Moods And Imperative Mood

So far we’ve been talking about these topics:

present tense = jelen idő
past tense = múlt idő
future tense = jövő idő

And now it’s time to talk about moods. Hungarian has three moods. Here I give you the tenses you can use with the moods.

indicative: present, past, future
imperative: present
conditional: present, past

We’ve discussed present, past and future which are in indicative mood.


First a small introduction to imperative mood.

The Hungarian term for imperative mood is: felszólító mód. As you see above, it can be expressed with one tense: present. Words in imperative mood have suffixes attached to them in all numbers/persons. Even for the 1st PS!

Some examples for what can be imperative:

Menj el! – Go away.
Hagyjatok békén! – Leave us alone.
Menjünk!  – Let’s go!
They should come.
Ne kiabálj! – Don’t shout.

Hungarian imperative sentences always end with an exclamation mark!

The problem comes for a Hungarian student learning English when it’s about 1st PS, 1st PP, 3rd PS, 3rd PP. These forms are paraphrased in English, but have a suffix in Hungarian. Examples:

Vegyek kenyeret? – Shall I buy some bread?
Sétáljunk!Let’s walk.
Beszéljen! – He should talk. / He‘d better talk.
Beszéljenek! – They should talk. / They’d better talk.

As the 3rd PS and 3rd PP also express the polite forms (Remember ő, ők ön, maga, önök, maguk), Beszéljen! and Beszéljenek! can also mean: You (sir) should talk. You (gentlemen) should talk.

The 1st PS form is used when English says ‘Shall I…?’ and in the following situation:

Menjek veled? – Shall I come with you?
Legyek szerényebb? – Shall I be more humble?
Azt akarja, hogy legyek szerényebb – He wants me to be more humble.

Note that in the last sentence you see the 1st PS imperative form of the substantive verb (legyek). English, however, simplifies such sentences (me to be), but it would be possible to use subjunctive mood (He wants that I be…)


You shouldn’t worry about the two terms: subjunctive and imperative mood. Let’s just say they’re the same in Hungarian. So in the next entry we’ll learn how to conjugate verbs in imperative mood.

Bye 🙂

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