"A lány elöl van, a fiú meg hátul."
Translation:The girl is in the front, and the boy is in the back.
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(4 years later) The actual meaning provided by prepositions in English are post-position suffixes in Hungarian. My guess would be different when (1) "back-vowel-words" and "front-vowel-words" are used, but not when (2) "in the front" and "at the front" are used alone, because -- as far as prepositions go-- they both express "place" which is the locative case, in grammatical terms. So:
Example when at/in are used as suffix: az autónál at the car / az étteremnél at the restaurant
az autóban in the car / az étteremben in the restaurant
Example of in/at front alone, same location:
"Elöl" állok. I stand "at the front". "Elöl" állok. I stand "in the front".
Example when at/in front are used in different places:
Sült csirkét eszünk "az üzlet [bolt] előtt". We eat fried chicken "in front of the store".
Sült csirkét esznek "a üzlet [bolt] elején." They eat fried chicken "at the front of the store"
Sült csirkét esznek "az étterem előtt" They eat fried chicken "in the front of the restaurant"
Sült csirkét esznek "az étterem elején". They eat fried chicken "at the front of the restaurant".
Example of movement to/toward a location:
Megyek "az elejére". I go "to the front."
Example where in/at = same location:
Soha nem várok, ezért "elöl" állok. I never wait, so I stand "in the front".
Soha nem várok, ezért "elöl" állok. I never wait, so I stand "at the front".
Not really. Behind mostly makes a comparison between two things, meaning 'mögött, után'. 'Hátul' stands in itself. What is behind something/valami mögött van, than it probably also means 'hátul van'.
On a second thought, I've realized that 'behind' can be used alone, but in the meaning of left behind, fall behind. I wouldn't translate it as 'hátul' either, because 'hátul' is a stable place, while behind is a bit vague. If someone is behind me in a line, I'd say:
Hátul van - He's at the back; when he is among the last ones in the line.
Hátrébb van - He's behind; he's somewhere in the line, I don't know where, but I'm ahead of him.