Suffixes / Adverbs of Place – Different Point of View


Foreign students have to be careful how to translate certain suffixes in English. The use of Hungarian suffixes often differs from that of English prepositions. In the following examples you see the Hungarian sentence first, then the English translation and then the exact translation from Hungarian. Examples:

Az egyetemen vagyok. – I’m at the university.
I’m on the university.

Iskolában vagyok. – I’m at school.
I’m in school.

Az állomáson vagyok – I’m at the station.
I’m on the station.

Az egyetemre megyek. – I’m going to the university.
I’m going onto the university.

Iskolába megyek. – I’m going to school.
I’m going into school.

Az állomásra megyek. – I’m going to the station.
I’m going onto the station.

A villamosra szállok. – I’m getting on the tram.
I’m getting onto the tram.

Az egyetemről jövök. – I’m coming from the university.
I’m coming from the university.

Az iskolából jövök. – I’m coming from school.
I’m coming from school.

Az állomásról jövök. – I’m coming from the station.
I’m coming from the station.

A villamosról leszállok. – I’m getting off the tram.
I’m getting from the tram.

Hungarian people go on the surface of the station, inside the school in a more proper sense. Basically, what you should do is thinking in a literal sense:

If I go to school, I have to go inside the building in order to be in school. So I use the suffixes -ban, -ben (in). If I go to the station, and I’m at the station already, I must have stepped onto the surface of the station to be on the station, so I use and -on, -en, -ön (on).

Sorry for this circumlocutional explanation, but what I’m trying to say is:

Think logically

Of course, a language wouldn’t be a language without exceptions and irregularities, so the general rule above isn’t always true. You can see an example for that right above in those sentences.

Egyetemre megyek.

A university must be a building, so I should go inside the building. How can Hungarian people ”go onto the university”? Well, it is an exception. To make it simple for you, here’s a small list of places you have to use -ra, -re with, instead of -ba, -be. And so if you ARE at those places, the suffixes are -on, -en, -ön.

egyetem (university), főiskola (college), posta (post office), rendőrség (police), tűzoltóság (fire department), állomás (station)

Postára megyek. – I’m going to the post office.
A postán vagyok. – I am in the post office.

A rendőrségre megy. – He’s going to the police.
A rendőrségen van. – He’s at the police.

Beside those words up there, there are some more exceptions, but those have something to do with countries. That’s going to be our next topic.

In the meantime, practise using the suffixes we’ve learned.


Grouping suffixes according to position:

Inside: -ba, -be, -ban, -ben, -ból, -ből
On the surface: -ra, -re, -n, -on, -en, -ön, -ról, -ről
Near, next to: -hoz, -hez, -höz, -nál, -nél, -tól, -től

Grouping suffixes according to direction:

Towards: -ba, -be; -ra, -re; -hoz, -hez, -höz
Position: -ban, -ben; -n, -on, -en, -ön; -nál, -nél
Away from: -ból, -ből; -ról, -ről; -tól, -től

One comment on “Suffixes / Adverbs of Place – Different Point of View

  1. Jana says:

    11) Ebben az alcímban helyesen lehet inkább: careful how to translate. Angolban nincs a careful with szókapcsolat.

    Angolban nem létezik ilyen szókapcsolat: circumstantial explanation, de inkább: circumlocutional explanation, ami a locution alapalakból le van vezetve.

    Tovább írta: How comes Hungarian people ”go onto the university”?, de ilyesmi kérdésben can segédige megillető: How can…?

    Tovább írta: if you ARE at those place, de helyesen: those places. Ez a mutató névmás csak a többes számú főnevekkel kapcsolódik.


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