"He shows good example."

Translation:Jó példát mutat.

August 29, 2016

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"Mutat jó példát" is the word order so important here?


Yes, relatively important.
"Mutat jó példát" is either weird or says something else, like "He shows a good example." And "példa", in that sense, could mean an exercise as in a school homework. So, he might have liked an exercise in his math woorkbook and wants to show it to you.
The emphasis is definitely on "jó példát", so it comes first. Let's add a subject:
"Péter jó példát mutat." The word order is still the same.
If I change it to "Péter mutat jó példát.", then Péter is emphasized (being in front of the verb), so it becomes "It is Péter who shows good example".
And if I use the imperative, for example, talking to an older child to show good example to the small ones, then I say "Mutass jó példát!". Or "Jó példát mutass, ne rosszat!"


"He shows good example." is incorrect in English which doesn't help. It's either He shows good examples or He shows a good example.

Still, I haven't got to grips with 'emphasis' with Hungarian word order yet.

From what I can gauge from what vvsey said above ^ Mutat jó példát = He shows a good example? But wouldn't that be Mutat egy jó példát?

So what does Jó példát Mutat translate to? 'Good example, he shows'? Speaking a bit like Yoda from Star wars? Because 'Jó példát mutat' doesn't equal 'he shows good examples'? It would be 'peldakat'?


OK, sorry about the incorrect English. Let me clarify then. "Jó példát mutat." tries to say "He sets a good example.", "He is a good example (to others).". In other words, the way he behaves is one to follow by others. He is a role model. So, this is not exactly the same as "He shows a good example.", which could be for anything, for example, for how to make a good coffee.

On emphasis, the simplest rule to remember is this: what you put in front of the verb is emphasized. So, "Jó példát mutat" equals to "He sets a good example".

If we are talking about real examples for something, then the Hungarian sentence would also have an indefinite article or be in the plural.
"Mutat egy jó példát." - Shows a good example.
"Mutat jó példákat." - Shows good examples.
But, many times, the indefinite article can be omitted. So, in the right context, "Mutat jó példát." can also be correct, and could be translated either in the singular or the plural, as it is kind of undefined. It is easier to digest with an imaginary "a few" included:
"Mutat (egy/néhány) jó példát."
Rest assured, these are no Yoda-like sentences in Hungarian. They are absolutely perfect, natural sentences. So, while the English translation may sound weird to you, that is just the problem of the translation. The Hungarian sentences are perfectly fine. The English word order is much more rigid, shuffling it brings Yoda to life. It should not be done. What Hungarian does with the word order, English does with just emphasis and italicizing in print. Hungarian can clearly show what is emphasized, even in print.


Thank you for replying. It is an awkward sentence in that the English translation 'sets a good example' for this specific sentence, seems that 'mutat' doesn't quite translate to 'sets'.

I don't think 'shows' will be used much if at all in this context, but strangely enough it is more common for English people to say 'he/she/it is showing a good example' when the context is evident.

I still find it hard to grasp the emphasis in regards to how it makes "Mutat jó példát" sound wierd. I think It's a difficult concept for an English native, at least for me, maybe as I haven't learnt any other languages.


Well, sometimes we just can't translate things word for word, the same concept may be expressed completely differently by different languages. If it weren't like that, life would be too simple. But this is the beauty of it.
Every language has a natural word order. And they are not the same. We need to learn the natural word order of the language. And it does not really help if we are trying to compare it to our own language. Unless they share the same logic.
The Hungarian word order is more flexible than the English one, but there are rules. Changing the word order may result in a different emphasis, a different meaning, or even a nonsensical sentence. In English, you can't play around much with the word order since the position of a word very much determines the meaning. My favorite example is "the can eats the dog". This is not a problem in Hungarian since there is conjugation, there are prefixes and suffixes. The word order is more liberal.
"Mutat jó példát." sounds weird because something seems to be missing from the sentence. Just like something is missing from "Shows good example." It is weird. Unless you invent some specific context where it is perfectly natural.
As I said above, if we are talking about examples, then what's missing is the indefinite article.

But this sentence, "Jó példát mutat." is most probably about "exemplary behaviour", which is, interestingly, "példamutató magatartás" in Hungarian.

Good luck with the word order, keep working on it, these things take time to become natural to us.


I get that 'mutat' carries the s/he but why is O.......mutat incorrect rather than just unnecessary?

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