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  5. "Péter is not stupid, on the …

"Péter is not stupid, on the contrary! He is very smart."

Translation:Péter nem hülye, sőt! Nagyon is okos.

February 26, 2019



I don't understand the function of "is" in this sentence.


"is" can give more emphasis and /or possibly mean "on the contrary".

Another few examples:

  • Nagyon is jó! - It really is good! (heh is-is :) )
  • Nagyon is finom! - It really is delicious!
  • El is olvastam! - I indeed really did read it! (emotional, eg. being proud of reading it)

An example with "on the contrary" meaning:

  • Nem igaz! - It's not true!
  • Nem is igaz! - On the contrary, it's not true! (expressing surprise or anger)

In this current sentence I say it means both. It could work without "is" as well, but using it gives more emphasis.


This was my attempt at trying to explain this phenomenon:

"Pekingben laksz, pedig nem is vagy kínai."


Usually, a word has more meaning in every language, including Hungarian. The basic meaning of "is" is also, too, but its other meanings are always, anyhow, anyway, either, even, ultimately, however, or. See the Hungarian-English Learner's Dictionary with examples:


That would make a mess of The Who's "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere".


I dont like the placement of "on the contrary" in the English. I believe that it should either begin the first sentence or begin the second. If beginning the first sentence, it would be contradicting a previous assertion. So, has this been so phrased to lead us to placing "sőt" at the end of the first sentence? Is it inappropriate to place "Sőt" at the start of the first sentence?


I agree, mostly. How about making "on the contrary" its own sentence. Or indeed start the second sentence with it:
"Péter is not stupid. On the contrary. He is very smart."
"Péter is not stupid. On the contrary: he is vert smart."
Make your favorite punctuation.
But it does look as if they did it the way they did to mirror the Hungarian way. Or whoever wrote this sentence just didn't know any better.
I am not sure what the official correct way is to draw the lines between the sentences, but the above is certainly the way it is used in everyday Hungarian.
Add to it the fact that the contrasting statement is often omitted, left hanging in the air. So you could hear just this:
"Péter nem hülye, sőt! " And nothing after that. It is then easily understood that what Péter is is quite the opposite.
So that's why "sőt" may end a sentence, following the first assertion.

I think it is more likely for "sőt" to start a sentence when the first assertion is also a positive one and we are going even further with the second one:
"Péter nagyon okos. Sőt, egy igazi zseni!"
Of course, then it will not be translated as "on the contrary".
"Péter is very smart. Even more, he is a true genius!"
Better translations welcome.

In any case, you will find "sőt" between the two statements (omitted or not). So, no structures like this: "Contrary to allegations, Péter is not stupid. He is very smart."

Sometimes people can simply reply to your question, containing the first assertion, with a "sőt", or a "nem, sőt":
"Péter nem hülye?"
"(Nem,) sőt (,nagyon (is) okos)!"
Yes, you can even put an "is" right there, but I am too tired to attempt an explanation right now. :) It somehow gives an extra emotional emphasis to the contrasting statement.


Thank you for that. I am very glad I asked this question.


Thanks. I had already met the latter two, but rereading them has helped imbed them into my brain, and it needs all the imbedding it can get!

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