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.

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