Verbs and Tenses

All right. We’ll be discussing verbs and tenses from now on. It is an extensive topic, so maybe I’ll come up with some other topic between present and past, conditional and imperative, and so on…


Verbs are words expressing action, occurrence, state of being.

The Hungarian word is: ige.

Characteristics of Hungarian verbs:

– Hungarian verbs are high or deep-vowel words. (or mixed which is finally high or deep)

– There are two tenses: present, past

– The future tense is paraphrased like in English, but more often it is simply expressed with present tense. Because of that, it is not really considered a different tense.

– There is only one present, one past and one future tense.

– There are three moods: indicative, imperative, present/past conditional


Indicative mood: present, past, future
Imperative mood: present
Conditional mood: present, past

– Hungarian verbs have a definite and indefinite conjugation system.

Suffixes are attached to the verb in all numbers/persons, therefore it is unnecessary to use the personal pronouns unless for putting emphasis on the person.

– Verbs are transitive, intransitive, impersonal.

– The Hungarian infinitive form can be conjugated when teaming up with an impersonal verb.

-The Hungarian verbal nouns are: infinitive, present/past participle and future participle


English verbs can be put in the infinitive form like this:

to be, to dream

Hungarian verbs also have an infinitive form indicated by the suffix: -ni. Examples:

lenni (to be), álmodni (to dream), ülni (to sit), repülni (to fly), örülni (to be delighted), állni (to stand)

Verbs ending in two consonants take the infinitive with a link vowel. The link vowels are: a for deep, e for high. Examples:

hall > hallani (to hear)
ment > menteni (to save)
mond > mondani (to say)
gyűjt > gyűjteni (to collect)

It is important to mention that entries in a dictionary give Hungarian verbs in the 3rd PS indefinite conjugation form. Logically enough, since this form has no suffix to it, so it can be considered the basic form of the verb.

And there are only a few verbs with an irregular infinitive form. These are the so-called -nni verbs. You already know: lenni. Let’s the others.

menni (to go), jönni (to come), enni (to eat), inni (to drink)
tenni (to put), venni (to buy), hinni (to believe), vinni (to bring)

Next time I’ll explain the difference between definite and indefinite conjugation. Digest so much for now. 🙂


2 comments on “Verbs and Tenses

  1. Courtney says:

    Hi there, first your site is great, I have a question because my Hungarian “teacher” cannot seem to explain this to me at all for the “ni” suffix. Your stating that verbs ending in two consonants need to use either “a for deep” or “e for high” as linking vowel. Do you mean that you would use “a” for back vowels and “e” for front unrouded and rounded vowels? Thank you


    • hunlang says:

      Yes, that’s what it means. Beside the nouns in two consonants: gyújtani (to light, to ignite), sejteni (to suspect), költeni (to spend), three other verb gets a link vowel, as well: hűteni (to cool), fűteni (to heat), műteni (to operate on).

      Any other verb just takes -ni: kötni (to knit), futni (to run), lökni (to push), bújni (to hide), fúrni (to drill)…


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