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Modern Greek grammar

Modern Greek grammar

The grammar of Standard Modern Greek, as spoken in present-day Greece and Cyprus, is basically that of Demotic Greek, but it has also assimilated certain elements of Katharevousa, the archaic, learned variety of Greek imitating Classical Greek forms, which used to be the official language of Greece through much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Modern Greek grammar has preserved many features of Ancient Greek, but has also undergone changes in a similar direction as many other modern Indo-European languages, from more synthetic to more analytic structures.

General characteristics
The predominant word order in Greek is SVO (subjectverbobject), but word order is quite freely variable, with VSO and other orders as frequent alternatives. Within the noun phrase, adjectives precede the noun (for example, , [to mealo spiti], 'the big house'), while possessors follow it (for example, , [to spiti mu], 'my house'). The opposite order is possible as a marked alternative in both cases. Greek is a pro-drop language, i.e. subjects are typically not overtly expressed whenever they are inferable from context. Whereas the word order of the major elements within the clause is fairly free, certain grammatical elements attach to the verb as clitics and form a rigidly ordered group together with it. This applies particularly to unstressed object pronouns, negation particles, the tense particle [a], and the subjunctive particle [na]. Likewise, possessive pronouns are enclitic to the nouns they modify.

Greek is still a strongly inflectional language, although the richness of inflectional categories of Ancient Greek has been reduced over time. Nouns, adjectives and verbs are each divided into several inflectional classes (declension classes and conjugation classes), which have different sets of endings. In the nominals, the ancient inflectional system is well preserved, with the exception of the loss of one case, the dative, and the restructuring of several of the inflectional classes. In the verbal system, the loss of synthetic inflectional categories is somewhat greater, and several new analytic constructions have evolved instead.

Characteristics of the Balkan linguistic union

Several syntactic properties of Greek are characteristics shared with several other Balkan languages, with which Greek forms the so-called Balkan linguistic union. Among these characteristics are: The lack of an infinitive. In Greek, verbal complementation is typically formed with the help of finite (subjunctive) verb forms, in cases where English would use an infinitive (for example, , [elo na pao], literally 'I-want that I-go', i.e. 'I want to go'). The merger of the dative and the genitive case. In Greek, indirect objects are expressed partly through genitive forms of nouns or pronouns, and partly through a periphrasis consisting of the preposition ([se], 'to') and the accusative. The use of a future construction derived from the verb 'want' ( [eli na] > [a]). A tendency to use pre-verbal clitic object pronouns redundantly (clitic doubling), doubling an object that is also expressed elsewhere in the clause: for example, ([to ia to aftocinito], 'I saw it, the car", literally 'It I-saw the car'). One prominent feature of the Balkan linguistic union that Greek does not share is the use of a postposed definite article. The Greek article (like the Ancient Greek one) stands before the noun.

Modern Greek grammar

Greek verb morphology is structured around a basic 2-by-2 contrast of two aspects, namely imperfective and perfective, and two tenses, namely past and non-past (or present). The aspects are expressed by two separate verb stems, while the tenses are marked mainly by different sets of endings. Of the four possible combinations, only three can be used in indicative function: the present (i.e. imperfective non-past), the imperfect (i.e. imperfective past) and the aorist (i.e. perfective past). All four combinations can be used in subjunctive function, where they are typically preceded by the particle or by one of a set of subordinating conjunctions. There are also two imperatives, one for each aspect. In addition to these basic forms, Greek also has several periphrastic verb constructions. There is a perfect, which is expressed by an inflected form of the auxiliary verb ('have') and an invariant verb form derived from the perfective stem. This occurs both as a past perfect (pluperfect) and as a present perfect. In addition, all the basic forms can be combined with the future particle (historically derived from the verb , 'want'). Combined with the non-past forms, this creates an imperfective and a perfective future. Combined with the imperfective past it is used as a conditional, and with the perfective past as an inferential. Modern Greek verbs additionally have three non-finite forms. There is a form traditionally called "" (i.e. 'infinitive', literally the 'invariant form'), which is historically derived from the perfective (aorist) infinitive, but has today lost all syntactical functions typically associated with that category. It is used only to form the periphrastic perfect and pluperfect, and is always formally identical to the 3rd person singular of the perfective non-past. There is also a passive participle, typically ending in -menos (-meni, -meno), which is inflected as a regular adjective. Its use is either as a canonical adjective, or as a part of a second, alternative perfect periphrasis with transitive verbs. Finally, there is another invariant form, formed from the present tense and typically ending in -ontas, which is variably called either a participle or a gerund by modern authors. It is historically derived from an old present participle, and its sole use today is to form non-finite adjunct adverbial clauses of time or manner, roughly corresponding to an -ing participle in English. Regular perfect periphrasis, with aparemphato ("invariant form"), for example: ([exo rapsi tin epitai], 'I have written the cheque') Alternative perfect periphrasis, with passive participle, for example: ([exo tin epitai rameni], 'I have written the cheque') Adverbial clause with present participle/gerund form, for example: ([etrekse sto romo trauondas], 'he ran along the street singing') The tables below exemplify the range of forms with those of one large inflectional class of verbs, the 1st Conjugation.

First conjugation

Modern Greek grammar



Past Imperfect I used to write I was writing

Non-Past Present I write I am writing Subjunctive Pf. that I write Present Perfect I have written Gerund/Part. writing

Imperative Imperative Impf. write! (continually)

Imperfective - 1.Sg. 2.Sg. 3.Sg. 1.Pl. 2.Pl. 3.Pl.


- 1.Sg. 2.Sg. 3.Sg. 1.Pl. 2.Pl. 3.Pl.

Aorist I wrote

Imperative Pf. write! (once)


1.Sg. 2.Sg. 3.Sg. 1.Pl. 2.Pl. 3.Pl.

Past Perfect I had written

Past Impf. I would write Pf.

Non-Past I will write (continually)

I have probably written I will write (once) I will have written

Perf. I would have written

Second conjugation
Below are the corresponding forms of two subtypes of another class, the 2nd Conjugation. Only the basic forms are shown here; the periphrastic combinations are formed as shown above. While the person-number endings are quite regular across all verbs within each of these classes, the formation of the two basic stems for each verb displays a lot of irregularity and can follow any of a large number of idiosyncratic patterns.

Modern Greek grammar

/ ('talk') Past Impf. Pf. Non-Past Imper. Past

('lead') Non-Past Imper.

/ / / Subjunctive


Alternative endings: , . Some verbs use only these types and especially the plural.

The use of the past tense prefix e-, the so-called augment, shows some variation and irregularity between verb classes. In regular (demotic) verbs in standard modern Greek, the prefix is used depending on a stress rule, which specifies that each past tense verb form has its stress on the third syllable from the last (the antepenultimate); the prefix is only inserted whenever the verb would otherwise have fewer than three syllables. In these verbs, the augment always appears as e-. A number of frequent verbs have irregular forms involving other vowels, mostly (i-), for example, > ('want'). In addition, verbs from the learned tradition partly preserve more complex patterns inherited from ancient Greek. In learned compound verbs with adverbial prefixes such as - (peri-) or - (ipo-), the augment is inserted between the prefix and the verb stem (for example, - > -- ('describe'). Where the prefix itself ends in a vowel, the vowels in this position may be subject to further assimilation rules, such as in - > -- ('sign'). In addition, verbs whose stem begins in a vowel may also display vocalic changes instead of a syllabic augment, as in > ('hope'). The table below presents some further examples of these patterns:
Type of verb Present tense Meaning Perfective Simple Composite < + < + < + Initial vowel Composite and initial vowel < + [rafo] write [erapsa] Past tenses Imperfective [erafa]

[peirafo] describe

[peierapsa] [peierafa]









[elpizo] [iparxo]

hope exist

[ilpisa] [ipirksa]

[ilpiza] [ipirxa]

Modern Greek grammar

[ime] [exo] [elo] be have want (no augment) [elisa] [imun] [ixa] [iela]

Irregular augment

[ksero] [pino]

know drink


[iksera] [epina]

Grammatical voice
Greek is one of the few modern Indo-European languages that still has a morphological contrast between two grammatical voices: active and mediopassive. The mediopassive has several functions: Passive function, denoting an action that is performed on the subject by another agent (for example, 'he was killed'); Reflexive function, denoting an action performed by the subject on him-/herself (for example, 'he shaved himself'); Reciprocal function, denoting an action performed by several subjects on each other (for example, 'they love each other'); Modal function, denoting the possibility of an action (for example, 'it is eatable'); Deponential function: verbs that occur only in the mediopassive and lack a corresponding active form. They often have meanings that are rendered as active in other languages: ' work'; 'I sleep'; 'I accept'. There are also many verbs that have both an active and a mediopassive form but where the mediopassive has a special function that may be rendered with a separate verb in other languages: for example, active 'I raise', passive 'I get up'; active 'I strike', passive 'I am bored'.
('write') Past Impf. Pf. Non-Past Imper. Past ('talk') Non-Past Imper.



There also two other categories of verbs which historically correspond to the ancient contracted verbs.

Modern Greek grammar

('guarantee') Past Impf. Non-Past Imper. Past and

('lack') Non-Past Imper.




There also more formal suffixes instead of -, -: -, -. In this case the suffixes of the first person of the plural of present and imperfect are the same.

Be and have
The verbs ('be') and ('have') are irregular and defective, as they both lack the aspectual contrast. The forms of both are given below.

Present ()

Past or or


Present Past


Nouns and adjectives

The Greek nominal system displays inflection for two numbers (singular and plural), three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), and four cases (nominative, genitive, accusative and vocative). As in many other Indo-European languages, the distribution of grammatical gender across nouns is largely arbitrary and need not coincide with natural sex. Case, number and gender are marked on the noun as well as on articles and adjectives modifying it. While there are four cases, there is a great degree of syncretism between case forms within most paradigms. Only one sub-group of the masculine nouns actually has four distinct forms in the four cases.

Modern Greek grammar

There are two articles in Modern Greek, the definite and the indefinite. They are both inflected by gender and case, and the definite article also for number. The article agrees with the noun it modifies. Definite article
Masculine Singular Nominative Genitive [o] [tu] Feminine [i] [tis] Neuter [to]

[tu] [to] [ta]

Accusative ()[1] [to(n)] ()[1] [ti(n)] Plural Nominative Genitive [i] [ton] [tus] [i] [ton] [tis]

[ton] [ta]


The definite article is used more frequently in Greek than in English. It is used: Before nouns used in an abstract or a general sense: For example, ([mu aresi i ilikrinia], 'I like sincerity'; literally 'I like the sincerity'). ([ta karvuna ine akriva fetos], 'coal is expensive this year'; literally 'the coal is expensive this year'). Before proper names, including names of persons, placenames, and titles: For example, ([o annis a eri avrio], 'John will come tomorrow'; literally 'the John will come tomorrow'). Before each noun in a series of nouns connected by and: For example, , ; ([iran ta vivlia, ta perioika ke i efimeries pu zitisa], 'Have the books, magazines and newspapers I asked for arrived?'; literally 'the books, the magazines and the newspapers') Before designations of time such as the year, the week and the hour as well as before the names of the seasons, the days of the week except when they follow the verb (to be): For example, ([to treno fevi stis eka], 'the train leaves at ten'; literally 'at the ten'). Before expressions of measure and weight, where the indefinite article would be used in English: For example, ([to tiri kostizi pende evro to kilo], 'the cheese costs five euros a kilo'; literally 'five euros the kilo'). Before a noun which is also modified by a possessor following it: For example, ([to spiti mu ine eo], 'My house is here'; literally 'the house my is here'). Before nouns modified by a demonstrative adjective. In this case, the definite article is placed between the demonstrative adjective and the noun: For example, ([afto to krasi ine kalo], 'this wine is good'; literally 'this the wine is good').

Modern Greek grammar Indefinite article The indefinite article in Greek is identical with the numeral one. As in English, it exists only in the singular. Indefiniteness in plural nouns is expressed by the bare noun without an article.
Singular Masculine Nominative Genitive [enas] [enos] Feminine [mia] Neuter [ena]

[mas] [enos] [mia] [ena]

Accusative ()nu [ena(n)]

The indefinite article is not used in Greek as often as in English because it specifically expresses the concept of "one". It is omitted: Before predicate nouns: ([ine ikioros], 'he is a lawyer'; literally 'is lawyer'). Before nouns that have no specific reference: ([psaxno ua], 'I'm looking for a job'; i.e. not a specific job known to the speaker) In exclamations with nouns preceded with (what): ! ([ti kalo pei], 'What a good boy!'; literally 'what good boy') Before a noun preceded by ([san], 'like'): ([afto to xristueatiko endro fenete san aliino endro], 'this Christmas tree looks like a real tree'; literally 'like real tree') In proverbs: ([skili pu avizi e aoni] 'a dog that barks does not bite'; literally 'dog that barks')

Greek nouns are inflected by case and number. In addition each noun belongs to one of three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. Within each of the three genders, there are several sub-groups (declension classes) with different sets of inflectional endings. Masculine nouns The table shows four of the most frequent declension classes: one with singulars in - [-os] and plurals in - [-i]; one with singulars in - [-as] and plurals in - [-es], one with singulars in - [-is] and again plurals in - [-es] and one with singulars in - [-eas] and plurals in - [-is]. There are some other, minor ones. Historically, the class in - corresponds to the Ancient Greek o-Declension. The other classes represent a conflation of several different sources.

Modern Greek grammar

Group 1: Group 2: -/- Group 3: Group 4: -/- -/- -/- ([andras] 'man') ([provoleas] 'searchlight') ([filos] 'friend') ([xartis] 'map') Singular Nominative [o] Genitive [tu] Accusative () [to(n)] Vocative Plural Nominative [i] Genitive [ton] Accusative [tus] Vocative [-os] [-u] [-o] [-e] [-i] [-on] [-us] [-i] [-as] [-a] [-a] [-a] [-es] [-on] [-es] [-es] [-is] [-i] [-i] [-i] [-es] [-on] [-es] [-es] [-eas] [-ea] [-ea] [-ea] [-is] [-eon] [-is] [-is]

Groups 2 and 3 each have subclasses of so-called anisosyllabic nouns, where the Plural is formed with the addition of a stem extension -- [-a-] and -- [-i-], respectively. Examples are for Group 2a: / (/papas/papaes/, 'priest'), and for Group 3a: / (/manavis/manavies/, 'greengrocer'). The endings following the stem extension are the same as in the other words of Groups 2 and 3. Feminine nouns The two most frequent classes of feminine nouns are those with singulars in - ([-a]) and in - ([-i]) respectively, both with plurals in - [-es]) (Groups 1 and 2 in the tables below). They both correspond historically to the Ancient Greek a-Declension. There are certain subgroups (not shown in the table) which differ from each other in the placement of the accented syllable. A third group corresponds to Ancient Greek nouns in -, such as ('city'). Its singular forms have been adapted to those of Group 2, while its plural forms have retained the ancient pattern (plurals in - [-is]). The ancient forms of the Genitive Singular (, [-eos]) are also found as a stylistic variant and they are fully acceptable. Group 4 corresponds to the Ancient Greek feminine o-Declension. Its forms are largely identical to those of the masculines in -. Except for Group 4, all classes have identical forms in the nominative, accusative and vocative.
Group 1: Group 2: -/- -/- ([epoi], 'season') ([ora], 'time') Singular Nominative [i] Genitive [tis] Accusative () [ti(n)] Vocative [-a] [-as] [-a] [-a] [-i] [-is] [-i] [-i] Group 3: -/- ([poli], 'city') Group 4: -/- ([meoos], 'method')


[-i] [-is] and [-eos] [-i] [-i] [-is] [-eon] [-is] [-is]


[-os] [-u] [-o] [-os (-e)]


Nominative [i] Genitive [ton] Accusative [tis] Vocative

[-es] [-on] [-es] [-es]

[-es] [-on] [-es] [-es]

[-i] [-on] [-us] [-i]

Modern Greek grammar Neuter nouns All neuter nouns have identical forms across the nominative, accusative and vocative. The table below therefore shows only two forms, the common form labeled N/A/V, and the genitive. There are two classes that are by far the most frequent ones, one with singulars in - and plurals in -, the other with singulars in - and plurals in - (Groups 1 and 2 in the table below).
Group 1: -/- ([vivlio], 'book') Singular N/A/V Genitive [to] [tu] [-o] [-u] Group 2: -/- Group 3: -/- ([pei], [provlima] ( 'problem') 'child') Group 4: -/- ([laos], 'error') Group 5: -/- ([kreas], 'meat') Unique: -/- ([oksi], 'acid')


Unique: -/- ([ori], 'spear')

[-i] [-ju]

[-ma] [-os] [-as] [-i] [-i] [-matos] [-us] [-atos] [-eos] [-atos]


N/A/V [-a] [-ja] [-mata] Genitive [ta] [-on] [-jon] [-maton] [ton]

[-i] [-ata] [-ea] [-ata] [-on] [-aton] [-eon] [-aton]

Adjectives agree with nouns in gender, case and number. Therefore, each adjective has a threefold declension paradigm for the three genders. Adjectives show agreement both when they are used as attributes ( , [o kalos filos], 'the good friend') and when they are used as predicates ( , [o filos ine kalos], 'the friend is good'). The vast majority of adjectives take forms in - in the masculine (same as masculine Group 1 nouns above), - in the neuter (same as neuter Group 1 nouns above), and either -, -, or - in the feminine (same as feminine Group 1/2 nouns above). Again, there are some other, minor groups and sub-classes. Adjectives agree with the noun in terms of its abstract gender, not in terms of the shapes of the actual endings, since these depend on the individual declension class of both the noun and the adjective. This means that the concrete endings occurring in any pair of noun and adjective may be quite different from each other, depending on the classes involved (e.g. , [i kali meoos], 'the good method'; , [ta nea lai], 'the new errors'). The table below shows the forms for , -, - ([neos] 'new, young'), , -, - ([kalos] 'good'), and , -, - ([likos] 'sweet').
Masculine Group 1 Singular Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative Plural Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative [-os] [-u] [-o] [-e] [-i] [-on] [-us] [-i] [-a] [-as] [-a] [-a] [-es] [-on] [-es] [-es] Feminine Group 2 [-i] [-is] [-i] [-i] [-es] [-on] [-es] [-es] Group 3 [-ja] [-jas] [-ja] [-ja] [-es] [-on] [-es] [-es] [-o] [-u] [-o] [-o] [-a] [-on] [-a] [-a] Neuter

Analogous: ... ...

Analogous: ... ...

Modern Greek grammar Other adjective classes include the following: Certain adjectives, usually denoting human characteristics, whose masculine and feminine forms decline like nouns of the masculine Group 3a (-/-, /-is/-ies/) and the feminine Group 1 (-), while the neuter ends in - [-iko], for example, , , ([tembelis, tembela, tembeliko], 'lazy'). Some adjectives of learned origin which lack a separate form for the feminine, using the regular - [-os] paradigm both for the masculine and the feminine gender, for example, ([eios], 'pregnant'). Another class of learned origin, with masculine/feminine in - [-is] and neuter in - [-es], for example, ([ienis] 'international'). A small group of adjectives in -, -, - ([-is, -ia, -i]), for example, ([varis], 'heavy'), and the similar but even more irregular single item , , ([polis, polli, poli], 'much'). These adjectives are declined this way:
Group 1: -, -/-, - ([sineis], 'continual') Masc. - Fem. Singular Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative Plural Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative [-is] [-us] [-i] [-is] [-is] [-on] [-is] [-is] Neuter [-es] [-us] [-es] [-es] [-i] [-on] [-i] [-i] Group 2: -, -/-, - ([siniis], 'usual') Masc. - Fem. [-is] [-us] [-i] [-is] [-is] [-on] [-is] [-is] Neuter [-es] [-us] [-es] [-es] [-i] [-on] [-i] [-i] Group 3: -, -/-, - ([vais], 'deep') Masculine or or or [-is] [-eos] [-i] [-i] [-is] or [-ji] [-eon] or [-jon] [-is] [-is] or [-ji] Feminine [-ja] [-jas] [-ja] [-ja] [-jes] [-jon] [-jes] [-jes] Neuter or or or or [-i] [-eos] [-i] [-i] [-ea] or [-ja] [-eon] or [-jon] [-ea] or [-ja] [-ea] or [-ja]


The adjective - - is declined this way:

Masculine Singular Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative Plural Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative [-is] [-u] [-i] [-i] [-i] [-on] [-us] [-i] Feminine [-i] [-is] [-i] [-i] [-es] [-on] [-es] [-es] Neuter [-i] [-u] [-i] [-i] [-a] [-on] [-a] [-a]

Comparative and superlative Adjectives in Modern Greek can form a comparative for expressing comparisons. Similar to English, it can be formed in two ways, as a periphrastic form (as in English beautiful > more beautiful) and as synthetic form using grammatical suffixes, as in English large > larger) . The periphrastic comparative is formed by the particle ([po], 'more') preceding the adjective. The synthetic forms of the regular adjectives in -, - and -o is created with the suffix - - and -. For those adjectives which end in -, - and - the corresponding suffixes

Modern Greek grammar are - - and -. A superlative is expressed by combining the comparative, in either its periphrastic or synthetic form, with a preceding definite article. (Thus, Modern Greek does not distinguish between 'the largest house' and 'the larger house'; both are or .) Besides the superlative proper, sometimes called "relative superlative", there is also an "absolute superlative" or elative, expressing the meaning 'very ' (for example, 'very beautiful'). Elatives are formed with the suffixes -, - and - for the regular adjectives, and - - and - for those in -.
Simple form Comparative form Relative Periphrastic Adjectives Synthetic Periphrastic Synthetic Superlative form Absolute (elative) Periphrastic Synthetic


Participles Adverbs

Personal pronouns
There are strong pronouns (stressed, free) and weak pronouns (unstressed, clitic). Nominative pronouns only have the strong form (except in some minor environments) and are used as subjects only when special emphasis is intended, since unstressed subjects recoverable from context are not overtly expressed anyway. Genitive (possessive) pronouns are used in their weak forms as pre-verbal clitics to express indirect objects (for example, , [tu milisa], 'I talked to him'), and as a post-nominal clitic to express possession (for example, , [i fili tu], 'his friends'). The strong genitive forms are relatively rare and used only for special emphasis (for example, , [aftu i fili], 'his friends'); often they are doubled by the weak forms (for example, , [aftu tu milisa], ' him I talked to'). An alternative way of giving emphasis to a possessive pronoun is propping it up with the stressed adjective ([ikos], 'own'), for example, ([i ici tu fili], ' his friends'). Accusative pronouns exist both in a weak and a strong form. The weak form is used as a pre-verbal clitic (for example, , [ton ia], 'I saw him'); the strong form is used elsewhere in the clause (for example, , [ia afton], 'I saw him'). Third-person pronouns have separate forms for the three genders; those of the first and second Person do not. The weak third-person forms are similar to the corresponding forms of the definite article. The strong third-person forms function simultaneously as generic demonstratives ('this, that'). The strong plural forms of the third person in the genitive and accusative (, etc.) have optional alternative forms extended by an additional syllable [-on-] or [-un-] (, etc.)

Modern Greek grammar


1st person

2nd person Masc.

3rd person Fem. [afti] [aftis] Neut. [afto]

Strong Singular Nominative Genitive



[aftos] [aftu]

[emena] [esena] o

[aftu] [afto] [afta]

Accusative [emena] [esena] Plural Nominative Genitive [emis] [emas] [emas] [mu] [me] [mas] [mas] [sas] [sas] [su] [se] [esis] [esas] [esas]

[afton] [afti]

[aftin] [aftes]


[afton] [afton] [aftes] [ti] [tis] [afta] [to] [tu] [to] [ta] [tus] [ta]

Accusative Weak Singular Nominative Genitive

[aftus] [tos] [tu] [ton] [ti] [tus] [tus] ()

Accusative Plural Nominative Genitive

[1] [ti(n)] [tes] [tus] [tis]


Besides [aftos] as a generic demonstrative, there are also the more specific spatial demonstrative pronouns , -, - ([tutos], 'this here') and , -, - ([ecinos], 'that there').

The numerals in Modern Greek are very similar to those of the Ancient Greek. The numerals one, three and four are also declined by using the obsolete types of the third declension of the nouns.
Singular - - (1) Masculine Nominative Genitive [enas] [enos] Feminine [mia] Neuter [ena] - (3) Masc. - Fem. [tris] Neuter [tria] Plural - (4) Masc. - Fem. [tesseris] Neuter [tessera]

[mas] [enos] [trion] [trion] [tessaron] [tessaron] [mia] [ena] [tris] [tria] [tesseris] [tessera]

Accusative ()nu [ena(n)]

In Demotic Greek, prepositions normally require the accusative case: (from), (for), (with), (after), (without), (as) and (to, in or at). The preposition , when followed by a definite article, fuses with it into forms like ( + ) and ( + ). While there is only a relatively small number of simple prepositions native to Demotic, the two most basic prepositions and can enter into a large number of combinations with preceding adverbs to form new compound prepositions, for example, (on), (underneath), (beside) etc. A few prepositions that take cases other than the accusative have been borrowed into Standard Modern Greek from the learned tradition of Katharevousa: (against), (in favor of, for), (instead of). Other prepositions live on in a fossilised form in certain fixed expressions (for example, 'in the meantime', dative). The preposition (ap, 'from') is also used to express the agent in passive sentences, like English by.

Modern Greek grammar


Coordinating and subordinating conjunctions in Greek include:
Kinds Copulative Separatist Negative Inferential (), , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Conjunctions and, neither or, either but, although, however, whereas so, so as, thus, that so, in other words that when, while, after, before, just, until because if so as, (in order)to so as, in order to maybe, perhaps to, than Meaning

Explanatory Special Temporal , , , , , , , , ( ), , , , , , , , ,


Hypothetical , , , Final Efficacious Hesitant , (), (),


The word ([na]) serves as a generic subordinator corresponding roughly to English to (+ infinitive) or that in sentences like ([protimo na pao], 'I prefer to go', literally 'I prefer that I go') or ([protimo na pai o annis], 'I prefer that John go'). It marks the following verb as being in the subjunctive mood. Somewhat similar to the English to-infinitive its use is often associated with meanings of non-factuality, i.e. events that have not (yet) come true, that are expected, wished for etc. In this, it contrasts with [oti] and [pos], which correspond to English that when used with a meaning of factuality. The difference can be seen in the contrast between ([mas ipe na pame volta], 'he told us to go for a walk') vs. ([mas ipe pos pie volta], 'he told us that he went for a walk'). When used on its own with a following verb, may express a wish or order, as in ! ([na pai], 'let him go' or 'may he go'). Unlike the other subordinating conjunctions, is always immediately followed by the verb it governs, separated from it only by any clitics that might be attached to the verb, but not by a subject or other clause-initial material.

For sentence negation, Greek has preserved from Proto-Indo-European a distinction between two negator elements, () dhe(n)[1] and () mi(n), 'not'. The negator is used for simple negation in clauses with indicative mood. The negator is used in subjunctive contexts, either after subjunctive-inducing or as a negative replacement for . It is often associated with the expression of a wish for an event not to come true, as in: ([fovame mi vreksi], 'I'm afraid lest it might rain'), or with a negated order or recommendation, as in: ([mas ipe na min pame volta], 'he told us not to go for a walk'); ! ([na min pai], 'let him not go!'). When used alone with a verb in the second person, it forms the functional equivalent to a negative imperative: ! ([min pas], 'don't go!'). The imperative itself has no negative forms, something which is preserved from Ancient Greek, and the negative is formed by the types of the subjunctive. e.g. ([pekse], 'play!'), ([min peksis], 'don't play!'). For constituent negation, i.e. when negating not a whole clause but a specific constituent of it, Greek uses negative concord, i.e. a combination of the sentence negator (/) with a negative-polarity item on the constituent to be

Modern Greek grammar negated, as in: ([en exo kanena neo], 'I don't have any news'). These negative-polarity items, when used in a full clause with a verb, correspond to English words in any- (anything, anybody, anywhere etc.); however, they can also be used on their own when negating a standalone phrase without a verb, in which case they are translatable with English words in no- (nothing, nobody, none, nowhere etc.). This can be seen in the example dialogue: ; , . ([eis kanena neo? oi kanena] 'Have you got any news? No, none.') The , , is declined thus (only singular):
Masculine Nominative or Genitive Accusative [-enas] or [-is] [-enos] [-ena] Feminine Neuter


[-mia] [-ena] [-mias] [-enos] [-mia] [-ena]

The , , is generally rare and conservative. It is declined like the but does not have the forms and but only and . When is used the double negation cannot be used.

Relative clauses
Greek has two different ways of forming relative clauses. The simpler and by far the more frequent uses the invariable relativizer ([pu], 'that', literally 'where'), as in: ([i ineka pu ia xtes], 'the woman that I saw yesterday'). When the relativized element is a subject, object or adverbial within the relative clause, then as in English it has no other overt expression within the relative clause apart from the relativizer. Some other types of relativized elements, however, such as possessors, are represented within the clause by a resumptive pronoun, as in: (/i ineka pu vrika tin tsanda tis/, 'the woman whose handbag I found', literally 'the woman that I found her handbag'). The second, rarer and more formal, form of relative clauses employs complex inflected relative pronouns. They are composite elements consisting of the definite article and a following pronominal element that is inflected like an adjective: , , ([o opios, i opia, to opio] etc., literally 'the which'). Both elements are inflected for case, number and gender according to the grammatical properties of the relativized item within the relative clause, as in: ([i ineka tin opia ia xtes], 'the woman whom I saw yesterday'); ([i ineka tis opias vrika tin tsanda], 'the woman whose handbag I found').

[1] When the following word begins with a plosive ([p t k b d ]) or in formal language, these words take a final - [-n].

Hardy, D. A. and Doyle, T. A. Greek language and people, BBC Books, 1996. ISBN 0-563-16575-8 Holton, D., Mackridge, P., and I. Philippaki-Warburton. Greek: A comprehensive grammar of the modern language. Routledge, London, 1997, ISBN 0-415-10001-1, ISBN 0-415-10002-X. A very complete modern reference, also available abridged as Greek: An Essential Grammar of the Modern Language, Routledge , London, 2003, ISBN 0-415-23209-0, ISBN 0-415-23210-4 , . and , . , Nostos, 1992. ISBN 960-85137-0-7 Pappageotes, G. C. and Emmanuel, P. D. Modern Greek in a nutshell, Institute for language study, Montclair, N.J. 07042, Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1958; "Vest Pocket Modern Greek", Owlets, 1990, ISBN 0-8050-1510-8,

Modern Greek grammar ISBN 0-8489-5106-9 Pring, J. T. The Pocket Oxford Greek Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-19-860327-4


External links
Illustrated Modern Greek grammar (

Article Sources and Contributors


Article Sources and Contributors

Modern Greek grammar Source: Contributors: 4pq1injbok, Aitias, AndreasJS, Angr, Anypodetos, Avicennasis, Barticus88, Blurrzuki, Catalographer, Cplakidas, Crazymadlover, Dbachmann, Dimboukas, Edwy, Erutuon, Fratrep, Furrykef, Future Perfect at Sunrise, Gilgamesh, Hectorian, JaGa, JorisvS, Keinstein, Kwamikagami, L'uf, Lambiam, LukasPietsch, M.O.X, MacedoniaIsGreece, Macrakis, Mais oui!, Makedonas, MasaoYAGIHASHI, Miskin, Moorsmur, Nono64, Omnipedian, Pail, R'n'B, Riboldipj, Rjwilmsi, Sam Blacketer, Sjheiss, Steinbach, Tekleni, Thanassis, Theunixgeek, Thiseye, Tonyle, Vivliothykarios, 55 anonymous edits

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