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.

Principal Parts of Frequently Encountered “Irregular” New Testament Greek Verbs

       Principal Parts of Irreg. Greek VERBS p.4 

The verb tenses in Greek are divided into six basic “systems” called Principal Parts (“mouse-over” images, then click, and click again for enlarged viewing). Each system has a distinct verb stem, from which all the various tenses and their respective “voices” are built (first image). In order to recognize a Greek verb, it is necessary to be familiar with its principal parts.The “regular” principal parts system is represented by the normal, “model” Greek verb λύω. The Principal Parts chart represented within the above image files delineates in alphabetical order the principal parts of many frequently encountered “irregular” verbs occurring in the Greek New Testament. To view all the pages at full-page size or to download the entire PDF, click here or view/download anytime from the sidebar, opposite.

Go to: Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK.com

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“Okay, I’ll Make a ‘Contract’ (Verb) with You”

Here’s a look at “Contract Verbs” made a lot easier. Remember, the only two tenses that are impacted by “contractions” of vowels are the Present and Imperfect, since these are the only two tenses that utilize a “Present” stem (1st Principal Part) with nothing added to the end before it encounters the thematic vowel(s) of the personal endings.

Notice that I’ve set up this chart in a “logical” fashion, where the contract verb vowels (α, ε, or ο ) and the potential vowels that they can collide with in forming tenses and moods (modes).  These are listed in a logical progression, either alphabetically (above) or in a similar progress from short ε, to ει, to η (long “e”), to , to οου, and ω.  Not only is this a logical way to set up a chart like this, it also reveals patterns of results of the collisions that make the entire chart more memorable in your head.

(1) Observe the collision of α with any “e-class” vowel: short (ε), diphthong (ει), and long “e” (η or) results consistently in α.  When colliding with “o-class” vowels:  short (ο) , diphthong (οι), or long (ω), the result is always as long as possible: ω.

(2) Moving on, the ε contract vowel when colliding with other vowels always gets longer, either a little longer:  to a diphthong (ει), or as long as possible (η or ω) within the category of vowel with which it’s colliding.

(3) The final contract vowel ο also gets longer through it’s collisions with other vowels— to an ου diphthong when meeting ε, an ο, or an ου; to an οι diphthong when colliding οι diphthong when colliding with anything that has an ι in it (ει, and ); and to ω when it encounters any long vowel (η or ω).

Click image below for to view in a separate window, or click here for a downloadable image (JPEG also available from the sidebar). Also, click to download this PDF for an extended look at all the results of all the collisions for each type of “Contract Verb” in every “Present” and “Imperfect” tense situation where they occur.

**REMEMBER, too, that the predominant indicator that a “contraction” (collision) of vowels has occurred is the Greek circumflex (~) accent that appears (most often) over the location of the contraction.
NOTE:  For you language “geeks,” the English word “contract” comes from two Latin root words (cum + tractus) which mean “to draw together.” A legal “contract” is a “drawing up/together” of certain conditions.  A housing “contractor” also “draws together” certain skilled workers to complete the construction project. Other English derivatives would be “tractor” and “traction.”

Go to: Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK.com

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The “Bottom Line” on μι-Verbs

Don’t be intimidated by these “irregular” New Testament Greek verbs.  If you pay attention, they too reveal structural “patterns” that you can find some comfort level in recognizing in context. The primary “bottom line” characteristics of μι-Verbs are presented in the image below, and also as part of a downloadable PDF that includes μιVerb Indicative Mode formation charts as well as a listing of the most frequently occurring μι-Verbs in the New Testament.

Go to: Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK.com

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“GPS” This! — The “Satellite View” of εἰμί

Similar in comprehensiveness to what’s available for Greek nouns and participles on this blog and also within the body of Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK, here’s another one-page “satellite view” of an important Greek verb: the intransitive (linking, “state-of-being”) verb εἰμί. Included are this verb’s Indicative, Subjunctive, Imperative, and Participial structures. Just think of it as a “GPS” (Greek Positioning System) for εἰμί. For a downloadable one-page PDF, click here or download from the sidebar at any time.

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The Subjunctive Mode: “Southern Greek!”

Remember, the Subjunctive mode endings (Active, Middle, and Passive) are simply Indicative endings whose thematic vowel has lengthened (e.g., -ω, -εις, -ει, -ομεν, -ετε, -ουσι become –ω, -ῃς, -ῃ, -ωμεν, -ητε, -ωσι, respectively).* Think of these Subjunctive endings as “Southern Greek,” since the sound of all the endings has a longer (Southern?) vowel sound. In Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK (p. 35), the Subjunctive mode endings are coded “S-1” (active endings) and “S-2” (middle and passive endings). “S” for Subjunctive; “S for “Southern.” Remember, too, that when you see “active” Subjunctive endings with no verb stem (i.e., ὦ, ᾖς, ᾖ, ὦμεν, ἦτε, ὦσι[ν]), you’re looking at the Present Active Subjunctive of the verb εἰμί.

In the Subjunctive mode, the “circumflex” accent that occurs over the thematic vowel of the verb endings in the Aorist passive voice is the result of a collision of the stem’s ending vowel (η-) and the thematic vowel of the endings (–ω, -ῃς, -ῃ, -ωμεν, -ητε, -ωσι). Therefore: λυθῶ…λυθῇςetc. Think of it as a car accident resulting in a “fender bender” (what the circumflex accent looks like. See also: “Signal Flags” for verbal forms chart, p. 45 in the GREEKBOOK). So, when observing either a -θῆ- or a -θῶ- (-φῆ- or -φῶ-, etc.) toward the end of a verbal form, you always are looking at an Aorist Passive Subjunctive. (For other “Signal Flags for Verbal Forms,” see p. 45 in the GREEKBOOK.)

When attempting to translate a Subjunctive mode clause, always remember that you must identify what use of the Subjunctive is in play. For example, is it an exhortation (1st person plural Subjunctive verb form = “We should…”)? Or, is it a clause with ἵνα ( = “in order that, so that, that”)? Or maybe the clause ends with a Greek question mark ( ; ), indicating the presence of a 1st person singular or plural Subjunctive verb form and a question of doubt as to what the speaker(s) should say or do. (For a concise listing and explanation of all the “Uses of the Subjunctive” mode, see pages 36-39 in the GREEKBOOK).

A cultural distinction seems important when translating the Subjunctive mode verb form that occurs in the 1st person plural. The use of the Subjunctive here is the exhortation, which many (if not most) grammars and bible translations render with “Let us…” While this is perfectly legitimate under Greek grammatical rules, culturally it seems weak, since we often use the contraction “Let’s…” in everyday speech when we are simply hoping that something will occur. In this regard, it seems much more preferable (and therefore I teach my students) to render this use of the Subjunctive with a culturally stronger, clearer “We should…” Now, read (and hear) the difference contrasted with the following short verse from 1 John 4:7:

“Let us love one another.”

ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλων =                   [or]

“We should love one another.” (Culturally stronger)

* NOTE: With regard to the Greek diphthong ει,” it seems preferable and wise to pronounce it phonetically the same as the identical diphthong in the English word “height,” as opposed to the phonetic sound in the English word “freight.” This is because the “ει” diphthong occurs within the 2nd and 3rdpersons of “active voice” verb endings of the Indicative mode (-ει,  -εις), later “lengthening” to when used in the same persons in the Subjunctive mode (-ῃ,-ῃς). Since the phonetic sound of is the same as the diphthong in “freight,” it tends to confuse the usage of these separately occurring endings (“ει” in the Indicative; “ῃ” in the Subjunctive, also “middle/passive voice” Indicative 2nd sing.) if pronounced identically.

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“TV Makes People Nauseas” —OR— “How to ‘Parse’ a Greek Verb”

One of the most important considerations in studying the foundational elements of Greek must be given to the verb, that part of speech which affirms either action or state of being. The component elements of a verb are collectively referred to as its “parsing.” These components are:

1. Tense

2. Voice

3. Mode (or Mood)

4. Person

5. Number

. . . or, as my beginning Greek professor used to wisely proclaim (to our era of declining quality television programming viewers) via the acronym of the first letters of each of the above words: TV Makes People Nauseas!”

The “parsing” (from the Latin word meaning  “a part or “parts”) of Greek’s “model” regular verb λύω “I am loosing” is: Present, Active, Indicative, 1st Person, Singular. Now, let’s take a closer look at what these “parsing” components represent—

1. Tense conveys “kind” of action and generally, in the Indicative Mode only, the “time” of the action. So, for the above verb, Present tense would mean both present time and continuous “action” (that is, activity “in progress” in real, present time). Of course, from your additional study elsewhere, you’ll know that the Greek tenses are the Present, Imperfect (continuous “action” in past time), Future, Aorist (a normal 1st Aor., and an “irregular” 2nd Aor., describing “point” or undefined action [in past time in the Indicative mode]), the Perfect (perfected action with continuing results), and the Pluperfect (equivalent to the English “Past Perfect” = I had loosed).

2. Voice (“active,” “middle,” or “passive”) tells how the action of the verb is related to the subject.

3.  Mode (or Mood) tells what the verb is affirming, its relation to “reality.”

Indicative — declaratives, simple assertions, interrogations.
Subjunctive — mildly contingent, hesitating affirmation; mode of probability.
Imperative — commands or entreaties; mode of “volition.”
Optative — strongly contingent; mode of “possibility,” weaker than the Subjunctive.

4. Person denotes who is acting as the subject.  In Greek the personal pronouns (i.e., I, you, he, she, it, we, you, and they) are included in the endings of the verb form.

5. Number is the “singularity” or “plurality” of the person or persons represented by the verb form, included in the verb’s personal endings.

By the way, since every Greek verb contains these five “parsing” elements that identify its structure, it only makes sense to realize that: “If you can ‘parse’ it, you can translate it!” Alternately stated, a verb’s “parsing”—once discerned by the student—is the verb’s way of “telling you” how to translate it. At that point, it’s only a matter of knowing the vocabulary.

There’s more: For a one-page PDF on Greek verbs—the way the tenses are formed and translated—click here (also downloadable from the sidebar). Additionally, you may want to download the Greek Indicative Verbs “PowerPoint” presentation here (or from the sidebar).


Go to: Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK.com

Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK Now Available for Purchase as a Watermarked PDF!

“Signal Flags” for Greek Verbal Forms (Chart)

The following chart is a systematic “visual tour” of many of the possible characteristics seen within various Greek verbal forms one encounters in their various tenses, voices, and modes. One or more of these “clues” may be spotted simultaneously by the student, giving him the mental “signal(s)” he needs to help him more quickly to identify that form’s parsing. Notice that the chart is a simulated left-to-right look at any verbal form (including participles and infinitives) that one might encounter, noting the various characteristics to watch for at progressive locations within the word’s structure. Once the “signal flag” clue has been identified, the corresponding tense(s), voice(s), and mode(s) can be traced to the right-hand side of the chart, where a final determination should be possible. While not intended to be an exhaustive overview of the various Greek verbal characteristics, this chart presents most of the regularly occurring ones. A downloadable PDF is also available anytime from the sidebar of this blog.


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“Deponent?” … “Defective?” … “Middle/Passive?” — “Calling a ‘horse’ a ‘horse.'”

There’s a famous older expression from another generation, even another millenium now, regarding “…calling a ‘horse’ a ‘horse,'” which basically means identifying something for what it really is. In the realm of personal character traits, this might mean simply being honest with yourself and/or others.  In the realm of language and grammatical terminology, it may have some meaning application as well.

For example, within the corpus of Greek grammatical terms, “deponent” is a term appropriately ascribed to a category of Greek verbs appearing with middle or passive endings, yet necessarily translated in the active voice. Examples:

  • ἔρχομαι — Present/Deponent/Indicative/1st person, singular = I am coming, going
  • ἤρχομην — Imperfect/Deponent/Indicative/1st person, singular = I was coming, going

Notice the “parsing” (identification of tense, voice, mode [mood], person, and number) of the above two examples of the deponent verb, ἔρχομαι. While many (if not most)  Greek “parsing” resources will list the parsing of deponent verbs as middle/passive, I have always felt it to be extremely beneficial to “call a ‘horse’ a ‘horse'” when parsing deponent verbs.  There are at least two obvious reasons:

1. It reminds the Greek student that he’s looking at a specific category of Greek verbs (Deponent).

2. It reminds the Greek student not to translate these verbs as middle or passive, since they are neither.

By “calling a ‘horse’ a ‘horse'” and identifying deponent verbs for what they really are, the Greek student will readily recognize and accurately translate these verb with an active voice translation. Remember, too, that some Greek verbs (like ἔρχομαι) may be deponent in one or more tenses or modes without being deponent in all. [Example:  ἤλθον = Aorist/Active/Indicative/1st person, singular/3rd person, plural.] Other “deponent” verbs frequently encountered include: βούλομαι (I am wishing), and πορεύομαι (I am proceeding).

“So,” you may ask, “when are these deponent verbs appropriately called defective?” (Good question.)   (more…)

Principal Parts of Frequently Encountered “Irregular” New Testament Greek Verbs

       Principal Parts of Irreg. Greek VERBS p.4 

The verb tenses in Greek are divided into six basic “systems” called Principal Parts (“mouse-over” images, then click, and click again for enlarged viewing). Each system has a distinct verb stem, from which all the various tenses and their respective “voices” are built (first image). In order to recognize a Greek verb, it is necessary to be familiar with its principal parts.The “regular” principal parts system is represented by the normal, “model” Greek verb λύω. The Principal Parts chart represented within the above image files delineates in alphabetical order the principal parts of many frequently encountered “irregular” verbs occurring in the Greek New Testament. To view all the pages at full-page size or to download the entire PDF, click here or anytime from the sidebar.

Go to: Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK.com

Wermuth’s GREEKBOOK Now Available for Purchase as a Watermarked PDF!