Declension of the definite article - singular
m. f. n.
Nom ὁ ἡ τό
Acc τόν τήν τό
Gen τοῦ τῆς τοῦ
Dat τῷ τῇ τῷ
Declension of the definite article - plural
How is the def. art. an anchor in a sentence?
- See οἱ, and you know the noun it goes with is subject, plural, mascu- line.
- See τόν, and you know the noun it goes with is object, singular, mascu- line, and so on.
- So even if you do not know how the NOUN changes, the def. art. will tell you exactly the function in the sentence of the noun it agrees with.
There is no indefinite article (‘a’, ‘an’) in Greek, only the absence of the definite article. Thus ὁ ψόφος = ‘the noise’, but ψόφος = ‘a noise’.
indicates a question
I come, go, walk
I (sometimes emphatic)
and, also, even, actually
καλός, ή, όν
beautiful, fine, good
ὁ, ἡ, τό
definite article singular m, f, n
τε ... καί
Notice that Greek often includes a τε and καί to form a closely linked pair; it means (literally) ‘both ... and’, though in English this often seems strained, and it may seem more natural, when translating, to omit the ‘both’.
O (addressing someone)
Conjugation of the verb βαίνω in the present indicative active
‘I go/am going/do go’
1s βαίν- ω
2s βαίν- εις
3s βαίν- ει
1p βαίν- ομεν
2p βαίν- ετε
3p βαίν- ουσι(ν)
What are 'thematic' verbs?
A ‘thematic’ verb is one consisting of stem + ‘thematic’ vowel + person endings. The ‘thematic’ vowels are:
What is a COMPOUND VERB? Use βαίνω to provide examples.
In Greek you can make COMPOUND VERBS from simple verbs like βαίνω by adding a prefix. We have seen some examples of this:
εἰσ-βαίνω ‘I go into, on board’ (‘into-go-I’)
κατα-βαίνω ‘I go down’ (‘down-go-I’)
The five properties of verb forms
The vocative case
The VOC. is the ‘calling’ CASE – used when someone is being called or addressed (cf. ‘Play it again, Sam’). Its form is frequently identical to the nom, but is sometimes distinguished from the nom. in the s.; in the pl., nom. and voc. are always the same.
The voc. is often prefaced with ὦ in Greek, and is usually found with IMPERATIVES (as βαῖνε) or second-person verbs (e.g. βαίνεις and βαίνετε, ‘you are going’).
Imperative form for ω verbs
An ambiguity with imperatives and indicatives
The pl. imperative mood, βαίνετε is identical to that of the second person pl. indicative mood.
So βαίνετε could mean either ‘go!’ (pl.) or ‘you (pl.) are going’.
Only the context can give you the right answer.
How to make an imperative negative
Put μή before the imperative:
μὴ βαῖνε ‘do not go!’ (s.)
μὴ βαίνετε ‘do not go!’ (pl.)
The particles μέν and δέ are frequently used to make a contrast. They can never be the first word in a phrase and the words are never used side by side. The words also follow negatives.
Can often be translated as A BUT B, or WHILE A, B.
μέν ... δέ ... δέ ... δέ ... δέ ... δέ (etc.) is used to construct a (usually uncontrasted) list: ‘A and B and C and D and E’, etc.
Use of pronouns
Pronouns can be used to emphasise the person in the verb-ending, e.g.:
τί πoιεῖς σύ; οὐδὲν ἔχω ἔγωγε.
I at least/at any rate
enter, board (literally, into-go)
go/come down (literally, down-go)
remain, wait for
οὐ, οὐκ, οὐχ
so, then, really, therfore
flee, run away/off
why? (literally, from what?)
And not (literally a concatenation of the two)
help, run to help
What are contract verbs and what kinds are there?
Verbs ending in -ω like βαίνω are the ‘normal’ Greek verbs.
Verbs whose stem (the part that does not change) ends in a vowel have slightly different endings.
There are three kinds:
α-contracts (e.g. ὁρά-ω);
ε-contracts (e.g. ποιέ-ω, ‘I do/make’);
ο-contracts (e.g. δηλό-ω, ‘I show’).
Vowel contractions: X + α
α + α = ᾱ
ε + α = η
ο + α = ω
Vowel contractions: X + ε
α + ε = ᾱ
ε + ε = ει
ο + ε = ου
Vowel contractions: X + ο
α + ο = ω
ε + ο = ου
ο + ο = ου
Declining α-contract verbs:
Declining ε-contract verbs:
Declining ο-contract verbs:
Contract imperatives: α-contracts
s. ὅρ-α ‘see!’
p. ὁρ-ᾶτε ‘see!’
Contract imperatives: ε-contracts
s. ποί-ει ‘do!/make!’
p. ποι-εῖτε ‘do!/make!’
Pay particular attention to the accent on imperative s. active ποίει (‘do!’). This
distinguishes it from the third person s. indicative active ποιεῖ (‘he/she/it does’).
Contract imperatives: ο-contracts
s. δήλ-ου ‘show!’
p. δηλ-οῦτε ‘show!’
Adverbs and form change
Adverbs in Greek do not change form.
Forming Greek adverbs
Adverbs (which do not change their forms) are mostly formed by substituting ς for the ν at the end of the m. gen. pl. form of the adjective. So most adverbs end with -ῶς or -έως.
What is a declension?
A pattern of inflection according to grammatical case.
How many declensions are there in Greek?
Broadly speaking, there are THREE DECLENSIONS in Greek.
- stems in α- (Type 1)
- stems in ο- (Type 2)
- all the rest (Type 3)
Each DECLENSION or TYPE has a number of sub-types, reflecting slight differ- ences in the endings used (these sub-types will be called 1a–d, 2a and b, and 3a–h).
Second declension nouns - Type 2a: ἄνθρωπος, ὁ ‘man/fellow’
Nom. ἄνθρωπ-ος ἄνθρωπ-οι
Acc. ἄνθρωπ-ον ἀνθρώπ-ους
Gen. ἀνθρώπ-ου ἀνθρώπ-ων
Dat. ἀνθρώπ-ῳ ἀνθρώπ-οις
Voc. ὦ ἄνθρωπ-ε
The endings are very similar to those for the masculine and neuter definite article in the present indicative active. Most 2a nouns are masculine, although there are some that a feminine or both (like this one).
Second declension nouns - Type 2b: ἔργον, τό ‘task/duty/job/work’
Nom. ἔργ-ον ἔργ-α
Acc. ἔργ-ον ἔργ-α
Gen. ἔργ-ου ἔργ-ων
Dat. ἔργ-ῳ ἔργ-οις
The endings of TYPE 2b nouns are similar to those of the neuter def. art. and the neuter forms of καλός. TYPE 2b nouns are all neuter. N. nouns are often inanimate, or regarded as effectively inanimate, and some diminutive, perhaps affectionate, like παιδίον ‘child, slave’ (!).
Ambiguities with neuter nouns
The nom. and acc. s. and nom. and acc. pl. of all n. nouns and adjectives are identical. Only the context of the sentence will tell you whether the noun in question is subject or object.
Neuter nouns and the verb
N. pl. subjects (normally) take a s. verb.
the man; fellow
the task, work, job; duty
ἡμέτερος -ᾱ -ον
κακός ή όν
bad, evil; cowardly; lowly, mean
the captain, helmsman
the boat, life-boat
σῶος ᾱ oν
The ι,ρ,ε rule for adjectives
Ιf an adjective ends in -ος in the m. nom. s. and its stem ends in ι, ρ, ε, it will follow the pattern of ἡμέτερος (i.e. it will have α instead of η in the f. s.).
For example, the f. nom. s. of ῡμέτερ-ος, ‘your(s)’, is ῡμετέρ-ᾱ, like ἡμετέρ-ᾱ, because its stem ends in ρ.
from, away from + gen.
into + acc.
'Get INTO the boat' (note difference from ἐν)
from, out of + gen.
in + dat.
'She swims IN the sea' (note difference from εἰς)
to, towards + acc.
in the name of, from, under the protection of + gen
at least, at any rate
What is a preposition?
PREPOSITIONS are words like ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘below’, ‘towards’, ‘to’, followed by a noun, e.g. ‘in the house’, ‘to the beach’:
- They can indicate place or movement;
- They can express a relationship in terms of time (e.g. ‘after’); or
- They can indicate something more abstract like cause (e.g. ‘because of’).
'FIrst position' particles
Three common ones:
ἆρα which introduces a question when there is no interrogative word like ‘Who, What, Why?’ (e.g. ἆρα τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ὁρᾷς; lit. ‘[question] the men you see?’, ‘do you see the men?’)
καί ‘and’, ‘even’, ‘actually’
Most of the other particles you will meet for now are ‘postpositive’, lit. ‘after- placed’, and usually come SECOND in the sentence or clause to which they belong, e.g.
γάρ, γε, δέ, μέν, οὖν, τε.
These are words which have accents, but they give them to the previous word if possible.
go away, depart
save, keep safe
φίλος ή όν
dear, friendly, one’s own
Paradigm for εἰμί, ‘I am’
Paradigm for οἶδα, ‘I know’
The complement: two principles
- Same case before and after: the verb 'to be' takes the same case as the subject and its complement, which usually means the nominative.
- The complement does not usually have the definite article.
Omission of the verb 'to be'
Quite often the verb ‘to be’ is omitted from a sentence (a feature called ‘ellipse’). So if you find a sentence without a verb, try some form of εἰμί, e.g.
Μέμνων καλός ‘Memnon handsome.’
ἄριστος η ον
best; very good
know; think; resolve
δῆλος η oν
μῶρος ᾱ oν
παίζω (πρός + acc.)
play; joke (at)
(+ acc.) about
many things (acc.)
πῶς γὰρ οὔ;
lit. ‘the naval-things’, naval matters
lit. ‘the leader’s-things’, leadership, generalship
lit. ‘the soldier’s-things’, military matters
Three ways that adjectives can be used as nouns
1. Neuter 'things' - The neuter plural form of an adjective is often used (with the neuter definite article) to mean things of that type, eg:
τὰ πολλά: ‘many things’
τὰ ναυτικά lit. the naval-things, i.e. ‘naval matters’
2. Neuter abstract nouns - the neuter singular (with definite article) can also be used as an abstract noun:
τὸ καλόν: ‘the beautiful thing’, beauty
3. Masculine and feminine ‘people’ - use of the definite article with the adjective to refer to people:
ἡ καλή, ‘the beautiful [f. s.] woman’
οἱ σοφοί, ‘the wise [m. pl.] men’
Use of τε...τε and τε...καί
τε comes after the first item it will link (even between the definite article and its noun) and και comes before the second:
ὅ τε Δικαιόπολις καὶ ὁ ῥαψῳδός, ‘[The] both Dikaiopolis and the rhap- sode.’
ὁρᾷ τε ὁ ἄνθρωπος καὶ οὐχ ὁρᾷ, ‘The man [both] sees and does not see.’