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49 Adjectives: Part II

2007.11.1043

A small votive plaque to Zeus Hypsistos. Cylinders at center are likely legs. 2nd c. A.D. Athenian Agora Excavations.


 

Adjectives: Other Declension Families

We have already discussed the most common declension grouping for adjectives: Three-Ending 1st and 2nd Declension Adjectives (2-1-2). In this chapter, we cover the three other declension families:

  • Two-Ending 2nd Declension Adjectives (2-2)
  • Two-Ending 3rd Declension Adjectives (3-3)
  • Three-Ending 1st and 3rd Declension Adjectives (3-1-3)

 

Two-Ending Adjectives: 2nd Declension (2-2)

A handful of adjectives, usually compounds, use 2nd DECLENSION endings for ALL GENDERS. For these adjectives:

  • Both the MASCULINE and FEMININE forms share the SAME ENDINGS as 2nd DECLENSION MASCULINE nouns.
  • The NEUTER form shares the same endings as 2nd DECLENSION NEUTER nouns.

ἄδικος -ον unjust (S 289; GPH p. 24)

Singular

M/F N
Nominative ἄδικος ἄδικον
Genitive ἀδίκου ἀδίκου
Dative ἀδίκῳ ἀδίκῳ
Accusative ἄδικον ἄδικον

Plural

M/F N
Nominative ἄδικοι ἄδικα
Genitive ἀδίκων ἀδίκων
Dative ἀδίκοις ἀδίκοις
Accusative ἀδίκους ἄδικα

 


Two-Ending Adjectives: 3rd Declension (3-3)

Another small group of adjectives uses 3rd DECLENSION endings for ALL GENDERS. For these adjectives:

  • Both the MASCULINE and FEMININE forms share the SAME ENDINGS as 3rd DECLENSION MASCULINE/FEMININE nouns.
  • The NEUTER form uses the same endings as 3rd DECLENSION NEUTER nouns.

These adjectives tend to fall into one of two groups:

  • Adjectives ending in –ηςες. These adjectives have a stem ending in –εσ.
  • Adjectives ending in –(ί)ων –(ι)ον. These adjectives have a stem ending in –(ι)ον..

 

1. Adjectives in –ης –ες.

ἀληθής -ές (stem: ἀληθέσ-) true (S 292; GPH p. 26)

Singular

M/F N
Nominative ἀληθής ἀληθές
Genitive ἀληθοῦς ἀληθοῦς
Dative ἀληθεῖ  ἀληθεῖ
Accusative ἀληθῆ ἀληθές

Plural

M/F N
Nominative ἀληθεῖς ἀληθῆ
Genitive ἀληθῶν ἀληθῶν
Dative ἀληθέσι ἀληθέσι
Accusative ἀληθεῖς ἀληθῆ

The contractions that produce the inflection of –ης –ες adjectives are similar to nouns in –εσ that we have already studied, e.g. Σωκράτης, -ους (stem: Σωκράτεσ-) and ἔτος -ους (stem: ἔτεσ-). The main differences are:

  • For the NEUTER of 3-3 adjectives, –ες does not become –ος in the nominative and accusative singular.
  • The MASCULINE/FEMININE accusative plural is identical to the nominative plural: –έσες → –εῖς.

That said, adjectives of this type are fairly rare. The only other common adjective inflected like ἀληθής -ές is σαφής -ές clear.

 

2. Adjectives ending in –(ί)ων –(ι)ον.

βελτίων -ον (stem: βέλτιον-) better (S 293; GPH p. 11)

Singular

M/F N
Nominative βελτίων βέλτιον
Genitive βελτίονος βελτίονος
Dative βελτίονι βελτίονι
Accusative βελτίονα βέλτιον

Plural

M/F N
Nominative βελτίονες βελτίονα
Genitive βελτιόνων βελτιόνων
Dative βελτίοσι βελτίοσι
Accusative βελτίονας βελτίονα

Notice that the inflection of –(ί)ων –(ι)ον. adjectives is similar to nouns ending in –(ι)ον. that we have already studied, e.g. δαίμων -ονος. Note that:

  • In the MASCULINE/FEMININE nominative singular, –(ι)ονς becomes –(ί)ων. due to the loss of the sigma, and subsequent compensatory lengthening.
  • In the dative plural of all genders, the –ν of –ονσι has dropped out, leaving only –οσι.

 


Three-Ending Adjectives: 1st and 3rd Declension (3-1-3)

The final group of adjectives uses 3rd DECLENSION endings for MASCULINE and NEUTER, but 1st DECLENSION endings for FEMININE.

Note, however, that when modifying a FEMININE noun, they use SHORT –– in the NOMINATIVE and ACCUSATIVE SINGULAR. This change must be remembered, since it affects the ACCENT of these adjectives. These adjectives tend to fall into one of two groups:

  • Adjectives ending in –ςσαν. These adjectives have a stem ending in –ντ.
  • Adjectives ending in –ύςεῖαύ. These adjectives have a stem ending in –ε.

 

1. Adjectives in  –ς –σα –ν.

While a handful of adjectives have their stems ending in –ντ, we have already encountered the most common one: πᾶς πᾶσα πᾶν all, every, whole (S 299; GPH p. 30). No others appear in our vocabulary lists.

Singular:

M  F  N
Nominative πᾶς πᾶσα πᾶν
Genitive παντός πάσης παντός
Dative παντί πάσῃ παντί
Accusative πάντα πᾶσαν πᾶν

Plural:

M  F  N
Nominative πάντες πᾶσαι πάντα
Genitive πάντων πασῶν πάντων
Dative πᾶσι πάσαις πᾶσι
Accusative πάντας πάσας πάντα

 

2. Adjectives in –ύς –εῖα –ύ.

As you study this inflection pattern, note the following:

  • Remember that if the stem of the adjective ends in –ε, –ι or –ρ, the singular forms change the –η– to –-. For 3-1-3 adjectives, however, the change affects only the GENITIVE and DATIVE SINGULAR. The nominative and accusative singular already have short –-.
  • In the nominative and accusative singular of the masculine and neuter, the stem ends in –υ.
  • The masculine accusative singular ending is –ν.
  • The masculine nominative and accusative plural are identical: see, e.g., ἡδεῖς.
  • Not all of the expected contractions occur: see, e.g., ἡδέοςἡδέων, and ἡδέα.
  • All adjectives of this declension family share the same persistent accent.

ἡδύς -εῖα -ύ (stem: ἡδέ-) sweet (S 297; GPH p. 32)

Singular:

M  F  N
Nominative ἡδύς ἡδεῖα ἡδύ
Genitive ἡδέος ἡδείας ἡδέος
Dative ἡδεῖ ἡδείᾳ ἡδεῖ
Accusative ἡδύν ἡδεῖαν ἡδύ

Plural:

M  F  N
Nominative ἡδεῖς ἡδεῖαι ἡδέα
Genitive ἡδέων ἡδειῶν ἡδέων
Dative ἡδέσι ἡδείαις ἡδέσι
Accusative ἡδεῖς ἡδείας ἡδέα

 


Bringing It All Together

In the following charts you can see that you have now learned the endings of most nouns, adjectives, and pronouns that you will encounter in Greek. (To download this chart, click here: Greek Nouns Adj Pronouns Master List.)

– τὸ τέλος –


Key Terms and Concepts

  • 2ND DECLENSION TWO-ENDING ADJECTIVES (2-2)
  • THE TWO STEM ENDINGS FOR 3RD DECLENSION TWO-ENDING ADJECTIVES (3-3)
  • THE TWO STEM ENDINGS FOR THREE-ENDING ADJECTIVES (3-1-3)

Vocabulary

2nd Declension (2-2)

  • ἄδικος -ον unjust
  • ἀδύνατος -ον impossible
  • βάρβαρος -ον barbaric, not Greek, foreign
  • σύμμαχος -ον allied

3rd Declension (3-3)

  • ἀληθής -ές true
  • ἀμείνων -ον better, stronger, braver
  • βελτίων -ον better
  • ἐλάττων -ον smaller, less
  • ἥττων -ον less, weaker
  • κρείττων -ον stronger, better
  • πλείων πλεῖον or πλέων πλέον more, larger
  • σαφής -ές clear
  • χείρων -ον worse, inferior

1st and 3rd Declension (3-1-3)

  • βαρύς -εῖα -ύ heavy, tedious
  • βραχύς -εῖα -ύ brief, short
  • εὐθύς -εῖα -ύ straight
  • ἡδύς -εῖα -ύ sweet
  • ὀξύς -εῖα -ύ sharp, keen, shrill, pungent
  • ταχύς -εῖα -ύ quick

Exercises

Ι. Memorize the vocabulary.

ΙΙ. Please provide the ending number and declension(s) for each of the following adjectives. There are four possibilities:

  • 2 ending; 2nd declension (2-2)
    • (2-2) means that the first (M/F) and second (N) set of endings are 2nd declension
  • 3 ending; 1st and 2nd declension (2-1-2)
    • (2-1-2) means that the first (M) and third (N) are 2nd declension, the second (F) are 1st declension
  • 2 ending; 3rd declension (3-3)
    • (3-3) means that the first (M/F) and second (N) set of endings are 3rd declension
  • 3 ending; 1st and 3rd declension (3-1-3)
    • (3-1-3) means that the first (M) and third (N) set of endings are 3rd declension, and the second (F) set of endings are 1st declension

e.g. ἄδικος, ον: 2 ending; 2nd declension (2-2)

  1. εὐθύς -εῖα -ύ
  2. ποῖος -α -ον
  3. αἰώνιος –ον
  4. μόνος -η -ον
  5. ἀληθής -ές
  6. μικρός -ά -όν
  7. ὀξύς -εῖα -ύ
  8. σοφός -ή -όν
  9. ἥττων -ον
  10. σύμμαχος -ον

ΙIΙ. Decline in full the following adjectives. Watch the accents!

  1. βάρβαρος -ον
  2. σαφής -ές
  3. ταχύς -εῖα -ύ

IV. Decline in Greek each noun/adjective pair in full. Watch the accents!

  1. True book
  2. Larger battle
  3. Stronger horse
  4. Unjust poet
  5. Straight road

V. Download the worksheet available here (Greek Nouns Adj Pronouns Master List Blank), and fill in the blanks.

License

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