Okay, What’s It’s Gonna Be, “Yes” or “No”?

One of two Greek negatives— οὐ or μή —is found in direct questions to indicate the specific kind of answer the questioner expects. For beginning Greek students, it’s helpful to remember that when translating these Greek questions with negatives into English, your translation should be worded in a way that “puts the expected answer” into your reader’s/hearer’s mind.

(1) When a Yes” answer is expected to a Greek question, οὐ is used:

οὐ τῷ ὀνόματι ἐπροφητεύσαμεν; (Matt. 7:22).
“Did we not prophesy by Thy name?” (Ans.: Yes.”)
“We prophesied by Thy name, didn’t we?” (Better—more clearly expecting the Yes” answer)

(2) Using μή + Indicative mode in direct questions expecting a No answer, the questioner would be shaking his head (No) from side to side:

εἶπεν οὖν ὁ Ἰησους τοῖς δώδεκα μή καὶ ὑμεῖς θέλετε ὑπάγειν; (John 6:67)
“Then Jesus said to the Twelve, You do not wish to go away also, do you?” (Ans.: No.”)

A practical, everyday, contemporary way of understanding this is to think about how you would phrase questions in English where you are expecting either a Yesor a Noanswer.  Put within the realm of parents conversations with their children, it might sound something like this:

Question expecting a Noanswer: “You don’t want Mommy/Daddy to spank you, do you?”  (“Nope.”)

Question expecting a Yes answer:  “You’d like to go get some ice cream, wouldn’t you?” (“Absolutely yes!”)

 

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Greek Indicative Verb Tenses Formation Charts & PowerPoint


Indicative Mode Greek verbs can be readily learned utilizing a memory system that encapsulates the verb’s personal endings into a numbering system that can be plugged into an easily recognizable and memorable “formula” for each of the Greek verb tenses and voices. All other Greek verbal modes (as well as Participles, which are verbal-adjectives) can be memorized under similar systems which are included within Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK.

 

Using an “odd” and “even” numbering system which re-codes the verb column numbers with the endings’ thematic vowel, this memory paradigm can be reduced to four basic columns of verb endings that need to be mastered. All of the Greek Indicative Mode tenses and their respective voices can be formed off of variations of these four basic columns of verb endings. Click here to download the “PowerPoint” presentation. Similar paradigms can be utilized for all Greek modes, including the Subjunctive, Imperative, and Optative Modes, as well as Participles.

“Abso-tively, Posi-lutely” Unusual: The Greek “Genitive Absolute” Construction!

Yes, the Greek “Genitive Absolute” construction is “abso-tively, posi-lutely unusual!! But . . . you can still translate this unusual Greek construction. Here are five plausible steps for recognizing and translating the  “Genitive Absolute” —

(1) Identify the “Genitive Absolute” construction = a circumstantial participle and a noun or pronoun, both occurring in the genitive case in a “dependent” clause.

EXAMPLES:

1. χρονίζοντος δὲ τοῦ νυμφίου ἐνύσταξαν πᾶσαι καὶ ἐκάθευδον.(Matt. 25:5)

“And while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”

2.τοῦ δὲ ‘Ιησοῦ γεννήθεντος ἐν Βηθλέεμ . . . ἰδοῦ μάγοι ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν παρεγένοντο εἰς ’Ιεροσόλυμα.(Matthew 2:1)

“And after Jesus was born in Bethlehem . . . behold wise men from the East arrived in Jerusalem.”

(2) Translate the main (“independent”) clause of the sentence (the part not containing the “genitive absolute” construction).

(3) Identify the time frame (present or past time) of the Indicative verb in the main (“independent”) clause. The time frame of the participle in the “genitive absolute” construction will be translated either as being “simultaneous” with the time frame of the Indicative verb of the main (“independent”) clause, or as occurring “prior” to the time frame of the main Indicative verb (see point 5, below).

(4) Translate the noun or pronoun in the “genitive absolute” construction (“dependent” clause) as if it were in the Nominative case. And finally . . .

(5Translate the genitive participle as an indicative verb, preceded by the adverbial, circumstantial word “While…” if the participle is a Present tense participle, or with the word “After…” if the participle is in the Aorist tense.

Click here for a downloadable PDF, also available anytime from the sidebar under the category GREEK “UNUSUAL CONSTRUCTIONS”.