9.1 UNDEFINED PAST
The undefined past describes like the simple past an action which has been completed – with a small but important difference: you don’t tell “first hand” as you didn’t have been there when the action occured. Someone else told us his story and we re-tell it. This tense is very typical for jokes, fairy tales and stories.
Formed with the suffix –miş.
This suffix is determined by the GREAT VOWEL HARMONY which means it can have the forms
-mış, -miş, -muş and -müş.
bilmişim = I knew (it might appear difficult to tell “2nd hand” that you knew something, but it can be translated with “I was supposed to know” because so has been told…)
bilmişsin = you knew (so has been told…)
bilmiş = he/she/it knew
bilmişiz = we knew
bilmişsiniz = you (plural) knew
bilmişler = they knew
yapmışım = I made (“I was supposed to make” because so has been told…)
yapmışsın = you made
yapmış = he/she/it made
yapmışız = we made
yapmışsınız = you (plural) made
yapmışlar = they made
The suffix -miş is at the same time the to be-suffix in the undefined past:
büyükmüş = he/she/it was big
When ending on a vowel you have to insert an y:
hastaymış = he/she/it was ill
To have in the undefined past:
Arabası varmış. = He/she/it had a car.
Arabası yokmuş. = He/she/it hadn’t a car.
9.2 NEGATION OF UNDEFINED PAST
For negating the suffix you need to insert once again -ma/-me in before the suffix –miş:
bilmemişim = I didn’t (wasn’t supposed to) know
bilmemişsin = you didn’t know
bilmemiş = he/she/it didn’t know
bilmemişiz = we didn’t know
bilmemişsiniz = you (plural) didn’t know
bilmemişler = they didn’t know
yapmamışım = I didn’t (wasn’t supposed to) make
yapmamışsın = you didn’t make
yapmamış = he/she/it didn’t make
yapmamışız = we didn’t make
yapmamışsınız = you didn’t make
yapmamışler = they didn’t make
Remember: “to be” is negated with değil:
büyük değilmiş =he/she/it wasn’t big (… wasn’t supposed to be big)
adam = the man, human; ama = but; altın = the gold; çok = much, many; geçirmek = to pass; gün = the day; insan = the fellow, human; insanlık = the humanity; İrlanda = Ireland; kadın = the woman; kişi = the person; köy = the village; pahalı = expensive