That's the accusative case marker. The woman is the direct object of "see" (she's the thing being seen) and nő is in the accusative case as nőt to mark that.
A bit like in English we would say "I see him" and not "I see he" -- the "him" has to be in the objective case as the direct object.
Yes, either is possible. You can also go full circle and add "Egy nőt lát a férfi." And a couple more.
- A férfi lát egy nőt. - Pretty neutral. If you put a bit vocal emphasis on "a férfi", it gets focus on the fact that the man is doing the seeing, not anybody else.
- Egy nőt a férfi lát. - Same as above, but a bit more uncommon, since the topic here, "a woman", is indefinite. You can use it if the topic of the talk has been about women in general.
- A férfi egy nőt lát. / Egy nőt lát a férfi. - Here the focus is on the woman. That's the important part here, that's what the man is seeing.
- Lát a férfi egy nőt. / Lát egy nőt a férfi. - A more uncommon variant. The focus here in on the action itself: seeing is what the man is doing with the woman. He's not talking to her or anything else.
A better example where you could use the latter word order might be the following dialogue:
- Mit csinálnak? - What are they doing?
- Nézi a férfi a nőt. - The man is looking at the woman.
- Nézi? Sem beszél sem érinti meg? - He's looking at her? Not talking or touching?
Hm, it should be alright. Feel free to report it.
Usually "woman" is translated as nő, and "lady" as hölgy, but I feel like the levels of politeness for using each are different between English and Hungarian. You'd use hölgy mostly for older women and/or women of a high social status, while "lady" has a broader use.
I've read in a discussion in one of the previous lessons that some verbs have different ending/suffix if there is a direct object in the sentence. For instance, this sentence should look like this: "A férfi látja egy nőt."
My question is, is it okay to use both forms of those verbs even if there is the direct object in the sentence (látok-látom etc.) or did I misunderstand something? Thanks in advance.
some verbs have different ending/suffix if there is a direct object in the sentence. For instance, this sentence should look like this: "A férfi látja egy nőt."
This is not accurate. Not some verbs but virtually all verbs and not when there is a direct object in the sentence but when the direct object of the sentence belongs to a group that's worth calling "definite". Hence the name, "definite conjugation". I wouldn't get into details as of yet, direct objects with a definite article always count as "definite", meanwhile ones with an indefinite article never count as "definite". So, at the end of the day, no, it shouldn't be "A férfi látja egy nőt", moreover that would be wrong.
I think, 90-95% of cases, only one of the conjugations sounds right. Most of the time, you just have to look at the word that serves as the direct object and you can make the choice. Yet I can imagine situations, like "Donald Trump, whom Nigel Farage praised for blablabla reason" where the word for "whom" is naturally considered "indefinite" but it's okay to treat it as a substitute for the name in this case, and hence "definite".