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(y)ken (while)

-(y)ken is a suffix which corresponds in meaning to English while, when or as. It can be added to a
range of suffixes.

1- -(y)ken is usually added to present simple tense (-ir) verbs. However, the meaning of the subordinate
clause is determined by the tense marker in the main clause.

a) Ben ders çalışırken kardeşim televizyon seyreder.


Subordinate clause Main Clause

(My brother watches the telly while I am studying.)

b) Ben ders çalışırken kardeşim televizyon seyrediyordu.


Subordinate clause Main Clause

(My brother was watching the telly while I was studying.)

Note that the subordinate clause in both (a) and (b) is in the same form. However, while (a) translates as
while I am studying, (b)translates as while I was studying. The difference is caused because of the
different tense in the main clause –present simple tense in (a) but past continuous tense in (b). Follow
more examples below:

Ben parkta koşarken müzik dinlerim.


(I listen to music while/when I am running in the park.)

Bebek uyurken kardeşim kitap okuyordu.


(My brother was reading a book while the baby was sleeping.)

Elif okula giderken arkadaşını gördü.


(Elif saw her friend while she was going to school.)

Siz partide eğlenirken Ahmet ders çalışıyordu.


(Ahmet was studying while you were enjoying yourselves at the party.)

2- -(y)ken follows case markers like -de:

Ben Türkiye’deyken Đskender Kebap yedim.


(I ate Đskender Kebap when I was in Turkey.)

Tatildeyken çok kitap okudum.


(I read a lot of books when I was on holiday.)

3- -(y)ken also attaches directly to nouns or adjectives:

Çocukken çok yaramazdım.


(I was very naughty when I was a child.)

Hastayken iştahımı kaybederim.


(I lose my appetite when I am ill.)

As you may have noticed, -y(ken) cannot combine with personal endings. But we can optionally use the
3rd plural suffix (-lar) as in oynar(lar)ken, which means while they are playing.
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