Past Tense


Like there is only one present tense in Hungarian, there is only one past tense. The one past tense is to be translated with one of the four past tenses in English. Sometimes with the present perfect, which we’ll talk about much later.

THE ENDINGS FOR THE PAST TENSE ARE: -t, -tt

Not to be confused with the -t accusative ending attached to nouns! Here’s an example how you form the past tense:

néz + -t + -em = néztem > I watched

So the formula is:

3rd PS indefinite form + -t or -tt ending + personal suffix

Verbs in the past tense can be divided into three groups:

Group 1:
Most verbs take the one -t past tense ending with no link vowel.
néztem, féltünk, láttak, vacsoráztál…

Group 2:
-Monosyllabic verbs ending in -ít (hajítottam, merítettem)
-Monosyllabic verbs in -t (kötöttem, futottam)
-Verbs ending in two consonants (fejtettem, nyújtottam)
take the double -tt past tense with a link vowel in all numbers/persons.

Group 3:
Some other verbs in need of a more detailed explanation.
fogad, tagad, enged, szenved, téved, hív, szív, mond, küld, kezd, áll, száll, hull

And of course, we’ll have to talk about those 16 irregular verbs.

You shouldn’t worry about those three groups. Only regular and “exceptional” verbs belong to them. They’re not specifically verbs you can call irregular.

So next time, indefinite conjugation in past tense. Bye now! 🙂

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