Modern Greek/Lesson 03.1

Lesson 3.1: Case, Number, Gender, and Article edit

This lesson outlines the basics of case, number, gender, and article in Greek grammar. Greek pronouns, adjectives and articles must have endings that agree in case, number and gender, with the noun they describe.

Case edit

In English, only pronouns have a case (i.e. I/me/my), but in Greek all nouns have a case. The Greek word for case is πτώσεις. The cases are usually formed by changing the ending of the noun. They help identify how a noun is being used in a sentence.

Αγγλικά Ελληνικά Description
Nominative Ονομαστική The noun is the subject of a verb
Genitive Γενική The noun is in possession of an object
Accusative Αιτιατική The noun is the object of a verb or preposition
Vocative Κλητική The noun is being addressed

Ancient Greek had a separate case for direct objects (Accusative) and indirect objects (Dative), but modern Greek uses the Accusative case for both, except in some instances where the Genitive case is used for indirect objects.

In the following example, "the bag of the girl" could also be written "the girl's bag", but the form used below is closer to the way the Genitive case is used in Greek.

The woman has the bag of the girl.
Nominative (verb) Accusative Genitive

Number edit

Just like in English, Greek nouns can either be singular or plural.

Gender edit

Greek has three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter.

Only in the case of animals or people does the grammatical gender correspond to the normal use of the word gender. For all other nouns, it is best to simply think of their gender as a way of classifying them into different categories.

Greek uses articles that are similar to those present in English. There are definite and indefinite articles in English, but Greek has definite articles only. In English, the definite article is: the (singular and plural, countable and uncountable). The definite article refers to a specific object or person. The indefinite articles are: a before a consonant or consonant sound and an before a vowel or vowel sound. The indefinite articles refer to a generic object or person. The definite articles in Greek are ο, η, and το. There is no indefinite article in Greek.

Summary edit

This lesson introduced the concept of case, gender, number, and article in Greek. Case is a way of expressing the grammatical purpose of a noun. The cases in Greek are Nominative, Genitive, Accusative, and Vocative. Number is a way of identifying the quantity of a noun. Number can either be singular or plural. Gender is best seen as a way of categorizing nouns into groups. The genders in Greek are masculine, feminine, and neuter. An article is a way of further identifying how a noun is being used in a sentence. Greek has both a definite and indefinite article.

Exercises edit

There are exercises available here.