The simple past describes actions which are completed, for example actions which happened yesterday, last week or longer time ago. So it is the tense for “experienced and/or narrated past”.

Formed with the suffix –di it is determined by the GREAT VOWEL HARMONY, so it can be
-dı, -di, -du or -dü.

bilmek = to known (=> verb stem bil-
bildim = I knew 
bildin = you knew 
bildi = he/she/it knew 
bildik = we knew 
bildiniz = you (plural or polite form) knew 
bildiler = they knew 

As you may have noticed in 1st person plural the personal pronoun suffix now ends with a “k” instead of “z”. 

Of course also in this tense the famous “Hard Consonantes” use their influence. But this time they don’t get softened. Do you remember the hint in lesson 3.2? Some suffixes get hardened when a word ends with one of the hard consonantes. Therefore the simple past suffix has to pass a two fisted training in order to being able standing these consonantes and is changed to -ti

yaptım = I did 
yaptın = you did
 = he/she/it did 
yaptık = we did 
yaptınız = you (plural or polite form) did 
 = they did 

Also here it might be more clear that it’s more easy to speak out  yaptım instead of “yapdım”. Otherwise it would just sound too… hmmm… just too soft!

Another example: 
çalışmak = to work (=> verb stem çalış-) 
çalıştım = I worked 
çalıştın = you worked 
 = he/she/it worked 
 = we worked 
 = you (plural or polite forem) worked 
çalıştılar = they worked 

At the same time the suffix -di is also to past form of “to be”:
büyüktü = he/she/it was big

When ending on a vowel insert a  y
hastaydı = he/she/it was ill

Furthermore you probably had or had not something in the past: 
Arabam vardı. = I had a car. 
Arabam yoktu. = I didn’t have a car.


Short and painless: Negation of simple past is made by the suffix -ma/-me which is put in front of the past tense suffix: 

yapmadım = I didn’t do 
yapmadın = you didn’t do 
 = he/she/it didn’t do 
yapmadık = we didn’t do 
yapmadınız = you (plural or polite form) didn’t do 
 = they didn’t do 

This time the –di suffix doesn’t have to be hardened as it is “protected” by the negation particle. 

Another particle: 
düşünmedim = I didn’t think 
düşünmedin = you didn’t think 
düşünmedi = he/she/it didn’t think 
düşünmedik = we didn’t think 
düşünmediniz = you (plural or polite form) didn’t think 
düşünmediler = they didn’t think

Remember: “to be” in Turkish is negated with  değil. So then  -di as the past suffix of “to be”: 
büyük değildi = he/she/it wasn’t big


With this past tense you describe exactly the same as in English: an action which was about to take place but wasn’t completed. So it is the past counterpart to the continuous present (-iyor). You were about to do something as something else happened. 

Formed with the suffix  -(i)yordu.

As this suffix follows GREAT VOWEL HARMONY it can have following forms: -ıyordu, -iyordu, -uyordu or -üyordu.

biliyordum = I was knowing 
biliyordun = you were knowing 
biliyordu = he/she/it was knowing 
biliyorduk = we were knowing 
biliyordunuz = you (plural or polite form) were knowing 
biliyordular = they were knowing 

yapıyordum = I was doing 
yapıyordun = you were doing 
yapıyordu = he/she/it was doing 
yapıyorduk = we were doing 
yapıyordunuz = you (plural or polite form) were doing 
yapıyordular = they were doing 

Example sentence: 
Lale’yi düşünüyordum. Telefon çaldı. = I was thinking of Lale as the phone rang.

A certain action was taking place (thinking of Lale) as another action interrupted (the ringing of the phone).


For negation you need to put the letter -m in front of the past suffix: 

bilmiyordum = I wasn’t knowing 
bilmiyordun = you weren’t knowing 
bilmiyordu = he/she/it wasn’t knowing  
bilmiyorduk = we weren’t knowing 
bilmiyordunuz = you (plural or polite form) weren’t knowing 
bilmiyordular = they weren’t knowing 

yapmıyordum = I wasn’t doing 
yapmıyordun = you weren’t doing 
yapmıyordu = he/she/it wasn’t doing 
= we weren’t doing 
yapmıyordunuz = you (plural or polite form) weren’t doing 
 = they weren’t doing 

büyütmek = to extend, to exaggerrate; çalmak = to ring, but also: to steal; çalışmak = to work; dalmak = to dive; doldurmak = to fill in; kum = the sand; restoran = the restaurant; şemsiye = the sunshade; yazmak = to write; yüzmek = to swim