Omitting Pronouns in (In)Definite Conjugation

In English you always need to use any pronoun (direct, indirect, demonstrative…) irregardless of whether the verb refers to an indefinite or definite object/person.

I’m writing a letter. I’m writing the letter.

The object is ’letter’ and our verb ’write’ is the same in both sentences. The indefiniteness and definiteness of ’letter’ are expressed with the indefinite and definite articles ’a, the’. Here’s the Hungarian translation:

I’m writing a letter. – Írok egy levelet.
I’m writing the letter. – Írom a levelet.

As you can see, the Hungarian verb ’ír-write’ has two different conjugations. The indefinite conjugation requires the -ok suffix in 1st person singular present tense, whereas the definite conjugation in the same person/number/tense is formed with the -om suffix. The indefinite and definite articles are used accordingly.

So far so good. But what if we get a question like ’Are you writing a/the letter’? How do you answer that question?

Are you writing a letter? – Yes, I’m writing it.
Írsz egy levelet? – Igen, azt írok.

Are you writing the letter? – Yes, I’m writing it.
Írod a levelet? – Igen, azt írom.

The pronoun ’it’ refers back to ’a letter’ and ’the letter’. In the same way, the Hungarian demonstrative pronoun ’az’ turns into an accusative pronoun ’azt’ to refer back to ’egy levelet’ and ’a levelet’.
And that’s when omitting pronouns becomes relevant. In everyday language, we do tend to ”forget” saying certain pronouns when the context is clear and we know for sure what we are talking about. So the above-mentioned answers can be turned into:

Igen, írok. Igen, írom.

It is more common, though, that we leave out pronouns when the verbs are in definite conjugation. Since the definite conjugation already refers to the object, there is no confusion about the context. Let’s see more examples with other pronouns, too. So that you know what I omit, I’ll parenthesize the pronouns. It is also evident from the examples that English has to use those pronouns.

-Látod a lányt? – Igen, látom (őt).
-Can you see the girl? – Yes, I can see her.

-Akarjátok az új ruhákat vagy sem? – Nem, nem akarjuk (azokat).
-Do you want the new clothes or not? – No, we don’t want them.

The problem starts when there seems to be no context like in this question:

-Látod? – Can you see it?

We translate it with ’can you see it’ because ’látod’ is obviously in definite conjugation. The speaker knows exactly what he sees and that’s why he’s asking ’Látod?’.

-Látod? – Can you see it?
-Semmit nem látok. Te mit látsz? – I can’t see anything. What can you see?
-A boltot. – The shop.
-Igen, már látom. – Yes, I can see it now.

The other person answers ’nem látok’ in indefinite conjugation because he cannot see anything. And ’anything/nothing’ is something indefinite. So is ’something’, by the way :). Then he asks ’mit látsz’ in indefinite conjugation because he still cannot see anything. Finally, the speaker clarifies ’boltot’. So the other person answers ’látom’ in definite conjugation. Now he knows exactly what he sees. It does not matter if the answer is affirmative or negative. The same rules apply.

That’s why you give such answers:

-Nem értek semmit. -Az egyenletet így kell megoldani. Már érted? -Igen, értem.
-I don’t understand anything. -The equation has to be solved like this. Do you understand now? -Yes, I understand (it).

This is a good example for native English speakers because as you see the verb ’understand’ does not require ’it’ when you answer. Yet you know exactly what you understand.

-Érted? – Do you understand?
-Értem. – I understand.

Let’s take a look at more examples:

-A bank elveszi a házadat. – Nem hagyom.
-The bank is going to take your house. – I’m not going to let (it happen).

-Tessék a visszajáró! – Köszönöm.
-Here’s your change. – Thank you.

The verb ’köszön’ has two meanings ’to say thank you’ and ’to greet’. If it means ’to say thank you’, it is transitive, so Hungarian people thank something, and not thank for something. On the other hand, if you greet someone, it is transitive in English, but it requires an indirect object in Hungarian. Actually, we say ’greet to someone = köszön valakinek’.

-Köszönöm a visszajárót! – Köszöntem önnek, amikor bejöttem? – Igen, ön mindig köszön nekem.
-Thank you for the change. – Did I greet you when I entered? – Yes, you always greet me.

The difficulty also lies in the different use of verbs in English and Hungarian. A verb that is transitive in English might be intransitive in Hungarian and viceversa. In the above-mentioned sentence you can’t use ’köszön’ in definite conjugation because it is not transitive. It cannot require an object.
Let’s contrast indefinite and definite conjugation with ’ért’.

-Érted? – Mindent értek.
-Do you understand? – I understand everything.

’Minden’ is indefinite or general, so ’értek’ is in indefinite conjugation.

PROBLEMS WITH ACCUSATIVE PRONOUNS

As languages do not consist of rules that always make sense, we have to be prepared to learn odd things. That is the case with accusative pronouns if you conjugate verbs in definite mode. To make this problem tangible, I’ll use the accusative pronouns ’őt’ and ’engem’.

Látom őt. – I can see him.
Látod őt. – You can see him.
Látja őt. – He can see him.
Látjuk őt. – We can see him.
Látjátok őt. – You can see him.
Látják őt. – They can see him.

’Lát’ is in definite conjugation in every number/person. But what if we use ’engem’?

Lát engem. – He can see me.
Lát téged. – He can see you.
Látja őt. – He can see him.
Lát minket. – He can see us.
Lát titeket. – He can see you.
Látja őket. – He can see them.

’Lát’ is used in definite conjugation only when referring to the accusative pronoun in 3rd person singular and 3rd person plural. In any other number/person (engem, téged, minket, titeket) ’lát’ is in indefinite conjugation.

This goes for ’őt, őket, önt, önöket, maga, magát’. That is, for polite forms, too.

If there is an accusative pronoun, one would think it is definite. Well, it’s no use asking why it is that way. It just is. I couldn’t find any explanation why this phenomenon had developed the way it is. Something for you to struggle with :). So let’s ask more questions and give the right answers.

-Érted a szabályt? – Igen, értem (azt).
-Do you understand the rule? – Yes, I understand (it).

-Érted őket? – Igen, értem (őket).
-Do you understand them? – Yes, I understand them.

-Értesz engem? – Igen, értelek (téged).
-Do you understand me? -Yes, I understand you.

-Látjátok őket? – Nem, nem látjuk (őket).
-Can you guys see them? – No, we can’t see them.

-Látnak minket? – Nem, nem látnak (minket). Önt viszont látják.
-Can they see us? – No, they can’t see us. However, they can see you, sir.

Problems with Verbal Prefixes (or Coverbs)

GOOD ADVICE IN ADVANCE: knowing when to choose a verbal prefix and which to choose requires a knowledge of the shades of meanings Hungarian verbs can have.

1. In the present tense verbal prefixes (coverbs) can add shades to the verb. These shades can be direction and perfectivity in the future.

NOTE! The general rule is that Hungarian verbs without verbal prefixes have a continous aspect in any tense and mode.

– DIRECTION:

Megyek a pincébe. <> Lemegyek a pincébe.
I’m going to the cellar. <> I’m going down to the cellar.

Sétálunk a parkban. <> Kisétálunk a parkba.
We’re walking in the park. <> We’re walking out to the park.

Ugrál az ágyon. <> Felugrál az ágyra.
He’s jumping on the bed. <> He keeps jumping up to the bed.

– PERFECTIVITY IN THE FUTURE:

a)

Megyek a boltba. <> Elmegyek a boltba.
I’m going to the shop. <> I’m going to the shop./I’ll go to the shop.

Megyek a boltba expresses a continous aspect. I’m going to the shop right now as I’m talking. Elmegyek a boltba refers to the direction el-away because the shop is farther away from where I am now and to the perfectivity in the future because I expressed the wish of going to the shop. That’s where I will be sometime in the future. It can also express a promise (I’ll go).

Elmegyek a boltba > és mikor befejeztem az odamenetelt, vagyis megérkeztem, ott leszek.
I’m going to the shop > and when I stopped going to that place, that is I have arrived, I will be there.

You see there is no equivalent of the verbal prefix el in the English sentence because it simply expresses completion and in this case it does not have the meaning equivalent to away.

As you can see, if verbal prefixes indicating a direction are attached to verbs expressing motion, the indication of direction is implied even though the point is perfecitivity.

b)

Nézem a műsort. <> Megnézem a műsort.
I’m watching the show. <> I’ll watch the show.

Nézem a műsort expresses a continous aspect. I’m watching the show right now as I’m talking. Megnézem a műsort cannot refer to any direction as watching something has no direction. That’s why meg- is used and not el-. It definitely refers to the future because as you can see the English sentence changed, too. Hungarian uses present tense with the aspect of completion expressed by meg-, which is expressed in English by Simple Future Tense (I’ll watch).

2. What happens to this phenomenon in the past tense?

Well, it is clearer because the Hungarian past tense can only refer to the past tense (in contrast with the present tense with the sense of future actions). That is proved by the English sentences, too.

a)

Mentem a boltba. <> Elmentem a boltba.
I was going to the shop. <> I went to the shop.

Mentem a boltba expresses a continous aspect. I was going to the shop right at the moment as Iwas talking. Elmentem a boltba refers to the direction el-away because the shop was farther away from where I was then and to the perfectivity in the past because I stated the fact that I went to the shop. That’s where I was in the past. An action that happened once: I went to the shop and I was there. End of story.

b)

Néztem a műsort. <> Megnéztem a műsort.
I was watching the show. <> I watched the show.

Néztem a műsort expresses a continous aspect. I was watching the show right at the moment as I was talking. Megnéztem a műsort cannot refer to any direction as watching something has no direction. That’s why meg- is used and not el-. It definitely refers to the past because as you can see the English sentence changed, too. Hungarian uses past tense with the aspect of completion expressed by meg-, which is expressed in English by Simple Past Tense (I watched).

3. Generally speaking, any verbal prefix can be used to express completion if a certain direction is implied.

a)

Jövök a kirándulásról. <> Visszajövök a kirándulásról.
I’m coming from the excursion. <> I’m coming back/I’ll come back from the excursion.
Jöttem a kirándulásról. <> Visszajöttem a kirándulásról.
I was coming from the excursion. <> I came back from the excursion.

Mutatjuk a grafikont. <> mutatunk a grafikonra.
We’re showing the diagram. <> We’re pointing at the diagram.
Mutattuk a grafikont. <> mutattunk a grafikonra.
We were showing the diagram. <> We pointed at the diagram.

True enough, Rámutattunk a grafikonra can also mean We were pointing at the diagram as Hungarian does not have specifically a different time for continuous past tense. In this case it is the context that matters.

Rámutattunk a grafikonra és mindenki odanézett.
We pointed at the diagram and all looked at it.

Rámutattunk a grafikonra, miközben mindenki odanézett.
We were pointing at the diagram while all were looking at it.

And that’s where there can be a little bit more confusion because rámutattunk indicates a direction and completion at the same time. The form megmutat exist just as well, with no sense of direction. Let’s see the difference:

Mutattuk a grafikont. – We were showing the diagram.
Megmutattuk a grafikont. – We showed the diagram.
Rámutattunk a grafikonra. – We pointed at the diagram.

Not only a different verbal prefix, but a different meaning, too. That different meaning can be seen in English as it uses a different verb for it (point and not show). Plus, the English preposition at expresses the Hungarian rá- requiring the postposition -ra meaning onto. Literally: We pointed at onto the diagram.

b) Verbs that don’t express motion take meg-, el-. Despite the fact that el- means away, it has a neutral meaning of completion just like meg-. It is also a question of memorizing such verbs.

Verbs with no aspect of motion:

Megláttam a lányt az utcán. – I noticed the girl in the street.
Megérezte, hogy baj lesz. – He had a feeling that there would be trouble.
Megköszönték a vendéglátást. – They said thank you for the hospitality.

Elkezdett hadarni. – She started jabbering.
Elmondtuk, hogyan történt. – We told how it had happened.
Elvégeztem a feladatot. – I finished/completed the task.

c) There are verbs with no aspect of motion that can have both meg- and el- for expressing completion with apparently no change in the meaning.

Elmondtuk, hogyan történt. – We told how it has happened.
Megmondtuk, mit tegyél. – We told you what to do.

Elkezdtem írni. – I started writing.
Megkezdtem az írást. – I started writing.
>In this case both sentences mean the same, but take a different part of speech (first verb, second noun). The first sentence is used in 99% of the cases.

Sometimes it is a matter of choosing like above, other times it is about an idiomatic expression.

Megmondtuk az igazat. – We told the truth. (a while ago)

4. What if we separate the verbal prefix from the verb and make it follow the verb?

Let’s see an example:

Megyek a padlásra. – I’m going to the attic.
Felmegyek a padlásra. – I’m going up to the attic./I’ll go up to the attic.
Megyek fel a padlásra. – I’m going up the the attic.

So what’s the difference between Megyek a padlásra and Megyek fel a padlásra? The fundamental rule of continuity is definitely there. Verbs with no verbal prefixes have a continuous aspect. So why then Megyek fel is continuous? Because it is more the emphatic sense the speaker wants to express then a grammatical rule.

An example for present tense whe the action is more important:

-Mit csináltok? –Sétálunk ki a piacra.
-What are you doing? -We’re walking (out) to the market
-Azt hittem, kocsival mentek. -Nem. Mondom, hogy sétálunk ki a piacra.
-I thought you’d go by car. -No. I’m telling you we’re walking to the market.

Sometimes Hungarian uses present tense to tell a story that happened in the past.You can use this when you think the action is really important. Watch this:

“Úgy döntöttem, hogy szombaton rendet teszek a padláson. Végül is semmi dolgom nem volt. A pincét is ki kellett volna takarítani, de ahhoz két hétvége sem lenne elég. Na mindegy. Megyek fel a padlásra, amikor zajt hallok fentről. Kinyitom a padlásajtót. Hát nem egy rusnya macska rohangál fent!”

Here’s the translation:

“I decided to tidy the attic up on Saturday. After all, I had nothing to do. The cellar should’ve been done, too, but even two weekends wouldn’t be enough for that. Whatever. I’m going up to the attic when I hear some noise. I open the attic door. And, of course, it is an ugly cat running around up there!”

The speaker wanted to put emphasis on the action as he/she was going up to the attic. Some more examples:

Indulok ki a garázsból, amikor elém áll a szomszéd és…
I’m about to leave the garage when the neighbour stands in front of me and…

Mondom neki, hogy hallgasson, de ő csak kiabál vissza nekem.
I keep telling him to be quiet, but all he’s doing is shouting back to me.

Egy csomó autó várt a zöld lámpára, a pasas meg csak fordul be a kereszteződésbe.
There were lots of cars waiting for the green light, but the guy just keeps turning in the junction.

5. Change in the meaning.

Verbs with no aspect of motion can still be given a direction. The meaning may change or not. It is a matter of memorization.

A fiú virágot ad a lánynak.
The boy gives a flower to the girl.

A fiú odaadja a virágot a lánynak.
The boy gives the flower to the girl.
>It means the same, but oda- emphasizes the direction (to the girl).

A lány visszaadja a virágot.
The girl gives the flower back.

A fiú feladja.
The boy gives up.

Verbs with an aspect of motion can be given a direction, too. The meaning may change or not. It is a matter of memorization.

A fiú fut a lányhoz.
The boy is running to the girl.

A fiú odafut a lányhoz.
The boy is running up to the girl.

A lány elfut a fiútól és befut a házba.
The girl is running away from the boy and is running in the house.

A lány összefut egy másik fiúval a házban.
The girl runs into another boy in the house.

A lány visszafut, ahol még várja az első fiú.
The girl is running back where the first boy is still waiting for her.

A lány átfut a hídon, de a másik oldalon is mindenhol fiúkat lát.
The girl is running over the bridge, but all she can see on the other side is boys.

A lány már össze-vissza/oda-vissza fut az üldözői elől.
The girl is now running around/back and forth from her pursuers.

6. Everyday conversation.

– Hoznál tejfölt? (-Would you bring some sour cream?)
– Igen, hoznék. (-Yes, I would.)
– Akkor menj el a boltba. (-Then go to the shop.)

A fiú felöltözött és kilépett az ajtón, amikor visszakiabált:
(The boy put on his clothes and stepped outside when he shouted back:)

– Mentem! (-I’m gone.)

You don’t see elmentem. Because both members of this conversation knew the context. Obviously, the boy didn’t want to talk about the continuity while he was going somewhere.

Of course, the correct way of saying is Elmentem! It is just a quick note for you to be aware of this, too.

After all, everyday language doesn’t abide by the grammar book. Just think of writing on a piece of paper GONE SHOPPING. It has quite the same feeling.

The ambiguity of the definite conjugation

The advantage the definite conjugation guarantees us, that is concision and short phraseology, is the disadvantage at the same time.

Here we have a simple dialogue:

-Látod? -Igen, látom.
-Can you see it? -Yes, I can see it.

With no context, it is not possible to tell what we refer to. It is because the definite form ’látom’ can refer to the following:

Látom azt
azokat
őt
őket
magát
magukat
önt
önöket
I can see it
those
him/her
them
you-sing. polite
you-plur. polite
you-sing. polite
you-plur. polite

So who or what exactly do we refer to in the dialogue? The answer is: we don’t know until we give it a context. That is why I translated ’látod’ and ’látom’ with the pronoun ’it’. In Hungarian there is no distinction between genders. That can cause problems when you have to translate sentences without any context.

In excercises for Hungarian students references are given: Látom őt. – I can see ____ (girl). That is how the students know that they have to write the pronoun ’her’.

Now back to our example. We need a context.

-Nézd! Ott van egy csinos lány. Látod? -Igen, látom.
-Look. There’s a pretty girl over there. Can you see her? -Yes, I can see her.

Here I’ll enumerate the possibilities for you with ’lát-see’ in definite conjugation:

Látom azt, azokat
őt, őket
magát, magukat
önt, önöket
magamat
magunkat
I can see it, those
him/her, them
you (polite)
you (polite)
myself
ourselves
Látod azt, azokat
őt, őket
magadat
magatokat
You can see it, those
him/her, them
yourself
yourselves
Látja azt, azokat
őt, őket
magát, magukat
önt, önöket
magát
magukat
He can see
She can see
it, those
him/her, them
you (polite)
you (polite)
him/herself
themselves
Látjuk azt, azokat
őt, őket
magát, magukat
önt, önöket
magunkat
We can see it, those
him/her, them
you (polite)
you (polite)
ourselves
Látjátok azt, azokat
őt, őket
magatokat
You can see it, those
him/her, them
yourselves
Látják azt, azokat
őt, őket
magát, magukat
önt, önöket
magukat
They can see it, those
him/her, them
you (polite)
you (polite)
themselves

As you can see, I wrote ’magát, magukat’ twice where it is possible because these pronouns are different in English. In Hungarian they can be personal pronouns expressing politeness. In this case they are equivalent to ’you, sir/madam…’. They can also be reflexive pronouns meaning …self (himself, themselves…).

MORE EXAMPLES FOR DEFINITE AND INDEFINITE CONJUGATION

USE INDEFINITE CONJUGATION:

-WITH THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE. The article is egy in singular. There is no form for it in plural or it can be expressed with néhány (some). The indefinite article and néhány are not mandatory to use. When we omit them, the noun in accusative case begins the sentence. Also, note that néhány requires the noun to be singular.

Singular

Plural

egy NO ARTICLE or néhány

Let’s see a comparison with indefinite and definite conjugation:

SINGULAR

PLURAL

Akarok egy kanapét.
Kanapét akarok.
I want a sofa.
Akarok néhány kanapét.
Kanapékat akarok.
I want some sofas.
>Akarom a kanapét/a kanapékat.
>I want the sofa/the sofas.
Takarítunk egy szobát.
Szobát takarítunk.
We tidy up a room.
Takarítunk néhány szobát.
Szobákat takarítunk.
We tidy up some rooms.
>Takarítjuk a szobát/ a szobákat.
>We tidy up the room/the rooms.
Vakolnak egy házfalat.
Házfalat vakolnak.
They plaster a house wall.
Vakolnak néhány házfalat.
Házfalakat vakolnak.
They plaster some house walls.
>Vakolják a házfalat/a házfalakat.
>They plaster the house wall(s).
Írtok egy dolgozatot.
Dolgozatot írtok.
You write a test.
Írtok néhány dolgozatot.
Dolgozatokat írtok.
You write some tests.
>Írjátok a dolgozatot/a dolgozatokat.
>You write the test/the tests.

-WITH INDEFINITE PRONOUNS. There is a great number of words we can put in this category. Just a few of them: sok (many, much), kevés (a few, a little), valami (something), valaki (someone), bármi (anything), bárki (anyone), néhány (some), egy-két (one or two), sehány (none), senki (nobody), semmi (nothing), minden (every), mindenki (everyone), az összes (all)

Although this does not belong to our conjugation topic, it is important to know that the indefinite pronouns require the words following them to be in singular form. Watch the difference in English:

kevés ember – a few people
(NOT kevés emberek)
sok kérdés – many questions
(NOT sok kérdések)
néhány ház – some houses
(NOT néhány házak)
akárhány könyv – no matter how many books
(NOT akárhány könyvek)

Minden filmet megnézek, ami bűnüggyel kapcsolatos.
I watch every movie that’s related to crime.

Ha ismersz valakit, aki ért a kocsikhoz, szólj!
If you know anyone who has a grasp for cars, tell me.

Mennyi gyümölcs van ebben a kertben, és mennyit ettünk belőle!
So many fruits in this garden and so many we ate!

Túl sokat dolgozol. Lepihensz egy kicsit?
You’re working too much. Will you get a little rest?

Keveset isztok, emiatt érzitek rosszul magatokat.
You drink little. That’s why you feel bad.

Senkit nem érdekel, mi van velem.
No one cares about what’s with me.

Az összes fényképet eldobta?
-Did he throw all the photos away?
-Igen, az összeset eldobta.
-Yes, he threw all away.
-Csak egyet dobott el.
He only threw one away.

-WITH THE INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS when asking about the unknown. If you don’t know something, it is unknown to you, so it is not possible to ask such questions with verbs conjugated with definite suffixes.

And the verb in the answer either agrees with the question or not. That is, if the answer contains the indefinite article, indefinite pronouns, interrogative pronouns or simply refers to something unspecific/unknown, then the verb is conjugated with indefinite suffixes.

However, if we answer with something specific, we have to conjugate the verb with the definite suffixes, even though it is conjugated with the indefinite ones in the question.

-Mit tanulsz?
-What are you learning?
-Történelmet tanulok.
I’m learning history.
A magyar igeragozást tanulom.
I’m learning the Hungarian verb conjugation.

-Mit tud felhozni mentségére?
-What can he mention in his defence?
-Nos, sok dolgot tud felhozni.
-Well, he can mention lots of things.
-Nos, a fáradságot tudja felhozni.
-Well, he can mention the tiredness.

-Mit esznek? – What are they eating?
-Almát/Egy almát esznek. – They’re eating an apple.
-Almákat/Néhány almát esznek. – They’re eating some apples.
Azt az almát eszik, amelyiket tegnap hoztad.
They’re eating the apple you brought yesterday.

-Mit kérdezel tőle?
-What are you going to ask him?
Bármit is kérdezhetek.
I ask whatever I want to.
A három vizsgakérdést kérdezem tőle.
I’m going to ask him the three exam questions.
-Kérdezek tőle valamit, amit nem tud.
I’m going to ask him something he doesn’t know.
-Azt kérdezem tőle, kit szeret a legjobban.
I’m going to ask him who he loves the most.

A T T E N T I O N!

Of course, if you ask about something specific, you use definite conjugation in questions, as well.

-Melyiket szereted? A szőke vagy a barna lányt?
-Which one do you love? The blonde or the brunette girl?
A barnát szeretem. A szőkének nincs humora.
-I love the brunette one. The blonde one has no humor.

Sometimes you can ask in two ways:

Indefinite -Mikor főzöl ebédet?
-Nemsokára.
-When will you cook lunch?
-Soon.
Definite -Mikor főzöd meg az ebédet?
-Nemsokára.
-When will you cook the lunch?
-Soon.

USE DEFINITE CONJUGATION:

-WITH THE DEFINITE ARTICLES, DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS, POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS, POSSESSIVE ENDINGS AND PROPER NAMES.

A kék cipőt választom. – I’ll choose the blue shoes.
Az ebédet kihagyjuk. – We’ll skip lunch.
Ezt a lányt szeretem. – I love this girl.

Azokat az állatokat megmentjük.
We’re going to save those animals.

Látom Jánost, de a barátt nem látom.
I can see John, but I can’t see his friend.

Értik az elméletet, de a gyakorlati részét nem ismerik.
They understand the theory, but they don’t know the practice.

Annát nem kedvelem, de Viktóriát annál inkább bírom.
I don’t like Ann, but I dig Victoria all the more.

Az én házamat felépítem, de a tiédet nem építem fel.
I’m going to build my house, but I’m not going to build yours.

Szép kocsid van, de az övéket mindenki megbámulja.
You have a nice car, but everyone is staring at theirs.

500 verbs

there is, there are;
to be finished;
here it is!
megvan + subj.
to adjust igazít
to admire csodál
to adore imád
to allow sy to megenged
to amuse sy mulattat
to analyse elemez
to angle for, to fish horgászik
to applaud tapsol
to argue (pej) okoskodik
to arrange; to settle
to direct (a play)
rendez
to arrive érkezik
to ask for kér
to ask sg kérdez
to associate with társul …-hoz, -hez, -höz
to attest tanúsít
to attract vonz
to bake, to roast süt
to bark ugat
to be absent;
to be missing;
to be missed by sy
hiányzik
to be afraid of sg fél …-tól, -től
to be apparent; to seem látszik
to be ashamed szégyell
to be bored un
to be born születik
to be burnt megég
to be clamorous hangoskodik
to be cold fázik
to be dying haldoklik
to be finished;
to finish sg
elkészül
to be getting dark esteledik
to be glad about örül …-nak, -nek
to be growing dusk szürkül
to be hot/warm melege van
to be idle tétlenkedik
to be impudent szemtelenkedik
to be possible; maybe lehet
to be postponed eltolódik
to be put off elmarad
to be recovered (sy’s loss) megtérül
to be right about igaza van …-ban, -ben
to be sickly/unwell betegeskedik
to be situated elterül
to be solved megoldódik
to be sorry for sajnál
to be stupefied elképed …-on, -en, -ön
to be surprise meglepődik …-on, -en, -ön
to be terrified retteg …-tól, -től
to be wrong about téved …-ban, -ben
to be; there is van
to bear (a child) szül
to beat ver
to become black megfeketedik
to become crazy megőrül … miatt; …-tól, -től
to become dim elhomályosul
to become empty kiürül
to become faster gyorsul
to become invalid megrokkan
to become lowered elhalkul
to become mute megnémul
to become paralysesd megbénul
to become rotten elrohad
to become slower lassul
to become stupid butul
to begin sg kezd
to begin to (int.) kezdődik
to believe hisz …-ban, -ben
to bend hajlít
to bend, to bow down lehajol
to betray elárul
to blind megvakít
to blush elpirul
to bore untat
to brake down lefékez
to break (int.) eltörik
to break sg eltör
to break, to tear (int.) elszakad
to bring visz
to bring up felnevel
to build épít
to burn (int.) ég
to burn (sg) eléget
to burst out kipukkad
to bury eltemet
to busy oneself serénykedik …-on, -en, -ön
to buy; to take vesz
to call hív
to call sy by first name tegez
to call sy by last name magáz
to capture elfog
to catch a cold megfázik
to catch fire meggyúl
to cause okoz
to chase üldöz
to cheat csal
to chew rág
to chirp csiripel
to choose választ
to close csuk, becsuk
to collapse összedől
to collect, to gather gyűjt
to comb oneself fésülködik
to come jön
to come home hazajön
to come into being létrejön
to come to an end befejeződik
to come to an end végződik
to command, to order parancsol
to compensate kárpótol
to compete versenyez
to complain panaszkodik
to condemn elítél
to connect; to attach
to switch
kapcsol
to cook főz
to cool hűt
to corrupt megront
to cough köhög
to count számol
to countersign láttamoz
to court sy udvarol …-nak, -nek
to cover takar
to create létrehoz
to credit jóváír
to crunch rágcsál
to cry about sír … miatt
to cure gyógyít
to cut vág
to cut (hair) nyír
to dawn hajnalodik
to decide, to settle eldönt
to defend, to protect véd
to deify istenít
to deliver a speech szónokol
to delude ámít
to demand sy sg követel …-tól, -től …-t
to demolish lebont
to denounce feljelent
to deny tagad
to derail kisiklik …-ról, -ről
to destroy pusztít
to destroy rombol
to detail részletez
to deteriorate; to grow worse megromlik
to dictate (a text for students) tollba mond
to die meghal
to dig ás
to digest emészt
to direct írányít
to dispparove of;
to think sg is wrong
rosszall
to disturb zavar
to divide oszt
to do, to make csinál
to do, to prepare elkészít
to doubt kételkedik
to drag; to pull von
to draw rajzol
to draw a lesson from okul …-ból, -ből
to dream álmodik
to dream about ábrándozik …-ról, -ről
to drill fúr
to drink iszik
to drink beer sörözik
to drink wine borozik
to drive (machine);
to fold (paper);
to strike (root)
hajt
to drive; to manage vezet
to drudge, to work hard gürcöl
to eat eszik
to educate nevel
to educate, to instruct oktat
to elect megválaszt
to embezzle sikkaszt
to embrace átölel
to empty; to evacuate kiürít
to end, to finish befejez
to enlist besoroz
to enumerate felsorol
to exaggerate eltúloz
to expiate for bűnhődik … miatt
to expire lejár
to explode, to blow up robban
to fail, not to have success meghiúsul
to fail; to be rejected megbukik
to fall asleep elalszik
to fall down lehullik
to fall; to rain esik
to feed on sg táplálkozik
to feel érez
to feel dizzy szédül
to fight for harcol …-ért
to fight for kiáll …-ért
to find talál
to find a cure (fig.) orvosol
to find sg too much sokall
to fire (from job) kirúg
to flee, to escape from menekül … elől
to flood eláraszt
to fly repül
to fondle, to pet dédelget
to forbid megtilt
to forgive sy for sg megbocsát …-nak, -nek …-ért
to get baked megsül
to get dark elsötétül
to get ill megbetegszik
to get injured megsebesül
to get on (a bus) felszáll
to get stopped up eldugul
to get to know megtud
to get up felkel
to get wet ázik
to give in one’s notice felmond
to glaze mázol
to glide suhan
to go megy
to go bad;
to break down
elromlik
to go blind megvakul
to go green zöldül
to go home hazamegy
to go in for sports sportol
to go in frequently;
to walk all over
bejár
to go on, to advance;
to make progress
halad
to gobble up zabál
to grieve at; to be sad about szomorkodik … miatt
to grow
to grow tired elfárad
to hammer kalapál
to hate utál
to have a conversation with sy about sg társalog …-val, -vel …-ról, -ről
to have a good time mulat
to have a wash mosakszik
to have a wash tisztálkodik
to have breakfast reggelizik
to have dinner vacsorázik
to have lunch ebédel
to have to, must;
to need to
kell
to hear hall
to heat fűt
to help sy do sg segít …-nak, -nek …-ban, -ben
to hide rejt
to hide; to keep a secret titkol
to hit üt
to hit sy (with a car) elüt
to hold, to keep tart
to hold, to take;
to take hold of
fog
to hope remél
to howl üvölt
to hunt vadászik …-ra, -re
to hurt bánt
to hurt, to ache;
to have …-ache
fáj
to imprison bebörtönöz
to improve (int.) javul
to inform, to make known közöl
to inherit örököl
to injure; to insult
to violate (a law)
megsért
to instruct; to command utasít
to insult; to assault bántalmaz
to interpret értelmez
to irritate felbosszant
to jam, to be squeezed szorul
to join csatlakozik …-hoz, -hez, -höz
to jump ugrik
to know (only for things, not for people) tud
to land leszáll
to laugh about nevet …-on, -en, -ön
to learn, to study tanul
to let hagy
to let sg fall leejt
to let sy know sg tudat …-val, -vel …-t
to lie (swhere) fekszik
to lie down, to go to bed lefekszik
to light meggyújt
to like sy kedvel
to limp sántít
to listen to hallgat
to litter szemetel
to live él
to live swhere, to reside lakik
to loaf lófrál
to lock zár, bezár
to loiter ténfereg
to look for keres
to look for food in a refuse bin kukázik
to look, to watch néz
to lose veszít
to lose one’s way eltéved
to love szeret
to make a show of fitogtat
to make angry felmérgesít
to make experiments kísérletezik
to make friends with sy barátkozik …-val -vel
to make sg faster gyorsít
to make sy lose the power of speech megnémít
to make sy smarter okosít
to make war háborúzik
to make white fehérít
to manage, to administer igazgat
to marinade pácol
to marvel about ámul …-on, -en, -ön
to measure, to weigh lemér
to meet sy találkozik …-val, -vel
to mend javít
to mew nyávog
to neigh nyerít
to nurse; to care of ápol
to obey sy engedelmeskedik …-nak, -nek
to offer for sale árul
to open nyit, kinyit
to operate on műt
to organize szervez
to outwit kicselez
to overthrow (a government);
to break (a record)
megdönt
to overturn (int.) felborul
to overturn; to decide dönt
to own; to endure bír
to pack csomagol
to pack pakol
to paint fest
to paralyse megbénít
to park parkol
to pass (time passes) múlik
to pay fizet
to pay sy a visit vizitel …-nál, -nél
to pay taxes adózik
to peep kukucskál
to penetrate behatol
to pick up;
to engage (worker)
felvesz
to pity szán
to place; to assert állít
to plan tervez
to play játszik
to play chess sakkozik
to poison megmérgez
to ponder about elmélkedik …-on, -en, -ön
to possess birtokol
to pour; to fill tölt
to praise dícsér
to press szorít
to pretend tettet
to prevent; to precede;
to overtake (another car)
megelőz
to prick, to sting szúr
to protect óv
to provoke provokál
to publish kiad
to publish publikál
to pull húz
to purchase, to buy vásárol
to purr dorombol
to push (with elbow) meglök
to push over felborít
to push, to shove tol
to put one’s hands up;
to apply for (a job)
jelentkezik
to put out of order;
to spoil; to bungle
elront
to put; to do tesz
to ravage; to rage dúl
to read sg/about sg olvas …-t/…-ról, -ről
to recover (one’s health) meggyógyul
to refuel tankol
to refuse visszautasít
to regret megbán
to reign, to rule uralkodik
to reject (at an exam)
to overthrow (a government)
megbuktat
to repair szerel
to rest nyugszik
to return visszatér
to revolve, to turn forog
to ride a horse lovagol
to ring cseng
to ring the bell csenget
to rise árad
to risk kockáztat
to roar ordít
to rob rabol
to rummage turkál
to run fut
to run along rohan
to run at top speed száguld
to scold lehord
to scold megszid
to scream sikít
to screech rikácsol
to scrub (floor); to rub against súrol
to see lát
to seem tűnik
to sell elad
to send to school iskoláztat
to set (a watch) beállít
to set off, to depart indul
to set the table megterít
to settle down (swhere) letelepszik
to settle, to colonize telepít, kolonizál
to shake ráz
to shake (head);
to wag (tail)
csóvál
to shake (int.) reng
to shed its coat vedlik
to shiver (with cold) didereg
to shiver with cold vacog
to shoot
to shout kiabál
to shovel lapátol
to show mutat
to shriek sikolt
to shunt tolat
to sing énekel
to sit, to be seated ül
to ski síel
to skin nyúz
to sleep alszik
to slow down lassít
to smear ken
to smoke füstöl
to sneak oson
to sneeze tüsszent
to snow havazik
to solve megold
to speak beszél
to spell betűz
to spit köp
to spoil elkényeztet
to spring, to burst fakad
to squander eltékozol
to squat on one’s heel guggol
to stab ledöf
to stand áll
to stand about ácsorog
to start rajtol
to stay marad
to steal lop
to step lép
to stick ragad
to stick; to occur akad
to stop abbahagy
to storm; to rage tombol
to strike; to afflict sújt
to stroke, to pet simogat
to struggle;
to fight (for/against)
küzd
to stumble megbotlik
to stupefy butít
to succeed sikerül
to suck; to smoke (cigarattes) szív
to suffer szenved
to suffer torments gyötrődik
to surpass túlszárnyal
to sweat izzad
to sweep seper/söpör
to swim úszik
to swing ringat
to swing (int.) lendül
to swing (int.) ring
to swing sg lendít
to tail skid farol
to take a bath fürdik
to take a walk sétál
to take care of törődik …-val, -vel
to take in (a paper);
to run (the engine)
járat
to talk about beszélget …-ról, -ről
to talk over;
to come to an agreement
megbeszél
to talk; to warn szól
to teach tanít
to tear apart szakít
to tear, to rip tép
to tell a lie hazudik
to tell, to narrate mesél
to tell, to say mond
to think gondol
to think about gondolkodik …-on, -en, -ön
to think sg too little kevesell
to thread (needle) fűz
to thrust; to be repulsive taszít
to tickle csiklandoz
to tidy up takarít
to to blow sg up robbant
to toast pirít
to torment gyötör
to torture kínoz
to tow vontat
to trade kereskedik
to travel utazik
to trust megbízik
to try próbál
to turn up the volume felhangosít
to turn/switch off lekapcsol
to turn/switch on felkapcsol
to understand ért
to value, to estimate értékel
to visit meglátogat
to walk, to take a walk gyalogol
to walk; to be swhere jár
to want akar
to wash mos
to watch TV tévézik
to water, to irrigate öntöz
to weave fon
to weld (metal) hegeszt
to win győz
to wither elhervad
to wonder at csodálkozik …-on, -en, -ön
to work (on sg) dolgozik (…-on, -en, -ön)
to write sg/about sg ír …-t/…-ról, -ről
to yawn ásít
to yelp csahol
will be; to become lesz

I…you, but how?

THE SUFFIXES -LAK, -LEK

This phenomenon needs to be getting used to, indeed. While other languages use accusative pronouns when saying
I love/hate/hear/see/understand you’, Hungarian uses the suffixes -lak, -lek which you should think of as a compound pronoun = I-you. So the examples above sound like this ’Szeretlek/Utállak/Hallak/Látlak/Értelek’.

Nonetheless, the issue can give you a little bit more headache than you’d like to get because -lak, -lek refer to both the 2nd person singular YOU-TÉGED and the 2nd person plural YOU-TITEKET. Usually it’s understandable from the context which of the two the speaker means. Plus, it is optional whether or not you want to say those two pronouns. They are not mandatory to omit. So another possibility for the examples above is:

Szeretlek téged. / Szeretlek titeket.
Utállak téged. / Utállak titeket.
Hallak téged. / Hallak titeket.
Látlak téged. / Látlak titeket.
Értelek téged. / Értelek titeket.

Now the fundamental confusion comes from which form of the verb you attach these suffixes to. Actually, it’s present tense you should worry about. From logical point of view, when one says
’I…you’, that person refers to you as specific target. That’s why you take the 3rd person singular definite conjugation form in all tenses but present tense. Present tense thinks it’s better and wants you to attach -lak, -lek to the 3rd person singular indefinite conjugation form. Why? I can give you one reasonable answer to that: The hell knows. It is the way it is. 🙂

So the 3rd person singular indefinite present tense form is:
Szeret + -lek = Szeretlek
Utál + -lak = Utállak
Hall + -lak = Hallak
Lát + -lak = Látlak
Érte + -lek = Értelek> it ends in two consonants, so it needs a link vowel e. In this case the link vowel is a for deep verbs > Tartalak. I’m holding you.

And all other tenses/moods use 3rd PS definite form:

PAST TENSE
> Szerette + -lek = Szerettelek. I loved you.
Látta + -lak = Láttalak. I saw you.

FUTURE TENSE (simple!)
> Szeretni fog + -lak = Szeretni foglak. I will love you.
Látni fog + -lak = Látni foglak. I will see you.

CONDITIONAL MOOD
>Szeretné + -lek = Szeretnélek. I would love you.
Látná + -lak = Látnálak. I would see you.

IMPERATIVE MOOD (remember how to form verbs in this mood)
> Szeresse + -lek = Szeresselek? Shall I love you?
Lássa + -lak = Lássalak? Shall I see you?

That’s the simplest way I can explain this for you. I hope it helps a bit.

Note that verbs that require accusative case in Hungarian might want a different solution in English and reversed. More examples for safety’s sake:

PRESENT – PAST – CONDITIONAL – IMPERATIVE
Kérlek – Kértelek – Kérnélek – Kérjelek
I ask you…

Féltelek – Féltettelek – Féltenélek – Féltselek
I fear for you…

Csókollak – Csókoltalak – Csókolnálak – Csókoljalak
I kiss you…

Várlak – Vártalak – Várnálak – Várjalak
I wait for you…

Hívlak – Hívtalak – Hívnálak – Hívjalak
I call you…

Érdekellek – Érdekeltelek – Érdekelnélek – Érdekeljelek
You’re interested in me…

Ölellek – Öleltelek – Ölelnélek – Öleljelek
I hug you…

Foglak – Fogtalak – Fognálak – Fogjalak
I take/grab you…

Hozlak – Hoztalak – Hoználak – Hozzalak
Viszlek – Vittelek – Vinnélek – Vigyelek
I bring you (to place/from a place)…

Drop-vowel Verbs

Remember drop-vowel nouns? The vowel in the last closed syllable drops out:

álom > álmok, tükör > tükrök…

Well, drop-vowel verbs are the same, but you have to pay attention when the vowel drops out. Our deep and high verb examples are: töröl (to wipe, to dust), megtorol (to revenge)

INDEFINITE AND DEFINITE CONJUGATION – HIGH:
törlök – törlöm
törölsz – törlöd
töröl – törli
törlünk – töröljük
töröltök – törlitek
törölnek – törlik

INDEFINITE AND DEFINITE CONJUGATION – DEEP:
megtorlok – megtorlom
megtorolsz – megtorlod
megtorol – megtorolja
megtorlunk – megtoroljuk
megtoroltok – megtoroljátok
megtorolnak – megtorolják

Indefinite conjugation for high verbs:
1st PS and 1st PP drop a vowel
Definite conjugation for high verbs:
all drop a vowel except 1st PP

Indefinite conjugation for deep verbs:
1st PS and 1st PP drop a vowel
Definite conjugation for deep verbs:
1st PS and 2nd PS drop a vowel

Drop-vowel verbs are usually used in indefinite conjugation only. It makes sense conjugating only a few in definite.

More example verbs:

forog (to turn), pörög (to spin), őröl (to grind), korog (to rumble), morog (to growl), hörög (to rattle in one’s throat), dörög (to thunder), pödör (to twist)