"How did this man become a member of parliament?"
Translation:Bu adam nasıl milletvekili oldu?
no we never call MPs "meclis üyesi". "Meclis üyesi" does exist in Turkish though, but used for members of the city council (belediye meclis üyeleri)
I'm struggling with when to use adam versus erkek. Can anyone help clarify the difference?
As far as I know (if you are a native speaker please correct me) for animals you can use "erkek" but not "adam". So I think Google Translate is right that "erkek" is "male" and "adam" is man.
Now for bonus points are "kız" and "kadın" both possible if the above sentence was "How did this woman become a member of parliament?" and if so what is the difference?
I've always heard kız is girl and kadın is woman. So you can refer to a grown woman as a girl, but just as in English, you risk offense if you do.
Okay here is a very simple clarification. "Adam" is a noun and never an adjective. And it generally refers to the word "man" in English.
"Erkek" is a noun, too, but it can be used as an adjective. And it generally refers to the word "male" in English.
Bu adamın sorunu ne? => What is wrong with this man? Ben geldiğimde bu adam burada yoktu. => This man was not here when I had come here OR when I first came here.
Çocuğunuzun cinsiyeti erkek. => The sex of your child is male. Erkek adam ol! => Be a man! ("Erkek adam olmak" is a phrase in Turkish you use when you want your male opponent to man up. So in this phrase "adam" refers to being a human (a child of Adam).)
Actually your sentence is correct, too. But it can also imply in such an order of sentence that you emphasize the man's quality to become an MP.
- Nasıl bu adam milletvekili oldu?
can translate like that:
How can that kind of man become an MP? (That means that you are questioning the quality of the man to become an MP and you may as well be implying that there is something else going on, such as nepotism.)
- BUT if you say "Bu adam nasıl milletvekili oldu?" (You rather wonder about the process of becoming an MP or more specifically the process of that man's process of becoming an MP. Like how he collected votes of the citizens or if he arranged meetings with people.)
HOWEVER these are all strict translations for what they can mean at the first sight. The first one can easily mean the second one and vice versa by the help of intonation and gestures or by the change of context.
To sum up, your answer must be accepted as I can easily understand what you mean by that sentence.