"Is Zsuzsa looking for us or for you?"

Translation:Minket vagy titeket keres Zsuzsa?

September 9, 2016

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The word order "Zsuzsa minket vagy titeket keres?" sounds more natural to me, especially in a standalone sentence, where no context is implied.


I didn't even read the sentences, I just glanced at them. Only one of the three multiple choice options contained the name Zsuzsa, that makes it a little too easy.


If the object is 3rd person, definite conjugation is used, and if the object is 2nd person with a 3rd person subject, indefinite conjugation is used. So my question, why is indefinite conjugation used in this sentence? Is indefinite always used in this case?


Please take a look at these tips and notes

I have also filled this out, with these markings:

  • yellow for definite forms
  • (parantheses) for practically impossible combinations, sake of completeness
  • italics for reflexive pronouns
subject \ object 1st s = engem 2nd s = téged 3rd s = őt 1st pl = minket 2nd pl = titeket 3rd pl = őket
1st s = én én látom magamat én látlak téged én látom őt én látom magunkat én látlak titeket én látom őket
2nd s = te te látsz engem te látod magadat te látod őt te látsz minket te látod magatokat te látod őket
3rd s = ő ő lát engem ő lát téged ő látja magát ő lát minket ő lát titeket ő látja magukat
1st pl = mi (mi látunk engem) mi látunk téged mi látjuk őt mi látjuk magunkat mi látunk titeket mi látjuk őket
2nd pl = ti ti láttok engem (ti láttok téged) ti látjátok őt ti láttok minket ti látjátok magatokat ti látjátok őket
3rd pl = ők ők látnak engem ők látnak téged (ők látják őt) ők látnak minket ők látnak titeket ők látják magukat

Key things to notice:

  • reflexive pronouns ("magamat"/"magadat"/"magát"/"magunkat"/"magatokat"/"magukat") need the the definite form
  • when object is 1st person ("engem"/"minket"), indefinite is used
  • when object is 3rd person ("őt"/"őket"), definite is used
  • 2nd person object is the "tricky" one ("téged"), only definite when addressed by 1st person singular, otherwise indefinite


Can't thank you enough rdhelli, your scheme made my day!


rdhelli, you marked the -lak-lek ending with yellow color, and called it definite.

But why? What makes it definite?

We should call the -lak-lek ending a third category (neither indefinite nor definite)


You're right. It is a separate form. I assumed it to be definite in the sense, that no indefinite object can be used after. But not just any definite object either, only the 2nd person.


Is 'Minket vagy téged keres zsussa also possible?


I think so (as long as you spell the name correctly, of course).


Why keres not keresed


"keres" is third person singular which works as we are talking about "Zsuzsa" who is looking for someone.
"keresed" is second person singular.


What's wrong with "Keres Zsuzsa minket vagy titeket?" Is the focus (neccessarily) wrong, is it something with question word ordering I've forgotten/missed?


If it would be a standalone "Is Zsuzsa searching for us?" then "Keres Zsuzsa minket?" would be ok (though the focus at that point lies on the verb), but with the "us or you" it doesnt work.
"Minket keres Zsuzsa vagy titeket?" / "Minket vagy titeket keres Zsuzsa?" / "Zsuzsa minket vagy titeket keres?" would be good variations of the words.
Not quite sure of the rule in this case, but I would say the following. As stated before "Keres Zsuzsa minket?" has the focus on the verb, like "is she actually searching for us now ???", and then the selectable target for the search doesnt work well.


Why is Minket keres vagy titeket Zsuzsa? not correct?


Not, the keres search is need to be before Zsuzsa. But if you write minket vagy titeket keres Zsuzsa, that is correcct. Sorry for my english I am Magyar too

  • 3054

More natural: Zsuzsa minket keres vagy titeket?


My grammar lists 'benneteket' as an alternative to 'titeket'. Is there some linguistic reason why 'Minket vagy benneteket keres Zsusza?' isn't accepted?


You can safely use 'titeket' instead of 'benneteket' (and 'minket' instead of 'bennünket') in general.

'Benneteket/bennünket' are somewhat archaic expressions that cannot be conjugated any other ways. They are typically only used when not in the focus of the sentence. They occur most frequently in letters and invitations, eg.: Sok szeretettel várunk benneteket. but Titeket várunk, és nem pedig őket.


Thank you! That makes sense and was sort of what I suspected.


Elnézést, ez nem helyes. Looking for us means "minket"


Zsuzsa minket vagy titeket keres, not accepted, reported but I'm unsure. We can't say where the focus should be from the English sentence. It could be on the contrast between us and you or it could be on Zsuzsa.


Your version is fine. Are you sure you did not make another typo?


I don't think I did and I'm guessing that the sentence began life in Hungarian with the contrast between us and you taking the focus.


And if the sentence begins with "Minket vagy őket", should the right conjugation be "keres" or "keresi"?

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