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The word 'hogy' and its use

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This is one of the more unusual words, as it performs two roles. Its role that you will meet most early on in your studies is how in the context of how are you? - hogy vagy?

Its main and most common role is that (conjunction). It plays a crucial role in linking a statement to a verb.

'Hogy' as a conjunction - 'that'

Consider this sentence: "I believe that Hungarian women are beautiful" Note how it has two parts that are complete sentences in themselves: "I believe" and "Hungarian women are beautiful." These two statements are joined by a conjunction, which serves the role of turning that second statement into somthing akin to an argument of the first.

This is where hogy comes into to play: Azt hiszem, hogy szépek a magyar lányok. Note how there is a comma before the conjunction. This is the way it works.

You can think of this working in the following manner:

Hungarian objects must be marked by the accusative noun case, but the "argument" of the above sentence is a sentence in itself, so how do we place the entire phrase/clause into the accusative case? Well, we use a pronoun to represent the entire clause, we put the pronoun into the accusative, and then state what the pronoun represents using hogy.

That is:

  • What do we believe? I believe {szépek a magyar lányok}. That entire phrase needs to be represented in the accusative.
  • What we believe is well-defined, so we must use the Hungarian definite conjugation and say hiszem
  • Use a pronoun to represent this phrase, and place it into the accusative: azt
  • Link the two with hogy

Similarly when an entire phrase needs to be place into any noun case, we can use the same logic.

  • emlékszik [vmire] remember something - this uses the ra/re (sublative) case
  • nem emlékszem arra, hogy mit csináltam tegnap I don't remember what I did yesterday
  • nem emlékszem arra (pronoun representing the forthcoming phrase) ... hogy (conjunction) ... mit csináltam tegnap (the phrase we're remembering)

Wonderfully, the same logic still applies even when the phrase we're representing itself contains "hogy." Suppose the phrase we're representing is hogy hívják what they call (it) / what it is called / its name

  • nem emlékszem arra, hogy hogy hívják I don't remember what it's called
  • nem emlékszem arra (pronoun representing the forthcoming phrase) ... hogy (conjunction) ... hogy hívják (the phrase we're remembering)

Common phrases with conjunctions

Using the above logic, here are some phrases that are incredibly common. You should memorise their structure.

  • azt hiszem, hogy .... I believe that ...
  • azt mondják, hogy .... they say that ...
  • azt gondoltam, hogy .... I thought that ... (past tense)
  • úgy tippelem, hogy .... nem I guess that ... no (i.e. "I guess not")
  • úgy hívják, hogy ... Áginak they call her thus...Ági (see the dative case page)

Other hogy-like words

Here are some words that contain 'hogy' but actually have nothing to do with the above meanings.

  • hogyhogy?! how come?!
  • dehogynem! but of course! Note how this word contains 'nem' but has a positive meaning. Careful!
  • hogyan [adv] how, by what means
  • hogyha [conj] if, supposing, when
  • hogyne [adv] of course, naturally
  • hogyisne! [interjection] Hell, no! Certainly not!

See also

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