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!”)

 

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.

“ει” Diphthong: “See” What You Say!

When working on the memorization of Greek verb endings, it’s important to “see” (in your mind’s eye) what you say (outloud or silently) as you practice. Therefore, regarding 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 3rd persons 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. (more…)