If-clauses are sentences like:

Condition 0: If you come with me, I am happy.
Condition 1: If you come with me, I will be happy.
Condition 2: If you came with me, I would be happy.
Condition 3: If you had come with me, I would have been happy.

Such sentences can be real (condition 1), possible (condition 2), impossible (condition 3). And English makes a difference between Condition 0 and Condition 1. Hungarian doesn’t. Let’s see what the Hungarian translation of those sentences look like! The Hungarian equivalent of the IF conjunction is HA.

Cond 0: Ha velem jössz, boldog vagyok/leszek.
Cond 1: Ha velem jössz, boldog vagyok/leszek.
Cond 2: Ha velem jönnél, boldog lennék.
Cond 3: Ha velem jöttél volna, boldog lettem volna.

Furthermore, we should talk about tenses and moods. English uses Past Simple or Past Perfect after the if conjunction (subordinate clause), and Present Conditional or Past Conditional in the main clause. Let’s see a summary for Hungarian use!

Condition 1
> Hungarian uses Present Tense for both main and subordinate clauses.

Condition 2
> Hungarian uses Present Conditional for both main and subordinate clauses.

Condition 3
> Hungarian uses Past Conditional for both main and subordinate clauses.

In Hungarian you can also use Future Tense in the main clause for Condition 1. That’s why there is no distinction between Cond. 0 and Cond 1.

More examples:

Ha szeretsz, elmondod.
If you love me, you tell me.

Ha nem tanulnak, megbuknak.
If they don’t learn, they‘ll fail.

Ha szeretnél, elmondanád.
If you loved me, you would tell me.

Ha nem tanulnának, megbuknának.
If they didn’t learn, they‘d fail.

Ha szerettél volna, elmondtad volna.
If you had loved me, you would have told me.

Ha nem tanultak volna, megbuktak volna.
If they hadn’t learned, they would have failed.

NOTE! Both versions of the substantive verb can be used in conditional clauses. Examples:

Ha gazdag lennék, Ferrarit vennék.
Ha gazdag volnék, Ferrarit vennék.
If I were rich, I would buy a Ferrari.

Use whichever you want.

And finally, note that there is always a comma between the main and subordinate clause even if  the sentence begins with the main clause.

Ha nem kelsz fel, elkésel. / Elkésel, ha nem kelsz fel.
If you don’t get up, you’ll be late. / You’ll be late if you don’t get up.

Next time we’ll learn how to say “Were it not for…” in Hungarian. Bye now! 🙂

Past Conditional

We will proceed like this: we discuss past conditional in this entry. In the next entry I’ll write is about irregular verbs and then if-clauses.

P A S T   C O N D I T I O N A L

Past conditional expresses a condition in the past :). The Hungarian past conditional is easy to form if you know how to form the indicative past tense.

All you need to do is to conjugate the verb in past tense and put the auxiliary verb VOLNA after it. ‘Volna’ is the 3rd PS conditional form of the substantive verb.

néztem + volna = I would have watched

Two examples for high and deep verbs:

Indefinite / Definite:
néztem / néztem volna
néztél / nézted volna
nézett / nézte volna
néztünk / néztük volna
néztetek / néztétek volna
néztek / nézték volna

Indefinite / Definite:
raktam / raktam volna
raktál / raktad volna
rakott / rakta volna
raktunk / raktuk volna
raktatok / raktátok volna
raktak / rakták volna

The auxiliary verb volna and the main verb CANNOT BE SEPARATED!

I would have seen the movie.
Láttam volna a filmet. > CORRECT
Láttam a filmet volna. > INCORRECT

H O W   W O U L D   I   H A V E   B E E N?

It is an important question because there is no compound tense in Hungarian! English has compound tense: I have seen, I had seen…

The conjugation for VAN/LESZ is the same and that’s how you form the conditional past for them:

lettem volna – I would have been
lettél volna – you would have been
lett volna – he/she/it would have been
lettünk volna – we would have been
lettetek volna – you would have been
lettek volna – they would have been

So it’s just the past tense of lesz + volna!

Next time irregular verbs. Bye! 🙂