Word Order – with and without Question Words


If there is a question word, it’s easy to see we have to deal with a question :). You don’t even need to rise your voice. The word order doesn’t change.

Mit főzöl? -Pörköltet (főzök).
What are you cooking? -(I’m cooking) stew.

Miért nem voltál a bulin? -Mert beteg voltam.
Why weren’t you at the party? -Because I was ill.

Let’s see these sentences without question words:

-Főzöl? -Igen, (főzök).
-Are you cooking? -Yes, I am (cooking).

-Nem voltál a bulin? -Nem, (nem voltam).
-Weren’t you at the party? -No, I wasn’t.

As you see, all you have to do is to put the question word at the beginning of the sentence. Without a question word, it is a yes or no sentence.

If the question word is ’embedded’ in a sentence, English uses direct word order again! Hungarian doesn’t deal with this because there is no inversion for the sake of a question in the first place.

Hány embert láttál a bankban?
How many people did you see in the bank?

Mondd el, hány embert láttál a bankban!
Tell me how many people you saw in the bank.

Next time we’ll take a look at the question words for one more time and we learn how to form questions like these:

Where did you say he went?
Who do you think you are?

Why are these kind of questions worth of more explanation? You’ll see next time. Bye! 🙂

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