Pronouns

PERSONAL PRONOUNS

Pronouns are words replacing nouns, noun phrases. As there is no distinction between genders, there are no masculine or feminine pronouns!

Hungarian personal pronouns are only used when putting emphasis on the subject. This phenomenon is due to the definite conjugation of verbs alluding to the subject in the first place, plus suffixes are attached to the verb indicating mood, tense, number, person.

The personal pronouns are:

én – I >> never capitalized unless when beginning a sentence
te – you >> not equal to 2nd PP!
ő – she/he/it >> only one pronoun for he/she
mi – we >> mi is just we
ti – you >> not equal to 2nd PS!
ők – they >> ő + plural suffix -k = ők

Examples:

Én magyar vagyok. – I‘m Hungarian.
Te ki vagy? – Who are you?
Ő nem tudja. – He/She doesn’t know.
Mi úszni megyünk. – We go swimming.
Ti mikor jöttök? – When are you guys coming?
Ők haza mennek. – They‘re going home.

PERSONAL PRONOUNS AND FORMALITY

Hungarian still makes a wide use of shouting someone’s first or last name (which is the exact opposite in Hungarian. If your name is John Smith, Hungarian says Smith John: family name first + given name!).

The pronouns for this purpose are: maga, maguk, ön, önök

And right here we should divide these formalities in two groups: informal polite form and formal polite form

Informal polite form is expressed by maga (for 3rd PS), maguk (for 3rd PP). You use these pronouns when talking to someone you know or don’t know (yet), but that person is not superior than you: neighbour, shop assistant, old lady at the bus stop…

Formal polite form is expressed by ön (for 3rd PS), önök (3rd PP). These pronouns are for talking to someone “higher in rank”: teacher, cops, officials, doctors…

NOTE! Hungarian polite pronouns are meant to be in the 3rd person, so the verb referring to it has to be in 3rd PS or 3rd PP!

And now more explanation! Take a look at these sentences.

(Ő) türelmes tanár.
(Ön) türelmes tanár.
(Maga) türelmes tanár.
(Ők) türelmes tanárok.
(Önök) türelmes tanárok.
(Maguk) türelmes tanárok.

You see these sentences are the same without a personal pronoun! And there’s no need to use them, if the situation is unambiguous. If you talk to your teacher, obviously you call him MAGA or ÖN = you, and you don’t mean Ő = he, she.

If you talk to your friend standing next to you about a third person (your teacher), it is obvious you’re talking about the teacher.

So use these pronouns if the person in question cannot be understood from the context.

That would be all about formalities.

SUMMARY:
maga, ön = you (Mr. Ms.)
maguk, önök = you (gentlemen, ladies)

ACCUSATIVE PRONOUNS

Accusative pronouns are the accusative versions of personal pronouns.

engem – me
téged – you
őt – him/her/it
minket – us
titeket – you
őket – them

Hungarian accusative pronouns are rarely used because verbs with definite conjugation already allude to the direct object. That doesn’t mean that you must not use them if you want. Their use, however, needs some explanation.

The explanation is all about topic-prominent aspect meaning the most important information goes to the beginning of the sentence. Following this reasoning, accusative pronouns follow the verb if not emphased, but precede the verb if emphased. When preceding the verb, they are mandatory to use. When following the verb, they are optional to use. When Hungarian accusative pronouns are emphased, English uses verbal emphasis on the direct pronoun.

NOT EMPHASED, OPTIONAL:
Szeret (engem). – He loves me.
Szeret (téged). – He loves you.
Szereti (őt). – He/She loves her/him.
Szeret (minket). – He loves us.
Szeret (titeket). – He loves you.
Szereti (őket). – He loves them.

EMPHASED, MANDATORY:
Engem szeret. – He loves me.
Téged szeret. – He loves you.
Őt szereti. – He/She loves her/him.
Minket szeret. – He loves us.
Titeket szeret. – He loves you.
Őket szereti. – He loves them.

NOTE! In 3rd PS and 3rd PP, the verb is in definite conjugation, in the other numbers/persons indefinite conjugation (more about this when discussing verbs).

FORMALITIES

Polite accusative pronouns: magát, magukat, önt, önöket (all translated with YOU in English)

Szereti magát. / Magát szereti.
Szereti magukat. Magukat szereti.
Szereti önt. / Önt szereti.
Szereti önöket. / Önöket szereti.

DATIVE PRONOUNS

All rules for the accusative pronouns are valid for the dative pronouns!

Rule 1: dative pronouns not emphased, following the verb, not mandatory to use
Rule 2: dative pronouns emphased, preceding the verb, mandatory to use

Here they are:

nekem – for/to me
neked – for/to you
neki – for/to him, her, it
nekünk – for/to us
nektek – for/to you
nekik – for/to them

Note that they are formed with: nek + -em, -ed, -i, -ünk, -tek, -ik (possessive endings)

NOT EMPHASED:
Vesz (nekem) egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for me.
Vesz (neked) egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for you.
Vesz (neki) egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for him/her.
Vesz (nekünk) egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for us.
Vesz (nektek) egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for you.
Vesz (nekik) egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for them.

EMPHASED:
Nekem vesz egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for me.
Neked vesz egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for you.
Neki vesz egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for him/her.
Nekünk vesz egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for us.
Nektek vesz egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for you.
Nekik vesz egy könyvet. – He’ll buy a book for them.

FORMALITITES: magának, maguknak, önnek, önöknek (formal personal pronoun + -nak / -nek), all translated with FOR/TO YOU in English

Vesz (magának) egy könyvet. / Magának vesz egy könyvet.
Vesz (maguknak) egy könyvet. / Maguknak vesz egy könyvet.
Vesz (önnek) egy könyvet. / Önnek vesz egy könyvet.
Vesz (önöknek) egy könyvet. / Önöknek vesz egy könyvet.

NOTE! English can translate Hungarian dative pronouns with the method above for someone or to someone and also with indirect object (He’ll buy me a book.)

REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS

Reflexive pronouns refer right back to the person/subject.

Here they are:

magam – myself
magad – yourself
maga – himself/herself/itself
magunk – ourselves
magatok – yourselves
maguk – themselves

These pronouns can take almost any kind of suffixes (we talk about suffixes later) and can be made accusative, dative. A few examples:

magamnakfor me/for myself
magátólfrom himself
magatokhozto you/to yourselves

and so on…

NOTE! The 3rd PS and 3rd PP reflexive pronouns MAGA, MAGUK have the same form as the 3rd PS and 3rd PP polite personal pronouns! So be careful:

Látja magát. – He can see you (Sir).
Látja magát. – He can see himself.

REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS

Hungarian doesn’t always need reflexive pronouns because the -ik verbs assume this role. Sometimes English doesn’t need these pronouns when Hungarian does. It’s all about a knowledge of vocabulary and experience and not about a strict rule. Some examples:

Veszek magamnak egy kocsit. – I’ll buy me a car.
English doesn’t really need myself in this case.

Megmosakszik. – He washes (himself).
Hungarian uses an -ik verb, English uses a verb with or without a reflexive pronoun.

So it’s really about vocabulary.

REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS WITH SUFFIXES

These pronouns can take almost all kind of suffixes. You don’t need to know their function yet. I just want to show you what they look like with suffixes. Let’s use the 3rd PS form MAGA (himself, herself, itself). Of course, you use deep-vowel suffixes because reflexive pronouns are deep-vowel words.

-ban, -ben: magában (in himself)
-ba, -be: magába (into himself)
-ból, -ből: magából (from himself)

-on, -en, -ön: magán (on himself)
-ra, -re: magára (onto himself)
-ról, -ről: magáról (from himself)

-nál, -nél: magánál (by himself)
-hoz, -hez, -höz: magához (towards himself)
-tól, -től: magától (from himself)

Accusative case -t: magát (He loves himself. He’s self-important.)
Dative case -nak, -nek: magának (to/for himself. He gives himself a little time.)
Instrumental case -val, -vel: magával (with himself)

RECIPROCAL PRONOUNS

The only Hungarian reciprocal pronoun is: EGYMÁS = each other, one another

This pronoun itself is subjective, but it takes all kind of suffixes if needed. Let’ see some of them.

-ba, -be: egymásba (into each other)
-ban, -ben: egymásban (in each other)
-ból, -ből: egymásból (from each other)
-ra, -re: egymásra (onto each other)
-on, -en, -ön: egymáson (on each other)
-ról, -ről: egymásról (from each other)
-hoz, -hez, -höz: egymáshoz (towards each other)
-nál, -nél: egymásnál (by each other)
-tól, -től: egymástól (from each other)

Accusative case: egymást (each other)
Dative case: egymásnak (to/for each other)
Instrumental case (with): egymással (with each other)

Examples:

Ismerjük egymást. – We know each other.
Egymással beszélgetnek. – They’re talking (to each other).
Egymástól
várnak segítséget. – They wait for help from each other.
Láttuk egymást a moziban. – We saw each other in the cinema.

And so on…

Other expressions:

egymás után – one after the other
egymás melletti – adjacent
Egymás szavába vágnak. – They interrupt each other.
Közel állnak egymáshoz. – They’re close to each other.
Egymás idegeire mennek. – They’re getting to each other’s nerves.

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS

And now we’ll try to absorb a bigger slice of the pronouns. We talk about demonstrative pronouns. It is a longer topic because there are demonstrative pronouns for quality, place, manner and so on. Today’s topic:

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS

Here they are:

SINGULAR – PLURAL
ez (this) – ezek (these)
az (that) – azok (those)

These Hungarian demonstrative pronouns (ez, ezek, az, azok) go hand in hand with the definite article.

ez a táska – this bag
ezek a táskák – these bags
az a táska – that bag
azok a táskák – those bags

You see ez, ezek, az, azok are followed by the definite article: ez a táska. When the noun in plural, the pronoun is made plural, too, like in English!

Other examples:

Ezt akarom. – I want this.
Azokat láttam. – I saw those.
Ennél jobbat nem tudok ajánlani. – I can’t offer any better than this.
Voltál annál az orvosnál? – Did you go to that doctor?
Mégsem veszem meg azokat a földeket. – I won’t buy those lands after all.

You see in the examples above that ez, ezek, az, azok can take any suffix. NOTE! If these pronouns take a suffix, the noun must take the same suffix, too! Example:

Subjective: ez a ház – this house
Accusative case:: ezt a házatthis house
Dative case: ennek a háznakto/for this house
-ban, -ben: ebben a házbanin this house

and so on…

Of course, ez and ezek are high-vowel words, az and azok deep-vowel words!

Now we’ll take a look at some fundamental suffixes and how they are attached to ez, az. Many times the z of ez, az assimilates with the first letter of the suffix. Summary table:

-ba, -be: ebbe, abba
-ban, -ben: ebben, abban
-ból, -ből: ebből, abból
-ra, -re: erre, arra
-on, -en: ezen, azon *1
-ról, -ről: erről, arról
-hoz, -hez: ehhez, ahhoz *2
-nál, -nél: ennél, annál
-tól, -től: ettől, attól
-ig: eddig, addig *3
-kor: ekkor, akkor
-ért: ezért, azért
Accusative: ezt, azt
Dative: ennek, annak
Instrumental (-val, -vel): evvel, avval *4

*1 ezen, azon: in this combination the z does not assimilate.
*2 ehhez, ahhoz: in this combination the double h is NOT DOUBLED IN SPEECH!
*3 eddig, addig:
in this combination the z is replaced with the double d!
*4 evvel, avval:
in this combination the z is replaced with the double v!

In the plural there is no assimilation: azokban, ezekig, ezeknek, azokra…

LET’S PRACTISE EZ, AZ

Remember! If ez, az stands alone you don’t need the definite article: Ezt akarom. Azt láttam. If ez, az are followed by a noun, you need the definite article: ez a ház, az a tévé. In both case, ez and az can take a variety of suffixes. If followed by a noun, the noun takes the same suffix according to vowel harmony!

Let’s practise. I’ll give you some examples:

this house – ez a ház
that man – az az ember

this hat – __________ kalap
that car – _________ kocsi
I’m buying those chairs. – Megveszem ___________ székek_____. (accusative)
Will you give her this ring? – ____________ gyűrű____ adod neki? (accusative)
This girl has beautiful eyes. – ________ lány______ szép szeme van. (dative)

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS OF MANNER

Demonstrative pronouns of manner are:

így – like this
úgy – like that
ilyen módon – in this way
olyan módon – in that way

Obviously it is impossible for these pronouns to take suffixes.

Examples:

Ez így nem mehet tovább.
It can’t go on like that anymore.

Úgy van, ahogy mondod.
It’s exactly as you say. (úgy not present in this English sentence)

Így akar rávenni, hogy elmenj vele.
He want to persuade you to go with him like this.

Az nem úgy van ám!
Things are not done like that at all!

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS OF PLACE

This is the part where the three directions phenomenon should be mentioned. This phenomenon means that Hungarian has three question words for certain directions and the answers must be adjusted to those questions.

The questions are:

POSITION: Hol? (Where?)
DIRECTION: Hova? (Where to?)
ORIGIN: Honnan? (Where from?)

The demonstrative pronouns of place are: itt (here), ott (there). And this is how they change to answer the questions:

Hol? > itt / ott (here / there)
Hova? > ide / oda (to here / to there)
Honnan? > innen / onnan (from here / from there)

Examples:

Itt adják a legjobb pizzát. – The best pizza is served at this place.
Ne menj oda! – Don’t go over there.
Onnan jövök. – I’m coming from there.
Ki rakta a széket ide? – Who put the chair over here?
Innen nem látni semmit. – You can’t see anything from here.

These pronouns can be emphased but are not often heard: emitt, amott, emide, amoda, eminnen, amonnan.

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS OF QUALITY

These are:

ilyen – such, such a, like this, of this kind
olyan – such, such a, like that, of that kind

It is not rare in Hungarian that close things are expressed with high-vowel words (ez, így, ilyen, itt), remote things with deep-vowel words (az, úgy, olyan, ott).

As adjectives, ilyen/olyan don’t have a plural form! As adverbs they have the plural and can take suffixes.

SINGULAR: ilyen, olyan
PLURAL: ilyenek, olyanok

Examples:

Ilyen barátot ritkán találni.
Such a friend can be rarely found.

Az ilyen ételt nem szeretem.
I don’t like meals of this sort.

Ez olyan szép!
This is so beautiful!

Láttál már olyan filmet?
Have you ever seen such a movie?

Zöld póló? Igen, olyat láttam tegnap.
Green T-shirt? Yes. I saw one yesterday.

Ilyenekről soha nem beszélünk.
We never talk about such things.

You see olyat is accusative and ilyenekről has the suffix -ről equivalent to the preposition ‘above’ in this case.

Let’s take a look at ilyen, olyan with a few suffixes:

-ba, -be: ilyenbe, olyanba
-ban, -ben: ilyenben, olyanban
-ból, -ből: ilyenből, olyanból

-ra, -re: ilyenre, olyanra
-on, -en: ilyenen, olyanon
-ról, -ről: ilyenről, olyanról

-hoz, -hez: ilyenhez, olyanhoz
-nál, -nél: ilyennél, olyannál
-tól, -től: ilyentől, olyantól

Accusative -t: ilyet, olyat *1
Dative -nak, -nek: ilyennek, olyannak
Instrumental -val, -vel: ilyennel, olyannal *2

*1: ilyen/olyan + accusative -t = ilyet, olyat. The n disappears in  this combination.
*2 ilyen /olyan + -vel, -val = ilyennel, olyannal. The v of -val, -vel assimilates with the n at the end of ilyen/olyan.

Synonyms of ilyen/olyan are: ennyire, annyira.

Ilyen/Ennyire finom húst még nem ettem!
I’ve never eaten a meat as delicious as this!

Olyan/Annyira finom!
It’s so delicious!

INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS

Some basic question words before jumping into it:

Mi? – What?
Ki? – Who?
Miért? – Why?
Mikor? – When?
Hogy? – How?
Milyen? – What kind of? What…like? How?
Melyik? – Which?
Hány? Mennyi? – How much? OR How many?
Meddig? – How long? OR How far?

MI? – WHAT?

Mi? can take almost all kind of suffixes: Mibe? Miről? Mihez? and so on…

What you should be careful with is that it must be accusative in certain sentences, so it becomes: Mit?

Mi van ott a padon? – What is on the bench over there?
Mit akarsz? – What do you want?
Mit tudnak az esetről? – What do they know about the case?

Many times the English preposition and the Hungarian suffix cannot be translated literally:

Mihez értesz? – What are you proficient in?
Mitől féltek? – What are you afraid of?
Mibe tegyük a ruhákat? – What shall we put the clothes in(to)?
Mire valók a barátok? – What are friends for?
Mikor érkezik? – When will he arrive? (Mi + -kor = Mikor – When; you see you already know another question word)
Minek jöttél ide? – What did you come here for? (Mi + -nek = Minek – Why; it is a less polite form for Miért?)
Miért jöttél ide? – Why did you come here? (Mi + -ért = Miért – Why; the suffix -ért expresses for, for sake of)

KI? = WHO?

It can take a lot of suffixes, except -ig. It would sound strange with -ig.

It is a high-vowel word just like ‘Mi?‘.

Ki van ott? – Who‘s there?
Kit láttál? – Who did you see?
Kiről beszél? – Who is he talking about?
Kitől futottál el? – Who did you run away from?
Kiért teszed ezt? – Who are you doing this for?
Kihez utazol el? – Who will you depart to?

and so on…

You see that Ki? takes high-vowel suffixes -ről, -től…

MIÉRT? = WHY?

This question is formed with: Mi? + -ért. The suffix -ért is equivalent to the English preposition ‘for’. So the Hungarian question literally is: For what?

Miért nem jöttél el? – Why didn’t you come?
Miért sírsz? – Why are you crying?
Miért akarsz a városba menni? – Why are you going dowtown?

A synonym for Miért? is Minek? but it sounds a little bit less polite. Sometimes it has a “despising” effect.

Minek jöttél ide? – What did you come here for?
Minek sírsz? – Why (for god’s sake) are you crying?
Minek akarsz a városba menni? – What are you going downtown for?

Basically, the suffixes -nak, -nek and -ért mean the same thing: for, to. With -ért, the question is more polite.

NOTE! In the spoken language Miért? is often said like Mért? or an even more vulgar form is Mér?. I do not recommend using these ‘slang’ forms because it might be confusing with a certain conjunction: mert = because

Mért vagy itt? –Mert beszélni akarok veled.
Why are you here? –Because I want to talk to you.

You see Mért? and mert is almost the same, hence a possible confusion.

Always say and write Why? as: MIÉRT?

HOGY ? = HOW? and MILYEN? = HOW?

These two question words are the same in English, so be careful:

Hogy? is used when one is interested in a mood or condition. It CAN’T take suffixes.
Milyen? is used if you want to know about quality, characteristic. Besides, it CAN take suffixes.

So in more details:

Hogy? = How?
Milyen? = How? What…like? What kind of…?

EXAMPLES FOR MILYEN?

Milyen a nővéred? –Kedves.
What is your sister like? -She’s kind.

Milyen idő van? –Esős.
How is the weather? -It’s rainy.

-Kocsit veszel? Milyenre gondoltál?
-You buy a car? What car do you have in mind?

Milyen fonnyadt az a barack!
How parched that peach is!

EXAMPLES FOR HOGY?

Hogy vagy? –Jól.
How are you? –Fine.

Elnézést, hogy mondta?
Pardon. What did you say?

Hogy engedhetted ezt meg neki?
How could you allow him to do this?

Hogy áll a helyzet?
How do things stand with you?

NOTE! Hogy? has another longer form Hogyan?. There is no difference in meaning. Use whichever you want. BUT Hogyan? cannot take any suffixes, either!

HÁNY? = HOW MANY? and MENNYI? = HOW MUCH?

The problem with these Hungarian questions is that they don’t specifically refer to countable and uncountable nouns. They refer to both. However, Hány? cannot be used with uncountable nouns. Mennyi? can be used for both. I think you understand what I mean by ‘problem’.

Both can be made accusative, dative, instrumental. The plural wouldn’t really make any sense.

Examples:

Hány ember van a buszon? –Tizenöt.
Mennyi ember van a buszon? –Tizenöt.
How many people are there on the bus. –Fifteen.

Hány mogyorót ettél? –Kettőt.
Mennyi mogyorót ettél? –Kettőt.
How many hazelnuts have you eaten? –Two.

Hányat ugrottál? –Ötöt.
Mennyit ugrottál? –Ötöt.
How many jumps did you make? –Five.

You see that you can use both questions for countable things. Now let’s see some uncountable things.

You cannot use Hány? with uncountable nouns! Examples:

Mennyi esett? –Sok.
How much snow are there? –Much.

Mennyi sót vettél? –Keveset.
How much salt did you buy? –Little.

Mennyi pénz kellene? -Tízezer forint.
How much money do you need? -Ten thousand forints.

Mennyit ittál? -Öt litert.
How much did you drink? -Five liters.

To make it simple for you:

Hány? = countable nouns
Mennyi? = countable and uncountable nouns

Two more expressions:

Hány óra van? – What time is it?
OR
Mennyi az idő? – What’s the time?

MELYIK? = WHICH?

This question requires a specific answer, therefore the question itself is made specific with the suffix -ik. In such sentences, the English answer often contains the word: one. One is equal to accusative case in Hungarian.

Melyik fiút szereted? A magasat.
Which boy do you love? The tall one.

Melyik várost kedveled jobban? Rómát.
Which city do you prefer? Rome.

Melyik gombot kell megnyomni? A harmadikat.
Which button is to be pressed? The third one.

Melyik lányt nézed? Az egyiket.
Which girl are you watching? One of them.

Mely vállalatok élték túl a válságot? Semelyik. / Mindegyik.
Which
enterprises survived the crisis? None of them. / All of them.

Of course, you can make this question accusative, dative, instrumental and add suffixes to it.

Melyiket keresed? A kéket.
Which are you looking for? The blue one.

Melyiknek dobtad a labdát? A szemüvegesnek.
Who did you throw the ball at? The one with the glasses.
(Note that Melyik? also refers to people)

Melyikkel játszol? Azzal.
Which are you playing with? That one.

As you see above in this sentence “Mely vállalatok élték túl a válságot?”, you use Mely? and make the noun plural if you talk about more things/people. But it’s not really necessary. You can also ask:

Mely vállalat élte túl a válságot? Mindegyik.

We’re finished with interrogative pronouns for now. Hol? Hova? Honnan? will be dealt with when we talk about other suffixes.

INDEFINITE PRONOUNS

It’s quite a massive issue, so I’ll try to make it as simple as possible for you.

First let’s see how you form indefinite pronouns like this: somebody, nothing, anywhere…

The formation goes with these prefixes:

VALA- = SOME-
AKÁR-, BÁR- = ANY-
SE- = NO-, ANY-
MINDEN-, MIND- = EVERY-

The indefinite pronouns with akár- and bár- mean the same, so you can use the prefix you like more. The only combination impossible for bár- is with the question Hány?. There is no such word bárhány. The word akárhány is said instead.

VALA-:
valami
– something
valaki – somebody
valamiért – for some reason
valamikor – sometime, some day
valahogy – somehow
valamilyen – some kind of
valamelyik – one of them
valameddig – for sime time; some distance
valamennyi – a certain amount of
valahány – a certain number of
valahol – somewhere
valahova – (to) somewhere
valahonnan – from somewhere
valamennyire – to some degree

AKÁR-, BÁR-: bár- + Hány? is not possible.
akármi, bármi – anything
akárki, bárki – anybody
akármiért, bármiért – for any reason, for whatever reason
akármikor, bármikor – anytime
akárhogy, bárhogy – anyhow, in any way
akármilyen, bármilyen – any kind of
akármelyik, bármelyik – any of them
akármeddig, bármeddig – for any time; any distance
akármennyi, bármennyi – no matter how much
akárhány – no matter how many
akárhol, bárhol – anywhere
akárhova, bárhova – (to) anywhere
akárhonnan, bárhonnan – from anywhere
akármennyire, bármennyire – to any degree

SE-: some forms take double -m, one form needs an n consonant inserted!
semmi – nothing
senki – nobody
semmiért – for no reason
semmikor – at no time, never
sehogy – nowhow, by no means
semmilyen – no kind of
semelyik – none of them
semeddig – for no time; no distance
semennyi – no amount of
sehány – no number of; not one
sehol – nowhere
sehova – (to) nowhere
sehonnan – from nowhere
semennyire – to no degree

MINDEN-: some of these forms don’t really queue up in the line of the pronouns above.
minden – everything
mindenki – everybody
mindenért – for everthing
mindenkor – always, at any time
mindenképpen – anyway, by all means
mindenféle – all kinds of
mindegyik – all of them
végig – all along; to the very end
mindahány – all
mindenhol – everwhere
mindenhova – (to) everywhere
mindenhonnan – from everywhere

The prefix minden- cannot be combined with Mennyi?.

Some other meanings for certain pronouns: valamennyi, mindahány, valahány = all (of them)

So much for these basic pronouns. In part 2, we’ll take a look at some other indefinite pronouns (many, much, little, few, either…).

Other indefinite pronouns beside those with prefixes are:

sok (many much), kevés (few, little), néhány (a few, some), egy kis (a little), egy-két / egy pár (a couple of), jó néhány (a number of), elég sok (quite a lot), jó sok (a great number of), rengeteg (lots of ), túl sok (too many/much), túl kevés (too little), minden (every), az összes (all), az egész (the entire), mindkettő (both), egyik sem (none), valamelyik (either of them), más (other), a többi (the other)…

To make it simple for you, ALL OF THESE INDEFINITE PRONOUNS REQUIRE A SINGULAR NOUN, so you don’t make the noun plural after sok, kevés and so on…There only a few exceptions to this simpel rule.

SOK = MANY, MUCH
Refers to: countable and uncountable

sok ember (many people)
sok kutya (many dogs)
sok étel (much food)
sok víz (much water)

Accusative form: SOKAT
Sokat
látja a barátját.
She sees a great deal of this friend.

Sokat énekel.
He sings a lot.

Referring to people: SOKAN = MANY PEOPLE
Sokan kocognak a parkban.
A lot of people jog in the park.

Nem sokan értik a fizikát.
Not many people understand physics.

Comparative degree of SOK is: TÖBB = MORE
and referring to people: TÖBBEN = MORE PEOPLE
TÖBBEN REQUIRES A 3RD PP  VERB!

több ember (more people)
több kutya (more dogs)
több étel (more food)
több víz (more water)

Többen kocognak a parkban. – More people jog in the park.

KEVÉS = FEW, LITTLE
Refers to: countable and uncountable

kevés ember (few people)
kevés kutya (few dogs)
kevés étel (little food)
kevés só (little salt)

Accusative form: KEVESET
Keveset
látja a bártját.
She doesn’t see his friend too often.

Keveset énekel.
He sings little.

Referring to people: KEVESEN = A FEW PEOPLE
Kevesen kocognak a parkban.
A few people jog in the park.

Kevesen értik a fizikát.
Only a few people understand physics.

Comparative degree of KEVÉS is: KEVESEBB = LESS
and referring to people: KEVESEBBEN = FEWER PEOPLE
KEVESEBBEN REQUIERS A 3 RD PP VERB!

kevesebb ember (fewer people)
kevesebb kutya (fewer dogs)
kevesebb étel (less food)
kevesebb víz (less salt)

Kevesebben kocognak a parkban.
Fewer people jog in the park.

EGY KIS = A LITTLE; A SMALL
As for an amount, it refers to: uncountable
As for size, it refers to: countable

egy kis só (a little salt)
egy kis kenyér (a little bread) !
egy kis autó (a small car)
egy kis kenyér (a small loaf) !

Accusative form: EGY KICSIT = A LITTLE BIT
NOTE: only used as an adverb, not as an adjective!

Eszik egy kicsit.
He eats a little.

Fut egy kicsit  a parkban.
He runs a little bit in the park.

Referring to people: NÉHÁNYAN !!! = A FEW PEOPLE
Néhányan kocognak a parkban.
A few people jog in the park.

Néhányan levest esznek.
Some people eat soup.

No comparative degree for obvious reasons!

NÉHÁNY, EGY-KÉT, EGY PÁR = SOME, A FEW, A COUPLE OF
They refer to: countable

néhány ember (some people)
egy-két kutya (a few dogs)
egy pár asztal (a few tables)

Accusative form: NÉHÁNYAT, EGY-KETTŐT, EGY PÁRAT
NOTE: only used as adverbs, not as adjectives!

Megevett néhányat. – He ate a couple of them.
Egy párat elénekelt. – He sang a few. (songs for ex.)
Egy-kettőt elkaptak. – They’ve caught some (of them).

Referring to people: NÉHÁNYAN, PÁRAN = A COUPLE OF PEOPLE
NOTE: you could say egy-ketten, but not heard often.

Néhányan kocognak a parkban.
Some people jog in the park.

Páran elmentek a ünnepségre.
A couple of people went to the feast.

No comparative degree for obvious reasons!

JÓ NÉHÁNY, ELÉG SOK = A NUMBER OF, QUITE A LOT, SEVERAL
jó néhány refers to: countable
elég sok refers to: countable and uncountable

jó néhány ember (a number of people)
elég sok ember (quite a lot of people)
elég sok víz (a considerable amount of water)

Accusative form: JÓ NÉHÁNYAT, ELÉG SOKAT
NOTE: only used as adverbs, not as adjectives!

Jó néhányat megevett.
He ate a number of them.

Elég sokat énekel.
He sings quite a lot.

Referring to people: JÓ NÉHÁNYAN, ELÉG SOKAN = SEVERAL PEOPLE
THE REQUIRE A 3RD PP VERB!

Jó néhányan kocognak a parkban.
Several people kog in the park.

Elég sokan dolgoznak még délután 4-kor.
Quite a lot of people are still working at 4 p.m.

No comparative degree!

JÓ SOK, RENGETEG = PLENTY OF, A GOOD/GREAT DEAL OF
They refer to: countable and uncountable

jó sok ember (a great number of people)
rengeteg ember (lots of people)
jó sok víz (plenty of water)
rengeteg víz (a great amount of water)

Accusative form: JÓ SOKAT, RENGETEGET
NOTE: only used as adverbs, not as adjectives!

Jó sokat megevett.
He ate plenty.

Rengeteget énekel.
He sings a great deal.

Referring to people: JÓ SOKAN, RENGETEGEN = A GREAT NUMBER PEOPLE
Jó sokan kocognak a parkban.
A great number of people jog in the park.

Rengetegen dolgoznak még.
Lots of people are still working.

No comparative degree!

TÚL SOK, TÚL KEVÉS = TOO MUCH/MANY, TOO LITTLE
They refer to: countable and uncountable

túl sok ember (too many people)
túl sok víz (too much water)
túl kevés ember (a very small amount of people)
túl kevés víz (too little water)

Accusative form: TÚL SOKAT, TÚL KEVESET
NOTE: only used as adverbs, not as adjectives!

Túl sokat evett. – He ate too many. (apples) OR
Túl sokat evett. – He ate too much.

Túl sokat jár úszni.
He goes swimming too often.

Túl keveset iszik.
He drinks too little.

Referring to people: TÚL SOKAN, TÚL KEVESEN
meaning: too many people, too little people
THEY REQUIRE  A 3RD PP VERB!

Túl sokan kocognak a parkban.
Too many people jog in the park.

Túl kevesen mentek el szavazni.
Only a small number of people went to vote.

NOTE! The adverb TÚL is derivated from the adverb TÚLSÁGOSAN = TOO

túlságosan nagy = túl nagy – too big

No comparative degree!

A LEGTÖBB, A LEGKEVESEBB = THE MOST, THE LEAST, THE FEWEST
They refer to: countable and uncountable

a legtöbb ember (most people)
a legkevesebb ember (the smallest number of people)
a legtöbb víz (most water)
a legkevesebb víz (the least water)

Accusative form: A LEGTÖBBET, A LEGKEVESEBBET
NOTE: only used as adverbs, not as adjectives!

Ő evett a legtöbbet. – She ate most of them. (most apples) OR
Ő ette meg a legtöbbet. She ate the most.

Ő jár úszni a legtöbbet.
He goes swimming mostly.

Ő énekel a legkevesebbet.
He sings (the) least. / He doesn’t really ever sing.

Referring to people: A LEGTÖBBEN, A LEGKEVESEBBEN
meaning: the most people, the fewest people
THEY REQUIRE A 3RD PP VERB!

A legtöbben reggelente kocognak a parkban.
Most people jog in the park in the morning.

A legkevesebben az iskolában voltak.
The fewest people were in school.

No comparative degree!

MINDEN, AZ ÖSSZES, AZ EGÉSZ, MINDEN EGYES =
EVERY, ALL, THE ENTIRE, EACH
minden refers to: countable
az összes: countable and uncountable
az egész: countable
minden egyes: countable

minden ember (every man)
az összes ember (all people)
az összes víz (all the water)
az egész ház (the entire house)
minden egyes ház (each house)

Accusative form: MINDENT, AZ ÖSSZESET, AZ EGÉSZET
NOTE: only used as adverbs

Mindent megevett. – She ate everything.
Az összeset megette. – She ate it all.
Az egészet megette. – She ate it all.

No accusative case specifically for minden egyes, but you can make the noun accusative after it:
Minden egyes almát megevett. – She ate each apple.

Referring to people: MINDENKI = EVERYBODY
Mindenki alszik még. – Everybody is sleeping.

CAREFUL WITH: az egészWhen fitted with the definite article, it requires singular and means: the entire, the whole. When NOT fitted with the definite article, it requires plural and means: whole. Take a look at this:

Az egész ház összeomlott. – The entire house has collapsed.
Egész házak omlottak össze. – Whole houses have collapsed.

Pretty much like in English: the whole + singular AND whole + plural

No comparative degree!

MINDKETTŐ, EGYIK…SEM, VALAMELYIK = BOTH, NONE, (N)EITHER
They refer to: countable

NOTE Mindkettő also has the form mindkét when functioning as adjective!

mindkét ház (both houses)
egyik ház sem (neither of the houses)
valamelyik ház (one of the houses)

Mindkét tortát megesszük – We eat both cakes.
Egyik tortát sem esszük meg. – We eat neither of the cakes.
Valamelyik tortát megesszük. – We eat one of the cakes.

Accusative form: MINDKETTŐT, EGYIKET SEM, VALAMELYIKET
NOTE: only used as adverbs

Mindkettőt megisszuk. – We drink both (of them).
Egyiket sem isszuk meg. – We won’t drink either (of them).
Valamelyiket megisszuk. – We’ll drink one (of them).

Referring to people: MINDKETTEN, EGYIKÜK SEM, VALAMELYIKÜK
meaning: both of them, none of them, one of them
THEY REQUIRE A 3RD PP VERB!

Mindketten alszanak már. – They both are sleeping already.
Egyikük sem alszik még. – None of them are sleeping yet.
Valamelyikük alszik már. – One of them is sleeping already.

No comparative degree!

MÁS, A MÁSIK, A TÖBBI = OTHER, THE OTHER
más refers to: countable
a másik refers to: countable
a többi refers to: countable and uncountable

NOTE! Más requires singular or plural depending on what you want to say. The rest needs singular as usual.

más történet (another story)
más történetek (other stories)
a másik történet (the other sotry)
a többi történet (the other stories)

Accusative form: MÁST, A MÁSIKAT, A TÖBBIT
meaning: something else, the other one, the others
Note: only used as adverbs

Mást akartam mondani.
I was going to say something else.

A másikat vette meg.
I bought the other one.

A többit is megvettem.
I bought the others, too.

Referring to people: MÁSOK, A TÖBBIEK = OTHER PEOPLE, THE OTHERS
THEY REQUIRE A 3RD PP VERB!

Mások az ellenkezőjét mondták.
Other people said the contrary of it.

A többiek már elmentek.
The others have already left.

One more thing about más. It also expresses ELSE!

valaki más = somebody else
valami más = something else
Ez valaki más(nak) a tolla. = This is someone else’s pen.

All righty. WE’RE DONE! So much for indefinite pronouns.

RELATIVE PRONOUNS

Relative pronouns refer to an object / person of the main clause and connect it with the subordinate clause.

Example:

Látom a lányt, aki a padon ül.
I see the girl (who is) sitting on the bench.

In this sentence, the English relative pronoun WHO is not mandatory to use.

HUNGARIAN RELATIVE PRONOUNS MUST BE ALWAYS USED EVEN IN ACCUSATIVE CASE!

A lány, akit régóta ismerek, a padon ül.
The girl (whom) I’ve known for long is sitting on the bench.

Hungarian relative pronouns are formed with: the prefix a- + an interrogative pronoun. They must agree in number and person and case! Examples:

a- + Ki? = aki
a- + Mi? = ami
a- + Mit? = amit
and so on…

IMPORTANT! As for Mi? there are two versions!

ami >> refers to undetermined people/things
(and used in the everyday language)

amely >> refers to determined people/things
(and used in more formal situations: talking to superior, news, speech)

Note that the spoken language prefers using ami to amely. More examples:

A kocsi, ami ott parkol, az enyém.
The car (which is) parking there is mine.

A kocsik, amik ott parkolnak az enyémek.
The cars (which are) parking there are mine.

A ház, amely épül, ronda.
The house (which is) being built is ugly.

A házak, amelyek épülnek, rondák.
The houses (which are) being built are ugly.

A film, amelyről beszélek, jó volt.
The movie (which) I’m talking about was good.

A filmek, amelyekről beszélek, jók voltak.
The movies (which) I’m talking about were good.

A fiú, akinek a szülei elváltak, szomorú.
The boy whose parents got divorced is sad.

A fiúk, akiknek a szülei elváltak, szomorúak.
The boys whose parents got divorced are sad.

A férfi, aki ott áll, rendőr.
The man (who is) standing over there is a cop.

A férfiak, akik ott állnak, rendőrök.
The men (who are) standing over there are cops.

Az, aki ezt mondja, hazudik.
The one who says that is lying.

Azok, akik ezt mondják, hazudnak.
Those who say that are lying.

A bankrabló, akit láttam, elfutott.
The bank robber (whom) I saw ran off.

A bankrablók, akiket láttam, elfutottak.
The bank robbers (whom) I saw ran off.

A ház, ahol lakom, nagy.
The house where I live is big.

A házak, ahol lakom, nagyok.
The houses where I live are big.

Futottam, ahogy bírtam.
I ran as I could.

Ameddig a szem ellát, fa van.
As far as the eye can reach, there’s nothing but trees.

Az ok, amiért hívtalak, egyszerű.
The reason (why) I called you is simple.

Az okok, amikért hívtalak, egyszerűek.
The reasons (why) I called you are simple.

NOTE! The relative pronoun ahol cannot be marked for case for obvious reasons. But according the the three directions phenomenon it has two more forms: ahova, ahonnan.

Abból a városból jövök, ahonnan te is jössz.
I come from the city where you also come from.

Oda megyek, ahova akarok.
I’m going where(ever) I want.

WE’RE FINISHED WITH PRONOUNS! Bye now! 🙂

Omitting Or Not Omitting? That Is The Question.

WHAT’S THE POINT OF OMITTING DATIVE AND ACCUSATIVE PRONOUNS?

The very first reason the definite conjugation developed is not the fact that Hungarian people were eager to refer to specific/definite objects with a different conjugation type. The reason the definite conjugation survived the language reforms is: COMPRESSION.

Compressing the meaning of the direct object makes sentences shorter and allows to express nuances, as well as the use of the accusative and dative pronouns (may) become obsolete.

Take a look at how other languages form the following sentence:

English: I write you a letter.
German: Ich schreibe dir einen Brief.
Italian: Ti scrivo una lettera.
Spanish: Te escribo una letra.

It is the same pattern. Either you need two pronouns (English, German) or you need one pronoun and you conjugate the verb (Italian, Spanish). The point is that you always form sentences of this kind in these languages.

What is the Hungarian translation?

Hungarian: Írok neked egy levelet. OR Írok egy levelet.

If you know who you’re talking about, you can omit the dative pronoun neked. Let’s say we’re in this situation:

You’re walking on the street and you meet an old friend.

You: I haven’t seen you for ages.
Friend: I know. It’s been a long time since high-school.
You: We really should meet sometime.
Friend: Yes, we should. I’ll give you my address.
You: Then I’ll write you a letter and we’ll see the rest.

(Of course, nowadays you would write an e-mail or make a call, but that doesn’t matter now.)

So we have this conversation where it is obvious who’s talking to who and who’s giving the address / writing a letter to who. English can’t make it in a different way, it uses the personal pronoun I and the indirect pronoun (dative pronoun) you actually meaning to you.

And that’s when Hungarian says ’BULLSHIT!’ Why should I refer to someone if I know exactly who the talk is about? So I just forget about the fact that dative pronouns even exist because I write a letter to you and I give my address to you, obviously.

How does the conversation above sound in Hungarian?

Te: Ezer éve nem láttalak.
Barát: Tudom, sok idő telt el a gimi óta.
Te: Találkozhatnánk egyszer.
Barát: Igen, tényleg. Megadom a címemet.
Te: Én meg írok egy levelet, a többit meg majd meglátjuk.

Wait a sec! You can omit dative (and accusative) pronouns with indefinite conjugation, as well? Sure you can. That’s the beauty of the Hungarian language.

Take a look at the English sentences if we omit the pronouns. Is the text understandable anyway?

You: I haven’t seen you for ages.
Friend: I know. It’s been a long time since high-school.
You: We really should meet sometime.
Friend: Yes, we should. I’ll give my address.
You: Then I’ll write a letter and we’ll see the rest.

YES, IT IS! It might sound strange like that, but everything is understandable from the context.

And this phenomenon works for all numbers and persons, not just for the I-you relation. Nevertheless, you need to have a context giving you a hint who or what the talk is about. With no context, that’s what we get:

Elmondod? Will you tell?

Tell? Who should I tell? There is no context whatsoever for me to deduce who I should tell. However, it is already unambiguous what I should tell. That’s why the definite conjugation is used. You could complete the question like this:

Elmondod azt? Will you tell about that?

But you don’t need to. The definite conjugation already refers to azt. What we don’t know is who the person is we should tell. It’s impossible to figure out with no context. Let’s give it a context.

Girl1: I cheated on my boyfriend last night?
Girl2: Will you tell him (about that)?

Lány1: Tegnap este megcsaltam a barátomat.
Lány2: Elmondod neki (azt)?

So she should tell HIM = NEKI. And now that there’s a context, we don’t need neki.

Elmondod? Will you tell him?

What if I ask ’Will you tell him everything?’ Then you use indefinite conjugation because everyhing = minden is an indefinite numeral.

Elmondasz mindent? Will you tell him everything?

OR

Elmondasz neki mindent? Will you tell him everything?

Despite all these explanations above, remember this:

IT IS NOT MANDATORY TO OMIT THE ACCUSATIVE AND DATIVE PRONOUNS. IT IS YOUR CHOICE.

But sometimes omitting them definitely makes the conversation ’more Hungarian’.

The One Who

THE ONE WHO = AZ,  AKI…, …

As you see, the Hungarian equivalent is:

Az, aki…,… OR
Aki…, az…

Examples:

Aki délben napozik, az hamar leég.
Az, aki naptej nélkül napozik, hamar leég.
The one who sunbathes at noon, will get a sunburn soon.

’Az’ and ’aki’ can vary depending on the sentence:

Aki embert öl, annak börtönbe kell mennie.
Annak, aki embert öl, börtönbe kell mennie.
The one who kills people has to go to jail.

Of course you can write different sentences similar to English:

The one who learns Hungarian is likely to be pretty ambitious.
Az, aki magyarul tanul, eléggé törekvő lehet.

He who learns Hungarian is likely to be pretty ambitious.
Az, aki magyarul tanul, eléggé törekvő lehet.

The person who learns Hungarian is likely to be pretty ambitious.
Az az ember, aki magyarul tanul, eléggé törekvő lehet.

The people who learn Hungarian are likely to be pretty ambitious.
Azok az emberek, akik magyarul tanulnak, eléggé törekvőek lehetnek.

Those who learn Hungarian are likely to be pretty ambitious.
Azok, akik magyarul tanulnak, eléggé törekvőek lehetnek.