"It is not the man who is there, but the woman."

Translation:Nem a férfi van ott, hanem a nő.

August 9, 2016

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I really seem to be struggling with the placement of van, why is it sometimes van ott and other times ott van?


Is there a reason that I can't translate it as 'Nem a férfi ott van, hanem a nő'? In the indicative you can say 'A busz kint van', but not in the interrogative?


Interrogative is a question, correct? The above sentence is not a question. Something is being negated, and contrasted with something else. "Not the man, but the woman."

Whatever is between "Nem" and the verb, "van", is being negated:

NEM a férfi VAN...

Now, "ott" is not being negated. It is irrelevant. So it is being left out of focus, it stays behind the verb:

Nem a férfi van ott...

If you wanted to negate the location, then the roles would be swapped:

"The man is not there, but here."

"NEM ott VAN a férfi, hanem itt."

You can even move "a férfi" to the very front, as long as it stays clear of the "NEM ... VAN" structure:

"A férfi NEM ott VAN, hanem itt".

Similarly, you can do this with the original sentence:

"Ott NEM a férfi VAN, hanem a nő."

But to deny both the person and the location in the same construction is quite nearly impossible.


This is a very helpful explanation, thank you!


Why "Nem a férfi van ott, a nő pedig" is wrong? What the difference between "pedig" and "hanem"?


Huge difference. You need "hanem" here.
"Hanem" means something like "but instead". It follows a negative statement with a contrasting positive one. "Not this thing but (instead) that other thing.

"Pedig", in turn, means something different. In fact, it can mean two different things, based on its position.

1 - it can be as simple as an "and", "whereas", or an "in turn", "on the other hand":
"A férfi amerikai, a nő pedig magyar." - "The man is American and/whereas the woman is Hungarian." Or "The man is American, the woman, in turn/on the other hand, is Hungarian."

2 - "even though"
"A férfi nem beszél angolul, pedig amerikai." - "The man does not speak English even though he is American."

See how "pedig" has no business being in our sentence above?


Thank you! Now it's clear


Should "A férfi nem ott van, hanem a nő" be accepted?


"A férfi nem ott van" on its own is not bad, but then the second half of the sentence should explain where he is. The emphasis in this case is on the "ott" , the man is not there, but rather elsewhere.

In short, no, shouldn't be accepted.


(Ez) nem a férfi aki ott van, hanem a nő.

is marked wrong? Anyone can explain why?


Because "ez" means "this". So, "this is not the man who is there ...". If you think about it, it doesn't really make much sense logically.

Besides, Hungarian does not use the phantom/fake/dummy subject at the front of a sentence like English does. For example: "It is raining.". Well, WHAT is it that is raining.
So, no need to literally translate the "it".

But then, if you omit "ez", then you are missing a predicate. ("Aki ott van" is another sub-clause, but the main clause is without a predicate.)
The solution:

"Nem a férfi az, aki ott van, hanem a nő."
In this case, the highlighted "az" would stand for "is the one/person".

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it is not the man (who is?) there but the woman. (who is there=ki van ott?)

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