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Hungarian Grammar Notes

The grammar notes throughout this Basic Hungarian website are just that, notes. They are NOT intended to be 'full-on grammar' explanations or lessons but more of a general guidance of things to watch out for during the construction and pronunciation of sentences and syllables. Saying this, I have created web pages for the grammar I feel will really benefit you:

Hungarian Alphabet Web PageHungarian Alphabet  -  Vowel Harmony Web PageVowel Harmony  -  Indefinite Definite Verb Suffixes Web PageIn/Definite Verb Suffixes  -  Split Words Web PageSplit Words

You will also find more grammar notes throughout this Basic Hungarian website that relate to the above grammar web pages and therefore give more guidance on grammar and/or pronunciation.


Throughout this website I have put the following symbols:

[Changable Word] and {Optional, Extension Word}. Example:

It Is [Cold / Warm] {TODAY} {In Szeged}.

This means you could say, for example:

It Is Cold  -  It Is Cold TODAY  -  It Is Warm TODAY In Szeged.

The Letter - A

With the letter A I have written its syllable note as OH (OH as in Hot and not OH as in Santa Claus' OH, OH, OH) to show where the stress on the A (OH sound) should be. So if the A is stressed I might have put NOHT or LOHT for example instead of NOT or LOT.

I have also used the H to clarify the OH sound. So the syllables of the word LAKÁS (Flat/Apartment) are written and pronounced as LOH-CASH. If I were to have written LO-CASH you would have naturally believed it to be pronounced as LOW-CASH. And if I were to have written LA in its phonetic form (LAW), you would naturally think LAKÁS is pronounced as LAW-CASH.

Regardless of the above said: If you were to talk to an estate agent, in person or on the phone, and mentioned LAKÁS with a pronunciation of LOH-CASH, LOW-CASH or LAW-CASH they would know what you meant to say. Hence why I say the syllable notes throughout this Basic Hungarian website are there more for guidance purposes rather than pitch perfect pronunciation.

The Letter - O

With the letter O I have used the syllable notes OW and OE (and even OWE) to distinguish between the SHOW (SHÓ) or SHOE (SHU) sound. For example: If a syllable needs to be pronounced as a short/unstressed O, I will have put OE (i.e. LOE instead of LOW). And if it needs more of a stressed OWE sound I will have put OW (i.e. SHOW); especially if the W needs pronouncing.

However, if SHOE is not applicable because it might be pronounced as SHOE (SHOO) or the SHOW is not applicable because it stresses the W too much, I will have put something else. OWE also has the same problem. OWE can be pronounced as OWE of course, but it can also be pronounced as HOW (i.e. TOWER).

The Letter - Á

Á follows the same H rules. If it needs stressing, you will see AHH (as in: Apple) or AHR or AHRR (as in: a pirate's AH or RRRR!). Likewise, I have put an extra R to denote where/when the R needs stressing (rolling). Example:

I Am Tired - Fáradt Vagyok - FAHR-ROHT VOH-JOCK.

The Letter - Í

If a verb ends with IT, the I is always changed into a long I (Í). Example:

Kitakarítottad (Kitakarít - Clean).

From Whose Perspective?

Although most of the Hungarian sentences on this Basic Hungarian website are from a single person's point of view (because as a beginner you need the I Would Like, My Name Is, Can I, etc sentences), I have (for grammar reasons as well as for conversational reasons) also added some second person and third person sentences. Their, She/He, They, etc.


T On Object Nouns

The letter T goes on ALL object nouns. Example: Kávé (Coffee) is a noun, but changes into Kávét when describing (adjective) coffee or doing something with coffee (the verb).

AZ Versus A

AZ (OZ) is used on a noun beginning with a vowel (A, E, I, O and U) and A (OH) is used on nouns beginning with a consonant.

Statement Or Question?

If all the syllables in a sentence are being spoken monotone (every syllable is spoken with the same flat pitch/sound level) it usually means a statement is being spoken. However, if one or more words in a sentence is stressed (usually the word of focus) it usually means a question is being asked. This is after you have taken into consideration that the first syllable of each word is normally slightly stressed (spoken louder) anyway.

No Plural?

In Hungary the plural form is not really used. With shoes for example you actually say This Shoe (not These Shoes) and That Shoe (not Those Shoes). This is because they class one pair of something (i.e. Trousers or Shoes) as one item (i.e. one pair of Trouser and one pair of Shoe). If you say 'I want to buy these trousers', they might think you want two pairs of trouser. Or, they might think you want to buy one leg only!

Split Words Into Syllables
Hungarian Alphabet