Modal Verbs / lehet


LEHET

Equivalent: may, might, to be allowed, maybe. It requries the infinitive.

However, it can be translated or even not translated depending on certain idiomatic expressions. Take a look at the Present Tense example:

is to be had = lehet kapni

Hungarian literally says: one can get

PRESENT
Lehet kapni még azt a könyvet?
Is that book still to be had?

PAST
Lehetett beszélni a főnökkel is.
One could talk even to the director.

FUTURE
Lehet majd napozni a strandon.
You can sunbathe on the beach.

PRESENT CONDITIONAL
Lehetne többet tudni a filmről?
May I know more about the movie?

PAST CONDITIONAL
Lehetett volna szebb szekrényt is rendelni.
A nicer cupboard could have been ordered.

More examples:

Akkoriban nem lehetett ilyesmit mondani.
At that time you weren’t allowed to say things like that.

Hogy lehetne elérni, hogy békén hagyjon?
How can we get him to leave us alone?

As you see it is not mandatory for the infinitive to follow lehet. You can insert the rest of the information between lehet and the infinitive or not. Topic-prominent aspect, that is it’s your choice. Take a look at this example whose English translation is:

One can/may say counter-arguments, too.

Ellenérvet is lehet mondani.
Lehet mondani ellenérvet is.
Lehet ellenérvet is mondani.

Next time I’ll write more about lehet because it has more functions than what you see above. Bye now 🙂

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