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

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Making adverbs: -an or -ul


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This is perhaps the most familiar concept to the Englishman, becuase 99.9% of English adverbs end with -ly such as quickly, quietly, slowly.

In Hungarian, we produce the same effect with -an/en or -ul/ül.

The choice of ending is a little idiosyncratic. One hard-and-fast rule for languages

Of couurse, for words ending in -a or -e, we lengthen the trailing vowel and apply the -n directly, but note that adjectives ending in ú or ű can take the ending directly.

Here are some common examples

  • gyors fast ... ... gyorsan quickly
  • gyenge weak ... ... gyengén weakly (note trailing e becomes é)
  • könnyű easy ... ... könnyen easily
  • vad vad ... ... vadul wildly
  • szép beautiful ... ... szépen beautifully
  • rossz bad ... ... rosszul badly
  • szomorú sad ... ... szomorúan or szomorún sadly

Two irregular adverbs:

  • lassú slow ... ... lassan slowly (note loss of -ú)
  • nagy large ... ... nagyon very (note choice of vowel)

Languages as adverbs

The word English is an adjective when used: Is Ági English?.

In the Hungarian language, when we ask the question, do you speak English? the word English is used as an adverb.

Literally, we say, do you speak Englishly?, or do you speak in English?

This is actually very sensible, because the adverb "English(ly)" describes how we are speaking, in what manner we are speaking.

  • Beszélsz magyarul? Do you speak Hungarian?
  • Angolul beszélünk We (can) speak English
  • Nem beszélek németül I don't speak German 

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