37 Participles: Part I

2009.04.0082

Fragment of an altar, likely dedicated to the Roman emperor Augustus. 1st c. B.C. – 1st c. A.D. Athenian Agora Excavations.

 


The Participle: Introduction

 

This lesson presents a part of speech known as the PARTICIPLE. Essentially, participles are VERBAL ADJECTIVES. As with verbs, participles have TENSE and VOICE, and can take DIRECT or INDIRECT OBJECTS. As with adjectives, participles have GENDER, NUMBER, and CASE.

 

English Participles

In English, there are two participial forms:

  • The PRESENT participle
  • The PAST participle

The PRESENT participle in English is recognized by its ending: –ing. Sometimes the participle stands on its own; in other situations, the participle introduces a PARTICIPIAL PHRASE. A participial phrase consists of the participle, plus any other words or phrases that modify or complement the participle. The present participle in English is ACTIVE.

  • Odysseus was a loving father.
    • Here the participle stands on its own, modifying father.
  • We see Odysseus thinking about it.
  • We will see Odysseus fighting the Trojans.
    • In these two sentences, each participle is modifying Odysseus; both also introduce participial phrases.

The PAST PARTICIPLE in English is most commonly identified by the ending –ed (e.g., worked, loved), though other forms exist (e.g., eaten, sung). As with the present participle, the participle can stand on its own or introduce a PARTICIPIAL PHRASE. The past participle in English is PASSIVE.

  • Odysseus burned the captured city.
    • Here the participle modifies city.
  • The women, captured by the Greeks, are unhappy.
    • Here the participle modifies women, and introduces a participial phrase.
  • The war, fought mainly on the plains of Troy, will come to an end.
    • Here the participle modifies war, and introduces a participial phrase.

 


Greek Participles

An ancient grammarian once wrote that the Greeks were φιλομέτοχοι, participle-loving. This is no exaggeration. Nearly a third (!) of Greek verbal forms are participles. As a result, mastering Greek participles is essential to reading almost any paragraph of ancient Greek.

As VERBAL ADJECTIVES, Greek participles are part VERB (and so possess tense and voice), and part ADJECTIVE (and so decline to reflect gender, number, case):

 

 

Greek participles exist in three tenses: PRESENT, FUTURE, and AORIST. To form each of these tenses:

  • Participles use the same TENSE STEM that a given VERB uses in the INDICATIVE mood.

Greek participles exist in the ACTIVE, MIDDLE, and PASSIVE voices. To mark these voices:

  • Participles add VOICE MARKERS to the tense stem.

Finally, Greek participles must be able to reflect the GENDER, NUMBER, and CASE of their ANTECEDENT, i.e., the noun to which the participle refers or modifies. To match the antecedent:

  • Participles add ADJECTIVE endings.

Putting it all together, the formation of a participle looks something like this:


Active Participles

The pattern for ALL PARTICIPLES in the ACTIVE voice is:

  • tense stem + ντ + 3-1-3 adjective endings
    • A σ is added before the 1st declension endings for the FEMININE
    • 1st declension endings for the FEMININE use  in the nom. and acc. sing.
    • The persistent accent is on the LAST VOWEL SOUND of the TENSE STEM.

 

Present Active Participle: Thematic Verbs

Present active participles are built upon the PRESENT TENSE STEM. For –ω verbs, the thematic vowel ο is added before the ντ marker, producing the following pattern:

  • present stem + οντ + 3-1-3 adjective endings

Predictable sound changes yield the following endings for the NOMINATIVE SINGULAR  of THEMATIC PRESENT ACTIVE participles:

  • Masculine: (-οντς→-ονς→) –ων
  • Feminine: (-οντσα→-ονσα→) –ουσα
  • Neuter: (-οντ→) –ον

On their own, these endings form one of the most common and useful participles:

Being: Present Active Participle of εἰμί be (S 305; GPH, p. 224)

Singular:

M  F  N
Nominative ὤν οὖσα ὄν
Genitive ὄντος οὔσης ὄντος
Dative ὄντι οὔσῃ ὄντι
Accusative ὄντα οὖσαν ὄν

Plural:

M  F  N
Nominative ὄντες οὖσαι ὄντα
Genitive ὄντων οὐσῶν ὄντων
Dative οὖσι οὔσαις οὖσι
Accusative ὄντας οὔσας ὄντα
Note that the endings for the feminine are the same as those used by δόξαης glory, judgment, opinion. Note also that the monosyllabic participles ὤν and ὄν do not decline according to the 3rd declension accent rules. Instead, the accent remains on the thematic vowel (S 304).

 

To form the present active participle of –ω verbs, simply add the inflected forms of ων, ουσα, ον as an ending.

Loosening: Present Active Participle of λύω loosen (S 305; GPH, p. 186)

Singular:

M  F  N
Nominative λύων λύουσα λῦον
Genitive λύοντος λυούσης λύοντος
Dative λύοντι λυούσῃ λύοντι
Accusative λύοντα λύουσαν λῦον

Plural:

M  F  N
Nominative λύοντες λύουσαι λύοντα
Genitive λυόντων λυουσῶν λυόντων
Dative λύουσι λυούσαις λύουσι
Accusative λύοντας λυούσας λύοντα
Note that the masculine forms are familiar; they match nouns such as ἄρχων, ἄρχοντος. In fact, ἄρχων is actually a participle that was often used SUBSTANTIVELY as a noun (the ruling man = the ruler).

 

Present Active Participle: Contract Verbs

Contract verbs follow the normal rules of contraction when forming thematic present active participles.

Grabbing: Present Active Participle of αἱρέω grab (S 310; GPH, p. 200)

Masculine:

Nominative (αἱρέων→) αἱρῶν
Genitive (αἱρέοντος→) αἱροῦντος
κτλ

Feminine:

Nominative (αἱρέουσα→) αἱροῦσα
Genitive (αἱρεούσης→) αἱρούσης
κτλ

Neuter:

Nominative (αἱρέον→) αἱροῦν
Genitive (αἱρέοντος→) αἱροῦντος
κτλ

 

Asking: Present Active Participle of ἐρωτάω ask (S 310; GPH, p. 198)

Masculine:

Nominative (ἐρωτάων→) ἐρωτῶν
Genitive (ἐρωτάοντος→) ἐρωτῶντος
κτλ

Feminine:

Nominative (ἐρωτάουσα→) ἐρωτῶσα
Genitive (ἐρωταούσης→) ἐρωτώσης
κτλ

Neuter:

Nominative (ἐρωτάον→) ἐρωτῶν
Genitive (ἐρωτάοντος→) ἐρωτῶντος
κτλ

 

Showing: Present Active Participle of δηλόω show (S 310; GPH, p. 202)

Masculine:

Nominative (δηλόων→) δηλῶν
Genitive (δηλόοντος→) δηλοῦντος
κτλ

Feminine:

Nominative (δηλόουσα→) δηλοῦσα
Genitive (δηλοούσης→) δηλούσης
κτλ

Neuter:

Nominative (δηλόον→) δηλοῦν
Genitive (δηλόοντος→) δηλοῦντος
κτλ

 


Present Active Participle: Athematic Verbs

 

For athematic (-μι) verbs, no thematic vowel is added before the ντ marker. The result is the following pattern:

  • present stem + ντ + 3-1-3 adjective endings

Predictable sound changes yield the following endings for the NOMINATIVE SINGULAR of ATHEMATIC PRESENT ACTIVE participles:

  • Masculine: (-ντς→-νς→) –ς
  • Feminine: (-ντσα→-νσα→) –σα
  • Neuter: (-ντ→) –ν

In other words, for athematic verbs, add ς, σα, ν as an ending.

Note that while sound changes for THEMATIC participles result in the loss of the –τς in the MASCULINE NOMINATIVE SINGULAR (-οντς→-ονς→ –ων), for ATHEMATIC participles, what is lost is –ντ.

 

Showing: Present Active Participle of δείκνυμι show (S 308; GPH, p. 216)

Singular:

M  F  N
Nominative δεικνύς δεικνῦσα δεικνύν
Genitive δεικνύντος δεικνύσης δεικνύντος
Dative δεικνύντι δεικνύσῃ δεικνύντι
Accusative δεικνύντα δεικνῦσαν δεικνύν

Plural:

M  F  N
Nominative δεικνύντες δεικνῦσαι δεικνύντα
Genitive δεικνύντων δεικνυσῶν δεικνύντων
Dative δεικνῦσι δεικνύσαις δεικνῦσι
Accusative δεικνύντας δεικνύσας δεικνύντα
Note that when υ is lengthened due to compensatory lengthening, the result is long υ.

 

Giving: Present Active Participle of δίδωμι give (S 307; GPH, p. 204)

M  F  N
Nominative διδούς διδοῦσα διδόν
Genitive διδόντος διδούσης διδόντος
κτλ    
Note that the stem of this participle is διδόντ. When ο is lengthened due to compensatory lengthening, the result is ου.

 

Placing, making: Present Active Participle of τίθημι place, make (S 307; GPH, p. 212)

M  F  N
Nominative τιθείς τιθεῖσα τιθέν
Genitive τιθέντος τιθείσης τιθέντος
κτλ    
Note that the stem of this participle is τιθέντ. When ε is lengthened due to compensatory lengthening, the result is ει.

 

Standing: Present Active Participle of ἵστημι stand (S 306; GPH, p. 208)

M  F  N
Nominative ἱστάς ἱστᾶσα ἱστάν
Genitive ἱστάντος ἱστάσης ἱστάντος
κτλ    
Note that the stem of this participle is ἱστάντ. When α is lengthened due to compensatory lengthening, the result is long α.

 

Throwing: Present Active Participle of ἵημι throw (S 777)

M  F  N
Nominative ἱείς ἱεῖσα ἱέν
Genitive ἱέντος ἱείσης ἱέντος
κτλ    
Note that the stem of this participle is ἱέντ. When ε is lengthened due to compensatory lengthening, the result is ει.

 


Future Active Participle

 

Recall that ALL verbs are THEMATIC (-ω) verbs in the FUTURE tense. So to form the future active participle:

  • Add ων, ουσα, ον to the future stem (= verb stem + σ)

 

About to loosen: Future Active Participle of λύω loosen (S 662; GPH, p. 188)

M  F  N
Nominative λύσων λύσουσα λῦσον
Genitive λύσοντος λυσούσης λύσοντος
κτλ    

 

About to show: Future Active Participle of δείκνυμι show (S 662)

M  F  N
Nominative δείξων δείξουσα δεῖξον
Genitive δείξοντος δειξούσης δείξοντος
κτλ    

 

– τὸ τέλος –

 


Key Terms and Concepts

  • PARTICIPLES AS VERBAL ADJECTIVES
  • PARTICIPIAL PHRASE
  • φιλομέτοχοι
  • PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE OF εἰμί
  • THEMATIC PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLES
  • ATHEMATIC PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLES
  • FUTURE ACTIVE PARTICIPLES

Exercises

Ι. Fill in the blank.

1. All PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLES are formed according to the following pattern:

  • present stem + ______+ ______ adjective endings
    •  ______ declension endings for the MASCULINE and NEUTER
    •  ______ declension endings for the FEMININE (- ______ in the nom. and acc. sing.)

2. For thematic (-ω) verbs, the thematic vowel ______ is added before the ______  marker, producing the following pattern:

  • present stem +  ______ + ______ adjective endings

Predictable sound changes yield the following endings for the nominative singular:

  • Masculine: (-οντς→-ονς→) – ______
  • Feminine: (-οντσα→-ονσα→) – ______
  • Neuter: (-οντ→) – ______

3. For athematic (-μι) verbs, no thematic vowel is added before the ______ marker. Predictable sound changes yield the following endings for the nominative singular:

  • Masculine: (-ντς→-νς→) –______
  • Feminine: (-ντσα→-νσα→) –______
  • Neuter: (-ντ→) –______

ΙΙ. For each of the following verbs, provide the NOMINATIVE and GENITIVE SINGULAR, in all genders, of the PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE.

  1. ποιέω
  2. δίδωμι
  3. τίθημι
  4. ἵστημι
  5. λείπω

ΙΙΙ. For each of the participial forms, identify the tense, voice, gender, number, and case. Note that there may be more than one possibility for each category.

  1. ὄντα
  2. ἀποστήσοντες
  3. λεγόντων
  4. βαίνουσαι
  5. οἰκοῦντας
  6. τιθεῖσιν
  7. ἀγαπῶντος
  8. γιγνώσκοντι
  9. βουλεύσοντας
  10. διδοῦσαν

 

License

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Participles: Part I by Wilfred E. Major and Michael Laughy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.