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

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1852

Every form of the verb denotes the stage of the action.

a. Continued action is denoted by the present stem:

1. Present: γράφω I am writing, πείθω I am persuading (trying to persuade), ἀνθεῖ is in bloom.

2. Imperfect: ἔγραφον I was writing, ἔπειθον I was persuading (trying to persuade), ἤνθει was in bloom.

3. Future: γράψω I shall write (shall be writing), βασιλεύσει he will reign.

N.—Continued action is incomplete: hence nothing is stated as to the conclusion. Thus φεύγει he flees does not state whether or not the subject succeeded in escaping.

b. Completed action with permanent result is denoted by the perfect stem:

1. Perfect: γέγραφα ἐπιστολήν I have written a letter (and it is now finished), ἤνθηκε has bloomed (and is in flower).

2. Pluperfect: ἐγεγράφη ἐπιστολήν I had written a letter (and it was then finished), ἠνθήκει had bloomed (and was in flower).

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3. Future Perfect: γεγράψεται it will have been written, τεθνήξει he will be dead.

c. Action simply brought to pass (simple attainment) is denoted by the

1. Aorist: ἔγραψα I wrote, ἔπεισα I persuaded (succeeded in persuading), ἐβασίλευσε he became king or he was king, ἤνθησε burst into flower or was in flower.

2. Future: γράψω I shall write, βασιλεύσει he will become king.

N.—The aorist tense (ἀόριστος χρόνος from ὁρίζω define; unlimited, indefinite, or undefined time) is so named because it does not show the limitation (ὅρος) of continuance (expressed by the imperfect) or of completion with permanent result (expressed by the perfect).

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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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