Modal Verbs / More About Lehet

We’ve seen how lehet takes the infinitive when talking about general statements.

Le lehet ülni a padra is .
One can sit down on the bench, too.

What if you want to specify the person with lehet? Then you can do this:

To specify the person, you should use something you already know: -hat, -het.

Leülhetek a padra. – I can/may sit down on the bench.
Leülhetünk a padra. – We can/may sit down on the bench.

However, lehet has another function, as well. It has a meaning equal to maybe, perhaps. It is expressed with hogy-clauses. The conjunction hogy is equal to the English that.

Lehet, hogy később kelek fel.
Maybe I’ll get up later.

Lehet, hogy nincs otthon.
Perhaps he’s not at home.

The synonyms are: talán (which really means maybe) and lehetséges, hogy (possible)

Talán nincs otthon. – Maybe he‘s not at home.
Lehetséges, hogy nincs otthon. – It is possible that he‘s not at home.

If you deny lehet, hogy it simply becomes: nem lehet, hogy. Take a look at these sentences:

Nem lehet, hogy otthon van.
It is not possible that he’s at home.

Nem lehet, hogy nincs otthon.
It is not possible that he‘s not at home.

NOTE! Since talán literally means maybe, perhaps, it doesn’t require hogy. And so it is simply denied like this:

Talán nem/nincs…

Talán nem tud róla.
Maybe he doesn’t know about it.

Talán nincs Internet a munkahelyén, és ezért nem írt.
Maybe there’s no Internet where he works and that’s why he didn’t write.

So far we’ve been talking about modal verbs that express permission, possibility. Next time we’ll deal with kell, kellene.

Bye now 🙂