Coverb Separation (2/3)

Recall from the last section:

The topic goes first, and the thing that is to be emphasised goes before the verb.

So while the coverb remains attached to the verb, the verb is emphasised and the sentence remains neutral. However, when the coverb is detached (and moves to the right), it is no longer blocking the emphasis from the word before. Thus the word order may change and different things can be emphasised.

But it isn’t that simple, let’s explore all the different scenarios.

General Sentence Emphasis

Here is how the situation goes down generally.

This detachment can also be seen when a verb and a telic verb in the infinitive are used together. Whatever is in front, is emphasised.

It’s the same deal with the conjugated infinitive.

Whatever precedes kell or starts the sentence is emphasised. Similar ordering is seen using sikerült and the conjugated infinitive.

Negated Sentences

Whenever a sentence is negated, the coverbs are always detached.

Because of the coverb always separating when present in a negated sentence, negated verbs are a kind of emphasis.

Expressing the Future

Likewise the detachment is present when using fog as well. The position of the coverb can be placed before a word that is before fog.

Adding fog into a present tense sentence with coverbs changes things up.

We saw here that a coverb has to jump in front of both verbs, if it wants to be emphasised.

In Questions

When coverbs are present in a non yes-no question, they are usually separated (regardless if negation is present or not).

In Imperative or Subjunctive Mood

In the imperative mood, the coverb is always detached.

In the subjunctive mood, the coverb is usually attached.


Arrange these words into a sentence that puts focus on ötször. Decide if the coverb should be separated.

Az a fiú olyan ügyetlen, már ötször ejtette el a labdát.

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