Modal Verbs / szabad

SZABAD – MAY, TO BE ALLOWED

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’!

Formation:

SZABAD + INFINITIVE

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

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

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

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

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

PAST CONDITIONAL
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.

Modal Verbs / -hat, -het

Before getting absorbed into far-fetched explanations, let’s see the English modal verbs first! Verbs like will and would are not listed here because you can see how to use them if you return to ’Future Tense’ and ’Conditional’.

 -hat, -het – can, may, to be allowed
tud – can
képes …-re – able to, capable of
képtelen …-re – unable to, incapable of
szabad – may, to be allowed
kell – have to, must, need
kellene – should, ought to
muszáj – must, have to
szükséges – necessary
tilos – forbidden

-HAT, -HET =  MAY, CAN, TO BE ALLOWED TO

USE: -hat, -het express that somebody may / is allowed to do something or something may be / is allowed to be done. It corresponds with the English ’may’ much more than ’can’! These endings are attached to the dictionary form of the verb followed by the personal suffixes: láthatok, nézhetek.

Formation:

verb 3rd PS idefinite conjugation +
-hat/-het +
personal suffixes

PRESENT
Indefinite:
Látsz egy filmet. – You see a movie.
Láthatsz egy filmet. – You may/can see a movie.

Definite:
Látod a filmet. – You see the movie.
Láthatod a filmet. – You may/can see the movie.

PAST
Indefinite:
Láttál egy filmet. – You saw a movie.
Láthattál egy filmet. – You were allowed to see a movie.

Definite:
Láttad a filmet. – You saw the movie.
Láthattad a filmet. – You were allowed to see the movie.

FUTURE with majd
Indefinite:
Látsz majd egy filmet. – You will see a movie.
Láthatsz majd egy filmet. – You will be allowed to see a movie.

Definite:
Látod majd a filmet. – You will see the movie.
Láthatod majd a filmet. – You will be allowed to see the movie.

PRESENT CODNITIONAL
Indefinite:
Látnál egy filmet. – You would see a movie.
Láthatnál egy filmet. – You would be allowed to see a movie.

Definite:
Látnád a filmet. – You would see the movie.
Láthatnád a filmet. – You would be allowed to see the movie.

PAST CODNITIONAL
Indefinite:
Láttál volna egy filmet. – You would have seen a movie.
Láthattál volna egy filmet. – You would have been allowed to see a movie.

Definite:
Láttad volna a filmet. – You would have seen the movie.
Láthattad volna a filmet. – You would have been allowed to see the movie.

Examples:

Bejöhetek? – May I come in?
Leülhetek? – May I take a seat?
Megkérdezhetem? – May I ask?
Elmehetsz. – You may leave.
Zongorázhatunk. – We may play the piano.

As you see vowel harmony is present with -hat, -het. Deep words with -hat, high words with -het.

Of course, you can say the conditional sentences in English like this, too:

You would be allowed to see the movie.
You could see the movie.

You would have been allowed to see the movie.
You could have seen the movie.

More next time.