Modern Greek/Lesson 07.2

Lesson 7.2: PrepositionsEdit

Prepositions are notoriously difficult, often not following any consistent rules, though in my experience Greek is one of the most consistent languages. This lesson is simply broken into two sections, a list of some common prepositions, and a section of dialogues and usage examples.


Prepositions · ?
με with, by means of
μαζί με together with
χωρίς without
για for
από from (moving away from)
σε, εις in, at, on, moving to
μέσα σε into
πάνω σε on
πάνω από above, over
κάτω από below, under
ύστερα από after
πρίν before (~"pre-")
πρό before, in front of (~"proactive")
ενάντια σε against
εναντίον against
εκ, εξ from, out of (~"ex-wife")

Usage ExamplesEdit

Prepositions · ?
Το κλειδί της Άννας είναι κάτω από το τραπέζι. Anna's key is under the table.
Είμαι από την Αμερική. I'm from America.
Από που είσαι; Where are you from?

If the preposition σε is followed by a definite article, the joint form στο(ν)/στη(ν)/στο (σε plus το(ν)/τη(ν)/το) is used:

Το κλειδί της Άννας είναι στο τραπέζι. Anna's key is on the table.
Ο Παύλος είναι στο θεάτρο. Paul is at the theater.

As a remnant of ancient Greek's more complex case system, certain prepositions (πρό, εναντίον, εκ/εξ) are supposed to take the genitive case rather than the object (accusative) case. In these constructions, the genitive is really being used as the dative (indirect object) case, as in the use of the genitive with the verb αρέσω. This is a usage that is dying out, and a beginner doesn't need to worry about it too much. There are, however, certain fixed phrases that will seem inexplicable otherwise:

πρό Χριστού, π.Χ. before Christ
εν τάξει OK

Prepositions as PrefixesEdit

It is extremely common for Greek verbs to be formed by adding a preposition as a prefix to a simpler verb. However, the preposition may be in a different form than the ones given above, e.g., εις rather than σε. A common prefix is συν-/συμ-, from the ancient Greek preposition συν, with, together. Two other prefixes based on ancient Greek prepositions are δια, for, because of, relating to, and υπό, under (~"hypodermic").

βάλλω to shoot; in ancient Greek, to throw (~"ballistic")
εισβάλλω to invade: σε (modern εις)+βάλλω, 'throw in'
συμβάλλω σε to contribute to: συν+βάλλω σε, 'throw together'
εκβάλλω to debouch
αποβάλλω to expel
καταβάλλω to pay, put down money, buckle to
διαβάλλω to slander someone, put someone down
υποβάλλω to submit something, subject to, suggest
πνέω to blow (~"pneumatic")
εισπνέω to inhale something
εκπνέω to exhale, die, expire, terminate something
διαπνέω to run through
λείπω to be away, to be lacking
καταλείπω to leave something behind
εκλείπω to vanish, be in eclipse (~"eclipse")
διαλείπω to be intermittent (also διάλειψη = lapse of memory)
υπολείπομαι (passive) to fall short of (also υπόλοιπο = the rest, residual)