Possession – Possessive Case


Finally we got to possession. And now I’m telling you what I’ve been telling you all along. Remember how to make nouns plural because that can help when we discuss the possessive case. But first an evident question:


And the answer is NO. English uses the verb ‘to have’, a transitive verb to express possession: I have a house, They have no money…

Hungarian, in turn, uses a whole different method when it comes to expressing possession of this kind. Even if there is a verb similar to ‘to have’, birtokolni, it would sound constrained if we wanted to use this verb for this special purpose. Hungarian uses such a construction: DATIVE PRONOUN + SUBSTANTIVE VERB 3rd PS or 3rd PP + INDEFINITE ARTICLE + NOUN WITH POSSESSIVE ENDING

I know it’s long to write it down like that, so let’s see this example: I have a houseNekem van egy házam.

Nekem (dative pronoun) + van (substantive verb 3rd PS) + egy (indefinite article) + házam (noun with possessive ending -m)

In everyday language, the dative pronoun and the indefinite article are omitted or can be omitted, so you can also say: Van házam. So it is mandatory to use the substantive verb van/vannak and the noun with its possessive endings. More examples:

Sok türelmük van. – They have a lot of patience.
Macskáid is vannak? – Do you have some cats, too?
Nincs pénzem. – I have no money.

NOTE! The substantive verb is van or vannak, depending on whether someone owns one thing or more than one thing. The negative form is nincs/nincsenek:

Nincs autóm. – I have no car./ Nincsenek barátaimI have no friends. Summary:

van/nincs OR nincsen + singular thing to possess
vannak/nincsenek + plural things to possess

Because of the topic-prominent aspect, you can also say: Autóm nincs. Házunk van. In this case you put an emphasis on  what you have: It is a car that I don’t have. It is a house that we have. But English usually solves this problem with verbal emphasis. The bold letters show the most important thing in the sentence now. So here are your possibilities:

Van barátnőm. – I have a girlfriend.
Barátnőm van. – I have a girlfriend. (It is a girlfriend that I have)
Nincs barátnőm. – I have no girlfriend.
Barátnőm nincs. – As for a girlfriend, I don’t have any.

ONE MORE THING! I forgot to mention that the singular negative verb nincs has another version: nincsen. You choose which to use.


Once again, I presume you already know how to make nouns plural!! That knowledge will help you deal with the possessive case, just as it helped you with the accusative case.

First we should make it clear: there is no genitive in Hungarian. It is called the possessive case.

Alrighty. Hungarian possession is expressed with possessive endings and possessive pronouns. And the English equivalents are:

Hungarian > English
possessive endings > possessive pronouns as adjectives
e.g. -m, -d, -ja > for ex.: my, your, his

possessive pronouns > possessive pronouns as adverbs
e.g. enyém, tied > for ex.: mine, yours


Here they are:

Number and person > Possessive endings
1st PS > –m, -om, -am, -em, -öm
2nd PS > -d, -od, -ad, -ed, -öd
3rd PS > -(j)a, -(j)e
1st PP > -nk, -unk, -ünk
2nd PP > -(a/o)tok, -(e)tek, -(ö)tök
3rd PP > -(j)uk, -(j)ük

Apparently, there is only one ending for all numbers/persons. It looks like there are too many because link vowels are added to them if needed. It is always -m for 1st PS and we add link vowels if needed. It is always -d for 2nd PS and we add link vowels if needed. Etc.

NOTE! No different ending for masculine and feminine as Hungarian doesn’t care about genders. It’s just about the right possessive ending for high and deep-vowel words.

Let’s get started!

Group 1: The vowels A, E become Á, É when at the very end of a noun (like nouns: apa – apák)

apa (father) – apám (my father)
anya (mother) – anyád (your mother)
epe (bile) – epéje (his/her bile)
kemence (furnace) – kemencéjük (their furnace)

Group 2: nouns in a consonant take the possessive endings with a link vowel. Now I’ll give you one noun from the rest of those groups you know as examples:

HIGH-VOWEL NOUN: szék (chair); gyümölcs (fruit)
székem, széked, széke, székünk, széketek, székük (with e link vowel because: szék-székek-széket-székem)
gyümölcsöm, gyümölcsöd, gyümölcse, gyümölcsünk, gyümölcsötök, gyümölcsük (with ö link vowel because: gyümölcs-gyümölcsök-gyümölcsöt-gyümölcsöm)

DEEP-VOWEL NOUN: állat (animal); ház (house); száj (mouth)
állatom, állatod, állata, állatunk, állatotok, állatuk (with o link vowel because: állat-állatok-állatot-állatom)
házam, házad, háza, házunk, házatok, házuk (with a link vowel because: ház-házak-házat-házam)
Exception: szám, szád, szája, szánk, szátok, szájuk

LAST VOWEL SHORTENED: kéz (hand), nyár (summer); ész (mind)
kezem, kezed, keze, kezünk, kezetek, kezük (É becomes E because: kéz-kezek-kezet-kezem)
nyaram, nyarad, nyara, nyarunk, nyaratok, nyaruk (A becomes Á because: nyár-nyarak-nyarat-nyaram)
eszem, eszed, esze, eszünk, eszetek, eszük (É becomes E: ész-eszem…, but its accusative form does not change: észt; no plural form in any case)

DROP-VOWEL NOUN: vödör (bucket)
vödröm, vödröd, vödre, vödrünk, vödrötök, vödrük (because: vödör-vödrök-vödröt-vödröm)

V-NOUN: (stone)
kövem, köved, köve, kövünk, követek, kövük (because: kő-kövek-követ-kövem)

fű-füve (grass), mű-műve (work of art), nyű-nyüve (maggot), cső-csöve (tube), tő-töve (stem), hő-hője/heve (heat), hó-hava (snow), jó-java (values, estates), ló-lova (horse), tó-tava (lake), tetű-tetve (cootie), lé-leve (juice), mag-magja/magva (seed), daru-darva/daruja (crane-animel/crane-machine), falu-falva (village), szó-szava (words)

Group 3: Some nouns in 3rd PS and 3rd PP take the possessive endings –a, -e, -uk, -ük WITHOUT J. All I can give you is an unstable rule which is: drop-vowel nouns (terem-terme) and nouns with the last vowel shortened (madár-madara) belong to this group. As well as nouns ending in consonants like: c, cs, gy, h, j, k, l, ny, s, sz, ty, z, zs. The plural endings are -ai, ei/-jai, -jei according to the consonants listed: ágya (his bed) – ágyai (his beds); rúzsa (her lipstick) – rúzsai (her lipsticks) BUT kertje (his garden) – kertjei (his gardens); lantja (his lute) – lantjai (his lutes)…

méhei her wombs (méh has two meaning: bee and womb)
fejei his heads
begyei its crops
gyerekeihis children
asztalaihis tables
fényei his lights
kulacsaihis gourds
hasaihis stomachs
bajuszaihis moustaches (if it made sense in plural) 🙂
mezei his shirts
varázsaihis magics

More examples: zsebe – his pocket, lazaca – his salmon, gerince – his spine, kenőcse – his grease, beszéde – his speech, anyaga – his material, szőnyege – his carpet, ágya – his bed, potroha – its abdomen, vaja – his butter, ablaka – his window, gyereke – his child, viadala – his battle, jele – his sign, súlya – his weight, helye – his place, szerszáma – his tool, öröme – his joy, rokona – his relative, sárkánya – his kite, szekrénye – his wardrobe, talpa – his foot, gépe – his machine, bora – his wine, nővére – his elder sister, társa – his mate, kése – his knife, kosza – his dirt, fürésze – his saw, tárlata – his exhibition, viselete – his garb, pontya – his carp, löttye – his wish-wash, kedve – his mood, doboza – his box

Group 4: Some nouns changing long Ő to E and long Ó to A in the possessive case. This rule is only valid for 3rd PS and 3rd PP.

idő (time): időm, időd, ideje, időnk, időtök, idejük

mező (field): mezőm, meződ, mezeje, mezőnk, mezőtök, mezejük

tető (roof): tetőm, tetőd, teteje, tetőnk, tetőtök, tetejük

ajtó (door): ajtóm, ajtód, ajtaja, ajtónk, ajtótok, ajtajuk

erő (force): erőm, erőd, ereje, erőnk, erőtök, erejük

erdő (forest): erdőm, erdőd, erdeje, erdőnk, erdőtök, erdejük

velő (marrow of a bone): velőm, velőd, veleje, velőnk, velőtök, velejük

anya (mother): anyja, anyjuk

apa (father): apja, apjuk

fiú (boy, son): has two possessive endings
fiúja, fiújuk means her boyfriend, their boyfriend
fia, fiuk means his/her son, their son

belső-belseje (inward, interior), külső-külseje (outward, exterior), fő-feje (head), nő-neje (woman), tüdő-tüdeje (lungs), vő-veje (son-in-law)

Group 5: Some nouns have two possibilities: using –A or -JA / -UK or -JUK and -E or -JE / -ÜK or -JÜK. This rule is only for 3rd PS and 3rd PP. (referring back to Group 3)

fotel – fotele / fotelje (his armchair)
újság – újsága / újságja (his newspaper)
virág – virága / virágja (his flower)
pillér – pillére / pillérje (its pier)

madzaga / madzagja (his string), párlata / párlatja (his distillate), segéde / segédje (his helper), vérte / vértje (his armour); ára (his price) / árja (his awl), tőre (his dagger) / tőrje (his trap), belsője (his tyre tube) / belseje (his inwards)

Sometimes there is a change in meaning: kar – kara (his faculty) BUT kar – karja (his arm)

How to use definite articles with the possessive case?

Simple. The definite articles  (a, az) are ALWAYS used with possessive case except one occasion when it is optional. It is optional when the sentence begins with a noun in the possessive case. Then you can choose if you use it or not.

A barátnőmet szeretem. – I love my girlfriend.
Barátnőmet szeretem. – I love my girlfriend.

So the Hungarian definite article must or can be used with the possessive case. Unlike English!!!



And where is that i inserted? Take a look at this:

lakás (flat, apartment):
SINGULAR: lakásom (my flat), lakásod (your flat), lakása (his/her flat), lakásunk (our flat), lakásotok (your flat), lakásuk (their flat)

PLURAL: lakásaim (my flats), lakásaid (your flats), lakásai (his/her flats), lakásaink (our flats), lakásaitok (your flats), lakásaik (their flats)

füzet (notebook):
SINGULAR: füzetem (my notebook), füzeted (your notebook), füzete (his/her notebook), füzetünk (our notebook), füzetetek (your notebook), füzetük (their notebook)

PLURAL: füzeteim (my notebooks), füzeteid (your notebooks), füzetei (his/her notebooks), füzeteink (our notebooks), füzeteitek (your notebooks), füzeteik (their notebooks)


-(o)m                         -aim
-(o)d                          -aid
-a                                -ai
-unk                           -aink
-(o)tok                     -aitok
-uk                             -aik

-(e)m                         -eim
-(e)d                           -eid
-e                                  -ei
-ünk                           -eink
-(e)tek                      -eitek
-ük                              -eik

That’s the plural for the possessive case. More next time, but first practise possessive plural with these words. I’ll give you the person and number you should put these nouns in. ONE PROPERTY means you use the singular endings. MORE PROPERTIES means you use the plural endings.

Example:  macska – macskám (1st PS) one property

ebéd – ______________ (3rd PS) one property

férj – ______________ (1st PP) one property

ház – _______________ (2nd PS) more properties

gyerek – ______________ (2nd PP) more properties

adat – ________________ (3rd PS) more properties







A T T E N T I O N!

3rd person singular                   az ő háza = his house
az ő házuk = their house

3rd person plural                       az ő házai = his houses
az ő házaik = their houses


Once learned how to form the singular and plural in possessive case, you only add –at or -et to the word.


The form of 1st and 2nd person singular do not necessarily require the accusative case. Those forms can be considered both subjective and accusative as they are. You choose if you make accusative those forms!

asztalom(at) / asztalaim(at) (my tables)
asztalod(at) / asztalaid(at) (your tables)
asztalát / asztalait (his tables)
asztalunkat / asztalainkat (our tables)
asztalotokat / asztalaitokat (your tables)
asztalukat / asztalaikat (their tables)

képem(et) / képeim(et) (my pictures)
képed(et) / képeid(et) (your pictures)
képét / képeit (his pictures)
képünket / képeinket (our pictures)
képeteket /képeiteket (your pictures)
képüket / képeiket (their pictures)


That’s why it’s important to learn the correct pronunciation:

termet (room – accusative)
termét (his room – possessive in accusative case)

képet (image – accusative)
képét (his image – possessive in accusative case)

tollat (pen – accusative)
tollát (his pen – possessive in accusative case)

fogat (tooth – accusative)
fogát (his tooth – possessive in accusative case)

NOTE! The suffix -i is needed to express that there are more things somebody owns. The suffix -k is present in the plural suffixes, of course: -aink, eik, aitok


Summary for possessive endings:

N/P                       S                                 P
1st PS                   -(a/o/e/ö)m         im (-aim, -eim)
2ns PS                 (a/o/e/ö)d            id (-aid, -eid)
3rd PS                 -(j)a, -(j)e            -(j)ai, -(j)ei
1st PP                  -unk, -ünk            ink (-aink, -eink)
2nd PP                -tok, -tek, -tök    itok, –itek (-aitok, -eitek)
3rd PP                 -(j)uk, -(j)ük       ik (-aik, -eik)

This summary shows you which endings can have link vowels and how they change in the plural.


So far, we haven’t really dealt with personal pronouns. It is because Hungarian personal pronouns are only used in point of possession when the possessor needs to be stressed. In this case, the definite article must be used. Example:

Ez az én házam, nem a tied. – This is my house, not yours.

Possessive endings with personal pronouns:

az én…-m
a te…-d
az ő…-ja, -je
a mi…-unk, -ünk
a ti…-tok, -tek, -tök
az ő…-juk, -jük

az én…-aim, -eim
a te…-aid, -eid
az ő…-ai, -ei
a mi…-aink, -eink
a ti…-aitok, -eitek
az ő…-aik, -eik

In the sentence above, the word TIED (YOURS) is already a possessive pronoun. And that’s our next topic.


Hungarian possessive pronouns are used in sentences like: The bag is mine. Mine is a possessive pronoun.

Possessive pronouns:

SINGULAR                PLURAL
az enyém                 az enyéim – mine
a tied                        a tieid – yours
az övé                       az övéi – his/hers
a mienk                   a mieink – ours
a tietek                     a tieitek – yours
az övék                     az övéik – theirs

3rd PS polite forms: Öné, Magáé; 3rd PP polite forms: Magukéi, Önökéi.

As you see, English has one form for each person. No plural form. Hungarian possessive pronouns do have a plural form. All you have to do is to embed an i just as in the aforementioned examples.

NOTE! The definite articles are always used with the possessive pronouns!!


A ház a tied. – The house is yours.
A ceruza a mienk. – The pencil is ours.
A könyv az övék. – The book is theirs.
Az alma az enyém.  – The apple is mine.

A játékok az övéi. – The toys are hers.
A játékok az övéik. – The toys are theirs.

Az asztalok a tieid. – The tables are yours. (yours – 2nd PS)
Az asztalok a tieitek. – The tables are yours. (yours – 2nd PP)

If you want to stress the possessor even more, put the possessive pronoun at the beginning of the sentence. You can do that due to the topic-prominent aspect: Enyém a megtiszteltetés. – The honour is mine.

NOTE! tied also has this form: tiéd AND mienk has this form: miénk. The e can be an é in the singular form. No difference in meaning. You choose which to use.

A kocsi a tied. – The car is yours.
A kocsi a tiéd. – The car is yours.

As the substantive verb (van, vannak) is not used in 3rd PS and 3rd PP (as you see in the examples), think of the definite article replacing the substantive verb in a such a context: A kocsi a tied. – The car is yours.


The question Whose? is Kié? in Hungarian. Kié? is is the combination of the interrogative word Ki? (Who?) + the suffix -é, which is the equivalent to the English …’s: Whose is this book? It’s Peter‘s.

There are two questions for Whose?: Kié? Kinek a? There is no difference between them, use whichever you want.

The answer (the possessor) gets that -é suffix attached to the end of a common noun or a proper name, too:

Whose is this book? -It is Peter‘s.
Kié ez a könyv? -Péteré.
Kinek a könyve ez? -Péteré.

You see it doesn’t matter which question word you use. Kié? is just as good as Kinek a(z)?, but note the grammatical issues in those two sentences.

Kié? does not require the property (könyv) to have a possessive ending.
Kinek a? requires the property (könyve) to have a possessive ending.

And the explanation is simple. Remember this? “A férfi felesége” (The man’s wife): feleség needs the possessive ending -e because that expresses a possession. And the sentence also can be: a férfinak a felesége. But you don’t have to use -nak a, -nek a if you don’t want to, or there is no need for it (Remember all those stuff? ).

That’s why the property needs a possessive ending when answering to Kinek a? As this question has -nek a in it, we insert the sema suffix in the answer, too. (Am I complicated enough ?)

You also can make those questions plural (Kiék? Kiknek a?) if you ask about more properties, but the answer already indicates if there is one or more than one property.

Alright. Digest this part first and next time I’ll tell you more about it. Til then, examples for you:

Kié ez a toll? –Az enyém.
Whose is this pen? –It’s mine.

Kiék ezek a tollak? –Az enyéim.
Whose are these pens? –They’re mine.

Kinek az üvege ez? -Ádámé.
Whose is this bottle? -It’s Adam‘s.

Kiknek az üvegei ezek? -Ádáméi.
Whose are these bottles? -They are Adam‘s.

NOTE! If the answer has more than one item, the suffix -é becomes -éi (unlike in English). And there’s only one version (-é, -éi) for both high- and deep-vowel nouns!

Kié az a szék? -Balázsé. / –Whose is that chair? -It’s Balázs.
Kiék azok a székek? -Balázséi. / –Whose are those chairs? -They’re Balázs.


Another method to express something is in someone’s possession is with the verb: to belong. The Hungarian equivalent is: tartozik.

The English verb “to belong” requires the preposition “to”: it belongs to the man.
The Hungarian verb “tartozik” requires the suffixes -hoz, -hez, -höz: a férfihoz tartozik.

So the question is: Who/What…to? = Kihez / Mihez…?

Kihez tartozik ez a toll? Who does this pen belong to?
Mihez tartozik a gomb? What does the button belong to?

A toll a tanulóhoz tartozik. – The pen belongs to the student.
A gomb a kabáthoz tartozik. – The button belongs to the jacket.

These are just examples for you to be ”grammatical”. In everyday speech, we prefer asking “Whose is this pen?”, just like we prefer asking “Kié ez a toll?”.


to belong to sg = tartozik…-hoz, -hez, -höz
Kihez? = Who…to?
Mihez? = What…to?

You can make these questions plural, too: Kikhez? Mikhez?


Possessive endings: the example is for high-vowel nouns

a képem / az én képem
képed / a te képed
képe / az ő képe
képünk / a mi képünk
képetek / a ti képetek
képük / az ő képük

a képeim / az én képeim
képeid / a te képeid
képei / az ő képei
képeink / a mi képeink
képeitek / a ti képeitek
képeik / az ő képeik

Possessive pronouns:

A kép az enyém. / A képek az enyéim.
A kép a tied. / A képek a tieid.
A kép az övé. / A képek az övéi.
A kép a mienk. / A képek a mieink.
A kép a tietek. / A képek a tieitek.
A kép az övék. / A képek az övéik.

More examples:

Fáj a lábam. – My leg aches.
A lábam fáj, nem a fejem. – My leg aches, not my head.

A felelősség a miénk. – The responsibility is ours.
Miénk a felelősség. – The responsibility is ours. Ours is the responsibility.

A házad nagy. – Your house is big.
A nagy ház a tiéd. – The big house is yours.
Tiéd a nagy ház. – The big house is yours. Yours is the big house.


If you want to express that something belongs to someone, you use the preposition of, or you attach ‘s to the end of the noun, or both: John‘s wife, the essence of the question, the color of the dog‘s kennel

Such Hungarian sentences are formed with the possessive endings and these suffixes: -nak a, -nek a

NOTE! Dative case suffixes are: -nak, -nek. Possessive case suffixes require the definite articles: -nak a(z), -nek a(z)

With one property, these suffixes can be omitted. With more properties, -nak a, -nek a must be used at least with one of the properties.

John‘s wife – Jánosnak a felesége OR János felesége
the essence of the question – a kérdésnek a lényege OR a kérdés lényege
the color of the dog‘s kennel – a kutya házának a színe

In the first two examples there is only one property: wife, essence. In the third one we have two properties: color, kennel, so it is a must to use -nak a with ház. You don’t have to use it with kutya because that would sound constrained. BUT it is always important to have a possessive ending attached to the property which sometimes is present before -nak a, -nek a, too (a házának a: because ház is a possessor and a property!)

The Hungarian word order is the same when English uses ‘s: POSSESSOR + PROPERTY!

a kocsi kereke OR a kocsinak a kereke (the wheel of the car; literally: the car’s wheel)

After all, it’s not the same: az ember(nek a) hatalma – the power of the man (the man’s power)
a hatalom(nak az) embere – the man of the power (the power’s man)

We’re finished with Possession 🙂

Dative Case


What is the function of dative case? It describes a situation when something is done for/to someone/something. Example:

Könyvet adok a barátomnak. – I give a book to my friend./I give my friend a book.

Nouns put in dative case is called indirect object according to the English concept!

The suffixes for it are: -NAK, -NEK. The suffix -nak is for deep-vowel nouns and adjectives, -nek for high-vowel nouns and adjectives. English equivalent is: preposition to/for or a pronoun as indirect object (I give him a book).

NOTE! The dative case doesn’t require any link vowel! You just add -nak or -nek to the noun or adjective. But you can put plural nouns in dative case. You do that by making the noun plural first and then adding -nak or -nek. I’ll write the examples with an English preposition. That way, you can compare the English sentence to the Hungarian one.

Puszit adok a lánynak. – I give a kiss on the cheek to the girl.
Puszit adok a lányoknak. – I give a kiss on the cheek to the girls.

Ajándékot hoztam a csapatnak. – I brought a gift for the team.
Ajándékot hoztam a csapatoknak. – I brought a gift for the teams.

Ne mondj ilyet a gyereknek! – Don’t say such a thing to the child.
Ne mondj ilyet a gyerekeknek! – Don’t say such a thing to the children.

That’s all you have to know about dative case. We’re through with it.


You see that the plural and the accusative case are based on each other. If you know the plural, you know the accusative. And you have no problem with the dative case at all, since it has no link vowels. What you should remember is this: MAKE NOUNS PLURAL FIRST and then MAKE THEM ACCUSATIVE OR DATIVE.

Of course, it doesn’t make any sense making a noun accusative and dative! Don’t do this: a lánytnak. It just makes no sense.

Nouns and Plural Form – Nominative Case


First the solution to the article exercise:

az ablak – the window

a konyha – the kitchen

egy ajtó – a door

egy kalap – a hat

egy / az élet – a life, the life


There is no need to worry about Hungarian nouns. As there is no gender discrimination, nouns are neither masculine nor feminine. We don’t have neuter nouns, either. They are nouns just like in English.

In English, the plural is formed in this way: houses, oxen, and there are a couple of exceptions for different reasons like fish, information, advice, police, people, man/men, child/children

Hungarian plural is formed the suffix -k. You add that -k to the end of the nouns like this: méhek (bees), emberek (people), házak (houses), állomások (stations). So far so good. The difficulty is that there are exceptions worthy of consideration.

Rule 1: a/e become á/é in the plural at the end of a noun.

anya – anyák (mother – mothers)
apa – apák (father – fathers)
kacsa – kacsák (duck – ducks)
kefe – kefék (brush – brushes)
eke – ekék (plough – ploughs)
teve – tevék (camel – camels)

Any other vowel is free from this rule. You just add -k to end of a noun: kapuk (gates), padlók (floors), erdők (forests), kesztyűk (gloves).

NOTE! Hungarian nouns never end in Á, É, O, Ö!

Rule 2: If nouns end a in consonant or two, it would be difficult even for us to pronounce them with the -k suffix. That’s way we need a vowel between the noun and the plural suffix -k. It’s called LINK VOWEL. Link vowels can be: o, a, e, ö.

Let’s see the high-vowel nouns first! High vowels are: e, é, ö, ő, ü, ű. Now let’s forget about i, í for a moment.

1. High-vowel nouns take the suffix -k + an E or Ö link vowel. Suffixes for such nouns are -EK or -ÖK. Nouns having e, é take -EK. Examples:

emberek (people), jelek (signs), székek (chairs), gépek (machines)

2. High-vowel nouns whose last syllable is ö, ő, ü, ű take the plural -ÖK. Examples:

elnökök (presidents), gyümölcsök (fruits), köldökök (navels), küszöbök (thresholds), örömök (delights)

3. Monosyllabic high-vowel nouns containing ö, ő, ü, ű and ending in one or two consonants take -EK or -ÖK. These nouns must be memorized!

övek (belts), őzek (roes), tőgyek (udders), fülek (ears), ügyek (affairs), rügyek (burgeons), völgyek (valleys), hölgyek (ladies), könyvek (books), tölgyek (oaks), szörnyek (monsters), földek (lands), törzsek (trunks)

Irregular nouns are: szűz – szüzek (virgins) and tűz – tüzek (fires) whose long ű becomes short ü in the plural form.

tökök (marrows), gyökök (roots), körök (circles), szőrök (hairs), bőrök (skins), gőzök (steams), bűzök (stenches), őrök (guards), böjtök (fasts), szörpök (syrups), görcsök (cramps), fürtök (clusters), kürtök (horns)

4. High-vowel suffixes requiring -EK. You don’t have to know what those suffixes do, but if you see them, you’ll know how to put them in the plural form.

  • -vény / emelvények – platforms
  • -mény / élmények – experiences
  • -és / kérések – requests
  • -et / felületek – surfaces
  • -ség / térségek – areas
  • -ész / kertészek – gardeners
  • -zet / mennyezetek – ceilings

Sorry if some English nouns (which shouldn’t be) are made plural, but I want to show you how those Hungarian nouns can be made plural.

Now we’ll talk about deep-vowel nouns.

Rule 3: Deep-vowel nouns take the plural -OK or -AK.

1. Standard deep-vowel nouns simply take -OK:

kalapok (hats), állatok (animals), vonatok (trains), lányok (girls)

2. Two monosyllabic deep-vowel nouns take -AK: fogak (teeth), tollak (pens; feathers)

3. Some monosyllabic deep-vowel nouns containing a, á take the plural -AK (because of historical reasons). I’m going to write just a few of them. You can see and learn the rest in the book you can download:

kádak (bath-tubs), falak (walls), halak (fish), gyárak (factories)

4. Monosyllabic deep-vowel nouns ending in two consonants and having a, á either take -OK or -AK. No rules for them. You’d better memorize them.

árnyak (shadows), szárnyak (wings), nyársak (prods), társak (mates), sarjak (sprouts), tárgyak (objects)


tapsok (applauses), kardok (swords), partok (shores, beaches), pártok (political parties), pántok (hinges), táncok (dances), sáncok (fortifications)

5. Deep-vowel suffixes requiring -OK. You don’t need to know (yet) what these suffixes do, but if you see them, you know you have to make them plural with -OK.

-vány / látványok  – spectacles
-mány / takarmányok – forages
-ás / szokások – customs
-at / lakatok – padlocks
-ság / társaságok – companionships
-ász / jogászok – jurists
-zat / ruházatok – clothings

Furthermore, there are three nouns ending in ú and taking the plural -AK:

borjú / borjak (calves)
varjú / varjak (crows)


fiú has two plural forms: fiúk / fiak. The plural FIÚK means BOYS, while the plural FIAK means SONS.


Drop-vowel nouns suffer some kind of mutation when made plural (and also accusative. Later about that). Let’s see this example: BOKOR (bush)

Step 1: Remove the last vowel BOKOR and you get this: BOKR

Step 2: Figure out what link vowel you need. In this case, it’s logical. We need O: BOKRO

Step 3: Add the plural suffix -K: BOKROK

BOKOR – bush
BOKROK – bushes

There are a couple of nouns like bokor. I’ll give you a few examples. Please check the rest of the nouns belonging to this category in the ‘Download the grammar book’ section. Listing them all would take a lot of space in this entry.

álom / álmok (dreams), dolog /dolgok (things), ököl / öklök (fists), szobor / szobrok (statues)

Typical drop-vowel nouns end in -ALOM, -ELEM suffix: szerelem / szerelmek (loves), hatalom / hatalmak (powers).

-ALOM becomes -ALMAK
-ELEM becomes -ELMEK

I cannot give you an exact number of how many nouns like these above exist because -alom, -elem turn verbs into nouns. It depends on what you would like to say.



With these nouns it is easy to know the plural. -Ek for high-vowel nouns, -AK for deep-vowel nouns. This concerns nouns containing Á or É in that last closed syllable.

Let me show two examples of ‘last vowel change’:

MADÁR (bird)
MADARAK (birds)

EGÉR (mouse)
EGEREK (mice)

You see the Á becomes A and the noun takes the plural -AK, as well, as the É becomes E and the noun takes the plural -EK. That’s it. These nouns (and those two above) are the ones you should be careful with:


kanál / kanalak – spoons
szamár / szamarak – donkeys
pohár / poharak – glasses (to drink from)
bogár / bogarak – bugs
nyár / nyarak – summers
sár / sarak – muds
mocsár / mocsarak – marshes
sugár / sugarak – rays
kosár / kosarak – baskets

Some monosyllabic words having long ú becoming short u:

kút / kutak – wells
lúd / ludakgeese
úr / urak – lords, gentlemen
út / utak – roads
nyúl / nyulak – rabbits
rúd / rudak – rods


Please check the rest of these nouns in the downloadable book. There you can find a more extended list.

szekér / szekerek – carts
tehén / tehenek – cows
kenyér / kenyerekslices of bread
fedél /fedelek – roofs, covers
veréb / verebek – sparrows
cserép / cserepek – tiles, shards
szemét / szemetek – rubbish
levél / levelek – leaves, letters
ég / egek – skies
ér / erek – veins
fél /felek – members; halves
szél / szelek – winds
bél / belek – bowels
tél / telek – winters
dél / delek – noons
nyél / nyelek – handles, shafts
dér / derek – white frosts
tér / terek – squares, areas
légy / legyek – flies

And in parallel with the monosyllabic long ú nouns, here we have two monosyllabic long ű nouns. That long ű becomes short ü in the plural. You already know these words, actually.

szűz / szüzek – virgins
tűz / tüzek – fires

And two irregular nouns: DERÉK / DEREKAK (waists), FAZÉK / FAZEKAK (pots)

Note that usually nouns ending in -ár/-ér, -ál/-él are subject to such changes. There are a couple of them, so they should be memorized. Most of the nouns with similar forms are regular: tálak (dishes), határok (boundaries), etc.


V-nouns get a V inserted in the plural. High-vowel nouns take the plural suffix -EK, deep-vowel nouns take the suffix -AK. Furthermore, the long vowel (ő, ű, ó) becomes short (ö, ü, o) in the plural. Just a few words belong there:

kő / kövek – stones
cső / csövek – tubes
tő / tövek – roots, stems
ló / lovak – horses
hó / havak – snows > Ó becomes A
tó / tavak – lakes
fű / füvek – grass(es)
mű / művek – works, factories > Ű stays Ű
nyű / nyüvek – maggots
fű / füvek – grasses

NOTE! The long ű in MŰVEK doesn’t change in the plural.

Here you can learn two adjectives: bő – bővek (abundant); jó – jók/javak (good/possessions)

Some other nouns behace like V-nouns, but they have two plural forms. A regular plural and a V-plural. Some have different meanings.

mag / magok / magvak – seeds
lé / lék /levek – juices
daru / daruk / darvak – cranes
falu / faluk / falvak – villages
tetű / tetűk / tetvek – cooties
szó / szók /szavak – words
fattyú / fattyúk / fattyak – bastards (extramarital children)

The plurals for mag, lé, falu, tetű, fattyú mean the same thing.

DARU: daruk refers to machines, while darvak means birds.

SZÓ: szók is used with grammatical expressions (kérdőszók – interrogative words), whereas szavak is used with general expressions (szép szavak – nice words)


Mixed nouns contain both deep and high vowels! They are mixed because they have I, Í, E, É in them + a deep vowel. As a rule, the last vowel decides if a noun is a high or deep.

1. Mixed nouns having I, Í + a deep-vowel in them are deep-vowel words and take the plural -OK:

iratok (documents), szállítmányok (shipments), kavicsok (pebbles), tinták (inks)

2. Mixed nouns with E, É + a deep-vowel in them are deep-vowel words and take the plural -OK:

sétányok (avenues), játékok (toys), tányérok (plates), szomszédok (neighbours)

3. Monosyllabic nouns containing long í are either high or deep. They should be memorized. The plural can be: -ok, -ak, -ek

gyíkok (lizards)
kínok (pains)
sípok (fifes)
síkok (planes)
sírok (tombs)
csíkok (stripes)

díjak (awards)
íjak (bows)
szíjak (straps)
ín / inak (tendons) LONG Í BECOMES SHORT I
híd / hidak (bridges) LONG Í BECOMES SHORT I
nyíl / nyilak (arrows) LONG Í BECOMES SHORT I

csínyek (pranks)
színek (colors)
ívek (archs)
rímek (rhymes)
címek (titles)
írek (Irish)
díszek (ornaments)
hírek (news)
ínyek (palates, gums)
sínek (rails)
ízek (flavors)
víz / vizek (waters) LONG Í BECOMES SHORT I

And another word: rizs / rizsek (rice)


A compound word consists of two individual nouns.

Hungarian compound words are deep or high according to the last word. Here you see what such words become and the plural form attached to them.

ház + építések = házépítések – house constructions
torna + terem = tornatermek – gymnasia (literally: gymnastics rooms)
lámpa + oszlop = lámpaoszlopok – lamp posts


LOAN-WORDS are foreign words already adopted to the Hungarian writing system. Their plural forms still vary, but there’s no difference in their meaning.

fotel / fotelok or fotelek – armchairs
hotel / hotelok or hotelek – hotels BUT

konténer / konténerek – containers
hieroglifa / hieroglifák – hieroglyphs

NOTE! Hungarian writing likes the assimilation f foreign words if the use of those words has become prevalent enough.

dizájnok – designs
ímélek – emails
szoftverek – softwares
hárdverek – hardwares

ALSO NOTE! Foreign words are often mixed words by Hungarian concept, so we need to decide which group they belong to (high or deep) and deal with them accordingly.


Let’s see some nouns we haven’t talked about yet. These nouns are irregular, so be careful with them.

FÉRFI – man: looks a harmless high-vowel noun, but it is a DEEP-VOWEL NOUN! Its plural is: FÉRFIAK – men

UJJ – finger: obviously a deep-vowel noun and its plural is UJJAK – fingers

ARANY – gold: deep-vowel noun and the plural is ARANYAK – golds

Furthermore, there are high-vowel noun having E or Ö whose vowels are still changing. NOTE! The plural for such nouns is -EK. Example:

CSEND – silence / CSENDEK  – (silences)
CSÖND – silence / CSÖNDEK – (silences)

It’s not important which you use if they stand alone. If they’re part of a compound word the E version is used.

CSENDHÁBORÍTÁS – riot (literally: breach of silence )

CSEPPFOLYÓS – liquid, fluid


From the next entry on, we’ll take a look at the ACCUSATIVE CASE of these nouns.

Suffixes -vá, -vé – Translative Case


The name of the grammatical case for these suffixes is: translative case

You already know how -val, -vel behaves when attached to a word ending with a consonant. > COMPLETE ASSIMILATION

gyerek + –vel = gyerekkel (with child)
asztal + –val = asztallal (with table)

The same happens to these suffixes: -vá, -vé. Take a look at it:

gyerek + –vé = gyerekké
asztal + –vá = asztallá

And what do these suffixes express? A simple answer would be: it is equivalent to the English preposition into. However, it has nothing to do with going into a place.

It indicates:
-a change
-someone/something turns into something else

Examples with the words above:

Szeretnék megint gyerekké válni.
I’d like to become a child again.

A hercegnő hirtelen asztallá változott.
The princess suddenly turned into a table.

As you see, English doesn’t always reflect the Hungarian method. There is no preposition equivalent to -vé in the first sentence. I guess you see the point, so more examples on the way:

Porrá zúzták az épületet.
The building has been smashed to dust.

A fiú férfivá érett.
The boy has become a man.

A lakberendező széppé varázsolta a lakásomat.
The decorator changed my flat into a beautiful place.

Kővé dermedtem az ijedtségtől.
I was petrified with fear.

Tedd magad hasznossá!
Do something useful.

Mivé változott a herceg? –Békává.
-What did the prince become? –A frog.

The suffixes -vá, -vé are not to be confused with -va, -ve for condition!!!

Grammatical Cases – Nyelvtani esetek


NOTE! The plural ending -k does not specifically mark a case! It just forms the plural of singular words in subjective case.

1. SUBJECTIVE/NOMINATIVE = unmarked like in English
3. DATIVE = -nak, -nek
4. ILLATIVE = -ba, -be
5. INESSIVE = -ban, -ben
6. ELATIVE = -ból, -ből
7. SUBLATIVE = -ra, -re
8. SUPERESSIVE = -n, -on, -en, -ön
9. DELATIVE = -ról, -ről
10. ALLATIVE = -hoz, -hez, -höz
11. ADESIVE = -nál, -nél
12. ABLATIVE = -tól, -től
13. TEMPORAL = -kor
14. INSTRUMENTAL = -val, -vel
15. COMITATIVE = -stul,-stül
16. DISTRIBUTIVE = -nként
17. DISTRIBUTIVE TEMPORAL = -nként, -nta, -nte
19. MODAL = -képp, -képpen, -ként
20. TRANSLATIVE = -vá, -vé

So let’s count a little bit now. It is 1, 2, 3, 4…ah yeah, only 20 cases. I think we can establish a fact based on our counting:


No more than that! And now comes the best part of it. Apart from basic cases like subjective, accusative, dative, you don’t need to remember the goddamn names of these cases!

Seriously, guys. Forget them. You don’t need them. It is just another crappy topic grammar books try to get into your head. And for what? For the fun of it? Bullshit. 🙂 Take a look at this sentence:

Cérnával varrok. – I sew with a thread.

All you need to know is the fact that the English preposition WITH is equal to the Hungarian suffixes -VAL, -VEL. Do you need to know the fact that it is instrumental case to translate the sentence? No, you don’t.

The name of the grammatical case is secondary, if not tertiary or meaningless in the first place.

The following examples will prove ”my theory”. Knowing the cases by names does not help you translate a sentence. What you need to remember is the Hungarian equivalent to English prepositions.

A kutya kergeti a macskát. – The dog is chasing the cat.
A kutyák kergetik a macskát. – The dogs are chasing the cat.
Az ebéd kész van. – The lunch is ready.

A kutya kergeti a macskát. – The dog is chasing the cat.
A kutya kergeti a macskákat. – The dog is chasing the cats.
A kutyát kergeti a macska. – The cat is chasing the dog.
Az ebédet megfőztem. – I’ve cooked the lunch.
Megfőztem az ebédet. – I’ve cooked the lunch.

DATIVE CASE: -nak, -nek
A kislánynak ne adj cukrot ebéd előtt.
Don’t give any candy to the little girl before lunch.

Ha nem hiszel a papnak, kérdezd a tudóst!
If you don’t believe the priest, ask the scientist.

A gazdagoknak nincs szépérzékük.
The rich has no sense of beauty.
(There is no sense of beauty for the rich.)

Elmegyek a vidámparkba.
I’ll go to the funfair.

Beugrok a vízbe. – I’ll jump into the water.

Az anya álomba ringatta a gyereket.
The mother put the child to sleep.

A hír hallatán rögtön méregbe gurultam.
On hearing the news I got into a rage.

Csalánba nem üt a mennykő. – Weed doesn’t spoil.
(The thunderbolt doesn’t hit the nettle.)

INESSIVE CASE: -ban, -ben
A városban alig vannak.
There’s barely anyone in the city.

A hegyben dübörög a láva.
The lava is rumbling inside the mountain.

Hiszel Istenben? – Do you believe in God?

Ilyen hőségben nem húzok kabátot.
I won’t put on a coat in this heat.

ELATIVE CASE: -ból, -ből
Tegnap óta nem jött ki a szobából.
He hasn’t left the room since yesterday.
(He hasn’t come out of the room since yesterday.)

A hegyből kitört a láva. – The lava erupted from the mountain.

Miből él? -Tanításból.
What does he do for a living? –He’s a teacher.

Vedd ki a kezed a forró vízből!
Take your hand out of the boiling water.

Meglepődtem, amikor a sátorból kinézett egy vaddisznó.
I was surprised when a wild-boar looked out of the tent.

Több együttérzésre számítottam.
I counted on more sympathy.

Kire vársz? –Az osztálytársamra várok.
Who are you waiting for? I’m waiting for my class-mate.

Lustasággal nem megyünk semmire.
We’re not getting anywhere with laziness.
(We’re going to nothing with laziness.)

Ne ülj a padra, még nedves!
Don’t sit down on the bench. It’s still wet.

SUPERESSIVE CASE: -n, -on, -en, -ön
A tetőn madár fészkel.
A bird is nestling on the roof.

Az állomáson sokan vannak.
There are a lot of people at the station.

Az egyetemen ma bulit rendeznek.
A party is organized at the university today.

Nem tudom, mit eszel azon a nőn.
I don’t know why you’re digging that woman.
(I don’t know what you’re eating on that woman.)

DELATIVE CASE: -ról, -ről
A székről leugrott a macska.
The cat jumped from the chair.

Benyitott hozzám egy vadidegen az utcáról.
A stranger opened the door on me from the street.

Beszéljünk a választásokról!
Let’s talk about the elections.

Miről szól a történet? -Egy fiúról meg egy lányról, ahogy az lenni szokott.
What is the story about? –About boy and a girl as usual.

ALLATIVE CASE: -hoz, -hez, -höz
Menjünk a kocsihoz! – Let’s go to the car.

-Mit szólsz az esethez? -Azt, hogy elképesztő.
-What do you say to the affair? -It’s astonishing.

Férjhez ment a híres színésznő.
The famous actress got married.
(The famous actress went to a husband.)

Az őrökhöz beszélt, amikor beléptem.
He was talking to the guards when I entered.

ADESIVE CASE: -nál, -nél
Az orvosnál mindig zsúfolt a váróterem.
The waiting room is always crowded at the doctor’s.

A falnál állok és a buszra várok.
I’m standing at the wall and waiting for the bus.

A hentesnél minden drága.
Everything’s expensive at the butcher’s.

A Janiéknál két csecsemő is van!
There are two babies at Jani’s place.

A postánál vagyok és nézem a forgalmat.
I’m at the post-office watching the traffic.

ABLATIVE CASE: -tól, -től
Gyere el a kutyától, még megharap!
Get away from the dog. It’s going to bite you.

A kerítéstől négy méterre kidőlt egy fa.
A tree fell four meters from the fence.

Félek a pókoktól.
I’m afraid of spiders.

Próbálj meg tartózkodni a helytelen megjegyzésektől.
Try to abstain from the inappropriate remarks.

Karácsonykor mindenki szereti egymást.
All love each other at Christmas.

Ebédkor a család asztalhoz ül.
The family sits down to the table for lunch.

Éjfélkor nem járnak a buszok.
There’s no bus service at midnight.

Öt órakor vége a műszaknak.
The shift is over at five o’clock.

>Words in a vowel take -val, -vel. Words in a consonant assimilate with -val, -vel.

Ásóval ások. – I dig with a spade.
Tollal írok. – I’m writing with a pen.

Mindig paprikával főzöm a gulyást.
I always cook goulash with paprika.

Kivel házasodtál össze? –A szomszédlánnyal.
-Who did you marry? -The girl next door.

Találkoztam az ügyvéddel tegnap.
I met the lawyer yesterday.

COMITATIVE CASE: -stul, -stül
Családostul mentek kirándulni.
They made an excursion with the whole family.

Ruhástul esett a medencébe.
She fell into the pool with her clothes on.

Úgy szeretlek, ahogy vagy. Szőröstül-bőröstül.
I love you the way you are. Flesh and fell.

Egyenként jöttek elő a kismacskák.
The kittens came forth one by one.

Fejenként két almát kaptok.
You get two apples per head/each.

Szemenként ettük a szőlőt.
We were eating the grapes one by one.

Keddenként és csütörtökönként jön.
He comes on Tuesdays and on Thursdays.

Naponta megy az edzőterembe.
He’s going to the gym day by day.

Hetente kapnak fizetést.
They are paid every week.

Percenként szól a beteg a nővérnek.
The patient calls the nurse every minute.

A városig gyalogoltam. – I was walking up to the town.

Hétfőig kell a tervrajznak elkészülnie.
The plan has to be finished until Monday.

A kerttől a házig tíz méter van.
There are ten meters from the garden to the house.

MODAL CASE: -képp, -képpen, -ként
Orvosként dolgozik. – He’s working as a doctor.

Mindenképp meglátogatlak!
I’ll visit you by all means.

Egyféleképpen lehet csak elmondani.
It can be said in one way only.

A boszorkány hollóvá változatta a lányt. – The witch turned the girl into a crow.
A víz jég dermedt. – The water has frozen.
>note that the v assimilates with the last consonant just like in Instrumental case