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
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- If the owner in a phrase is a pronoun (a
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
- 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!
- 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
hat is pink. Here 'szép' is the additional attribute
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.