"Is the car there or here?"

Translation:Ott van az autó, vagy itt?

July 21, 2016

This discussion is locked.


I'm an actual hungarian and when translating a sentence such as this there are actually more ways of structuring the order of words leading to the same meaning, so this isn't the only way to translate that.


The word order in this example makes more sense if a comma is put into the English sentence: "Is the car there, or here?" Then, translate the first part by itself: "Ott van az autó?" Add the "or here" on the end: "vagy itt?"

Only way I could get it. Might be a kind of rule there somewhere.


Wouldn't : Az autó ott vagy itt be correct?

  • 1541

There must be a word order pattern for interrogative sentences--that is, questions. However, although I have written down each sentence in all these Hungarian lessons, I have not yet seen enough models to guide me for the word order for questions--except that perhaps this sentence is showing and teaching a new word order pattern. I will be patient. It is curious!


Good luck with that! And please let us know if you figured it out. :)
Basically, I would say, there is no rule for reversing the word order for questions, like in English. You can pretty much stick a question mark at the end of a sentence and it will become a perfect question. But you can play with the word order, just like in regular statements. The focus of the question is usually placed at the front. And if there is a question word (what, where, who, why, etc.) then the verb is placed immediately after it (unless the focus is on something else). But the question word is not necessarily placed at the front of the sentence. "Yesterday after the party how did you go home?" - it would sound normal in Hungarian, just a tiny little bit unusual, just because it is a few words before the question word. But the "Yesterday what did you do?" kind of question is actually very common. But the question word is usually at the front, or close to the front, of the sentence. Because the important stuff tends to move toward the beginning of the sentence in Hungarian. And the question word is usually important in a question.
If there is no question word, as in this example, then the focus of the question is usually the first (few) word(s). But, with a different emphasis, even that is not set in stone.
And another topic is the splitting of the preverb-verb compound in questions. That needs a whole essay...

(Én) elmentem moziba. - I went to cinema.

Any questions?

  • (Te) elmentél moziba? - Did you go to cinema?
  • (Te) moziba mentél? - Was it the cinema that you went to?
  • Te mentél el moziba? - Was it you who went to cinema? "Te" is the focus, so it is not omitted.
  • TE elmentél moziba? - You went to cinema? Really? I am surprised.
  • Mikor mentél el moziba? - When did you go to cinema?
  • Kivel mentél el moziba? - With whom did you go to cinema?
  • Miért mentél el moziba? - Why did you go to cinema?
  • Miért moziba mentél (el)? - Why the cinema (why not some other place)?
  • Elmentél a moziba? - Did you go to the cinema (as you said you would)?
  • Egyedül mentél (el) moziba? - Did you go to cinema alone?
  • Egyedül elmentél moziba? - No way, you went alone??
  • Miért te mentél el moziba? - Why you? Why did YOU go to cinema?

OK, I didn't go alone, I went with my friend Joe.

Any more questions?

  • Miért mentél Joe-val? - Why did you go with Joe?
  • Miért Joe-val mentél? - Why him? Why Joe? Why did you go with him?
  • Miért nem John-nal mentél (moziba)? - Why didn't you go with John (instead)?
  • Miért nem mentél John-nal? - Why not with John? Would have been a better idea.
  • Joe-val miért moziba mentél? - With Joe, why the cinema? You could have gone to someplace else with him. etc.

I have no more questions. Seriously, if you figure out the system, let us know! :)

  • 1541

Wow! Thank you! I will re-read your reply over the next few days--I am sure it might help. The funniest part of it is that I used exactly the right words for my answer--but Duolingo said that I was wrong, and the two correct possibilities they gave were simply different word orders than mine. Köszönöm szépen! :-{)>


Nagyon szívesen! :)
Well, I think that will be a constant theme here for a long time. There are many possible variations, and they are not all included in the system. One person just can't think of all the permutations. That's where the community contribution (reporting) comes in.
What you wrote could also be simply just wrong. Not all permutations are correct. Or it may be a correct sentence but so different in meaning that it does not match the English sentence anymore.
Hopefully it will become second nature to you in no time! Good luck! :)


It looks like the word order is going to be pretty easy to me, as this is exactly how you can 'play' with my mother tongue (Lithuanian) as well. The hard part is translating it to/from English (or any other Germanic language).


Why is 'there' not translated? Is it just assumed? There was another example Here or there? And it was translated as itt vagy ott (or the other way round - still get confused between itt and ott


"There" is in the beginning of the sentence: "OTT van az autó, vagy ITT". Ott- there; itt- here.


I wrote, "Az autó van ott vagy itt." Can someone explain why my sentence is incorrect? Köszönöm!


Hard to put it in words.... Your sentence doesnt really work as a question (that said, the word order is off even for a statement). "Az autó van ott" basically puts the car in focus, "it is the car that is there, not the other thing you said" and then comes the second clause which is now in an awkward situation.
Personally I would be fine with "Az autó ott vagy itt van?" or with "Az autó ott van vagy itt?"


Is there or here?

[deactivated user]

    Isn't it interesting that you don't have to use "van" here? "Ott az autó vagy itt?" is ok. Like "Dél van, itt a busz." and probably also "Itt a busz reggel."


    Why was this incorrect? "Az autó ott vagy itt"


    The very least it is missing the verb "van". The "vagy" in this sentence is not the verb but rather the translation of "or". "Az autó itt vagy ott van"

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