Adjectives

Adjectives is an easy topic in Hungarian language, much easier than for example in German where adjectives are declinated in gender, plurar, case, etc. So adjectives are much much easier in Hungarian than conjugation or possessive affixes, but even easier than noun cases.

Three kind of roles in the sentence

Adjectives can have three roles in the Hungarian sentence (just like in most languages):

  • adjectives can indicate the attributes of nouns (Attributive adjectives), in this case the adjective stands before the noun (like in English and unlike in Spanish), e.g. beautiful girl, good food
  • adjectives can be the predicates of the sentence (Predicative adjectives), e.g.: Anita is beautiful, this food is good
  • adjectives can be the object of the sentence (Objective adjectives), e.g.: beautifully dancing girl, well made food

Adjectives are never put to plurar in English. In Hungarian they are put to plurar only if they’re Predicative adjectives. Objective adjectives (which can also be considered adjective to adverb derivations) get the ~an or ~en suffix which corresponds to the English suffix ~ly.

Role of adjective in the sentence front vowel adjective   back vowel adjective
Singular Plurar   Singular Plurar
Attiributive adj. a szép lány
(the beautiful girl)
a szép lányok
(the beautiful girls)
a gyors autó
(the speedy car)
a gyors autók
(the speedy cars)
Predicative adj. Anita szép
(Anita is beautiful)
a lányok szépek
(the girls are beautiful)
az autó gyors
(the car is speedy)
az autók gyorsak
(the cars are speedy)
Objective adj. a szépen táncoló lány
(the beautifully dancing girl)
a szépen táncoló lányok
(the beautifully dancing girls)
Péter gyorsan vezet
(Peter drives speedily)
a férfiak gyorsan vezetnek
(men drive speedily)

Attributive adjectives stand before the noun, just like in English, which is important, because if the adjective stands after the noun, then it implies Predicative adjectives:

  • a szép lány = the beautiful girl (Attributive adj.)
  • a lány szép = the girl is beautiful (Predicative adj.)

Comparison of Adjectives

In most languages adjectives can be compared to 3 forms: positive, comparative and superlative forms. For example in English: big, bigger, the biggest. Let’s see the adjectives ügyes (adroit, adept, ingenious) and gyors (fast, speedy, quick, rapid):

  front vowel back vowel ending with a vowel
  ending with a or e
positive ügyes
(adroit)
gyors
(fast)
késő
(late)
puha
(soft)
comparative ügyesebb
(more adroit)
gyorsabb
(faster)
később
(later)
puhább
(softer)
superlative legügyesebb
(the most adroit)
leggyorsabb
(the fastest)
legkésőbb
(the latest)
legpuhább
(the softest)

For example:

  • A Ferrari gyors. = Ferrari is fast
  • A Ferrari gyorsabb, mint a Suzuki. = Ferrari is faster than Suzuki.
  • A Ferrari a leggyorsabb. Ferrari is the fastest.

Comparised adjectives can also be put to Plurar if it’s a Predicative adjective and also can get the ~an or ~en suffix if it’s an Objective adjective.

 front vowel Attributive adj. or Predicative adj. in Singular Predicative adj. in Plurar Objective adj.
positive ügyes ügyesek ügyesen
comparative ügyesebb ügyesebbek ügyesebben
superlative legügyesebb legügyesebbek legügyesebben
 back vowel Attributive adj. or Predicative adj. in Singular Predicative adj. in Plurar Objective adj.
positive gyors gyorsak gyorsan
comparative gyorsabb gyorsabbak gyorsabban
superlative leggyorsabb leggyorsabbak leggyorsabban
  • Péter ügyesebben vezet, mint János. = Peter drives more adept than John.
  • A vonatok gyorsabbak, mint a buszok. = Trains are faster, than buses.
  • Anita szebb, mint Juli, de Juli szebben táncol. = Anita is prettier than Julie, but Julie dances prettier.
  • Hogyan jutok leggyorsabban Budapestre? = How do I get to Budapest the fastest?

The most important irregular adjectives

  • much, many: sok, bb, legbb, sokan,bben, legbben
  • little: kicsi (or kis), kisebb, legkisebb (as Attributive adjective in case of positive comparison, the word kis can be used instead of kicsi, for example kis ház = little house, but a ház kicsi = the house is little)
  • beautiful: szép, szebb, legszebb, szépen, szebben, legszebben
  • good: jó, jobb, legjobb, jól, jobban, legjobban
  • big, huge, great: nagy, nagyobb, legnagyobb, nagyon, nagyobban, legnagyobban
  • brave: bátor, bátrabb, legbátrabb, bátran, bátrabban, legbátrabban
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