Mit tetszik kérni?

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Senior Member
deutsch - deutschland

The sentence I've learned is:
Mit tetszik kérni?

My question, is this sentence correct?
Mit tessék kérni?

Does it mean the same as the previous one?

  • Zsanna

    Hungarian - Hungary

    No, the two verbs are not interchangeable in the sentence.
    Tessék cannot be used in the same sense because (although it has several different uses) it is in the imperative (i.e. to me that is the meaning that appears first). Tessék is often used in (realitvely) polite orders or invitations to do something.
    A lábat letörölni! (A very direct order to to clean one's shoes before entering a place - aiming at children or jokingly to anybody.)
    Tessék a lábat letörölni! (A fairly direct order this too but an efffort is made to sound a bit more polite.)

    Tetszik, on the other hand, is a little clumsy (nevertheless widely used) but (meaning to sound) polite sort of modal verb in situations when the speaker wants to avoid using the main verb alone because he feels it would be too abrupt. It may indicate an extra friendliness (but going towards condesending this is why it can turn clumsy). It is all very much connected to the connotations native speakers may feel in a given situation, this is why it is difficult to explain. So just an example:
    Mit kér? (Can sound from neutral to abrupt, from treating somebody "as equal" to being rude.)
    Mit tetszik kérni? (Comparingly, sounds much 'milder', friendlier but may also express that the speaker 'can afford' being "nice" because he feels stronger, younger, more "above" his listener and, depending on the tone, it can be condescending, "you, little old bag..." - although most native speakers are not really aware of this.)

    In fact both words are tricky and it is possible to twist and turn things in a way that you could hear either Tetszik kérni? (in the sense of 'Is there anybody serving you'?) or Tessék kérni! (in the sense of 'Can I help you?') from a shop assistant and it would almost mean the same thing.
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