Present conditional tense/mood question.

Hi, I'm learning the present conditional, which in English would be a construction like "I would buy new clothes if I had more money," or "If you left now, you would catch the bus."

For the first one, I can think of 3 possible translations:

Vennék új ruhat, ha több pénzem van. Vennék új ruhat, ha több pénzem volt. Vennék új ruhat, ha több pénzem volna.

For the second one:

Ha most indulsz, elérnéd a buszt. Ha most indulnál, elérnéd a buszt. Ha most indultál volna, elérnéd a buszt.

There might be other errors in these translations, but I'm most concerned with how to translate the present conditional verbs, both in the "if" clause as well as in the other clause (I'm not sure I have those right, either, but at least those don't vary). I'm totally confused about how to express the verb in the "if" ("ha") clause.

(Not to be confused with past conditional, eg, "I would have bought new clothes if I had had more money." For some reason, I find those easier to translate into Hungarian.)

Thanks for any help!

October 25, 2018


Present conditional - if xxx then yyy. BOTH verbs should be in the present conditional. So:

Vennék új ruhát, ha több pénzem volna. (or lenne - and note the long á)

Ha most indulnál, elérnéd a buszt.

October 25, 2018

Hmm, then what do you call a sentence like this: "I would buy new clothes if I had more money." (Or, "If I had more money, I would buy new clothes.")? I thought that was present conditional. But in the "if" clause, "to have" is in the past tense, not conditional. Do you mean it should be "If I would have more money, I would buy new clothes?" That sounds awkward to me.

The "if" part is in past tense, and the "would" part is... present? past? I'm not sure. "Would" is past tense of "will," but I think of "will" as referring to the future. So I guess that would make "would" the present?

No wonder I'm confused about this in Hungarian - I'm confused enough about it in English!

October 25, 2018

Oh, when you said BOTh verbs should be in present conditional, you meant Hungarian, not English. Duh! English handles that differently, and that's why your answer confused me. Now it makes sense.

October 25, 2018

Actually the English isn't past - it's subjunctive. Easier to see in something like "I would go if I were in a better mood". "were" is definitely not past - it is subjunctive.

October 25, 2018

So you're saying that in the phrase "if I had more money," had is in the subjunctive mood? English with its trivial conjugations! No wonder it's so common to hear, "If I was in a better mood..." I probably spent a total of two weeks out of my entire 12 years of school learning about the subjunctive. I spent a lot more time than that learning the subjunctive in Spanish.

Hungarian has something called the "conjunctive" mood, which is the same as imperative, as far as conjugations go. I'm not sure what it's used for, though. Anyway, it sounds like you use the conditional form in both clauses, so that's different.

Thanks for the explanations!

October 25, 2018

This is a link explaining the English conditional forms to Hungarians. Since it has the Hungarian translations, it can be useful :)

October 25, 2018
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