previous next

1% of the text is displayed below. If you wish to view the entire text, please click here



355. The Greek verb shows distinctions of voice, mood, verbal noun, tense, number, and person.

356. Voices.—There are three voices: active, middle, and passive.

a. The middle usually denotes that the subject acts on himself or for himself, as lou/omai wash myself, a)mu/_nomai defend myself (lit. ward off for myself).

b. The passive borrows all its forms, except the future and aorist, from the middle.

c. Deponent verbs have an active meaning but only middle (or middle and passive) forms. If its aorist has the middle form, a deponent is called a middle deponent (xari/zomai gratify, e)xarisa/mhn); if its aorist has the passive form, a deponent is called a passive deponent (e)nqu_me/omai reflect on, e)nequ_mh/qhn). Deponents usually prefer the passive to the middle forms of the aorist.

357. Moods.—Four moods, the indicative, subjunctive, optative, imperative, are called finite, because the person is defined by the ending (366). The infinitive, strictly a verbal noun (358), is sometimes classed as a mood.

358. Verbal Nouns.—Verbal forms that share certain properties of nouns are called verbal nouns. There are two kinds of verbal nouns.

1. Substantival: the infinitive.

N.—The infinitive is properly a case form (chiefly dative, rarely locative), herein being like a substantive.

2. Adjectival (inflected like adjectives):

a. Participles: active, middle, and passive.

b. Verbal adjectives:

In -to/s, denoting possibility, as filhto/s lovable, or with the force of a perfect passive participle, as grapto/s written.

In -te/os, denoting necessity, as grapte/os that must be written.

359. Tenses.—There are seven tenses in the indicative: present, imperfect, future, aorist, perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect. The future perfect commonly has a passive force, but it may be active or middle in meaning (see 581).

The subjunctive has three tenses: present, aorist, and perfect.

The optative and infinitive have five tenses: present, future, aorist, perfect, and future perfect.

The imperative has three tenses: present, aorist, and perfect.

359 D. Hom. does not use the future or future perfect in the optative.

360. Primary and Secondary Tenses.—There are two classes of tenses in the indicative: (1) Primary (or Principal) tenses, the present and perfect expressing present time, the future and future perfect expressing future time; (2) Secondary (or Historical) tenses, the imperfect, pluperfect, and aorist expressing past time. The secondary tenses have an augment (428) prefixed.

361. Second Aorists, etc.—Some verbs have tenses called second aorists (active, middle, and passive), second perfects and pluperfects (active only), and second futures (passive). The meaning of these tenses ordinarily corresponds to that of the first aorist, etc.; but when a verb has both forms in any tense (which is rarely the case), the two forms usually differ in meaning. Sometimes one form is poetical, the other used in prose.

362. No single Greek verb shows all the tenses mentioned in 359 and 361; and the paradigms are therefore taken from different verbs.

363. Number.—There are three numbers: the singular, dual, and plural.

364. Person.—There are three persons (first, second, and third) in the indicative, subjunctive, and optative. The imperative has only the second and third persons.

a. Except in a few cases in poetry (465 c) the first person plural is used for the first person dual.

365. Inflection.—The inflection of a verb consists in the addition of certain endings to the different stems.

366. Endings.—The endings in the finite moods (357) show whether the subject is first, second, or third person; and indicate number and voice. See 462 ff.

a. The middle has a different set of endings from the active. The passive has the endings of the middle except in the aorist, which has the active endings.

b. The indicative has two sets of endings in the active and in the middle: one for primary tenses, the other for secondary tenses.

c. The subjunctive uses the same endings as the primary tenses of the indicative; the optative uses the same as those of the secondary tenses.


367. A Greek verb has two kinds of stems: (1) the tense-stem, to which the endings are attached, and (2) a common verb-stem (also called theme) from which all the tense-stems are derived. The tense-stem is usually made from the verb-stem by prefixing a reduplication-syllable (439), and by affixing signs for mood (457, 459) and tense (455). A tense-stem may be identical with a verbstem.

368. The Tense-stems.—The tenses fall into nine classes called tense-systems. Each tense-system has its own separate tense-stem.

I.Present,includingpresent and imperfect.
II.Future,future active and middle.
III.First aorist,first aorist active and middle.
IV.Second aorist,second aorist active and middle.
V.First perfect,first perfect, first pluperfect, and fut. perf., active.
VI.Second perfect,second perfect and second pluperfect active.
VII.Perfect middle,perfect and pluperfect middle (pass.), future perfect.
VIII.First passive,first aorist and first future passive.
IX.Second passive,second aorist and second future passive.

The tense-stems are explained in detail in 497-597.

a. Since few verbs have both the first and second form of the same tense (361), most verbs have only six of these nine systems; many verbs do not even have six. Scarcely any verb shows all nine systems.

b. There are also secondary tense-stems for the future passive, the pluperfect, and the future perfect.

c. The tense-stems assume separate forms in the different moods.

369. The principal parts of a verb are the first person singular indicative of the tense-systems occurring in it. These are generally six: the present, future, first aorist, first (or second) perfect active, the perfect middle, and the first (or second) aorist passive. The future middle is given if there is no future active. The second aorist (active or middle) is added if it occurs. Thus:

lu/_w loose, lu/_sw, e)/lu_sa, le/luka, le/lumai, e)lu/qhn.

lei/pw leave, lei/yw, le/loipa, le/leimmai, e)lei/fqhn, 2 aor. e)/lipon.

gra/fw write, gra/yw, e)/graya, ge/grafa, ge/grammai, 2 aor. pass. e)gra/fhn.

skw/ptw jeer, skw/yomai, e)/skwya, e)skw/fqhn.

370. The principal parts of deponent verbs (356 c) are the present, future, perfect, and aorist indicative. Both first and second aorists are given if they occur.

bou/lomai wish, boulh/somai, bebou/lhmai, e)boulh/qhn (passive deponent).

g/gnomai become, genh/somai, gege/nhmai, 2 aor. e)geno/mhn (middle deponent).

e)rga/zomai work, e)rga/somai, ei)rgasa/mhn, ei)/rgasmai, ei)rga/sqhn.

371. Verb-stem (or Theme).—The tense-stems are made from one fundamental stem called the verb-stem (or theme).

This verb-stem may be a root (193) as in ti/_-w honour, or a root to which a derivative suffix has been appended, as in ti_-ma/-w honour.

372. A verb forming its tense-stems directly from a root is called a primitive verb. A denominative verb forms its tense-stems from a longer verb-stem, originally a noun-stem; as doulo/w enslave from dou=los slave. Verbs in mi (379), and verbs in w of two syllables (in the present indicative active, as le/g-w speak) or of three syllables (in the middle, as de/xomai receive) are generally primitive. Others are denominative.

373. The verb-stem may show numerous modifications in form.

Thus, corresponding to the gradations in sing, sang, sung (35), the verb lei/p-w leave shows the stems leip-, loip- (2 perf. le/-loip-a), lip- (2 aor. e)/-lip-o-n); the verb feu/g-w flee shows feug- and fug- (2 aor. e)/-fug-o-n). In r(h/gnu_mi break we find the three stems r(hg, r(wg (2 perf. e)/rrwga), r(ag (2 aor. pass. e)rra/ghn). ste/ll-w send has the stems stel- and stal- (perf. e)/-stal-ka, 2 fut. pass. stal-h/somai).

a. When the fundamental stem shows modifications, it is customary for convenience to call its shorter (or shortest) form the verb-stem, and to derive the other forms from it. The student must, however, beware of assuming that the short forms are older than the other forms.

374. The verb-stem may also show modifications in quantity, as present lu/_-w loose, perfect le/-lu^-ka.

N.—Various causes produce this variation. lu/_w has u_ from analogy to lu/_-sw, e)/-lu_-sa where the verb-stem lu^ has been regularly lengthened (534, 543). For Attic fqa/nw anticipate Hom. has fqa/_nw for fqanvw (28, 147 D.).

375. w Inflection and mi Inflection.—There are two slightly different methods of inflecting verbs, the first according to the common, the second according to the mi system. The names w-verbs and mi verbs (a small class) refer to the ending of the first person singular active of the present tense indicative only: lu/_-w loose, ti/qh-mi place.

a. In the w inflection the tense-stem ends in the thematic vowel. To this form belong all futures, and the presents, imperfects, and second aorists showing the thematic vowel.

376. According to the ending of the verb-stem, w-verbs are termed:

1. Vowel (or pure) verbs:

a. Not contracted: those that end in u or i, as lu/_-w loose, paideu/-w educate, xri/_-w anoint. Such verbs retain the final vowel of the stem unchanged in all their forms.

b. Contracted: those that end in a, e, o, as ti_mw= honour from ti_ma/-w, poiw= make from poie/-w, dhlw= manifest from dhlo/-w.

2. Consonant verbs, as:

Liquid or nasal verbs: de/r-w flay, me/n-w remain.

Verbs ending in a stop (or mute), as a)/g-w lead, pei/q-w persuade.

N.—Verbs ending in a stop consonant are called labial, dental, or palatal verbs. Consonant verbs do not retain the final consonant of the stem unchanged in all their forms. The final consonant may be assimilated to a following consonant, or may form with it a double consonant.

377. Thematic Vowel.—Some tense-stems end in a vowel which varies between o and e (or w and h) in certain forms. This is called the thematic (or variable) vowel. Thus lu/_o-men lu/_e-te, lu/_w-men lu/_h-te, lu/_so-men lu/_se-te. The thematic vowel is written o/e or w/h, as lu_o/e-, grafw/h-. See 456.

378. o is used before m or n in the indicative, and in the optative, w before m or n in the subjunctive, elsewhere e is used in the indicative (h in the subjunctive).

379. In the mi inflection no thematic vowel is employed, and the endings are attached directly to the tense-stem. The mi form is used only in the present, imperfect, and second aorist. In the other tenses, verbs in mi generally show the same inflection as w-verbs. For further explanation of the w and the mi inflection see 602ff., 717ff.

380. Meanings of the Tenses and Moods.—In the synopsis (382) meanings are given wherever these are not dependent on the use of the various forms in the sentence. The meanings of the subjunctive and optative forms and the difference between the tenses can be learned satisfactorily only from the syntax. Some of these meanings may here be given:

a. Subjunctive: lu/_wmen or lu/_swmen let us loose, (e)a\_n) lu/_w or lu/_sw (if) I loose, (i(/na) gra/fw (that) I may write.

b. Optative: (ei)/qe) lu/_oimi or lu/_saimi (would) that I may loose! (ei)) lu/_oimen or lu/_saimen (if) we should loose.


I. Verbs in w:

A. Vowel verbs not contracted:

Synopsis and conjugation of lu/_w (pp. 112-118).

Second aorist (active and middle) of lei/pw (p. 119).

Second perfect and pluperfect (active) of lei/pw.

B. Vowel verbs contracted:

Present and imperfect of ti_ma/w, poie/w, dhlo/w (pp. 120-123).

C. Consonant verbs:

Liquid and nasal verbs: future and first aorist (active and middle), second aorist and second future passive of fai/nw (pp. 128-129).

Labial, dental, and palatal verbs: perfect and pluperfect, middle (passive) of lei/pw, gra/fw, pei/qw, pra/_ttw, e)le/gxw (p. 130). Perfect of the liquid verbs a)gge/llw, fai/nw; and perfect of tele/w (p. 131).

II. Verbs in mi.

A. Present, imperfect, and 2 aorist of ti/qhmi, i(/sthmi, di/dwmi (pp. 135 ff.).

Second aorist middle of e)pria/mhn (p. 138).

B. Present and imperfect of dei/knu_mi (p. 140).

Second aorist: e)/du_n (p. 140).




hide Display Preferences
ACTIVE:Present and ImperfectFuture1 Aorist
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: