Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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The active voice represents the subject as performing the action of the verb: λούω I wash.

a. Under action is included being, as ἡ ὁδὸς μακρά_ ἐστι the way is long.


Active verbs are transitive or intransitive ( cross920).


The action of a transitive verb is directed immediately upon an object, as τύπτω τὸν παῖδα I strike the boy.


The object of a transitive verb is always put in the accusative ( cross1553).


The action of an intransitive verb is not directed immedi-ately upon an object. The action may be restricted to the subject, as ἀλγῶ I am in pain, or it may be defined by an oblique case or by a preposition with its case, as ἀλγῶ τοὺς πόδας I have a pain in my feet, ἀφί_κετο εἰς τὴν πόλιν he arrived at the city.


Many verbs are used in the active voice both transitively and intransitively. So, in English, turn, move, change. Cp. cross1557 ff.

a. The distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs is a grammatical convenience, and is not founded on an essential difference of nature.


Active verbs ordinarily transitive are often used intransitively:

a. By the ellipsis of a definite external object, which in some cases may be employed, as ἄγειν (τὸ στράτευμα) march, αἴρειν (τὴν ἄγκυ_ραν) hoist the anchor, (τὰ_ς ναῦς) get under sail, start, ἀπαίρειν (τὰ_ς ναῦς, τὸν στρατόν) sail away, march away, διάγειν (τὸν βίον) live, ἐλαύνειν (τὸν ἵππον) ride, (τὸ ἅρμα) drive, (τὸν στρατόν) march, καταλύ_ειν (τοὺς ἵππους, τὰ ὑποζύγια) halt, κατέχειν (τῆν ναῦν) put in shore, προσέχειν (τὸν νοῦν) pay attention, τελευτᾶν (τὸν βίον) die. The original sense has often been so completely forgotten that it becomes possible to say αἴρειν τῷ στρατῷ set out with the army T. 2.12, ἐλαύνων ἱδροῦντι τῷ ἵππῳ riding with his horse in a sweat X. A. 1.8.1.

b. πρά_ττειν, ἔχειν with adverbs often mean to keep, to be: εὖ πρά_ττειν fare well, καλῶς ἔχειν be well (bene se habere), ἔχειν οὕτως be so. So when a reflexive pronoun is apparently omitted: ἔχ' αὐτοῦ stop there! D. 45.26.

c. Many other transitive verbs may be used absolutely, i.e. with no definite object omitted, as νι_κᾶν be a victor, ἀδικεῖν be guilty. Cp. ‘amare’ be in love, ‘drink’ be a drunkard. This is especially the case in compounds, e.g. of ἀλλάττειν, ἀνύειν, διδόναι, κλί_νειν, λαμβάνειν, λείπειν, μειγνύναι.

d. In poetry many uncompounded transitive verbs are used intransitively. Many intransitive verbs become transitive when compounded with a prep., especially when the compound has a transferred sense, 1559. In some verbs 1st aorist and 1st perfect are transitive, 2d aorist and 2d perfect are intransitive.

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Instead of the active, a periphrasis with γίγνεσθαι may be used, often to express solemnity. μηνυ_ταὶ γίγνονται they turned informers T. 3.2, μὴ ὑβριστὴς γέϝῃdo not be guilty of outrageS. Aj. 1092.


Causative Active.—The active may be used of an action performed at the bidding of the subject: Κῦρος τὰ βασίλεια κατέκαυσεν Cyrus burnt down the palace (i.e. had it burnt down) X. A. 1.4.10. So with ἀποκτείνειν put to death, θάπτειν bury, οἰκοδομεῖν build, παιδεύειν instruct, ἀνακηρΰττειν publicly proclaim.


An infinitive limiting the meaning of an adjective is usually active where English employs the passive (cp. cross2006).

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Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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