Modal Verbs / szabad


It is a verb that helps you say things like: to be unbound to do sg. However, most of the time you just translate it as: may, to be allowed. The word ’szabad’ as an adjective means ’free’!



As English doesn’t really have a separate word for szabad, I’ll use the expression: to be allowed to

Szabad nézni. – You’re allowed to look.
Nem szabad nézni. – You’re not allowed to look.

Szabad volt nézni. – You were allowed to look.
Nem volt szabad nézni. – You were not allowed to look.

Szabad lesz nézni. – You’ll be allowed to look.
Nem lesz szabad nézni. – You’ll be not allowed to look.

Szabad volna nézni. – You would be allowed to look.
Nem volna szabad nézni. – You would not be allowed to look.

Szabad lett volna nézni. – You would have been allowed to look.
Nem lett volna szabad nézni. – You would not have been allowed to look.

If you use szabad alone, it generally refers to everybody. If you talk about a specific person, you need the dative pronouns or you can omit dative pronouns and conjugate the infinitive!

Neked szabad úsznod.
You may swim / You are allowed to swim.

Nekünk nem szabad engedély nélkül elmennünk.
We’re not allowed to leave without permission.

Hát szabad ilyet mondani?
It’s not a proper way to talk!

Szabad bejönnöm?
May I come in?

Szabad (lenne) megkérdeznem
Would you mind my asking…

If you deny szabad, then the English equivalents can be:

you can’t, you’re not allowed, you may not

Nem szabad csúnyán beszélni.
You can’t use bad language.

Nem szabad szaladgálni.
You’re not allowed to run around on the road.

Szabad meztelenül sétálnom egy áruházba? –Nem szabad.
May I walk around naked in a store? -No, you may not.

More about conjugating the infinitive in the next entry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s