"This river is narrow, and the other is wide."
Translation:Ez a folyó keskeny, a másik meg széles.
"Ez a folyó keskeny és a másik széles" would that be wrong? Is there a real difference between "meg" and "és"?
Always. I mean this is hard to explain but if you say it with "és" it doesn't really carry the same meaning as the "meg" one but it's not incorrect grammatically.
Sorry, but that is just confusing, what is happening here.
"meg" has generally the same meaning as "és".
But it is rather used to show, that two things or people are related to each other. If two children named Zsuzsa and Lajos are siblings, you use to say "Zsuzsa meg Lajos" instead of "Zsuzsa és Lajos". Last one is more neutral, both could be two people without any relation at all.
Another example, where "meg" is prefered is calculating: "két meg egy, az három".
And finally the sentence "Ez a folyó keskeny és a másik széles." above sould be accepted as correct as well as "Ez a folyó keskeny, a másik meg széles."
The only difference is, that in cases, when "meg" is used as a conjunction instead of "és" it is placed at the second position.
Maybe there might be an additional difference as KAPOS wrote. But without any context - all the sentences here have to be considered that way - both sentences are equal.
When it's used to mean the contrast between two things. "meg" is preferable. If "és" is used then it just states two facts while "meg" puts the emphasis on the contrast between them. This is the best explanation I could've come up with.
To add to what hatcher is saying, in my 3 years of study of Hungarian, "meg" and "más" are going to be, to the English-speaker, some of the more confusingly used Hungarian words. I've learned to just roll with it, and over time it will just start to become intuitive. :-P