Published: July 28 2023
In the realm of language learning, understanding comparative adjectives is essential. In Hungarian, the usage of comparative adjectives is a tad different from English but relatively straightforward. If you want to express comparison in Hungarian, you typically use the -abb/-ebb ending added to adjectives. This post will dissect the usage of comparative adjectives in Hungarian to help you get a grip on the concept.
The -abb/-ebb Ending
The backbone of Hungarian comparative adjectives is the '-abb' or '-ebb' ending. This is essentially added to the dictionary form of an adjective you'd want to compare. Here are a few examples of this.
- gyorsabb (faster)
- kisebb (smaller)
- melegebb (hotter)
- gazdagabb (richer)
- nagyobb (larger), which is irregular.
However, on its own, -abb doesn't fully express the comparison. Typically, a comparative form requires a reference point - a "than X".
In Hungarian, 'mint' is used to introduce this reference point. The following sentences demonstrate this usage.
- Én nagyobb vagyok, mint te. (I am larger than you.)
- Te gyorsabb vagy, mint én. (You are faster than I.)
- Ő kisebb, mint én. (He is smaller than I.)
- Ez a toll jobb, mint az enyém. (This pen is better than mine.)
Take note of the comma before 'mint' in these sentences. The correct translation in English drops the comma and is "I am smarter than you", not "I am smarter, than you".
Using -nál/-nél for Comparisons
There exists an alternate way of indicating a comparison, not using 'mint' but incorporating the '-nál/-nél' forms. Here is how it's done.
- Én nagyobb vagyok nálad. (I am larger than you.)
- Te gyorsabb vagy nála. (You are faster than he.)
- Ez a toll jobb az enyémnél. (This pen is better than mine.)
Please remember that this form is only utilized in comparative statements, not equality declarations. Therefore, it cannot replace 'mint' in statements like "as good as".
Managing Plural Forms
Just as in those cases where you need to convert the absolute forms of adjectives into plural, Hungarian requires you to make the comparative forms plural when they are in the predicative form.
- Ez a lány magasabb, mint az a fiú? (Is this girl taller than that boy?)
- Ezek a lányok magasabbak, mint azok a fiúk? (Are these girls taller than those boys?)
To solidify your understanding, here is a demonstrative comparison of London and Budapest.
- London nagyobb Budapestnél? (Is London larger than Budapest?)
- Nem, a budapesti hidak hosszabbak a londoni hidaknál. (No, the Budapest bridges are longer than the London bridges.)
Mastering the usage of comparative adjectives in Hungarian needs practice but is not overly complicated. Remember to use -abb/-ebb to form the comparative and utilize 'mint' or '-nál/-nél' to introduce the reference point of comparison. Moreover, attention needs to be paid to the handling of plural forms. Happy learning!