The Accusative Case & Plurals

Plurals


In English, the plural form of a noun is generally given by adding an -s onto the end of a word. In Hungarian this is done by adding -k.

Watch out! Some nouns end in -k in their base state (nominal). E.g. gyerek (child), játék (toy, game).

Naturally, when adding the plural to our nominal noun, we have to obey vowel harmony. Here’s a collection of nouns to familiarise you with the usage.

Noun -ak -ok -ek -ök -k
Férfi (man) Férfiak        
Szó (word) Szavak        
Madár (bird) Madarak        
Híd (bridge) Hidak        
Ló (horse) Lovak        
Tó (lake) Tavak        
Falu (village) Falvak        
Játék (toy/game)   Játékok      
Bokor (bush)   Bokrok      
Bagoly (owl)   Baglyok      
Polc (shelf)   Polcok      
Csillag (star)   Csillagok      
Az   Azok      
Fű (grass)     Füvek    
Gyerek (child)     Gyerekek    
Ember (person)     Emberek    
Kő (stone)     Kövek    
Egér (mouse)     Egerek    
Ez     Ezek    
Tükör (mirror)       Tükrök  
Gyümölcs (fruit)       Gyümölcsök  
Bőrönd (suitcase)       Bőröndök  
Sör (beer)       Sörök  
Gyöngy (pearl)       Gyöngyök  
Kutya (dog)         Kutyák
Kiwi         Kiwik
Macska (cat)         Macskák
Fiú (boy)         Fiúk
Daru (crane)         Daruk/Darvak
Satu (vice)         Satuk
Tanú         Tanúk

There’s a lot to be taken away from here. We can make some rules, but there will always be exceptions.

  1. The vowels of some two-letter-long nouns become shortened and get a v attached as well as a k
    • Fű - Füvek
    • Ló - Lovak
    • Kő - Kövek
    • Szó - Szavak
    • Tó - Tavak
  2. Some nouns ending in i only get a k attached.
    • Kifli - Kiflik (type of bread roll)
    • Kiwi - Kiwik
  3. Most nouns ending in other unlengthened vowels become lengthened in the plural.
    • Kutya - Kutyák
    • Macska - Macskák
    • Bögre - Bögrék (Mug)
  4. Most nouns ending in lengthened vowels only get a k attached.
    • Betű - Betűk (Letter)
    • Fiú - Fiúk
    • Író - Írók (Writer)
  5. Most nouns that have an elongated vowel in the second syllable will lose it in the plural.
    • Madár - Madarak
    • Tehén - Tehenek (Cow)
    • Darázs - Darazsak (Wasp)
  6. Some nouns become reduced if there is a repeated vowel.
    • Bokor - Bokrok
    • Tükör - Tükrök
    • Dolog - Dolgok (thing)

RARE EXCEPTION: Nouns ending in u! The last vowel does not become lengthened and sometimes the plural becomes -vak.

But wait, there’s more!

In Hungarian, when a noun becomes quantified (either by numbers or by adjectives) it becomes singular.

Nouns that usually come in pairs are considered singular.

To single them out, one can describe them or use egyik (one of).

Last but not least, if you stress that a noun has a key attribute, the adjective needs to match the amount of nouns.

The Accusative Case


The accusative case marks the direct object. Whenever something/someone does something/someone else, the something/someone else becomes the direct object. The accusative case is simply marked with a -t at the end.

In English, there are only a few situations in which a noun uses a different form when it becomes a direct object.

Noun -at -ot -et -öt -t
Játékok Játékokat        
Kutyák Kutyákat        
Madár Madarat        
Bokor Bokrokat        
Magyarázatok Magyarázatokat        
Magyarázat (explanation)   Magyarázatot      
Bagoly   Baglyot      
Polc   Polcot      
Csillag   Csillagot      
Tükrök     Tükröket    
Gyerek     Gyereket    
    Füvet    
Kövek     Köveket    
Festmények (paintings)     Festményeket    
Egerek     Egereket    
Hörcsög (hamster)       Hörcsögöt  
Gyümölcs       Gyümölcsöt  
Bőrönd       Bőröndöt  
Sör       Sörök  
Gyöngy       Gyöngyöt  
Ember         Embert
Kiwi         Kiwit
Macska         Macskát
Férfi         Férfit
Fiú         Fiút

All the vowel harmony rules stated for the plural apply for the accusative as well.

It is also interesting to note how some vowel harmony for back-vowel words alternates between o and a.

Let’s see some hungarian sentences!

This can be done in the format of questions

Challenge! vadászik

Két kutya üldöz egy szarvast. (Original image, merging free images together)

Two dogs chase a deer.

Special conjugation

If the subject of the verb is I, and the object is you, then we use the special verb conjugation -lak/-lek.

This conjugation is used with the plural (by adding titeket) to address “you guys” as well.

Lastly, the pronouns change when in the accusative case.

Pronoun Accusative
én engem
te téged
ő őt
ti titeket
ők őket

Examples:


Yet to Learn