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

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Making (abstract) nouns: -ság


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We can add -ság/ség to nouns, adjectives and verbs to make abstract nouns Sometimes we can make nouns that are not abstract, such as turning "baker" into "bakery".

Making nouns from adjectives

In a rare similarity with Hungarian, English actually modifies some of its nouns and adjectives to make abstract nouns.

In English add -ness (among others) to turn adjectives and nouns into abstract nouns.

For example

  • white (adjective)
    whiteness (abstract noun) (degree of white)
  • hot (adjective)
    hotness = heat (abstract noun) (degree of hot)
  • beautiful (adjective)
    beautifulness = beauty (abstract noun)
  • friend (noun)
    friendship (abstract noun)

  • fehér white ... ... fehérség whiteness
  • forró hot ... ... forróság heat
  • beteg ill ... ... betegség illness, disease
  • szép beautiful ... ... szépség beauty
  • barát friend ... ... barátság friendship

Transforming verbs and adverbs into abstract nouns

Hungarian does the above, but also allows us to turn verbs and adverbs into abstract nouns too.

  • segít (to) help ... ... segítség (some) help
  • egész all, whole ... ... egészség health

One of the things you will see in your books is egészségedre! cheers!
Well now you understand its genesis.
egész + ség + ed + re all + ness + your + for = for your health = cheers!

Creating nouns from nouns

Some nouns can be converted into other nouns. We don't always have to start with a verb. Very often the resulting word will mean something like "place of, office of, place of work of" as can be seen in the below.

  • rendőr policeman ... ... rendőrség police station
  • nagykövet ambassador ... ... nagykövetség embassy
  • pék baker ... ... pékség bakery, baker's shop

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