- question and answer words
- defective verbs
One part of speech that is pervasive in much of Greek is the PARTICLE. Particles are words that have a grammatical function, but have little meaning on their own. In other words, while nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs all have specific lexical – or dictionary – meanings, particles express grammatical relationships. For example, in English, the word to is often used as a preposition: I am going to the store. But the word to when used as part of an English infinitive – to go – is not a preposition, but a particle that grammatically marks the verb go as an infinitive.
Greek uses many more particles than written English. Many of these Greek particles act essentially as sentence adverbs, serving either as sign posts that mark the underlying grammatical sentence structure, or providing an emotional emphasis to a word, clause, or sentence that expresses the mood or attitude of the writer. These particles provide a subtle and rich character to Greek that can sometimes be difficult to express in formal written English (S 2771). These particles often are best captured, in fact, in spoken English through the use of pitch, pauses, stress, and “spoken English” particles. For example, consider the “spoken English” particles alright and well in the following English sentences. What mood or attitude does each “spoken English” particle give to its respective sentence?
- Alright, let’s go to movies.
- Well, I didn’t do my Greek homework, yet, so maybe not.
The conjunctions μέν and μέν…δέ are particles. Other particles include:
- αὖ “on the other hand…”
- γε intensifies and sharpens the word(s) before it
- δή literally “now!” but more generally emphatic
- ἦ emphasizes the particle that follows
- καίτοι marks a transition, restatement or conclusion
- μέντοι postpositive “of course” (emphatic in replies); “however” (in a transition)
- μήν follows a particle that it emphasizes
- νῦν, νυνί ”now” “as it is now…”
- οὐκοῦν sets up an expectation to agree
- πέρ enclitic, an emphatic suffix following relatives and conjunctions
Questions and Answers
- ἆρα This word has no independent meaning: it simply turns a statement into a yes/no question.
- πότε when?
- ποῦ where?
- πῶς how?
- πότερον whether
- ναί yes
- μάλιστα definitely yes
- οὔ no
- ἀεί always
- ἄνω up
- ἄρτι now
- αὖθις again
- αὐτίκα immediately
εἶτα then, next
ἐνταῦθα here, there
ἔπειτα then, next
μάλα very, very much
μάλιστα most, most of all, certainly
μᾶλλον more, rather
οὐκέτι no longer
πάλιν back, backwards
πάντοτε always, at all times
πλέον more, rather
πρίν before, until; formerly
Some adverbs also function like prepositions:
- ἅμα together with (+dat.)
- ἄνευ without, except, besides (+gen.)
- ἄχρι(ς) until (+gen.)
- ἕνεκα because of (+gen.)
- ἔξω outside of (+gen.)
- μεταξύ between (+gen.)
- μέχρι as far as (+ gen.)
- ὁπίσω behind, after (+gen.)
- πλήν except (+gen.)
- χωρίς separately, without (+gen.)
- ἵνα where; purpose: so that, in order that
- μέχρι until
- ὅπου where, wherever
- ὅπως how; purpose: so that, in order that
- ὥστε result: so that
- —–, βιώσομαι, ἐβίων live
- εἶμι go
- —–, ἐρήσομαι, ἠρόμην ask
- ἥκω, ἥξω have arrived, be present (this verb has a perfect active stem and perfect meaning, but it conjugates just as a regular –ω verb).
- κεῖμαι lie (this verb serves as the perfect passive of τίθημι in the sense of to have been put somewhere).
- οἴομαι or οἶμαι (parenthetical) I think
- χρή it is necessary
The verb εἶμι is formed from the stem ἰ-/εἰ-. As often with –μι verbs, the singular shows the long vowel sound (εἰ) and the plural has the short vowel sound (ἰ). When inflected in the present tense, it usually is future tense in meaning: I will go (S 774). To express I go in the present tense, ἔρχομαι is used.
The Present Indicative Active of εἶμι (S 773; GPH p. 175)
participle: ἰών ἰοῦσα ἰόν
The Imperfect Indicative Active of εἶμι (S 773; GPH p. 175)
ᾖα or ᾔειν
ᾔεισθα or ᾔεις
ᾔειν or ᾔει
ᾖσαν or ᾔεσαν
– τὸ τέλος –