Grammar Rules for John Williams White's First Greek Book
Through Lesson XVI.
To be reviewed daily and before each lesson. New material in blue.
Alphabet and Punctuation | Basic Accent Rules | Proclitics and Enclitics | Declensions | Verb Basics | Augment | Conjugations | Prepositions | Postpositives

Alphabet and Punctuation

    Αα  Ββ  Γγ  Δδ  Εε  Ζζ  Ηη  Θθ  Ιι  Κκ  Λλ  Μμ Νν  Ξξ Οο  Ππ  Ρρ  Σσς  Ττ  Υυ  Φφ  Χχ  Ψψ  Ωω

  1. The short vowels are α, ε, ι, ο, υ.
  2. Long vowels are ᾱ, η, ῑ, ω, ῡ.*
  3. The diphthongs are αι, αυ, ει, ευ, οι, ου, ηυ, υι.
  * Note: Other than in a few places in these notes, there are no long marks in my vocabulary, notes, or answers; they are too difficult for me to reproduce faithfully, me paenitet.


  1. Double Consonants: ξ, ψ
  2. Semivowels:     γ-nasal;         liquids: λ, μ, ν, ρ;         sibilant: σ
  3. Mutes:
              Classes           Orders
              Labial or π-mutes     π   β   φ           Smooth mutes:     π   κ   τ
              Palatal or κ-mutes     κ   γ   χ           Middle mutes:     β   γ   δ
              Dental, Lingual or τ-mutes     τ   δ   θ           Rough mutes:     φ   χ   θ

  1. A Greek word has as many syllables as it has separate vowels or diphthongs.
  2. A syllable is long by nature when it contains a long vowel or diphthong.
  3. Single and combined consonants are usually placed at the beginning of a syllable.
  4. Last three syllables are called: antepenult, penult, and ultima. (mnemonic: ante-pen-ultima)
Changes of Consonants
  1. Mutes before σ:   (πβφ) + σ   -> ψ       (κγχ) + σ   -> ξ       (τδθ) + σ   -> σ
  2. In duplications, an initial rough is always made smooth:   θύω -> τέθυκα
  3. A τ-mute (τδθ) before κ is dropped:   ἀθροίζω (ἀθροιδ) -> ἤθροικα

Basic Accent Rules

  1. Final αι and οι are considered short when determining accent (except in the optative mood and in the adverb οἴκοι, "at home").
Acute ( ʹ )
  1. Stands on one of the last three syllables
  2. Cannot stand on antepenult if last syllable is long or ends in ξ or ψ. (The acute is "pulled" onto the penult by a long ultima.)
  3. If ultima is long, a penult accent must be acute.
Circumflex ( ~ )
  1. Stands on one of the last two syllables
  2. Only on long syllables
  3. Only on penult if ultima is short
  4. Long, accented ultimas in the genitive and the dative of all numbers take the circumflex.
  5. The genitive plurals of all A-Declension nouns always have the circumflex on the last syllable.
Grave ( ` )
  1. Only on the last syllable
  2. An oxytone (a word with an accent on its final syllable) changes its accent to grave before other words in the same sentence.
Tack-On Words
  1. A proclitic is an unaccented, monosyllable word, closely attached to the following word.
  2. An enclitic throws its accent back onto the preceeding word, and is pronounced as if it were a part of it.
  1. An accent on a noun is persistent; id est, it tries to hold its nominative position unless a rule forces a change to the next syllable.
  1. An accent on a verb is recessive; id est, it tries to move as close to the front of the word as possible.
  1. The nominative, genitive, and vocative of the plural feminine follow the accent of the masculine.

Proclitics and Enclitics to Date

  • ὁ, οἱ, ἡ, αἱ, εἰς, ἐκ/ἐξ, ἐν, οὐ/οὐκ/οὐχ


  1. Feminine nouns of the A-Declension end in ᾱ, η, or α.
  2. Feminines generally end in if ε, ι, or ρ precedes the ending, otherwise they usually end in η.
  3. A few feminines end in α (short). This short alpha appears only in the nominative, accusative, and vocative singular. The genitive and dative have if ε, ι, or ρ precedes, otherwise η.
  4. Masculine nouns of the A-Declension end in ᾱς or ης. If ε, ι, or ρ precedes they end in ᾱς, otherwise in ης.
  5. Nouns of the O-Declension end in ος (masculine, rarely feminine) or ον (neuter).
  1. Adjectives must agree with their nouns in case, gender, and number.
  2. In the Vowel Declensions, the masculine and neuter follow the O-Declension pattern, the feminine the A-Declension.
  3. If ε, ι, or ρ precedes ος in the masculine, the nominative singular feminine ends in long alpha, otherwise in eta.
  4. The masculine and feminine are alike in some Vowel Declension adjectives.
Noun and Adjective Paradigms
  1. Fem 1st Declension, : χώρα, country and στρατιά, army (#38, pg 8 and #739, pg 220).
  2. Fem 1st Declension, α: γέφυρα, bridge and θάλαττα, sea (#62, pg 14 and #739, pg 220).
  3. Fem 1st Declension, η: κώμη, village and σκηνή, tent (#44, pg 10 and #739, pg 220).
  4. Masc 1st Declension, ᾱς: νεανίας, young man (#740, pg 220).
  5. Masc 1st Declension, ης: στρατιώτης, soldier; πελταστής, targeteer; and Πέρσης, a Persian (#740, pg 220).
  6. 2nd Declension: ὁ λόγος, word; ὁ οἴνος, wine; ὁ ἄνθρωπος, man; ἡ ὁδός, road; and τὸ δῶρον, gift (#741, pg 221).
  7. Adjectives of the vowel declension: ἀγαθός, ἀγαθή, ἀγαθόν, good and ἄξιος, ἀξία, ἄξιον, worthy (#750, pg 226).
  8. The definite article: ἡ, ὁ, τό, the (#758, pg 234).

Verb Basics

  1. Active Voice: subject is doing the action
  2. Middle Voice: subject is performing the action on or for himself
  3. Passive Voice: subject is being acted on.
  1. Indicative Mood: used to express statements or questions of fact
  2. Imperative Mood: used to make direct commands
  3. Subjunctive Mood: used to make "what if" statements or questions
  4. Optative Mood: used to make statements or questions that are less certain than the subjunctive
  1. (primary tense), Present: for states of being or actions happening now
  2. (primary tense), Future: for states of being or actions in the future
  3. (primary tense), Perfect: for completed actions having effect on present conditions
  4. (primary tense), Future Perfect: for completed actions in the future
  5. (secondary tense), Imperfect: for states of being or action in the past
  6. (secondary tense), Aorist: for simple completed actions
  7. (secondary tense), Pluperfect : for previously completed actions
  1. First Person: the one or ones talking
  2. Second Person: the one or ones you are talking to
  3. Third Person: the one or ones you are talking about
  1. Singular, dual, plural, just as in nouns
Verb Stem
  1. The fundamental part of a verb


  1. Verbs in a secondary tense of the indicative mood receive an augment at the beginning.
  1. Prefix ε to verb beginning with a consonant.
  1. Lengthen first syllable of verb beginning with a vowel or diphthong.
  2. α, ε   ->   η
  3. ι, ο, υ   ->   ῑ, ω, ῡ
  4. αι, ᾳ   ->   ῃ
  5. οι   ->   ῳ

Verb Stem Duplication

  1. Shows completed action.
 xii.     Single Consonant (except ρ): first consonant + ε + stem:
(rough mute is smoothed):
λύω -> λέλυκα
θύω -> τέθυκα
 xii.     Two (not liquid + mute) or
Double Consonants or ρ:
ε + stem: στρατεύω -> ἐστράτευκα
 xii.     Short Vowel or Diphthong: temporal augment: ἁρπάζω -> ἥρπακα

 xii.     Single Consonant: ε + perfect duplication: λέλυκα -> ἐλελύκη
 xii.     Other cases: perfect duplication: στρατεύω -> ἐστρατεύκη
ἁρπάζω -> ἡρπάκη



Verb and Tense Stems, Connecting Vowels, and Personal Endings

  1. For an excellent explanation of these, see William W. Goodwin's An Elementary Greek Grammar, Ginn Brothers, Boston, 1873, #106-114, pp 79-88.

Personal Endings - Active Voice
    primary tenses
      secondary tenses
  singular dual plural   singular dual plural
1st -μι -μεν   -μεν
2nd -ς (σι) -τον -τε   -τον -τε
3rd -σι (τι) -τον -νσι   - -την -ν, -σαν

 Forming Indicative Verbs in Ω
Active Voice
                singular   dual   plural  
                1st 2nd 3rd   2nd 3rd   1st 2nd 3rd  
  Primary Tenses
v.   Present     stem     + ω εις ει   ετον ετον   ομεν ετε ουσι λύω
x.   Future     stem + σ + ω εις ει   ετον ετον   ομεν ετε ουσι λύσω
xii.   1st Perfect perfect aug./dupl. + stem + κ + α ας ε   ατον ατον   αμεν ατε ασι λέλυκα
xii.   2nd Perfect perfect aug./dupl. + stem     + α ας ε   ατον ατον   αμεν ατε ασι δεδίωχα
Secondary Tenses
vii.   Imperfect augment + stem     + ον ες ε   ετον ετην   ομεν ετε ον λυον
x.   1st Aorist augment + stem + σ + α ας ε   ατον ατην   αμεν ατε αν λυσα
x.   2nd Aorist augment + stem     + ον ες ε   ετον ετην   ομεν ετε ον λιπον
xii.   1st Pluperfect pluperf. aug./dupl. + stem + κ + η ης ει   ετον ετην   εμεν ετε εσαν ἐλελύκη
xii.   2nd Pluperfect pluperf. aug./dupl. + stem     + η ης ει   ετον ετην   εμεν ετε εσαν ἐδεδιώχη

Compound Verbs

  1. Compound verbs take the augment between the preposition and the simple verb. If two vowels come together, the vowel of the preposition is usually elided.

Verb Paradigms
  Indicative Active
v.   Present Tense λύω, I loose, destroy
ἁρπάζω, I seize, rob, plunder
ἔχω, I have, hold
(#55, pg 12 and #765, pg 238)
x.   Future Tense λύσω, I shall loose or destroy
πέμψω, I shall send
ἄξω, I shall lead
ἕξω(irreg.), I shall have
(#86, pg 22; #91, pg 23; and #766, pg 239)
xii.   1st Perfect λέλυκα, I have loosed
τέθυκα, I have sacrificed
ἐστράτευκα, I have made an expedition
ἔσχηκα, I have held
ἤθροικα, I have collected
ἥρπακα, I have plundered
(#106-110, pg 26-27; #112 & 113, pg 28; and #768, pg 240)
xii.   2nd Perfect πέπομφα, I have sent
δεδίωχα, I have pursued
ἦχα, I have led
λέλοιπα, I have left
(#114, pg 28 and #774, pg 243)
vii.   Imperfect ἔλυον, I was loosing, I loosed
ἥρπαδζον, I was plotting
εἶχον(irreg.), I was holding
(#67, #68, pg 16 and #765, pg 238)
x.   1st Aorist ἔλυσα, I loosed
ἔπενψα, I sent
ἐπ-εβουλεύσα, I plotted against
ἤθροισα, I collected
(#86, pg 22; #93, pg 23; and #767, pg 239)
x.   2nd Aorist ἤγαγον, I led
ἔσχον, I had
ἔλιπον, I departed
(#91, pg 23 and #773, pg 243)
xii.   1st Pluperfect ἐστρατεύκη, I had made an expedition
ἡρπάκη, I had plundered
ἐλελύκη, I had loosed
ἐσκήκη, I had held
ἠθροίκη, I had collected
(#107-110, pg 27; #112 & 113, pg 28; and #768, pg 240)
xii.   2nd Pluperfect ἐπεπόμφη, I had sent
ἐδεδιώχη, I had pursued
ἤχη, I had led
ἐλελοίπη, I had left
(#114, pg 28 and #774, pg 243)
  Infinitive Active
x.   Present λύειν, to loose
πέμπειν, to send
(#92, pg 23)


With the Genitive
  1. ἀντί -- instead of.
  2. ἀπό -- off from, from.
  3. διά -- through.
  4. ἐξ, ἐκ -- out of, from.
  5. ἐπί -- on, upon.
  6. πρός -- over, against (implying motion from a place).
With the Dative
  1. ἐν -- in.
  2. ἐπί -- on, by, at.
  3. σύν -- with, in company with.
  4. πρός -- at.
With the Accusative
  1. διά -- on account of.
  2. εἰς -- into, to.
  3. ἐπί -- upon, to, against.
  4. πρός -- to, against, toward (motion toward).


  1. Never placed first in a sentence or clause, but usually second.
  1. δέ , conj. -- but, and.
  2. γάρ , conj. -- for.
  3. οὖν , conj. -- then, therefore, accordingly, consequently, now, so.

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