"Nem a magas lány van ott."

Translation:It is not the tall girl who is there.

September 21, 2016

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Can someone tell me why this cannot be: "The tall girl is not there" ?


Because your sentence negates a different thing. The sentence above says "not the girl", and you are saying "not there". Those are two very different statements. Hungarian puts "nem" in front of the thing it wants to negate, as opposed to English that usually does it just by emphasis.


Thank you. So "The tall girl is not there" would be "Nem van ott a magas lány"?


Very good, except when you come up with "nem van" together like this, you must replace it with "nincs".

"Nincs ott a magas lány."

But there is one more possibility here. You can either kind of negate the "existence" of the girl - that is what the above sentence does -, or you can say that the girl "exists", the girl IS somewhere, except not there. As in "The tall girl is not there but here."

"A magas lány nem ott van, hanem itt."

You can clearly see the difference in Hungarian, as

"nincs" = "nem van" - the verb "van" is being negated, and

"nem ott" - the place, "ott", is being negated.

The English sentence "The tall girl is not there" blends these two meanings together, you have to play with emphasis to convey the meaning.


Nagyon köszönöm! This gave me some good insights :D


This sentence illustrates the biggest problem with Duolingo. Since we would NEVER say the sentence as it is translated, it makes me wonder if the Hungarian sentence is also flawed. Should I use this Hungarian sentence in real life or is it as horrible as the english sentence and I would sound like a fool saying it to a Hungarian? It is impossible to know. Serious structural problem.


Nope, it's more like in Hungarian this is an obvious and natural sentence while in English one has to kinda try hard to get the same meaning.


I guess they just want to make sure you understand every single word and not just the context. Finding the correct way to express in English would a version, not a translation by it's definition.

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I agree with you. Many of duolingo sentences make no sense in English. Here is a lingot


This sentence is fine in English. 'Oh, you're going to see the tall girl? It's not the tall girl who's there! It's the short girl! The tall girl is in the next building over.'


I wrote "It is not the tall girl THAT is there." and it should be right


May we assume that nem negates magas? The girl over there is not tall?


No, it negates the whole phrase "the tall girl".


Why not putting : It is not the tall girl who is there Semantically it's the same


Sorry : this is not the tall girl there

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