Declension deals with variations of number, gender, and case.195
Number.—There are three numbers: singular, dual, and plural. The dual speaks of two or a pair, as τὼ ὀφθαλμώ
Gender.—There are three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter.
a. Gender strictly marks sex-distinction. But in Greek, as in German and French, many inanimate objects are regarded as masculine or feminine. Such words are said to have ‘grammatical’ gender, which is determined only by their form. Words denoting objects without natural gender usually show their grammatical gender by the form of the adjective, as μακρὸς λόγος
b. The gender of Greek words is usually indicated by means of the article: ὁ for masculine, ἡ for feminine, τό for neuter.197
Rule of Natural Gender.—Nouns denoting male persons are masculine, nouns denoting female persons are feminine. Thus, ὁ ναύτης
a. A whole class is designated by the masculine: οἱ ἄνθρωποι
b. EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE OF NATURAL GENDER.—Diminutives in -ιον are neuter ( cross199 d), as τὸ ἀνθρώπιον
Common Gender.—Many nouns denoting persons are either masculine or feminine. Thus, ὁ παῖς
a. Some names of animals have only one grammatical gender without regard to sex, as ὁ λαγώς
Gender of Sexless Objects.—The gender of most nouns denoting sexless objects has to be learned by the endings ( cross211, cross228, cross255) and by observation. The following general rules should be noted.
a. Masculine are the names of winds, months, and most rivers. Thus, ὁ Βορέα_ς
N.—The gender of these proper names is made to correspond to ὁ ἄνεμος
b. Feminine are the names of almost all countries, islands, cities, trees, and plants. Thus, ἡ Ἀττική
c. Feminine are most abstract words, that is, words denoting a quality or a condition. Thus, ἡ ἀρετή
d. Neuter are diminutives ( cross197 b), words and expressions quoted, letters of the alphabet, infinitives, and indeclinable nouns. Thus, τὸ ὑ_μεῖς
N.—But some names of women end in -ιον ( cross197 b): ἡ Γλυκέριον
Remarks.—a. Most of the exceptions to 199 a-b are due to the endings; e.g. ἡ Λήθη
b. Change in gender is often associated with change in form: ὁ λύκος
c. The gender of one word may influence that of another word of like meaning. Thus ἡ νῆσος
Cases.—There are five cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative. The genitive denotes
a. The genitive, dative, and accusative are called
The vocative is often like the nominative in the singular; in the plural it is always the same. Nominative, vocative, and accusative have the same form in neuter words, and always have α in the
plural. In the dual there are two forms, one for nominative, accusative, and vocative, the other for genitive and dative.203
Lost Cases.—Greek has generally lost the forms of the instrumental and locative cases (which have become fused with the dative) and of the ablative. The Greek dative is used to express by, as in βίᾳ, Lat. υι_
Declensions.—There are three declensions, which are named from the stems to which the case endings are attached.
1. First or Â-declension, with stems in α_) Vowel Declension.
2. Second or O-declension, with stems in ο)
3. Third or Consonant declension, with stems in a consonant or in ι and υ.
The nominative and accusative are alike in the singular and plural of all neuter nouns. The nominative and vocative are alike in the plural.
Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].