Phrasal Verbs Part 2


This part is about this prefix:

MEG-

It can’t be translated in English. In this function it has no meaning. It just expresses completeness. We could say that Hungarian verbs with no verbal prefix have a continuous aspect. Examples:

No prefix:
Írom a levelet. – I’m writing the letter.
Írtam a levelet. – I was writing the letter.

With meg-:
Megírom a levelet. – I’ll write the letter.
Megírtam a levelet. – I wrote the letter.

See the difference? That’s why Hungarian people don’t need four tenses to express all those nuances. All we need is the verbal prefix -meg. Two other verbal prefixes can also have this function: el-, le-

Tudtam a választ. – I knew the answer.
Megtudtam a választ. – I found out the answer.

Értem, mit akarsz mondani. – I see what you mean.
Megértem, mit érzel. – I know exactly how you feel.

Pirítóst eszek. – I eat toast.
Megeszem a pirítóst. – I eat up the toast.

A vonat ötkor megy. – The train leaves at five.
A vonat ötkor elmegy. – The train will have left at five.

A koncert javában zajlik. – The concert is still in progress.
A koncert hatra lezajlik. – The concert will be over by six.

ANSWERING WITH VERBAL PREFIXES

If you’re asked a question that has a verb with a verbal prefix (phrasal verb), then you have the following options:

1. You can answer with just yes or no:
-Megcsináltad a leckét?
Igen. / Nem.

-Have you done your homework?
Yes. / No.

2. You can answer by repeating the verb (not common):
-Megcsináltad a leckét?
Igen, megcsináltam. / Nem, nem csináltam meg.

-Have you done your homework?
Yes, I have done it. / No, I haven’t done it.

3. You can answer with yes + the verbal prefix. You can’t answer with the verbal prefix if the answer is no:
-Megcsináltad a leckét?
Igen, meg. / Nem.

Have you done your homework?
Yes, I have. / No, I haven’t.

4. You can answer with just the verbal prefix if the answer is yes. You can’t answer with the verbal prefix if the answer is no:
-Megcsináltad a leckét?
Meg. / Nem.

-Have you done your homework?
Yes. / No.

In part 3 we’ll take a look at how verbal prefixes are supposed to be written, together or separately.

Bye now.

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