"No, we do not go away from the island!"

Translation:Nem, nem megyünk el a szigetről!

August 12, 2016

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Why is it "megyünk el" and not "elmegyünk"?


This is always difficult to clearly explain... yet so easy to use (for Hungarians) :)

Basically, "nem megyünk el" is the negation of "elmegyünk". A yes/no decision:

"Elmegyünk a szigetről" - We go away from the island. (We leave the island).
"Nem megyünk el a szigetről" - We do not go away from the island. (We do not leave the island).
That is the regular way of doing the negation.

The other one is more tricky. "Elmegyünk" vs. "nem elmegyünk". This is focusing on the verb itself, the action itself. And is usually contrasted with another action. For example, we do not go away from the island but rather we arrive on the island:

"Nem elmegyünk a szigetről, hanem megérkezünk a szigetre."
This one is giving an alternative action.

So, the first one negates the whole sentence. The second one negates the verb only. Kind of.


vvsey's answer is correct. Another way to look at it is this: you use megyünk el if the sentence has a stressed part that is not the verb. That is because the most stressed part should be followed by the verb, so you move "el" out of the way.

Usually when we negate the verb, the negation is stressed, hence "nem megyünk el."

When the verb itself is stressed, the normal "elmegyünk" form is used, that's what vvsey's contrast part is about.

Sentences to ponder over:

  • Mi elmegyünk. (We are leaving.)
  • Mi megyünk el. (We are the ones who are leaving.)


Good tips on preverb separation -- thanks!

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