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Hungarian Instrumental case: -val -vel

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Latin Name English role Endings Demonstrative Pronouns Personal Pronouns
Instrumental with
  • -val
  • -vel
Vowel harmony
  • ezzel (or evvel)
  • azzal (or avval)
  • ezekkel
  • azokkal
  • velem
  • veled
  • vele / Önnel
  • velünk
  • veletek
  • velük / Önökkel

This case is use exactly like the English with. A final consonant will geminate; otherwise the val/vel is applied directly yo the trailing vowel.


The most important thing about this case is the gemmination of a final consonant. This means that you don not just put the -val/-vel ending onto the word: you must gemminate the final consonant. The -v- in -val/-vel changes into last consonant of the word. The -val/-vel comes after other endings, so the last consonant may actually come from another ending.

Note that when the last consonant of a word is a diglyph then the first gylph of the letter doubles.

  • busz busz
  • utazom busszal I travel with (by) bus.

Take care with gemination because it may mean that you do not recognise a word as having had a the instrumental case applied. Learn to recognise -(2 consonants)el and -(vowel)vel at the end of words.

  • ember person.
  • Én lakom két emberrel I live with two people. (see plural)

  • vaj butter.
  • kenyér vajjal bread with butter (sentence fragment).

For words ending in a vowel, the -v- remains and the vowel may lengthen

  • kutya dog.
  • Én sétálok a kutyával I walk/stroll with the dog.

The -val/-vel comes after other endings, so the last consonant may actually come from another ending.

  • barát friend.
  • barátom my friend (see possession)
  • én beszélek a barátommal I speak with my friend
  • én lakom emberekkel I live with people. (see plural)

Differences in Hungarian use

Note that Hungarians use the instrumental case where we in English would use another preposition such as to or by. Here are some examples.

  • utazom villamossal I travel with (by) tram.
  • beszélek vele I speak with (to) him.

When two pieces of information used, perhaps with a two-part question or a question and answer, both parts are put into the instrumental case.

  • Mivel utazol? Busszal? How do you travel (with what do you travel)? By (with) bus?
  • Kivel beszélsz? Daniellel. With (to) whom do you speak? With (to) Daniel.

Other "gotchas"

Here are some final points about what might confuse you when you see an example of the instrumental case in Hungarian.

  • sokkal jobban much better Literally: with-much better
  • kilenc evvel ezelőtt nine years ago Literally: nine with-year before this
  • az apam két centimeterrel magasabb nálam my father is 2 centimetres taller than I Literally: two with-centimetre taller
  • Ágival találkoztam I met Ági Literally: I met with Ági

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Delative: -ról/ről
Instrumental: -val/vel Next
Causal-final: -ért

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