To Have – Var – Yok – Bende

ne var

As we know, translations between Turkish and English can be quite messy.  It is most evident when translating some of the most comment words.  When we first start learning Turkish, we learn to very important words, var and yok.  These words can not be directly translated.  What we learn is:

Var – there is/are some
Yok – there isn’t any


Domates var. – There are some tomatoes.
Zaman var mı? – Is there time?

Ne var?
Literal translation: What there is?
Meaning:  What is there?
Usage:  I would use this, for example, when at a small cafe.  Sometimes they don’t have a menu.  Instead of asking, “What do you have today?”  I simply ask, “Ne var?”  Another example, your friend is opening a gift.  You are wondering what is in the box because you can’t see it.  “Ne var?” will do the trick!

But the real meanings of “var” and “yok” don’t stop there.  They are dependent on the rest of the sentence and it gets more complicated.  Sometimes “var” is used to mean “have/has.”  This occurs when using the following words in Turkish:

bende – at me
sende – at you
onda – at him/her/it
bizde – at us
sizde – at you (plural or polite form)
onlarda – at them

Note: for the purposes of this lesson, we will use the literal definitions above.  However these words do have another meaning as seen below.  Again, it all depends on the context of the sentence:

bende – me too
sende – you too
onda – him/her/it too
bizde – us too
sizde – you too (plural or polite form)
onlarda – them too

Putting it all together, “var” becomes “have/has” in conjunction with the above words.  For example:

Bende domates var.
Literal translation:  At me, there are tomatoes.
Meaning:  I have tomatoes.

Sizde bir kalem var mı?
Literal translation:  Is there a pen at you?
Meaning:  Do you have a pen?

Onda misafirler var.
Literal translation: At him, there are guests.
Meaning:  He has guests.

See?  It’s not so hard!



Containers and Quantities

Today we are sharing a great video from AMES836.  AMES836 shares numerous videos on its YouTube channel to assist in learning English.  This video focuses on containers and quantities that we use in every day speech.

The video also contains a quiz at the end.  If you are studying American English, please note the following differences from the video:

  • Cereal – a BOX of cereal (not a pack or packet)
  • Eggs – in the U.S., we only refer to it as a CARTON of eggs.

Thanks AME836!!!

Don’t forget you can also subscribe to ALE’s YouTube Channel by clicking here!

2014 in review – Ankara Legal English stats from WordPress – not bad for the first year!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The U.S. promotes apps for English learners

This was just posted by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara on Facebook.  Apparently Share America, which is run by the Bureau of International Information Programs, has tested some English Language learning apps.  Some of them can even be run on phones that are neither iphones nor androids.  Here’s a quick peek.  Click on the link to read the full story and view a comparison chart.

İngilizce öğrenmenize yardımcı olacak size en yakın araç elinizde tuttuğunuz akıllı telefonunuz. Akıllı telefonunuza yükleyeceğiniz uygulamalar size çok faydalı olacak; ancak hangi uygulama daha iyi. İşte bu soruyu biz de üç uzmana sorduk ve işinize yarayacak cevaplar aldık. Sizin başka bir öneriniz var mı? –

Whether you already speak some English or are just starting out, you’ve probably got a powerful tool to help you reach the next level of proficiency: your phone. But with so many phone apps for English learners, how do you find the right app for your needs? We consulted three experts and asked for their advice. –

Send us a comment and let us know what you think of these apps?  I personally love babbel for learning Turkish vocabulary. Babbel also has English, but the base languages are limited and do not include Turkish. Babbel also has fee lessons on its website.