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Croy Index: Vocabulary - Prosody - Verbs - Nouns - Adjectives - Nominals - Other Topics - Syntax List

4.26 Exercises: Practice Sentences

The following notes should help you in understanding the Practice Sentences provided by Croy:

1 γράφει ἄνθρωπος λόγους ζωῆς ἀδελφῇ.

Note that the subject of this sentence follows the verb, rather than preceding it. Also, Greek uses possessive adjectives (mine, yours, hers, his) much less frequently than English, so you can generally add these possessive adjectives if they seem appropriate based on the context. The word ἀδελφῇ could be translated here as "the sister" or "his sister," depending on the context (reading separate sentences like this does not give you a lot of context to build on!)

2 θέλομεν διδάσκειν τέκνα, ἀλλὰ οὐ θέλουσι γινώσκειν ἀλήθειαν.

Neuter nouns are often ambiguous, because the nominative and the accusative forms are always identical. So, for example, out of context, you cannot tell if the word τέκνα is nominative plural or accusative plural. In the context of this sentence, however, you know that τέκνα has to be accusative plural; it cannot be nominative plural. Why is it impossible for τέκνα to be nominative plural? (Hint: what is the only thing that a nominative noun can do in relationship to its verb?) Note also that the possessive adjective could be included here, depending on the context: θέλομεν διδάσκειν τέκνα could mean "we want to teach the children" or "we want to teach our children" (without more context for this sentence, it is really impossible to choose which one would be best!).

3 διδάσκει νόμος θεοῦ ὅτι οὐρανὸς ἔχει δόξαν.

Note that the subject νόμος comes after its verb, while the subject οὐρανὸς comes before its verb. The choice of word order is stylistic in Greek; it is not determined by grammatical rules like in English. Generally speaking, the first and last words of a phrase, clause or sentence receive the greatest emphasis. So, take a look at which words come first in the two clauses in this sentence, and which words comes last. These are the most important words. The words that are "sandwiched" inbetween the first word and last word of the clause receive less emphasis. If you pay attention to the first and last word of each clause, you can better understand the meaning!

4 λέγει ἀδελφὸς ἐκκλησίᾳ καὶ λέγουσιν υἱοὶ δούλῳ.

Notice the parallel construction in this sentence. Both clauses have the same word order: verb - subject - indirect object.

5 οὐ βλέπομεν γῆν θανάτου, πιστεύομεν δὲ ὅτι ζωὴν ἔχει οἶκος θεοῦ.

Note the use of the postpositive particle δὲ. It can never come first in a sentence; it always comes in second position. You can translate this word as "and" or "but" (depending on context) - although more than being a word with a specific meaning, δὲ is more like a piece of verbal punctuation. Remember that written punctuation is a relatively late innovation in the writing system. In Greek, however, there were many forms of oral punctuation that were part of the spoken language, actual words that were used to help coordinate sentences and clauses, knitting them together as they were spoken. The use of these particles is one of the most striking features of the Greek language, and you should always pay careful attention to them, trying to see how they are being used to create a bridge between one sentence and the next.

6 ἀδελφὸς καὶ ἀδελφὴ λέγουσιν, Κύριε, θέλομεν βλέπειν θεοῦ ἔργα.

Note that Greek does not use quotation marks to indicate direct speech. In this sentence, for example, the words Κύριε, θέλομεν βλέπειν θεοῦ ἔργα are spoken by the brother and the sister, although they are not surrounded by quotation marks as they would be in English. Instead, there is a comma which appears before the direct speech, and the first word of the direct speech is capitalized. Note also that because ἔργα is a neuter noun, you cannot be sure whether you are looking at a nominative or an accusative form here. From the context provided by the sentence, however, you know that ἔργα has to be the accusative plural. How can you be sure about that?

7 τέκνα ἀδελφῆς θέλουσι βλέπειν οὐρανόν, τέκνα δὲ γῆς οὐ βλέπουσιν οἶκον θεοῦ.

Note the parallel construction here:

τέκνα ἀδελφῆς ..., τέκνα δὲ γῆς ... .

8 διδάσκει κύριος δούλους γράφειν λόγους καὶ δοῦλοι διδάσκουσιν τέκνα.

Note that δούλους is the direct object of διδάσκει while λόγους is the object of the infinitive γράφειν. Take a look at the neuter noun τέκνα: based on the context provided by this sentence, is τέκνα a nominative plural or an accusative plural? Note also the interesting question of possession here. You can probalby safely translate διδάσκει κύριος δούλους as "the master teaches his slaves" - but what about the τέκνα? Do you think they are the children of the slaves, or of the master? Without more context, it is mpossible to say.

9 ἔχετε ἔργα νόμου, γινώσκω δὲ ὅτι θεός βλέπει καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου.

Out of context, you cannot tell if the word ἔργα is nominative plural or accusative plural. In the context of this sentence, however, you know that ἔργα has to be accusative plural; it cannot be nominative plural. Why is it impossible for ἔργα to be nominative plural?

10 υἱοῦ θάνατος λύει καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου, ἀλλὰ γινώσκομεν καὶ πιστεύομεν ὅτι βασιλεία θεοῦ ἔχει ζωήν.

Note the free word order: the genitive υἱοῦ precedes its noun, while the genitive ἀνθρώπου comes after its noun. The genitive θεοῦ also comes after its noun. These differences are not governed by grammatical rules. Instead, they are stylistic differences which reinforce the meaning of the sentence.

Biblical Greek Online. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. Page last updated: April 9, 2005 8:06 PM

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