-ken Suffix In Turkish Language

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Here is a very enjoyable structure to use so that you can speak Turkish like a native speaker! “-ken” suffix. By using this structure, you can make longer sentences and speak more fluently and practically. You can use it almost anywhere. For example, you can use it with verbs, nouns, adjectives. How Does? Let’s take a look at the details.

Before moving on to where and how we use this suffix, let’s talk about the meaning of the word. We use it instead of “when, while” in English.

In other words, we ask the question “When“? to the verb. We add the suffix “-ken” to the word that answers the question. So how do we use it?



When we use this suffix with verbs, we transform the word into “adverb”. So this word is no longer a verb.

You should not forget that when the “-ken” suffix is used with verbs, we must use “time suffixes”. But we don’t use “personal suffixes” here! Here below it is written in which tenses the suffix -ken is used:

Using “-ken” with Present and Present Continuous Tense:

verb + time suffix (İyor /-yor / -Ar / İr / -r) + ken

When we use the “-ken” structure with present or present continuous tense suffixes it means the following.

  • Two verbs are happening at the same time and continuing at the same time.
    1. Oğlum yemek yerken hep konuşur. (ye + r + ken)
    2. Babam çalışırken kahve içer. (çalış + ır + ken)
    1. My son always talks while eating.
    2. My father drinks coffee while working.


  • While one verb is continuing, another verb is taking place. In other words, a verb started before and something else happened while that verb was still going on.
    1. Parkta koşarken kafama aniden top çarptı. (koş + ar + ken)
    2. Patates kızartırken gözüme yağ sıçradı. (kızart + ır + ken)
    1. A ball suddenly hit my head while i was running.
    2. Oil splashed in my eyes while I was frying potatoes.



Using “-ken” with Future Tense:

verb + time suffix (-yAcAk / -AcAk) + ken

The suffix “-ken” is in the future tense; It is used in the sense of “just when the 1st verb was about to start, another verb (2nd verb) took place”. That is, the first verb will happen, but before it happened, the second verb occurred.

    1. Ben konuşacakken telefonum kapandı. (konuş + acak + ken)
    2. Tam da oturacakken kapı zili çaldı. (otur + acak + ken)
    1. My phone went off while I was about to speak.
    2. Just while i was about to sit down, the doorbell rang.



Using “-ken” with Reported Past Tense:

verb + time suffix (-mİş) + ken

Finally, when used with -miş, which is one of the past tense suffixes, it means: Since the first verb is realized, the second verb is also easy to realize. That is, there is the logic of “The first verb has already taken place. Then let the second act also happen”. Let’s give an example with the famous sentence that every Turkish person uses at home 🙂

    1. Ayağa kalkmışken kumandayı uzatır mısın? (kalk + mış +ken)
    2. Ayağa kalkmışken bana su getirir misin? (kalk + mış + ken)
    1. Can you pass the remote while standing up?
    2. Can you get me water while you’re up?

You can understand better with a few different examples.

    1. İstanbul’a gelmişken sizi de ziyaret etmek istedik. (gel + miş + ken)
    2. Bilgisayarı eline almışken hava durumuna da bakar mısın? (al + mış + ken)
    3. Çok fazla yemek pişirmişken komşuları da akşam yemeğine çağıralım. (pişir + miş + ken)
    1. We wanted to visit you while we are in Istanbul.
    2. Can you check the weather while you have the computer in your hand?
    3. While we’ve cooked a lot of food, let’s invite the neighbors for dinner.



isim + (y)ken

sıfat + (y)ken

NOTE: If nouns, adjectives or their suffixes end with any vowel, don’t forget to put “y” before the “-ken” suffix!

    1. Ben gençken çok güzeldim. (genç + ken)
    2. Bir defa çocukken Avrupa’ya gittim. (çocuk + ken)
    3. Yorgunken hiçbir iş yapmam. (yorgun + ken)
    4. Gözlerin kırmızıyken sana bakmaya korktum. (kırmızı + y + ken)
    5. Ben evdeyken dizi izlerim veya yemek yaparım. (ev + de + y + ken


    1. I was very beautiful when I was young.
    2. I went to Europe once when I was a kid.
    3. I don’t do anything when I’m tired.
    4. I was afraid to look at you when your eyes were red.
    5. When I’m at home, I watch TV shows or cook.


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