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 🙂

2 comments on “Moods And Imperative Mood

  1. Vojó says:

    This is a great blog and l have been using it ever since l started studying Hungarian seriously. l have a question, though, regarding the use of subjunctive with “majd”, as l haven’t been able to find an article here associated with this topic. Here are two example sentences which I have been trying to understand for a while:

    Mesélj nekem valamit! (this sounds like a direct command, order, or a request)


    Majd mesélj ha haza jöttél. Jó szórakozást!

    What exactly does “majd” stand here for? Can the sentence be correct without it? ls this an imperative at all or some kind of special case of future tense reference?

    Thank you very much and csak így tovább!


    • hunlang says:

      Hi there,

      Majd means later. It refers to an uncertain future. With imperative mood it softens the command, sound more like a suggestion. Sometimes a sentence like that cannot be translated word by word.
      Majd mesélj, ha haza jöttél. – I’d love to hear from you when you’ve come home.

      Majd takarítsd ki a szobádat! – Tidy up your room, will you?

      With indicative mood:
      Majd megmondja, mit akar. – literally: He will tell us what he wants.
      >A much better translation: I guess he’ll tell us what he wants. (when he decides to)


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