Question words usually need to be placed in front of the verb (the "focus.") Exceptions are miért? (why?) & hogyhogy? (how come?)
I saw it in comments several times that, supposedly, verbs have to be at the end of a sentence. I wonder where this is coming from... ??
See below for my question on the topic (which norbix9 answered). Where the verb goes is a much more subjective question in Hungarian than English. In this case (a question asking where something is), you would usually ask, "Hol van a ..." or "Hol vannak a ...". If it was a statement, something like "Az asztalnál a fekete törölközők vannak" (The black towels are next to the table) would make sense.
That's my reading of it - if someone needs to correct me, please do. I'll delete this comment if that's the case.
Yes, I saw your question below, that is why I am asking. I am wondering whether you read it somewhere in the Tips and Notes or it is your personal observation. And you are not the first one to make this comment. So I had to ask.
Because, while it is true that the verb can be at the end of the sentence, much more so than in English, this is by no means a rule. Let's see:
Vannak az asztalnál fekete törülközők.
Vannak fekete törölközők az asztalnál.
Az asztalnál vannak (a) fekete törülközők.
Az asztalnál (a) fekete törölközők vannak.
(A) fekete törülközők vannak az asztalnál.
A fekete törölközők az asztalnál vannak.
I believe I covered all possibilities here. All perfectly fine Hungarian statements. Would you deduct from these that the verb has to be at the end of the sentence?
And we have only talked about the verb "to be" yet.
So, and I am only curious, I would like to know where this question, or observation, is coming from. And please do not delete your comment, all comments and questions are very useful and open our eyes to things we might not have thought of otherwise.
On your original question: when you have a question word (where, what, etc.), it is usually immediately followed by a verb. Just like in English.
This was just my observation based on the explanation below and the questions as they were articulated in these sections. I'm not a native Hungarian speaker by any stretch, and am just trying to make deductions based on what's been put in front of me. The complexities of the language are stunning. Let me just see if I can translate the differences between your examples above:
There ARE, on the table, black towels. (Debating whether or not they're there)
There ARE black towels on the table. (Debating whether there are black towels amongst everything else.)
On the table, there are black towels. (Drawing attention to the table.)
On the table are black towels. (Describing the contents of the table.)
Black towels are on the table. (Neutral - stating the fact)
Black towels are on the table. (Defining where the black towels are.)
Does this seem about right?
Yes, very good, I would say close enough. The exact meaning depends on so many things, like emphasis, context, and also whether we include the definite articles I threw in there. So, yes, you are getting it.
And I can see how, compared to English, it may catch your attention that the verb is frequently at the end of the sentence. But that is just one possible position for it in Hungarian. There are languages where it is a much stricter rule to place it at the end.
Thanks for your comments and keep up the good work.
The whole 'a verb might be anywhere in a sentence" paradigm has been discussed somewhere else in earlier lessons, in the meantime DL demands it to be at the ending in many sentences. I get that it is all work in progress... so maybe we need to be reminded of verbs' actual options more often or smth :)
Well, it is a question. "Hol a fekete törölközők vannak?" It.. It sound so ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ odd and silly. xdd Actually that is one of the reasons why the "van/vannak" stuff is at the beginning.
Hope it helped a bit. c:
Ok, thanks. Does this mean that putting it at the end will make it sound like a statement, whereas putting it after "hol" will make it sound more like a question?
Yes, with "hol" it becomes a question like where it is, and after that comes the verb. If it wasn't a question it would sound like "A fekete törölközők itt vannak" (The black towels are here)
I am quite puzzled as to the significance of black as the chosen colour in this Household segment. There are black curtains, black bowls and now black towels ... such a dreary look! I'd like to brighten it up, but perhaps someone could explain if there is some logic behind it. Curious!