Were it not for…

This construction is expressed in Hungarian like this:

Were it nor for… = Ha nem + present/past conditional


Were it nor for my friend, I wouldn’t pay the fine.
Ha nem a barátomról lenne szó, nem fizetném ki a bírságot.

Were it not for Peter, they wouldn’t care about it.
Ha nem Péterről volna szó, nem érdekelné őket.

Were it not for an old friend of mine, I wouldn’t have taken such a long journey.
Ha nem egy régi barátról lett volna szó, nem tettem volna meg ekkora utat.

An expression appears in such sentences many times:

szó van valamiről / valakiről = it’s about something / someone

The preposition about is equal to these suffixes: -ról, -ről (according to vowel harmony).

Were it not for you… – Ha nem rólad lenne szó
Were it not for Peter… – Ha nem Péterről lenne szó

So the literal translation from Hungarian would be: If it weren’t about you


English allows the speaker to put the main and subordinate clauses in different conditions. So does Hungarian.

If you hadn’t offended her, she would help us now.
Ha nem sértetted volna meg, most segítene nekünk.

English has this solution, too: Hadn’t you offended her…However, Hungarian must always say: HA!

So much for if-clauses and conditional mood.

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