Auxiliary verbs

In English and most of the European languages the auxiliary verbs are conjugated and come first, and then secondly comes the infinitive form of the verb for which it applies. In Hungarian sometimes the infinitive comes first and then the auxiliary verb it depends on the auxiliary verb whether it’s conjugated or the verb in infinitive is conjugated instead. So for this reason the infinitive forms can also be conjugated (which exists only in Portuguese, Turkish and Hungarian). The Infinitive-conjugation doesn’t equal to the conjugation of the verb.

conjugated auxiliary verbs

  • fog: will (to create futue tense)
  • tud: can, know how to, able to
  • akar: want
  • szokott: usually do (remark: this auxiliary verb is conjugated in Past tense, but referrs to the present, for example in English: On Mondays I usually wake up at 6 o’clock. In Hungarian: Hétfőn 6-kor szoktam kelni.)
  • szeretne: would like to or would love to (remark: this auxiliary verb is conjugated in Conditional mood, so actually this is the literal translation of the English would like or would love)

for example (the conjugation is in bold):

  • tanulni akarok: I want to study
  • tanulni fogsz: you’ll study
  • szoktunk tanulni: We usually study
  • szeretnék tanulni: I would like to study
  • szerettem volna tanulni: I would have liked to study
  • nem tudnak tanulni: they can’t study
  • nem tudtak tanulni: they couldn’t study
  • szeretnélek szeretni: I would like to love you

non-conjugated auxiliary verbs

  • kell: have to, must
  • kéne, kellene: should (this auxiliary verb is the Conditional mood form of the previous one)
  • szabad: is allowed to
  • tilos: is forbidded to

The fact that these auxiliary verbs aren’t conjugated is partly true: they can only be put to Moods and Tenses (except for tilos, which can’t be conjugated at all). So in order to express singular or plurar and 1st, 2nd or 3rd person, we have to conjgate the infinitive. So what I wanted to say by this it that in case of these auxiliary verbs, the auxiliary verb shows the Mood and Tense and the verb in Infinitive shows whether it’s Singular or Plurar and 1st, 2nd or 3rd person. We can express general statements by not conjugating the Infinitive. This is easier to be translated to Spanish using the word hay.
for example (the conjugation is in bold):

Hungarian English Spanish
tanulni kell something like: there is a must to study hay que estudiar
tanulnom kell I have to study tengo que estudiar
tanulniuk kellett they had to study tenían que estudiar


  szeretni to love   játszani to play
Singular Plurar   Singular Plurar
1st person szeretnem szeretnünk játszanom játszanunk
2nd person szeretned szeretnetek játszanod játszanotok
3rd person szeretnie szeretniük játszania játszaniuk

for example:

  • nem szabad játszani: not allowed to play
  • dohányozni tilos: forbidden to smoke (dohány = tobacco)
  • nem szabad vezetned: you’re not allowed to drive
  • dolgoznunk kellett: we had to work
  • kopognotok kellett volna: you (all) should have knocked
  • szeretnelek kéne?: should I love you?
  • szabadna megkérdeznem, hogy…?: literally: Am I allowed to ask you, whether/that…? meaning: Can I ask you, whether/that…?

If the verb in infinitive has coverb

If a verb that has a coverb gets an auxiliary verb, then the auxiliary verb goes between the coverb and the infinitive (1. coverb 2. auxiliary 3. infinitive):

  • meg akarok tanulni spanyolul = I want to learn Spanish
  • el szeretnél utazni Madridba? = Do you want to travel to Madrid?

If we negate this sentence:

  • nem akarok megtanulni spanyolul = I don’t want to learn Spanish
  • nem szeretnél elutazni Madridba? = don’t you want to travel to Madrid?

The order of the auxiliary verb and the infinitive

If the verb (in infinitive) has a coverb or the sentence is negative or interrogative then the order is: 1. auxiliary verb 2. infinitive

If the verb (in infinitive) doesn’t have coverb and the sentence is affirmative then the order is: 1. infinitive 2. auxiliary verb

object no object
  coverb no coverb coverb no coverb
affirmative 1. aux 2. inf both correct 1. aux 2. inf 1. inf 2. aux
negative 1. aux 2. inf 1. aux 2. inf 1. aux 2. inf 1. aux 2. inf
interrogative 1. aux 2. inf 1. aux 2. inf 1. aux 2. inf 1. aux 2. inf

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