Help with reading please!!!

I am confused between Elolvassuk and olvassuk. At first I thought that el was the away preposition, meaning reading out loud, but I am finding exercises where they put one or the other marking the other wrong and I can't figure out why?

June 24, 2019


There are no general rules use for preverbs. This is not a rarity, this also can be the case in other languages (for example in German). I try to explain the different roles of "el" with some examples:

Elolvasta az egész regényt. 'He has read the whole novel.'
Elolvassa az egész regényt. 'He is reading the whole novel.'
El fogja olvasni az egész regényt. 'He will read the whole novel.'
Here "el" means completeness.

A gyerek elfutott. 'The child ran away.'
A gyerek elfut. 'The child is running away.'
A gyerek el fog futni. 'The child will run away.'
And here "el" means "away".

June 24, 2019

Thank you I understand past tense, like German does it, but I still don't quite get these two.... Please can you give me an example with Elolvassunk and olvassunk?

June 24, 2019

Well, I'm trying to give examples:
1) Elolvasunk egy regényt. Completely, from the beginning to the end.
2) Olvasunk egy regényt. Just reading, not finished yet.

Generally, "el" has the following meanings:

1) Resultative. Indicating the state of a noun resulting from the completion of the action expressed by a verb.
Mari elolvasta a regényt. 'Mary has read the novel.'

2) Directional. Using a motion verb, the particle describes the direction or route of the motion.
Mari elment (a boltba). 'Mary went away (to the shop).'

3) In addition, there is a third type of this particle, which means: "spending some time".
Mari elgondolkozik. 'Mary is lost in thought'.

Of course, native speaker doesn't think, just use the language. Linguists are the ones who try to interpret the linguistic phenomena in a language. It's a difficult task. I wrote this post based on Towards a Theory of Hungarian Verbal Particles: a Case Study of El.

June 25, 2019

I guess why you don't understand it in present tense. - "Elolvassuk a regényt." It means a plan, an arrangement.
- "Olvassuk a regényt" In general, it means progress.

June 28, 2019

Yes yes Thank you. I am such a beginner I am still operating in present tense!!! Thank you for your patience! I LOVE learning this language because it is so challenging but it is REALLY challenging!!! LOL

July 13, 2019

We are all beginners in some language :)

July 13, 2019

OH it just occurred to me that the problem might be that English READ is both present and past tense LOL!!!!!

June 24, 2019
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It is not easy. I also wrote a post about this, with links to 3 more discussions:

June 25, 2019

Thank you that is EXACTLY what I needed!

July 13, 2019

I think much of this discussion applies to the prefix "meg" as well. I didn't understand this stuff until I learned about imperfective/perfective verbs in Russian.

June 28, 2019

I haven't started Russian yet. I am pretty good at the romance languages but even my German is abysmal!

July 13, 2019

The preverb "el-" adds a perfective aspect to the verb. Talking about the whole action (of reading, finishing, the whole book) as a whole, without regard to its (the action's) inner structure (beginning, being in progress, finishing).

Also, "el-" does have the meaning "away" or "(up) to". But it is not always present. More often than not, it has nothing to do with "away", or it is only figuratively present. That is, very often it is only there to add the perfective aspect.

Its best friend is the preverb "meg-", which has absolutely no literal meaning, it only works as an agent for the perfective sense.
"Eszem a lángost." - I am eating the lángos.
"Megeszem a lángost." - I am (going to) finish the whole lángos.

In Hungary, when you are drooling while watching somebody chew on a lángos, you don't need to ask "are you going to finish that?". You can just ask "Megeszed?" - meaning are you going to complete that enviable action yourself?

June 30, 2019 He is almost always right. A very nice person. Too bad I don't know personally. greetings both

June 25, 2019

You are very nice, thanks :)

June 25, 2019

-Olvassuk focuses on the fact that you are reading
-Elolvassuk focuses more on the fact that you are going to read to while thing
But they mean the same thing, so you don't need to worry about that

June 27, 2019

Mr. Professor speak clearly/Herr Professor sprechen klar vvsey

You will not get too much response with your explanatory explanation! The reason is too absurd can hardly follow for a mortal such as me. You can show off being complicated ("which is not natural") which is not understood by ordinary Hungarian or Engesman. But you do and you very large circle of friends who always understand everything present everywhere! Oh yes, you can also have this e-mail deleted. And I hope your friends give a lot of duolingo points as always

June 30, 2019

I LOVE vvsey!!!! I don't know vvsey outside of this Hungarian course but I would have given up LONG ago if it were not for his explanations on these pages (mostly to other people).

July 13, 2019

SusanRankin1, shhhhhh.... I love you too!!! :)
Keep up the enthusiasm! Never give up! Good luck to you!

July 14, 2019

Elisabeth902461, thank you for the kind words, I hope your friends give you lots of duolingo points, too.
Let me know if I can help with anything. The concepts of the Hungarian language are sometimes very difficult to explain to English speakers, therefore the explanation can become very complicated, as well. I try to make my explanations as simple as I can, but I am also still learning.
Finally, if you want to delete your comments, you can do it yourself. But you need to use the web browser version, not the App. I am unable to delete anyone else's comments, only my own. When you use a browser, you will see the link to Delete under all of your own comments.

July 14, 2019
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