but not be dehydrated.)
  • Biraz sonra yağmur yağabilir. (It may rain soon.)
  • Dikkat iş makinesi çıkabilir. (Attention, the machine may come out.)
  • Baba, ata binebilir miyim? (Dad, can I ride the horse?)
  • Öğretmenim, bir soru sorabilir miyim? (Teacher, can I ask a question?)
  • Pencereyi kapatabilir misin? (Can you close the window?)
  • Bize yardım edebilir misiniz? (Can you help us?)


In this lesson you’ ve learned “How to say can can’t could in Turkish?”, “How to use ability verbs in Turkish can/could/able/may…” If you have any question about Turkish language just let me know in the comment below. Btw we also share all Turkish grammar lessons, some daily usefull tips, Turkish idioms and more about Turkish language and Turkish culture on YouTube channel! You can watch all lessons for free now! Just click here and subscribe to don’t lose our videos.  See you in another lesson!

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