Adjectives


ADJECTIVES

Adjectives are words describing nouns. They express quality, characteristics, condition and the fact that something/somebody belongs to somewhere, something is fitted with something

Let’s divide adjectives in two groups: attributive adjectives and predicative adjectives.

ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES

Hungarian attributive adjectives are like their English fellows. They precede nouns and under this condition they’re unmarked for case, that is they must not made plural, accusative and so on…They’re just adjectives like in English. Examples:

szép lány – beautiful girl
szép lányok – beautiful girls
Látom a szép lányt. – I see the beautiful girl.
Látom a szép lányokat. – I see the beautiful girls.

See? The adjective szép is unmarked for case. Easy

PREDICATIVE ADJECTIVES

Hungarian predicative adjectives are part of predicative expressions and so they follow nouns and are MARKED FOR CASE! Example:

A lány szép. – The girl is beautiful.
A lányok szépek. – The girls are beautiful.

NOTE! Hungarian predicative adjectives do not use the substantive verb (van, vannak) in 3rd person singular and plural when in present tense. You see English uses ‘is’ and ‘are’ in such sentences. Hungarian doesn’t! In any other person/number and tense, they must be used. Compare:

Én szép vagyok. – I’m beautiful.

Te szép vagy. – You’re beautiful.

Ő szép. – She’s beautiful. (Note, a sentence like ”Ő szép van” is wrong! No substantive verb!)

Mi szépek vagyunk. – We’re beautiful.

Ti szépek vagytok. – You’re beautiful.

Ők szépek. – They’re beautiful. (Note, a sentence like ”Ők szépek vannak” is wrong! No substantive verb!)

NOTE! In such sentences the substantive verb is at the end of the sentence: Kedvesek vagytok. – You’re (pl) kind. Furthermore, such sentences are fitted with predicative adjectives, so I used the personal pronouns to have a visible subject, but these pronouns can be omitted: Szépek vagytok and so on…

And one more thing! As these are sentences with predicative adjectives, the adjectives are to be made plural in the plural numbers and persons: SZÉPEK vagyunk (we’re beautiful), and not SZÉP vagyunk!

As predicative adjectives are marked for case, they can take suffixes nouns also can! Since you already know the accusative case (I hope ), let’s take a look at adjectives made accusative. In such sentences English has this solution: the + adjective + one. Now let’s see what I’m talking about:

Which one do you choose? – The red one.
Melyiket választod? – A pirosat. (piros-red is made accusative singular because I choose it, it’s a direct object!)

Which one do you choose? – The red ones.
Melyiket választod? – A pirosakat. (piros is made accusative plural because I choose them, it’s a direct object!)

Which are you talking about? – (About) the red one.
Melyikről beszélsz? – A pirosról. (with suffix -ról corresponding with the preposition ‘about’ in this sentence)

-The bus driver hit the car. – The blue one? -No, the red one.
-A buszvezető nekiment a kocsinak. –A kéknek? -Nem, a pirosnak. (Now with the suffix -nak because the verb requires this suffix, while English requires a simple object ‘hit something’)

I recommend you read this through over and over again. Next time we’ll talk about how to make adjectives plural! But I’ll give you a summary about this entry.

SUMMARY

Attributive adjectives:
precede nouns and are unmarked for case, that is they must not take any suffix.

Predicative adjectives:
follow nouns and are marked for case, whatever case is needed.
The 3rd person singular and plural (van, vannak) of the substantive verb is omitted in present tense. But they’re required in any other person/number and tense!
– Remember to make adjectives plural in such sentences when needed (in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person plural).

PLURAL ADJECTIVES

Like nouns, adjectives can be made plural, too. Remember those groups for nouns? We have groups (quite) like that for adjectives. Let’s get started!

The plural suffix is -k like for nouns! We also use link vowels if necessary.

Group 1: Adjectives ending in certain vowels

1. If the final vowel is A, E in an adjective, it becomes Á, É. (the same situation as for nouns)

laza – lazák (loose), enyhe – enyhék (mild)

2. Adjectives ending in long Ó, Ő take the plural -K or -AK, -EK. And how you know when to use what? Adjectives that are already used as nouns take -K. Real adjectives can take -K or -AK, -EK. Of course, you should take heed of vowel harmony like always.

adjectives already used as a noun: szállítók (suppliers)
real adjectives: kérkedők / kérkedőek (ostentatious), meghatók / meghatóak (touching – like the films are touching)

3. Adjectives in long Ú, Ű take -AK, -EK.

hosszúak (long), szomorúak (sad), egyszerűek (simple), hűek (faithful)

Examples in sentences:

-A hosszú padokat tegyük a terembe? -Igen, a hosszúak jók lesznek.
-Shall we put the long benches in the room? – Yes, the long ones will do.

Az indoeurópai nyelvek egyszerűek. – Indo-European languages are simple.

A kérkedőket senki sem szereti. – Nobody likes the ostentatious.

A déli területeken a telek enyhék. – Winters are mild in the southern areas.

Group 2: High-vowel adjectives

a. High-vowel adjectives take the plural -EK. (Remember nouns!)

keskenyek (narrow), szépek (beautiful), ügyesek (able, brave), szelídek (tame)

b. Remember the rules for nouns whose last syllable is ö, ő, ü, ű? Actually, I don’t recall one single adjective with that characteristics unless it has a suffix to make the word adjective. If you ever meet such a word, let’s just say such adjectives can take both -EK and -ÖK. You choose. I’d like to give you an example of an old word not used anymore. That word is: gőzös.

Gőzös is an old word for train (the modern day word for train is vonat). This word is made up of the noun gőz meaning steam and the suffix -ös. Literally meaning steamy. If you put this word in the plural with -ÖK, gőzösök, it refers to trains. If you use the plural -EK with it, gőzösek, it refers to several things that are full of steam. Well, we don’t use this word anymore, just an example for a possible difference in meaning. BUT it already has the suffix -ÖS!

c. High-vowel suffixes creating adjectives take -EK or -ÖK. Memorize them please. You don’t have to know what these suffixes mean (yet), but if you see them, you know how to make them plural.

-s / félősek – félősök (timid)
-ös / közönyösek – közönyösök (unconcerned)
-es / tüzesek (fiery)
-telen / szemtelenek (impudent)
-etlen / kellemetlenek (inconvenient)
-elmes / kényelmesek (comfortable)
-énk / élénkek (vivid)
-ékeny / érzékenyek (sensitive)
-i / szűziek (chaste, virginal)
-tt / küldöttek (emissary)

Group 3: Deep-vowel adjectives

a. Deep-vowel adjectives take the plural -OK or AK. It has to be memorized. However, monosyllabic words having a, á can be a starting point.

vastagok (thick), nagyok (big), rosszak (bad), vékonyak (thin), alacsonyak (small)

Note! It’s not plural, BUT adjectives formed from monosyllabic a, á nouns with -ak plural take -as, not -os!

vaj – vajak – vajas  (buttery)
haj – hajak – hajas (hairy – like someone has hair on his head)
társ – társak – társas (social)

BUT

baj – bajok – bajos (difficult)
zaj – zajok – zajos (noisy)
kard – kardok – kardos (someone with sword; bossy)

b. Deep-vowel suffixes making adjectives out of words require the plural -AK more often than not.

-s / csúszósak (slippery), búsak (tearful)
as / lázasak (feverish)
-os / vázlatosak (sketchy)
-talan / hasztalanok (useless)
-atlan / szakadatlanok (unremitting)
-almas / szánalmasak (pitiful)
-ánk / falánkok, falánkak (esurient, gluttonous)
-ékony / kártékonyak (mischievous)
-i / barátiak (friendly)
-tt / vágottak (cut – The flowers are cut)

Group 4: A few other words belonging to other classifications

Drop-vowel adjectives: bátor – bátrak (brave)
Those men are brave. – Azok a férfiak bátrak.

Adjective with the last syllable shortened: nehéz – nehezek (heavy, difficult)
The luggages are heavy. – A csomagok nehezek.
The tasks are difficult. – A feladatok nehezek.

The adjective ifjú (remember borjú, varjú): ifjú – ifjak (young)
Those boys are still young. – Azok a fiúk még ifjak.

Note! The word ifjú can be heard from elder people. Nowadays the word fiatal is used for young whose plural is fiatalok. However, when talking about the youth, the noun ifjúság is often heard. You can choose:

Az ifjúság engedetlen. – The youth is disobedient.
A fiatalok engedetlenek. – The young are disobedient.

High-vowel adjective: bő – bővek (abundant/loose).
A ruhák túl bővek. – The clothes are too loose.

And a little more suffering

ACCUSATIVE AND DATIVE CASE FOR ADJECTIVES

It’ simple. Follow the rules for how to make nouns plural. Some examples:

lazát, enyhét, kedveset, fiatalt, okosat, szépet, ügyeset

Note! The adjectives ending in long ú, ű simply take -t: hosszút, könnyűt

The dative case (-nak, -nek) is attached to the adjective: szépnek, okosnak, lazának, könnyűnek

COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES

These are English methods for comparison:

positive: Peter is as tall as Adam. / Peter is not as tall as Adam.
comparative: Peter is taller than Adam./ Peter is less taller than Adam.
superlative: Peter is the tallest of all./ Peter is the least tall of all.

And it looks like this in Hungarian:

POSITIVE: no suffix is used but the following adverb pairs: olyan…mint; nem olyan…mint; ugyanolyan…mint; nem ugyanolyan…mint

Péter olyan okos, mint Dávid. – Peter is as smart as David.
Dávid nem olyan okos, mint Ádám. – David is not so smart as Adam.
Péter ugyanolyan magas, mint Ádám. – Peter is the same tall as Adam.
Dávid nem ugyanolyan magas, mint Ádám. – David is not the same tall as Adam.

Or you can say nem annyira instead of olyan. Everyday language uses both of them. NOTE! You compare things/people like this: (nem) annyira…mint

Péter annyira okos, mint Ádám. – Peter is as smart as Adam.
Dávid nem annyira okos, mint Ádám. – David is not as smart as Adam.

COMPARATIVE: is expressed with the suffix -bb, sometimes with a link vowel if needed: -obb, -abb, -ebb. The second part of this comparison can be mint (like above) or the suffixes -nál/-nél. The word mint is the only preposition in Hungarian. If something or someone is compared in a negative way, the adverb kevésbé can be used, meaning less.

Péter okosabb Dávidnál. / Péter okosabb, mint Dávid. – Peter is smarter than David.
Dávid nem okosabb Ádámnál. / Dávid nem okosabb, mint Ádám. – David is not smarter than Adam.
Péter kevésbé okosabb Ádámnál. / Péter kevésbé okosabb, mint Ádám. – Peter is less smart than Adam.

SUPERLATIVE: expressed with a leg-…-bb, sometimes with a link vowel (-obb, -abb, -ebb). Note the only prefix in Hungarian is leg-!

Péter a legnagyobb. – Peter is the tallest.
Dávid a legkisebb. – David is the smallest.
Sanyi a legokosabb mind közül. / Sanyi a legokosabb köztük. – Alex is the smartest of all.
Anna viszont meglepően a legszexisebb! – Ann, in turn, is surprisingly the sexiest!
A gulyás a legjobb étel a világon. – Goulash is the best meal in the world.

SUMMARY

Positive:
(nem) olyan…mint = (not) as…as
(nem) ugyanolyan…mint = (not) the same…as

Comparative:
(nem) -bb…mint OR (nem) -bb…-nál/-nél = (not) …-er…than
kevésbé…-bb…mint OR kevésbé…-bb…-nál/-nél = less…than

Sometimes -bb needs a link vowel: -obb, -abb, -ebb!

Superlative:
(nem) a leg-…-bb (mind közül/a világon) = (not) the …-est/the most… (of all/in the world)

These are all possibilities. Either you compare like this or like that.

As English (good-best, bad-worst…), Hungarian also has irregular adjectives when in comparison. These are:

szép (beautiful), (good), nehéz (heavy, difficult), kevés (little, few), lassú (slow), hosszú (long), ifjú (young), könnyű (easy), bátor (brave), fiatal (young), hamar (soon), fent (up), lent (down), középen (in the middle), kint (outside), bent (inside)

THE LAST VOWEL SHORTENED:

szép – szebb – a legszebb
nehéz – nehezebb – a legnehezebb
kevés – kevesebb – a legkevesebb
jó – jobb – a legjobb

SOME WORDS ENDING IN LONG Ú, Ű:

hosszú – hosszabb – a leghosszabb
lassú – lassabb – a leglassabb
ifjú – ifjabb – a legifjabb
könnyű – könnyebb – a legkönnyebb

DROP-VOWEL ADJECTIVE: bátor – bátrabb – legbátrabb

THE ADJECTIVE FIATAL: fiatal – fiatalabb – a legfiatalabb

THE ADVERB OF TIME HAMAR: hamar – hamarabb – a leghamarabb

SOME ADVERBS OF PLACE ENDING IN -SÓ, -SŐ WHEN IN COMPARISON:
fent – felső – a legfelső
lent – alsó – a legalsó
középen – középső – NO DEGREE
kint – külső – a legkülső
bent – belső – a legbelső

NOTE! Supreme court is said like this: A LEGFELSŐBB BÍRÓSÁG.

Furthermore, the adjective KICSI must not be compared. Instead, KIS is used when in comparison: kicsi/kis – kisebb – a legkisebb

And the contrary of the best is the worst which is not irregular in Hungarian: rossz (bad) – rosszabb (worse) – a legrosszabb (the worst)

ADJECTIVAL EXPRESSIONS

Adjectival expressions consist of an adjective and a complement to it. They follow or precede the noun in English, but always precede the noun in Hungarian!

Here are some examples:

emberekkel teli buszbus full of people
takaróval fedett ágybed covered with blanket
vörös hajú redhaired woman

For you the best example is the last one ‘red-haired woman’. In Hungarian you have to say such expressions with that word order even if English dictates something different.

That’s all about it. It needs some practice, but it’s not the hardest thing in the Hungarian grammar.

Advertisements

6 comments on “Adjectives

  1. Jana Timoracká says:

    3) PLURAL ADJECTIVES szakaszban felhozta első példát: „búsak (tristful)“, de tristful kifejezés angolban ismeretlen. Inkább tearful kifejezés hozzáillő.

    4) PLURAL ADJECTIVES szakaszban felhozta másik példát: „That word is: gőzős…“, de helyesen írunk: gőzös

  2. Jana Timoracká says:

    Jó napot kívánok. Megint jelentkezek a javításokkal:

    5) „Group 1: Adjectives ending in certain vowels“ alcím alább írta: (moving – like the films are moving), de megható angolul inkább touching. Moving kapcsolódik inkább move, motion, movement szavakkal, amelyek jelentenek: mozgás, mozgató, mozgási, mozgalom, mozdít, mozdulat…

    6) „These are the English methods for comparison:“ mondatban the határozott névelő a tulajdonnevekkel nem párosul. Elég csak: „These are English…“

    7) A „A déli területeken a telek enyhék.“ mondatban hiba van. Helyesen: télek

    • hunlang says:

      The errors are corrected. Thank you again.

      The plural form ‘telek’ is correct, however, because it is a word that loses the graphic accent in plural: tél>telek
      It is the same category as kéz>kezek (hand), kerék>kerekek (wheel), tenyér>tenyerek (palm)

      • Jana says:

        Nem is voltam biztos milyen a többes száma annak a kifejezésnek, de most már értem. Kis korától fogva beszélek magyarul, mivelhogy Kassára való vagyok, de a szlovák iskolákba jártam. De újonan magyarul is tanulok.

  3. Jana says:

    Már jelentkeztem a javításokkal ehhez az Adjectives fejezethez, de most az ismétlés alatt a munkahelyen megfigyeltem még ezt is:
    * Plural adjectives –> Group 1 bekezdésben áll: you should care about…, de care about angolul jelent többnyire: gondoskodik vkiről, ápol vkit. Ebben a mondatban inkább „…you should take heed to a vowel harmony…” való.
    * Más magyar nyelvtan internetes forrásból állapítottam meg azt, hogy a rendhagyó melléknevekhez közé tartozik még: bő, sok.

    Csakhamar megint jelentkezek további javításokkal a Cases/Postpositions fejezet részére, amit most otthon tanulom és ahol is apró hibák vannak.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s