Simplified Grammar of the Hungarian Language/Adverbs

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ADVERBS.

An adverb is a part of speech which determines or qualifies the verb as to the manner, place, time, and number of its action.

Adverbs of place answer to the questions: hol, where? honnan, whence? hová, whither? meddig, till where? as—

(a) hol?itt, itten, here; ott, ottan, there; sehol, nowhere; máshol, másutt, somewhere else; ralahol, somewhere; mindenhol, mindenütt, everywhere, &c., and all substantives inflected with suffixes denoting a place of rest—a házon, upon the house; a házban, in the house; &c.

(b) hannon?innen, hence; onnan, thence; and substantives with the corresponding suffixes—a házról, a szobábol; &c.

(c) hová?ide, hither; oda, thither (implying motion); erre,this way, in this direction; arra, that way, in that direction;valahová, to somewhere; and substantives with inward direction, upward direction, &c.

(d) meddig?—This question asks for a limit, as its ending -ig (limiting suffix) clearly shows; and the answer will also terminate in -ig; as, addig, as far as there; eddig, as far as here; and all nouns suffixed with -ig.

Note.—Some adverbs relating to place and direction may be prefixed to the verb, which is then called a compound verb; but these can always be separated, if it is desirable; as, lement, he went down; le akart menni, or lemenni akart, he desired to go down.

The principal adverbs of time are: ma, to-day; holnap, to-morrow; most, mostan, now; máskor, another time; mindig, always (made of mind, all, and -ig, until, i.e., until all times); soha, never; azonnal, at once; estve, in the evening; reggel, in the morning; nappal, in day-time; éjszaka, in the night-time; az idén, this year; múltkor, the other day; múltban, in the past; jövőben, in the future;[1] időnként, from time to time; évenként, yearly, &c.

Adverbs of manner are mostly derived from adjectives, by suffixing -an or -en to primitive adjectives; or -úl, -űl to negative adjectives. The primitive adverbs for manner are: így, so (for things near); úgy, so (for things distant); emígy, in this way, or manner; amúgy, in that way, or manner.

Adverbs of number or quantity are all derivatives of numerals.

Interrogative, affirmative, and negative adverbs:—Interrogative are those which ask a question. They are direct, if their primitive meaning implies already a question; as, hogyan, how? hol, where? &c.; and indirect, if their meaning is made dependent upon the interrogative modulation of the voice but can be used as well as answer: itt? here? igen, itt, yes, here. To the interrogative adverbs must also be reckoned the interrogative suffix -e, which is joined to words in order to make a question; as, szép-e, is it pretty? meghalt-e? did he die? It is in meaning the same as the Latin -ne, and can be put after any word with which a question is to be asked. It is written separately, but joined to the word by a hyphen; thus: szép-e?

Affirmatives are: igen, yes.

Negatives: ne, not; nem, no, not; sem, neither, not even.

Note.—Ne is used only before the imperative and subjunctive moods of the verbs; in all other cases nem is used; as, hogy ne irjak, That I shall not write; nem irok, I don't write.


Comparison of Adverbs.

The comparative of derivative adverbs is made in the same manner as that of the adjectives from which they are derived, their significant termination being put after the suffix of comparison: as—

Adjective: szép szebb legszebb
Adverb: szépen lszebben legszebben

Of primitive adverbs only a few admit of the comparative; some will take the comparative or the superlative only, and are therefore defective; as—

1. Távol, distant; távolabb legtávolabb
2. Erre, this way; errébb (has no superl.)
3. Elől, in front; legelöl, foremost (has no compar.)

An exception is inkább, which has no positive, but is used only in the comparative and superlative: inkább, sooner, rather; leginkább, soonest, especially (both used to express preference).


  1. Múltban and jövőben are made of the substantives múlt, the past, and övő, the future, with the retaining suffixes -ban, -ben.