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Hungarian Accusative case: -t -ot -et -öt -at

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Latin Name English role Endings Demonstrative Pronouns Personal Pronouns
Accusative object
  • -t
  • -ot
  • -et
  • -öt
  • -at
Vowel harmony
  • ezt
  • azt
  • ezeket
  • azokat
  • engem
  • téged
  • őt / Önt
  • bennünket / minket
  • benneteket / titeket
  • őket / Önöket

Object of a verb

The accusative case is used when an object receives the direct action of a verb. In English this is seen as the word I changing into the word me when used in the sentence, "The girls all love me (Note that I turns into me in other cases too, but this is the most common.)

For back-vowel words, the ending is -t or -ot. Occaisionally the ending is -at, for words that always take this linking vowel. See the vowel harmony in Hungarian page.

Example: a lányok szeretik a virágot girls like flowers.

For front-vowel words, the ending is -t or -et or -öt.

  • látom a hegyet. I see the mountain.
  • etetem a hörcsögöt. I feed the hamster. (see also the causative conjugation)

Applying -t without a link vowel

Of course when the word ends in a vowel, the ending is applied directly, without a link vowel. (This is a rule of thumb that is almost always applicable to every flextional suffix in Hungarian). Example: ismerem ezt a nőt I know this woman

There are some letters which, when they terminate a word, must have the -t applied directly. There is no link vowel. The letters are:

  • -s -l -r -n -ny -j -ly

For example: szeretem a sört, Ágnest, tényleg mindent I like beer, Ágnes, everything really

Apply this case last of all

The accusative case is the last to be applied, after plurals and possession, etc. When the accusative case is applied after other cases, the range of link vowels is reduced to just two: -at for back-vowel words -et for front-vowel words, both long and short.

  • szeretem ezeket a virágokat I like these flowers. Note how the link vowel before the accusative ending is a, not o.
  • szeretem a nőket I like women. Note how now the link vowel is e, not ö.
  • látom azokat a hegyeket. I see those mountains.

Stem changes

Some nouns change their stem when they are put into the accusative.

eper strawberry.
szeretem az epret I like the strawberry. Note the dropped e from the stem - a fleeting vowel.

Proper nouns

Any noun receiving the action of a verb must be put into the accusative case, including personal and demonstrative pronouns and proper nouns.

  • Ági nem szeret téged Ági doesn't like you. Note indefinite conjugation.
  • Daniel szereti azt Daniel likes that (Daniel likes it).
  • szeretem Atlantát I like Atlanta.
  • látom Ágit I see Ági.
  • láttam Keyser Sozet I saw Keyser Soze. Note that in The Usual Suspects the burned guy doesn't use the accusative, probably to not confuse English-speaking audiences.

It is common to see proper nouns and acronyms written this: hasznaljunk MSN-t Let's use MSN.

Dropping the subject and verb

We also apply -t in answers to questions when the object is given but the verb and subject are omitted.

  • Akarom azt. I want that.
  • Ezt? This?
  • Nem, azt. No, that.
  • Az almát? The apple?
  • Igen. Yes.

This is simply short-hand for:

  • Akarom azt. I want that.
  • Akarod ezt? You want this?
  • Nem, akarom azt. No, I want that.
  • Akarod az almát. You want the apple?
  • Igen. Yes.

Accusative with implied verb

In many sentences you will the accusative case used when there is no apparent verb. How can we have a direct object of a verb when there is no verb? For example, there is no verb in this common sentence:
jó reggelt good morning.

Yet we have "reggel" (morning) placed into the accusative. What's going on?

The answer is that the verb is implied. What we see above is like a short hand version, where we have not bothered to write, or indeed even to say, the verb. The full version, in which it should be obvious what's happening, is this:
jó reggelt kívánok (neked) I wish a good morning (to you) (i.e. I wish you a good morning).

We then see that the verb is kíván wish, the direct object is jó reggelt good morning, i.e. what is being wished upon someone; and the indirect object is person we're wishing, i.e. neked (to) you.

See also

See also the sections on interrogative and demonstrative pronouns.

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Dative: -nak/nek

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