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

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Relative pronouns in Hungarian

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These are used to refer back to something already mentioned. In English we share the words between interrogative and relative. In Hungarian, the word changes.

We add a- to the pronoun to make it relative.

Compare the question and the statement:

  • ki ült? who was sitting?
  • az ember, aki ült, felállt. the man, who was sitting, stood up.
  • melyik vonat ment el tegnap Londonból? which train left (out of) London yesterday?
  • a vonat, amelyik tegnap Londonból elment, Párizsba érkezik ma. the train, which left (out of) London yesterday, arrives today.

Note that sometimes in Hungarian we must use a different pronoun than we would in English:

  • elolvastam minden pontot, amit a szöveghez írtál.
  • I read every point that you wrote on the text.
  • Literally: I read every point what you wrote on the text.

The words we saw in the interrogative page with a- applied:

Hungarian English
ami what
amik what (plural)
aki who
akik who (plural)
amelyik which
amelyek which (plural)
ahány the number of which
amilyen the kind of which
amiféle the sort of which
amekkora the size of which
amennyi the cost of which
ahányadik the sequence/ordinal of which

Note how in this list there is no question mark after the words. That's because they are not questions. If you are using these words to ask a question, you have made a mistake.

Case endings

Note how, just like their interrogative brothers, these can take endings:

  • a lány, akit szerettem, Londonba ment. the girl, whom I loved, went to London.
  • ez a város, amelyikben élek, nagyon zöld. this city, in which I live, is very green.
  • ezek a városok, amelyekből elköltöztek, nagyon szürkék. these cities, away from which they moved, are very grey. (see plurals)

Agreeing in number

These words, just like their interrogative roots, must agree in number with the word they're referring to (they must agree with their antecedent).

  • láttam a lányt, aki a szobában ült. I saw the girl, who sat in the room.
  • láttam a lányokat, akik a szobában ültek. I saw the girls, who sat in the room.

Wh- adverbs

You should see the section on interrogative and relative Hungarian adverbs for examples of my wh- type questions/references such was where, when, etc.

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Personal pronouns
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Reflexive pronouns (self)

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