Grammar Rules for John Williams White's First Greek Book
Through Lesson XXVI.
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 | Verb Paradigms | Rules of Syntax | 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.


  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 θ:   (πβφ) + θ -> φθ     (κγχ) + θ -> χθ     (τδθ) + θ -> σθ
  2. Mutes before κ:   (τδθ) + κ -> κ
  3. Mutes before μ:   (πβφ) + μ -> μμ     (κγχ) + μ -> γμ       (τδθ) + μ -> σμ
  4. Mutes before σ:   (πβφ) + σ -> ψ       (κγχ) + σ -> ξ         (τδθ) + σ -> σ
  5. Mutes before τ:   (πβφ) + τ -> πτ       (κγχ) + τ -> κτ       (τδθ) + τ -> στ
  6. Final δ and τ are dropped.
  7. μμμ -> μμ
  8. ν + σ -> σ   and, except in the dative plural, the preceeding vowel is lengthened: (α -> ᾱ,   ε -> ει,   ο -> ου)
  9. Consonant -ις nouns, except oxytones, drop final (τδθ) of the stem and add ν in the accusative.
  10. The vocative singular of stems in -ιδ, and -ντ except oxytones, is the mere stem.
  11. σ between two consonants is dropped.
  12. In duplications, an initial rough mute is always made smooth:   θύω -> τέθυκα

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

Proclitics to Date
  • ὁ, οἱ, ἡ, αἱ, εἰ, εἰς, ἐκ/ἐξ, ἐν, οὐ/οὐκ/οὐχ, ὡς
Enclitics to Date
  • All present indicative forms of εἰμί except εἶ
  1. εἰμί is no longer an enclitic when:
    1. at the beginning of a sentence
    2. when it signifies existence or possibility
    3. when it follows οὐκ, εἰ, ὡς, καί, τοῦτο
  2. An enclitic usually loses its own accent, but retains it when:
    1. a di-syllabic (two syllable) enclitic follows a word with the acute on the penult, as φίλοι ἐστέ, you are friends.
    2. When the preceding syllable is elided, as ταῦτ' ἐστὶ κακά, this is bad.
  3. A word before an enclitic retains its own accent and never changes its acute to grave.
  4. A word before an enclitic receives a second accent on its last syllable if it has has the acute on the antepenult or a circumflex on the penult (id est, there must be room for the second accent).
  5. A proclitic or enclitic receives an acute from a following enclitic.


  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).
  6. The stem of Third or Consonant Declension nouns end in a consonant or ι or υ. Find the stem by dropping the genitive singular ending.
Noun 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. 3rd Declension: ὁ κλώψ, thief; ὁ φύλαξ, guard; ἡ φάλαγξ, phalanx; and ἡ διῶρυξ, canal (#743, pg 222).
  8. 3rd Declension: ἡ νύξ, night; ἡ ἀστίς, shield; ὁ/ἡ ὄρνις, bird; ὁ γέρων, old man; and τὸ ἅρμα, chariot (#744, pg 222).
  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.
Adjective and Pronoun Paradigms
  1. Adjectives of the vowel declension: ἀγαθός, ἀγαθή, ἀγαθόν, good and ἄξιος, ἀξία, ἄξιον, worthy (#750, pg 226).
  2. The definite article: ἡ, ὁ, τό, the (#758, pg 234).
  3. Demonstrative pronouns: ὅδε, this (here); οὗτος, this, that; and ἐκεῖνος, that (there, yonder) (#154-159, pg 38 and #762, pg 236).
  4. Intensive and reflexive pronoun: αὐτός, self; same; him, her, it, them (#160, pg 39 and #759, 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.     Others: perfect duplication: στρατεύω -> ἐστρατεύκη
ἁρπάζω -> ἡρπάκη


Principal Parts
  1. First person singular indicative: present active, future active, aorist active, perfect active, perfect middle, aorist passive
  2. Some verbs are defective; id est, they do not have all six principal parts.
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 +     λύσω
xii.   1st Perfect perf. aug./dupl. + stem + κ + α ας ε   ατον ατον   αμεν ατε ασι λέλυκα
xii.   2nd Perfect perf. aug./dupl. + stem     +     δεδίωχα
Secondary Tenses
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
vii.   Imperfect augment + stem     +     λυον
xii.   1st Pluperf. pluperf. aug./dupl. + stem + κ + η ης ει   ετον ετην   εμεν ετε εσαν ἐλελύκη
xii.   2nd Pluperf. pluperf. aug./dupl. + stem     +     ἐδεδιώχη
Middle/Passive Voice
  Primary Tenses
xix.   Present     stem     + ομαι ει εται   εσθον εσθον   ομεθα εσθε ονται λύομαι
xx.   Future Perf. perf. aug./dupl. + stem + σ +     λελύσομαι
xx.   Perfect perf. aug./dupl. + stem     + μαι σαι ται   σθον σθον   μεθα σθε νται1 λέλυμαι
Secondary Tenses
xix.   Imperfect augment + stem     + ομην ου ετο   εσθον εσθην   ομεθα εσθε οντο λυόμην
xx.   Pluperfect pluperf. aug./dupl. + stem     + μην σο το   σθον σθην   μεθα σθε ντο1 ἐλελύμην
Middle Voice
xix.   Future     stem + σ + ομαι ει εται   εσθον εσθον   ομεθα εσθε ονται λύσομαι
xx.   1st Aorist augment + stem + σ + αμην ω ατο   ασθον ασθην   αμεθα ασθε αντο λυσάμην
Passive Voice
xxi.   1st Future     stem + θησ + ομαι ει εται   εσθον εσθον   ομεθα εσθε ονται λυθήσομαι
xxi.   1st Aorist augment + stem + θη + ν ς --   τον την   μεν τε σαν λύθην
xxi.   2nd Aorist augment + stem + η +     γράφην


  1. (1) Mute verbs, 3rd person plural ending, perfect middle: μένοι εἰσί;   perfect passive: μένοι ἦσαν.

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.

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
xviii.   Present Tense εἰμί, I am (#795, pg 261)
xviii.   Imperfect Tense ἦ, ἦν, I was (#795, pg 261)
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)
Indicative Middle/Passive
xix.   Present λύομαι, I am being loosed (#765, pg 238)
xx.   Perfect λέλυμαι, I have been loosed (#769, pg 240)
xxii.   Perfect Labial Mutes λέλειμμαι, I have been left (#209, pg 52 and #775, pg 244)
xxiii.   Perfect Palatal Mutes ἦγμαι, I have been led (#216, pg 54 and #776, pg 245)
    τέταγμαι, I have been posted (#218, pg 54)
xxiii.   Perfect Lingual (Dental) Mutes πέπεισμαι, I have been persuaded (#219, pg 54 and #777, pg 245)
    ἥρπασμαι, I have been robbed (#221, pg 54)
xx.   Future Perfect λελύσομαι, I shall have been loosed (#769, pg 241)
xxii.   Fut. Perf. Labial Mutes λελείψομαι, I shall have been left (#209, pg 52 and #775, pg 244)
xix.   Imperfect ἐλυόμην, I was being loosed (#765, pg 238)
xx.   Pluperfect ἐλελύμην, I had been loosed (#769, pg 240)
xxii.   Pluperfect Labial Mutes ἐλελείμμην, I had been left (#209, pg 52 and #775, pg 244)
xxiii.   Pluperfect Palatal Mutes ἤγμην, I had been led (#216, pg 54 and #776, pg 245)
  ἐτετάγμην, I had been posted (#218, pg 54)
xxiii.   Pluperfect Lingual (Dental) Mutes ἐπεπείσμην, I had been persuaded (#219, pg 54 and #777, pg 245)
  ἡρπάσμην, I had been robbed (#221, pg 54)
Indicative Middle
xix.   Future λύσομαι, I shall loose for myself (#766, pg 239)
xx.   1st Aorist ἐλυσάμην, I loosed myself (#767, pg 239)
Indicative Passive
xxi.   1st Future λυθήσομαι, I shall be loosed (#770, pg 241)
xxi.   1st Aorist ἐλύθην, I was loosed (#770, pg 241)
xxi.   2nd Aorist ἐστάλην, I was sent (#780, pg 247)
Infinitive Active
x.   Present λύειν, to loose
πέμπειν, to send
(#92, pg 23)

Rules of Syntax

  1. #202, pg 50 - ὑπό with the genitive case is usually used with the passive to show agency.
  2. #851, pg 271 - genitive of cause: τοῖς θεοῖς χάριν ἔχουσι τῆς νίκης -- they are grateful to the gods for victory.
  3. #847, pg 271 - The genitive follows verbs signifying to rule, lead, or direct: τῶν ὁπλιτῶν ἄρχει -- he commands the hoplites.
  4. #854, pg 272 - The genitive case may denote the time within which something takes place: τῆς ἡμέρας -- each day; ὡρμᾶτο τῆς νυκτός -- he set out in the night.
  1. #860, pg 272 - The dative is used with intransitive verbs signifying to obey : πείθεται τῷ στρατηγῷ -- he obeys his commander.
  2. #864, pg 273 - The dative is used with all words implying union : ἅμα τῇ ἡμέρᾳ -- at daybreak.
  3. #868, pg 274 - The dative may be used with the perfect and pluperfect passive to show agency.
  4. #870, pg 274 - The dative without a preposition often denotes the time when. Chiefly for days, night, month, year, and festivals: τῇ αὐτῇ (ἡμέρᾳ) -- on the same (day); τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ -- on the following (day).


With the Genitive
  1. αμφί -- about, concerning.
  2. ἀντί -- instead of.
  3. ἀπό -- off from, from.
  4. διά -- through.
  5. ἐξ, ἐκ -- out of, from.
  6. ἐπί -- on, upon.
  7. κατά -- down from.
  8. μετά -- with, in company with.
  9. παρά -- from beside, from.
  10. περί -- about, concerning.
  11. πρό -- before, in front of, for, for the sake of.
  12. πρός -- over, against (implying motion from a place).
  13. ὑπέρ -- over, above, in behalf of.
  14. ὑπό -- under, from under; of agency, by, through.
With the Dative
  1. ἐν -- in.
  2. ἐπί -- on, by, at.
  3. σύν -- with, in company with.
  4. παρά -- beside, with, at.
  5. περί -- round, about.
  6. πρός -- at.
  7. ὑπό -- under, beneath.
With the Accusative
  1. αμφί -- about, around.
  2. ἀνά -- up, up along, up to; w/numerals, at the rate of.
  3. διά -- on account of.
  4. εἰς -- into, to.
  5. ἐπί -- upon, to, against.
  6. κατά -- down along, over, by.
  7. μετά -- behind, after.
  8. παρά -- to the side of, to, near, by.
  9. περί -- about, all around, round.
  10. πρός -- to, against, toward (motion toward).
  11. ὑπέρ -- over, above.
  12. ὑπό -- under, down under.


  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.
  4. τε ... καί , conj. -- both, and.

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