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Attributive form of possession

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An important part of possession if the attributive case. This is essentially when we attribute ownership of something to someone. It expresses the meaning of ownership.

The attributive form always makes an adjective of the owner that it suffixes, and this word performs the role of attribute (i.e. adjective) to the owned object.

nak/nek form and short form - a simplification

The possessive ending given in the rest of this section on possession can be thought of as a kind of short-hand version. The nak/nek version can be considered the long version, though this is a simplification. The long version includes the nak/nek ending on the possessor, the article, and the possessed object marked as normal.

Here are the rules governing when to use the nak/nek (long) version and when you can optionally use the shorter version.

  1. If the owner is only acting as an attribute to the owned object, it is optional
    • Ági kalapja rózsaszín
      = Áginak a kalapja rózsaszín Ági's hat is pink
  2. If the owner is standing as a subject with 'van' then the attributive form (nak/nek) is not optional and must be included.
    • Áginak van kalapja Ági has a hat
    • nekik van házuk they have a house
  3. If the owner in a phrase is a pronoun (a relative, demonstrative or interrogative pronoun) then the nak/nek form is not optional and must be included.
    • a lány, akinek a kalapjaról beszélek, szép the girl, about whose hat I speak, is beautiful
  4. If the owner is also owned the long form must be used on the dual-role word
    • Ági nővérnek a kalapja zöld Ági's sister's hat is green
    • a macskámnak a farka my cat's tail
    • a szüleimnek a háza my parents' house N.B. ház is in singular possessive, not házuk!
  5. If the owned object does not immediately follow the owner, such as when another attribute decorates the owned object, the the nak/nek form should be used on the owner.
    • Áginak a szép kalapja rózsaszín Ági's beautiful hat is pink. Here 'szép' is the additional attribute

The dative

The dative case also uses nak/nek but it's totally different. If anyone tells you that the 'nak' in 'Áginak van kalapja' is the dative, tell them to look up the Latin word do.

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Possessive pronouns
Attributive form

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