Ancient Greek grammar

Ancient Greek grammar

Ancient Greek grammar is morphologically complex and preserves several features of Proto-Indo-European morphology. Nouns, adjectives, pronouns, articles, numerals and especially verbs are all highly inflected. This article is an introduction to this morphological complexity.


The Classical Greek script did not indeed use accents. The accents were invented in the Hellenistic era by scholars who wanted to facilitate the study of Ancient Greek for foreigners. However, the use of the diacritics began during the Byzantine Empire. The Modern Greek script does not use the diacritics since 1982. "See more details: Greek diacritics.

The Ancient Greek script has five accents: two spirits and three accents:
*Rough breathing (Greek: δασεῖα, Latin: spiritus asper) () is used only at the beginning of several words and always when the word begins with "υ" or "ρ". In Ancient Greek it sounded like the English or German "h" and is also trascripted like that. e.g.: ὕπνος (hýpnos "sleep"), ῥήτωρ (rhḗtōr "orator"), ἑπτά (heptá "seven"). The words that need a rough breathing without beginning with "υ" or "ρ" are restricted.
*Smooth breathing (Greek: ψιλή, Latin: spiritus lenis) (᾿) is used only at the beginning of words. In Ancient Greek it meant that the beginning of the word had no rough breathing. e.g.: ἄγγελος (ángelos "messenger"), ἐπιφέρω (epiphérō "cause")

*Accute accent (Greek: ὀξεῖα) (΄) is used on long or short vowels or at the third syllable from the end. If there is a long vowel before a long vowel it will accept an accute accent. e.g.: κώμη (kṓmē "hair"), ἄνθρωπος (ánthrōpos "human").
*Grave accent (Greek: βαρεῖα) (`) is used on long or short vowels and replaces the accute accent but only on the last syllable. However it is not used when the next word causes an inclination of the accent and also when a punctuation mark follows. e.g.: ὁ καλὸς ποιμὴν (ho kalòs poimḕn) but ἔλαφός τις (élaphós tis "a deer")—the word "τις" is behaving as being one word with the "ἔλαφος", ἐλθὲ Ἰωάννη (elthè Iōánnē "come John") but ἐλθέ, Ἰωάννη (elthé, Iōánnē "come, John").
*Circumflex (Greek: περισπωμένη) () is used on long vowels. It is placed when usually a contraction has taken place and on long syllables which are before short syllables. Also, when the last syllable of a noun at the genitive and the dative case is accented, it accepts a circumflex. e.g.: τιμᾶν [from τιμάεν, timân "to honour (infinitive)"] , κῆπος (kêpos "garden"), nom.: αὐγή (aygḗ "dawn") gen.: αὐγῆς (aygês), αὐγῶν (aygôn), dat.: αὐγῇ (aygêi), αὐγαῖς (aygaîs).


In Ancient Greek, all nouns, including proper nouns, are classified according to grammatical gender as masculine, feminine or neuter and present forms in five distinct morphological cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and vocative). Furthermore, common nouns present distinct forms in the singular, dual and plural number. The set of forms that any particular noun will present for each case and number is determined by the declension that it follows.


The five cases of the Ancient Greek language have each a different function. Here is a short explanation of the syntax of each case.
*Nominative:Ζεὺς ἔδωκε Περικλεῖ ἀμφορέα. "(Zeus gave an amphora to Pericles)

*Genitive:Ἀλέξανδρος εἰσῆλθε ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Παρμενίωνος. "(Alexander entered the house of Parmenion)"

*Dative:Ἰησοῦς εἶπε τῷ Παύλῳ: ἐλθὲ μετ' ἐμοῦ. "(Jesus told Paul: come with me)":As dative replaced the Indo-European instrumental case, it has also this function::Κόπτω πελέκει. "(I cut with an axe)"

*Accusative:Ἔφαγε τὴν τροφήν. "(He ate the food)"

*Vocative:Ἀλέξανδρε, Ἰᾶσον, ἔλθετε. "(Alexander, Jason, come)"

Alpha Declension (first declension)

The Alpha declension includes only masculine and feminine nouns. The masculine nouns end either in "-ᾱς" or "-ης". The feminine nouns end in "-ᾱ" or "-ᾰ" and form the genitive in "-ᾱς", in "-ᾰ" when the last letter of the stem is consonant and form the genitive in "-ης" and others end in "-η" and the genitive in "-η".

:"See all the examples at Ancient Greek grammar (tables)"

Third declension

The third declension group includes masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. These nouns at the nominative case of the singular end with the vowels "α, ι, υ, ω" or with the consonants "ν, ρ, ς (ξ, ψ)". They form the genitive case with "-ος, ως" or "-ους".

Some of the nouns of the third declension are declined with the same stem in all cases (e.g. "nom.:" χιτών, "gen.:" χιτών-ος), while others have two different stems, depending on the case (e.g. "nom.:" ἡγεμών, "gen.:" ἡγεμόν-ος). The stem with the long vowel is called the "strong stem" while the stem with the short vowel is called the "weak stem". The strong stem is found at the nominative singular, and the weak stem at the genitive plural.

Because there are so many of these nouns it is difficult to present all the categories here. See "Ancient Greek grammar (tables)".


*Single-stem nouns which end in "-ευς":These nouns expel the "υ" before a vowel and form the vocative case same with the stem. The "ε" which is left is contracted with the following "ε" or "ι" in "ει". The accusative of the plural is formed with the suffix "-ας" (the accusative which is the same with the nominative is posterior). :

*Labial single-stem nouns "(π, β, φ)":These nouns accept normally the suffixes and when the "σ" meets the letter of the stem it is converted to "ψ".:

:If the noun is accented on the last syllable, then the vocative of the singular is formed the same with the nominative. e.g. nom.: ὁ ἰμάς, voc.: ὦ ἰμάς. The are also nouns which end in -ους. You can find their declension at Ancient Greek grammar (tables).

*Dental double-stem nouns in "-ντ":The formation of the cases of these nouns needs a contraction after the dental letter is expelled. They form the vocative case with the weak stem.::You can see the declension of the left nouns at Ancient Greek grammar (tables).

*Nasal double-stem nouns in "-ην" (gen.: "-ενος") and "-ων" (gen.: "-ονος"):These nouns are declined normally but in several cases they need the weak stem. The nouns which are not accented on the last syllable form the vocative case with the weak stem while the others not. e.g.: stems: γειτων- "(geitōn)", γειτον- "(geiton)", nom.: ὁ γείτων "(geitōn)", voc.: ὦ γεῖτον "(geîton)".::You can see the declension of the left nouns at Ancient Greek grammar (tables).

*Liquid double-stem nouns which expel the "ε" of the stem in "-ηρ" (gen.: "-ρος"):The liquid-stem nouns "ὁ πατήρ (father), ἡ μήτηρ (mother), ἡ θυγάτηρ (daughter), ἡ γαστήρ (abdomen), ἡ Δημήτηρ (Demeter), ὁ ἀνήρ (man)" when they are declined, in some cases they expel the "ε" of the stem. The first three and the "γαστήρ" lose the "ε" at the genitive and dative of the singular and at the dative of plural. The rest they lose it at the genitive, dative and accusative of the singular and at all the cases of the dual and plural. At the dative of the plural, a "α" is added so that the pronunciation will be facilitated. Also, they form the vocative case of the singular with the weak stem and the first syllable is accented with the exception of "γαστήρ": nom.: ἡ γαστήρ, voc.: ὦ γαστήρ.:

The article

Attic Greek has a definite article, but no indefinite article. The definite article agrees with its associated noun in number, gender and case. Proper names usually take the definite article. Adjectives are either placed between the article and noun or after the noun, in which case the article is repeated before the adjective. Dependent genitive noun phrases are positioned in exactly the same way, even though this frequently results in splitting the article and noun by a long dependent phrase. For example, polytonic|τὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔργον 'Unicode|tò toû anthrṓpou érgon', literally "the (of the man) deed", or "The deed of the man." In earlier Greek, for instance Homeric Greek, there was no definite article as such, the corresponding forms still having their original use as demonstrative pronouns.

The definite article is declined thus:


The Ancient Greek verbal system preserves nearly all the complexities of Proto-Indo-European.

In Ancient Greek, verbs have four moods (indicative, imperative, subjunctive and optative), three voices (active, middle and passive), as well as three persons (first, second and third). Verbs are conjugated in four main tenses (present, aorist, perfect, and future), with a full complement of moods for each main tense, although there is no future subjunctive or imperative. In addition, for each main tense there exist, in each voice, an infinitive and participles. Indicative forms of the imperfect, pluperfect and the rare future perfect also exist. The distinction of the "tenses" in moods other than the indicative is predominantly one of aspect rather than time.

A distinction is traditionally made between the so called athematic verbs, with endings affixed directly to the root (also called mi-verbs) and the thematic class of verbs which present a "thematic" vowel /o/ or /e/ before the ending. All athematic roots end in a vowel except for /es-/ "be". The endings are classified into "primary" (those used in the present, future, perfect and rare future perfect of the indicative, as well as in the subjunctive) and "secondary" (used in the aorist, imperfect, and pluperfect of the indicative, as well as in the optative). Ancient Greek also preserves the PIE middle voice and adds a passive voice, with separate forms only in the future and aorist (elsewhere, the middle forms are used).


The Ancient Greek verbal system has seven different tenses:
*Present (Greek: ἐνεστώς), describes an action which is happening at the time of speaking or regularly::Ἄνθρωπος θύει βοῦν.:A man is sacrificing an ox.

*Imperfect (Greek: παρατατικός), describes an action which used to happen in the past::Ἄνθρωπος ἔθυε βοῦν.:A man used to sacrifice an ox.

*Future (Greek: μέλλων), describes an action which will happen in the future::Ἄνθρωπος θύσει βοῦν.:A man will sacrifice an ox.

*Aorist (Greek: ἀόριστος), describes an action which happened once in the past::Ἄνθρωπος ἔθυσε βοῦν.:A man sacrificed an ox.

*Perfect (Greek: παρακείμενος), describes an action completed by the present::Ἄνθρωπος τέθυκε βοῦν.:A man has sacrificed an ox.

*Future Perfect (Greek: συντελεσμένος μέλλων), describes an action that will be completed some time in the future::Ἄνθρωπος τεθυκὼς ἔσται βοῦν.:A man will have sacrificed an ox.


The Ancient Greek grammar has three voices. The middle and the passive voice are the same except the future and aorist tenses.

*Active voice, declares that the subject of the verb is acting and the action is received by another.:Ἄνθρωπος θύει βοῦν "(A man is sacrificing an ox)".:Ἄνθρωπε, θῦσον βοῦν " [Man, sacrifice an ox] ".

*Middle voice, declares that the subject of the verb is acting and the action is received by itself.:Ἄνθρωπος τιμᾶται "(A man is honouring himself)".:Ἄνθρωπος ἐτιμήσατο "(A man honoured himself)".

*Passive voice, dedeclares that the subject of the verb is receiving an action acted by another.:Ἄνθρωπος τιμᾶται ὑπ' ἀνθρώπου "(A man is honoured by a man)". In this tense the verb is same with the verb of the middle voice.:Ἄνθρωπος ἐτιμήθη ὑπ' ἀνθρώπου "(A man was honoured by a man)". In this tense the verb is different from the verb of the middle voice (aorist tense).

Principal parts

Verbs have six principal parts: present (I), future (II), aorist (III), perfect (IV), perfect middle (V) and aorist passive (VI), each listed in its first-person singular form:

*Part I forms the entire present system, as well as the imperfect.
*Part II forms the future tense in the active and middle voices.
*Part III forms the aorist tense in the active and middle voices.
*Part IV forms the perfect and pluperfect tenses in the active voice, and the (exceedingly rare) future perfect tense, active.
*Part V forms the perfect and pluperfect tenses in the middle voice, and the (rare) future perfect, middle.
*Part VI forms the aorist and future tenses in the passive voice.

One principal part can sometimes be predicted from another, but not with any certainty. For some classes of verbs, however, all principal parts can be predicted given the first one. This mostly includes contracted verbs (present stem ending in /a/, /e/, /o/) and verbs ending in /eu/ and /izd/. There are also certain other regularities; for example, the stem in part IV often occurs in parts V and VI as well.

Present tense

The thematic present stem is formed in various ways:

*With no suffix. (That is, the thematic endings, beginning with a thematic /o/ or /e/ vowel, is added directly to the verb stem.)
*With a suffix /j/, which transforms the final consonant in various complex ways (/pj/, /phj/, /bj/ -> /pt/; /tj/, /thj/, /kj/, /khj/ -> /tt/ (Attic), /ss/ (Ionic); /gj/, /dj/ -> /zd/; /lj/ -> /ll/; /mj/ -> /jm/; /nj/ -> /jn/; /rj/ -> /jr/). Because stems in /g/, /k/ and /kh/ tend to become indistinguishable in other tenses (likewise for /d/, /t/, and /th/), the /tt/ and /zd/ presents were easily interchanged, with the tendency for all dental stems to move into the /zd/ class and all velar stems into the /tt/ class.
*With a suffix /sk/.
*With a suffix and/or infix /n/.

Contracted verbs

An additional, extremely important class is that of "contracted verbs", where the stem itself ends in a vowel, and the vowel contracts with the initial (thematic) vowel of the endings. There are three varieties, depending on whether the stem ends with /a/, /e/ or /o/, and the details of contraction are extremely complex. The earliest contract verbs arose from loss of intervocalic /s/ or /j/, when the latter (the present stem suffix /j/) was added to noun stems ending in a vowel; but soon, these verbs were formed directly from noun stems (so-called verbs). Many later verbs were derived by analogy from various other kinds of nouns (compare the development of the denominative "-āre", "-ēre", and "-īre" classes in Latin, with "-āre" eventually becoming dominant regardless of the noun declension on which the verb was based).

Future tense

The future stem is normally formed from the verb stem (minus any present suffix) with /s/ added and a preceding short vowel lengthened. Verb stems in /m/, /n/, /l/ and /r/, however, as well as most stems in "izd", usually add /e/ instead (deleting the "zd" in the case of these verbs), and form contracted futures, conjugated like contracted presents. (Note: Verb stems in /a/, /e/ and /o/, which form contracted presents, do "not" have contracted futures; rather, they have futures ending in /ēs/, /ēs/, and /ōs/, respectively. One verb, however, kaleō (kalô) "I call", forms a future based on its root /kal/. This will be a contracted future; hence, the present and future of this verb are both contracted and both nearly identical.)

Aorist tense

The aorist stem is formed in three basic ways, with three corresponding sets of endings:

*"First" or "weak" aorists add /s/ onto the verb stem (with a preceding short vowel lengthened, as for the future). The first aorist endings mostly begin with a thematic /a/, so alternatively the stem can be said to end with /sa/. (Note that the /s/ is absorbed following an /m/, /n/, /l/ or /r/, with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel. This is called a krypto-sigmatic aorist, as the "s" is "hidden".) Following a /p/ or /k/ (pi or kappa) the sigma combines with the preceding character to form /ps/ and /x/ (psi and xi) respectively. Following a /z/ (zeta/zdeta) the sigma replaces the /z/ character entirely as /zs/ or /zds/ (according to many schools of pronunciation) is too difficult to pronounce.
*"Second" or "strong" aorists are formed by removing any present suffix or infix, and reducing the root vowel (to the zero-grade of Indo-European ablaut) if possible (mostly "ei" -> "i"). Some second aorists are formed by suppletion, i.e., the use of a completely different stem from the present form. Second aorists add the same endings as for the imperfect (in the indicative) and the present (all other moods, plus infinitives and participles); hence, the second aorist stem can never be the same as the present stem.
*"Root" or "athematic" aorists. The stem assumes a form ending in a long vowel, and athematic endings are added directly onto it.

The aorist indicative (but no other form) also has an augment added onto the beginning.

Occasionally, two different aorists exist for a single verb, with different meanings: A first (or second) aorist with a transitive meaning, and a root aorist with an intransitive meaning. This was the origin of the aorist passive, which takes active athematic endings.

The aorist passive comes in two varieties, first and second. The first aorist adds "thē" onto the verb stem, while the second adds "ē". Active athematic endings are added onto this.

Perfect tense

The perfect tense involves reduplication of the beginning of the stem (see below).

The perfect active stem (principal part IV) comes in two varieties:

*First perfect, which usually adds "k" (sometimes "ēk" or "ek"). A preceding dental is lost and a preceding short vowel sometimes lengthened. The k-perfect is not added directly onto labial-final or velar-final stems; instead, the "aspirated perfect" is used, with a final labial becoming "ph" and a final velar "kh".
*Second perfect, which adds no suffix, but may modify the root vowel (into the o-grade of Indo-European ablaut).

The endings are the same in both cases.

The perfect middle stem (principal part V) is formed by direct addition of middle endings onto the (reduplicated) verb stem, with a preceding short vowel sometimes lengthened.

*Occasionally, two different perfect actives exist for a single verb, with different meanings, analogously to aorists: A first perfect with a transitive meaning, and a second perfect aorist with an intransitive meaning. From πράττω "(prāttō)" "I do, I fare": πέπραχα "(peprākha)" "I have done", πέπραγα "(eprāga)" "I have fared". From φαίνω "(phainō)" "I show": πέφαγκα "(pephanka)" "I have shown", πέφηνα "(pephēna)" "I have appeared".

*Sometimes the intransitive form of a perfect has a present meaning. From ὄλλυμι "(ollūmi)" "I destroy, I lose": ὀλώλεκα "(olōleka)" "I have destroyed, I have lost", ὄλωλα "(olōla)" "I am ruined". From πείθω "(peithō)" "I persuade": πέπεικα "(pepeika)" "I have persuaded", πέποιθα "(pepoitha)" "I trust".

*Sometimes only one perfect exists,with a present, intransitive meaning. From ἵστημι "(histēmi)" "I set, I cause to stand": ἕστηκα "(hestēka)" "I am standing". From ῥήγνυμι "(rhēgnūmi)" "I break": ἔρρωγα "(errhōga)" "I am broken". From θνῄσκω "(thnēiskō)" "I die": τέθνηκα "(tethnēka)" "I am dead". From μιμνῄσκω "(mimnēiskō)" "I remind": μέμνημαι "(memnēmai)" (middle) "I remember". From ἐγείρω "(egeirō)" "I arouse": ἐγρήγορα "(egrēgora)" "I am awake". From κτάομαι "(ktaomai)" (middle) "I acquire": κέκτημαι "(kektēmai)" (middle) "I possess".

Deponents, semi-deponents

Some verbs, called "deponent" verbs, have a middle form but active meaning. Most such verbs have no active forms at all. There are two types:

*"Middle deponents" have middle forms in all stems. These will have principal parts I, II, III and V only (sometimes also part VI, with passive meaning).
*"Passive deponents" (less common) have middle forms in most stems, but passive form in the aorist. These will have principal parts I, II, V and VI only. (Most such verbs still have a middle future, not a passive future.)

Some verbs have active forms in some stems, middle or passive in others, with no middle or passive meaning. These are called "semi-deponents" and have many variations:

*Most common are active verbs with middle future stems.
*Some verbs are active verbs but with a middle perfect stem ("dokeō" "seem, think"; "eirgō" "imprison, prevent"; "elenkhō" "examine, confute"; "thaptō" "bury"; "skedannūmi" "scatter"; "sphallō" "trip up"; "titrōskō" "wound").
*Some verbs are active verbs but with middle future and perfect stems (e.g., "daknō" "bite").
*Some verbs are middle verbs but with an active perfect stem (e.g., "gignomai" "become").
*Some verbs are middle verbs but with active aorist and perfect stems (e.g., "haliskomai" "be captured").
*Other combinations exist as well.

ample paradigms

Verbs in vowel stems

*A completely regular "eu" verb: "paideuō, paideusō, epaideusa, pepaideuka, pepaideumai, epaideuthēn" "educate".
*The standard paradigmatic verb: "lūō, lūsō, elūsa, leluka, lelumai, eluthēn" "free, release; (middle) ransom". (Note variable vowel length. In Homeric Greek, all parts have a short "u".)
*A regular contracted verb in "e": "poieō (poiô), poiēsō, epoiēsa, pepoiēka, pepoiēmai, epoiēthēn" "make, do".
*A regular contracted verb in "a": "nikaō (nikô), nikēsō, enikēsa, nenikēka, nenikēmai, enikēthēn" "win". (Note how /a/ is lengthened to /ē/.)
*A regular contracted verb in "o": "dēloō (delô), dēlōsō, edēlōsa, dedēlōka, dedēlōmai, edēlōthēn" "show".
*A regular verb in "izd": "nomizdō, nomieō (nomiô), enomisa, nenomika, nenomismai, enomisthēn" "consider, think, believe". (Note the normal contracted future in these types of verbs.)
*A regular verb in "azd": "thaumazdō, thaumasō, ethaumasa, tethaumaka, tethaumasmai, ethaumasthēn" "marvel at".

Verbs in consonant stems, no ablaut

*Velar-stem: "lēgō, lēksō, elēksa, lelēkha, lelēgmai, elēkhthēn" "cease (+ gen.)". (Note regular use of the aspirated perfect.)
*Velar-stem: "arkhō, arksō, ērksa, ērkha, ērgmai, ērkhthēn" "rule". (Note regular use of augment for reduplication in perfect due to initial vowel.)
*Labial-stem: "graphō, grapsō, egrapsa, gegrapha, gegrammai, egraphēn" "write". (Second aorist passive.)
*Labial-stem, with present /j/ suffix: "blaptō, blapsō, eblapsa, beblapha, beblammai, eblaphthēn/eblabēn" "harm". (Both first and second aorist passive with same meaning.)
*Dental-stem: "peithō, peisō, epeisa, pepeika, pepeismai, epeisthēn" "persuade; (middle) obey (+dat.)". (This verb also has a poetic second perfect "pepoitha" meaning "trust")
*Dental-stem: "ereidō, ereisō, ēreisa, --, erēreismai, ēreisthēn" "(cause to) lean, prop; press hard". (Semi-deponent, with middle perfect; Attic reduplication.)
*Sonorant-stem, with present /j/ suffix: "aggellō, aggeleō (aggelô), ēggeila, ēggelka, ēggelmai, ēggelthēn" "announce". (Regular contracted future, as in all sonorant-stem verbs. Compensatory lengthening in the aorist, caused by the lost /s/, with "a" -> "ē", "e" -> "ei", "i" -> "ī", "o" -> "ou", "u" -> "ū".)
*Verb in "ainō": "sēmainō, sēmaneō (sēmanô), esēmēna, --, sesēmasmai, esēmanthēn" "show, point out; signify, indicate". (Semi-deponent, with middle perfect.)
*Verb in "ainō": "kraino, kraneō (kranô), ekrāna, --, kekrammai, ekranthēn" "accomplish". (Semi-deponent, with middle perfect, but with slightly different middle perfect from previous verb. Note that "ā" never changes to "ē" after "r".)
*Verb in "ūnō": "aiskhūnō, aiskhuneō (aiskhunô), ēiskhūna, --, --, ēiskhunthēn" "dishonor". (No perfect.)
*Present /an/ suffix: "aisthanomai, aisthēsomai, ēisthomēn, --, ēisthēmai, --" "perceive". (Deponent. Second aorist. Root "aisth" with suffix "ē" in some forms.)
*Present /isk/ suffix: "haliskomai, halōsomai, heālōn, heālōka, --, --" "be captured". (Semi-deponent, middle with active aorist and perfect. Root aorist. Irregular augment, both syllabic and quantitative – transfer of /h/ to beginning is normal. Suffix "ō" in some forms.)
*Reduplicated present, with /sk/ suffix: "gignōskō, gnōsomai, egnōn, egnōka, egnōsmai, egnōsthēn" "know". (Semi-deponent with middle future. Root aorist. Irregular reduplication with augment. Suffix /s/ in parts V and VI.)

Verbs with ablaut

*Labial-stem: "leipō, leipsō, elipon, leloipa, leleimmai, eleiphthēn" "leave". (Second aorist. Ablaut "leip/lip/loip".)
*Labial-stem: "trephō, threpsō, ethrepsa, tetropha, tethrammai, etraphēn, etrephthēn" "rear, bring up, nourish". (Second aorist passive. "t/th" alternation due to dissimilation of aspirates (Grassmann's law). Ablaut "t(h)reph/t(h)roph/t(h)raph".)
*Velar-stem: "echō, heksō/skhēsō, eskhon, eskhēka, -eskhēmai, --" "have, hold". (Second aorist. Perfect middle occurs only in compounds. "h/nothing" alternation at beginning of stem due to dissimilation of aspirates (Grassmann's law). Ablaut "(h)ekh/skh". Suffix "ē" in some forms.)
*Sonorant-stem, with present /j/ suffix :"speirō, spereō (sperô), espeira, esparka, esparmai, esparēn" "sow". (Second aorist passive. Ablaut "sper/spar".)
*Sonorant-stem, with present /j/ suffix: "ballō, baleō (balô), ebalon, beblēka, beblēmai, eblēthēn" "throw, hit". (Second aorist. Ablaut "bal/blē".)
*Present /n/ suffix: "daknō, dēksomai, edakon, --, dedēgmai, edēkhthēn" "bite". (Semi-deponent with middle future and perfect. Second aorist. Ablaut "dak/dēk".)
*Present /nj/ suffix: "bainō, bēsomai, ebēn, bebēka, --, --" "go". (Root aorist. Ablaut "ba/bē".)
*Prefixed verb, present /nj/ suffix: "apobainō, apobēsomai, apebēn, apobebēka, --, --" "go away, result". (Prefix precedes augment and reduplication. Final vowel of prefix elided before initial vowel.)
*Present /an/ suffix, nasal infix: "lambanō, lēpsomai, elabon, eilēpha, eilēmmai, elēphthēn" "take". (Semi-deponent with middle future. Second aorist. Ablaut "lab/lēb". Irregular reduplication.)
*Present /an/ suffix, nasal infix: "punthanomai, peusomai, eputhomēn, --, pepusmai, --" "ascertain". (Deponent. Second aorist. Ablaut "puth/peuth".)
*Reduplicated present: "gignomai, genēsomai, egenomēn, gegona, gegenēmai, --" "become". (Semi-deponent, middle with active perfect. Second aorist and perfect. Ablaut "gen/gon/gn". Suffix "ē" in some forms.)
*Reduplicated present: "pīptō, pesoumai, epeson, peptōka, --, --" "fall". (Semi-deponent with middle future. Second aorist. Ablaut "pet/pt/ptō". Irregular long vowel in present reduplication. Irregular occurrence of contracted future. Irregular suffix "s" in future and aorist.)
*Present /sk/ suffix: "paskhō, peisomai, epathon, pepontha, --, --" "suffer". (Semi-deponent with middle future. Second aorist and perfect. Ablaut "penth/ponth/path". Irregular assimilation of aspiration into present /sk/ suffix.)
*Present /isk/ suffix: "apothnēiskō, apothanoumai, apethanon, tethnēka, --, --" "die". (Semi-deponent with middle future. Second aorist. Ablaut "than/thnē". No prefix in perfect; perfect means "be dead". Irregular occurrence of contracted future.)

Athematic verbs

These verbs have reduplication in the present, ablaut between short and long forms, a separate set of endings, and certain other irregularities that vary from verb to verb.

*"didōmi, dōsō, edōka, dedōka, dedomai, edothēn" "give".
*"hīēmi, hēsō, hēka, heika, heimai, heithēn" "let go, send forth".
*"histēmi, stēsō, estēsa (trans.) or estēn (intr.), hestēka (intr.), hestamai, estathēn" "make stand; (middle or intr.) stand".
*Prefixed verb: "aphistēmi, apostēsō, apestēsa (trans.) or apestēn (intr.), aphestēka (intr.), aphestamai, apestathēn" "cause to revolt; (middle or intr.) revolt".

uppletive verbs

These verbs all have complex irregularities, ablaut, second aorist and/or perfect, unexpected reduplication and/or augment, etc.

*"erkhomai, eîmi, ēlthon, elēlutha, --, --" "go, come".
*"legō, eraō (erô)/leksō, eipon/eleksa, eirēka, eirēmai/lelegmai, elekhthēn/errhēthēn" "say, speak".
*"horaō, opsomai, eidon, heorāka/heōrāka, heōrāmai/ōmmai, ōphthēn,oida" "see".
*"pherō, oisō, ēnegka, ēnegkon, enēnokha, enēnegmai, ēnekhthēn" "carry".
*"esthiō, edomai, ephagon, edēdoka, edēdesmai, ēdesthēn" "eat".
*"pōleō, apodōsomai, apedomēn, peprāka, peprāmai, eprāthēn" "sell".

Dependence of moods and tenses

Time and aspect

One of the most notable features that Ancient Greek has inherited from Proto-Indo-European is its use of verb tense to express both the time ("present", "past", or "future") and the aspect of the action (as "ongoing", "finished", or simply "taking place"). The aspect relation is expressed by the tenses in all the moods, while the time relation is only expressed in the indicative and to a more limited extent in the other moods (also called the dependent moods).

With regard to the time relation that they express in the indicative, the seven tenses are divided into two categories:
* Primary tenses: denoting present or future time. These are the present tense (in its ordinary use), perfect tense, future tense and the rare future perfect tense.
* Secondary (also called historical) tenses, denoting past time. The secondary tenses are the imperfect tense , pluperfect tense, and the aorist tense (in its ordinary uses) This classification, which properly applies only to tenses of the indicative, is also extended to the dependent moods in the cases where they express the same time relation as the indicative. The time relation expressed by a verb's tense may be present, past or future with reference to the time of the utterance or with reference to the time of another verb with which the verb in question is connected. Compare for instance polytonic| ἀληθὲς ἐστίν, "it's true" with polytonic|εἶπον ὅτι ἀληθὲς ἐστίν/εἴη, "I said that it was true (= I said "it's true")".

With regard to the aspect relation, the verb's tense also expresses one of three possible aspects, irrespective of the mood it may be in :
* Imperfective aspect: indicating a present, ongoing, continuous, or recurrent action. The present and the imperfect tense convey this aspect.
* Perfective aspect (traditionally also called Aorist aspect in Greek grammar): indicating that the action is started and concluded at the same time or that the action is focused on a single point in time, or that the action simply occurs without reference to its duration or completion. The aorist tense conveys this aspect in all moods.
* Perfect aspect (traditionally also often called Perfective, but not to be confused with the above): indicating that the action is completed at the time it is considered. The perfect tense (in all moods) as well as the pluperfect and future perfect tense carry this aspect.

Mood of the dependent verb

The rules on mood sequence ("Consecutio modorum") determine the mood of verbs in subordinate clauses in a way analogous to but more flexible than the Latin rules on time sequence ("Consecutio temporum") which determine their tense.

Putting aside special cases and exceptions, these rules can be formulated as follows:

* In dependent sentences, where the construction allows both the subjunctive and the optative, the subjunctive is used if the leading verb is primary, and the optative if it is secondary. E.g. polytonic|πράττουσιν ἃ ἂν βούλωνται, "they do whatever they want"; but polytonic|ἐπραττον ἃ βούλοιντο, "they did whatever they wanted".

* Similarly, where the construction allows both the indicative and the optative, the indicative follows primary, and the optative follows secondary tenses. E.g. polytonic|λέγουσιν ὅτι τοῦτο βούλονται, "they say they want this"; polytonic|εἶπον ὅτι τοῦτο βούλοιντο, "they said they wanted this".

ee also

*Ancient Greek grammar (tables)
*Modern Greek grammar

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