A reference guide to Hungarian grammar, designed with English-speakers in mind

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Hungarian Sublative case: -ra -re


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Latin Name English role Endings Demonstrative Pronouns Personal Pronouns
Sublative onto
  • -ra
  • -re
Vowel harmony
  • erre
  • arra
  • ezekre
  • azokra
  • rám
  • rád
  • rá / Önre
  • ránk
  • rátok
  • rájuk / Önökre

Onto

This ending's primary meaning is "onto". Az asztalra tettem könyet . I put the book onto the table.

It is also, however, one of the more common ends applied to show that an abstract concept applies to a noun.

Movement towards: surfaces

This is the Movement towards the suffixed word movement towards member of the triad, applicable to surfaces.

Compare to:

Movement towards the suffixed word Tett könyvet az asztalra. He put a book onto the table.
Static position Aztán a könyv az asztalon volt. Then the book was on the table.
Movement AWAY FROM the suffixed word Azután, vitt könyvet az asztalról. After that, he took a book from the table.


Generally, flat surfaces use this triad: table, street, face, etc.

Most Hungarian cities and Hungary itself use this case:

  • Budapestre megyek. I am going to Budapest.
  • Budapesten vagyok. I am in Budapest.
  • Budapestről jövök. I am coming from Budapest.
  • Magyarországról vagyok. I am from Hungary (i.e. I am Hungarian).

Abstract concepts

Additionally, abstract concepts such as thought or memory using this ending:

  • jól esett, hogy gondoltál rám! it was great that you thought of me (lit. very well it fell that you thought into me).
  • emlékszik erre? does he remember this?
  • emlékszel rám? do you remember me?
  • házra gondolok. I think about a house.
  • hasonlítok az apámra. I look like my father
  • a kilátás az erkélyről nagyon szép: a tóra és a kertre nézek. the view from the balcony is very beautiful: I can see the lake and the garden.

Use as for, to

This ending is also used to mean for or to:

  • Ági jár angolra. Ági goes to English (lesson).
  • Én minden nap edzésre járok. Every day I go to training.
  • Mit akarsz ebédre? What do you want for dinner?
  • Hány személyre kellene? Két személyre. For how many people do you need (the hotel room)? For two people.
  • Mennyibe kerül egy napra? How must does it cost for one day?

Time expressions

The -ra/re ending is used to express duration of time. Depending on whether the action is future or past, and on whether the action the performed in this duration is dynamic (go, run, etc) or static (be, exist), will determine which ending you use.

The other temporal endings are [-ja/je] and [-ig].

When expressing a duration, and the verb is dynamic, use -ra/re.

  • Két hétre Londonba küldtek. They sent me to London for two weeks.
  • Két hónapra mentünk Londonba. We went to London for 2 months.
  • Mennyi időre? For how long? (c.f. meddig? Until when?)
  • Hány napra? How many days (duration)?

When we use a static verb, we use [-ig].

Use with ennyi and annyi

The use of -ra/re with ennyi/annyi (this amount/that amount) gives a very subtle effect. The -re on ennyi is used when we're following with an adjective. The "amount" sense of ennyi is then applied to the adjective, not to the noun.

NB when we follow ennyi with an adjective that is really part of a noun, such as red wine (really, that this as redwine) or brown bread (=brownbread) then we do not usually use -re. If we use -re, then we mean that the ennyi applies to the amount of the ADJECTIVE applicable to the noun, as above, whereas we probably meant to say this much red wine.... and not this much redness in wine....

ennyi barna kenyér nem jó This amount of brown bread is not good.
There the ennyi talks about the amount of the bread.

ennyire barna kenyér nem jó This amount of brownness in the bread is not good
Here the ennyi is talking about the amount of brownness that the bread possesses.

ennyi vörös bor nem elég de annyi sör elég This much red wine is not enough, but that much white wine is enough.
Here, the "amount" is of the whole noun (red wine).

ennyire nagy hassal nem jöhetsz be With such a large stomach you may not come in.
Here the ennyi, because of the -re, is talking about the nagy: the amount of largeness that the stomach possesess.

ennyit sose gondolkodtam I have never thought such an amount (e.g. thought so much that one's brain hurts)

ennyi kenyér nem elég this amount of bread is not enough

ennyire kevés nem elég this little (amount of) bread is not enough

ennyire nagy ház nem fér itt el this size of house does not fit here

Annyira tipikusan angol arcod van [, és kedvelem a kék szemedet és szőke hajadat.] You have such a typically English face [, and I fancy your blue eyes and blonde hair]
Here, the -ra in annyira makes the "amount" apply to the Englishness of my face.



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Nouns
 
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Ablative: -tól/től
Sublative: -ra/re Next
Superessive: -n
   


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