Translation:The bus is not in the front but in the back.
What's the difference between 'elöl' and 'elől'? Is one wrong? Are they both correct and interchangeable? Or is there a slight difference in meaning and usage? I searched for the answer online, but couldn't find any definitive answers (at least nothing I could understand with any confidence, since it was all in Hungarian).
"Elöl" means "in the front" - a location.
"Elől" means "From in front of (something). As in from a position relative to some entity.
I stand in the front - ELÖL állok. I could be standing on the bus, in the front section.
I take the empty plate from in front of the guest - Elveszem a tányért a vendég ELŐL.. The plate is in front of the guest and I am taking it from that position.
Előtt - is a postposition. In front of (something).
A ház előtt - In front of the house (there is a car).
Elé - To in front of (something).
Az ajtó elé - To the position of being in front of the door.
So, I guess, "elől" gets the long "ő" because it is derived from "előtt".
Whereas "elöl" stands on its on as a description of an absolute position. It is NOT a postposition like the others above. But you can play with it, too: "Elölről" would mean "from the front position".
Does this help?
Köszönöm szépen! That's actually very clear and helpful. I remember learning the other three before, but I don't recall ever learning 'elöl'.
Yes, as you see, "elöl" is a different category. It is not a postposition like the others. It belongs in this group: Elöl, hátul, oldalt, kint, bent, fent, lent. It answers to a simple "where" question:
"Hol vagy?" - "Where are you?"
"Elöl (vagyok)" - "(I am) in the front"
would the bus is not in the front, but at the back, be acceptable. that sounds more natural to my British ears
This translation does not make sense in english!!! Actually it could be something else in hungarian: A busz nem az első kint!!!
Should the translation " The bus is not in front but in the back. " Correct? It shows as incorrect.
What does "in front" exactly mean? I only know it from the construction "in front of [something]", which means it's outside of the area in question. Elöl refers to a position inside of the area, though, so I would translate it as "in the front". Maybe an example would be good.
- A ház előtt vagyok. - I am in front of the house. Outside of it.
- A házban vagyok, elöl. - I am in the house, in the front. Inside the house.
Again, for a language that is not syntactically like other European languages, to give aural sentences like this, before introducing the various words and sentence elements, is ridiculous!