Verbs

As we already know, verbs in Greek change their ending based on the gender and number of the person or thing the verb is referring to. This is called “conjugation” and the same effect happens in English (consider “I want” compared to “he wants“) but the two differences are that, firstly, in Greek the conjugation is a bit more complicated, and secondly the conjugation of the verb replaces the need for a pronoun (εγώ, εσύ…) So instead of saying “I want” in Greek we just say θέλω where the “I” is completely implied by the Omega at the end of the verb.

Group A verbs

Group A verbs end in an unstressed –ω [ soft ω]. All you have to do is to find the stem of the verb by removing the ending [ μεν– ω]and then add the endings to form the other persons. [ most Greek verbs are type A]

 μένω                                       Ι live

 μένεις                                    you live

 μένει                                     he/ she/it lives

 μένουμε                                 we live

 μένετε                                    you live

 μένουν                                  they live

Recognizing Group A verbs  ?

  1. There is a consonant before the ending [ μένω]
  2. The ending is never stressed [μένω]

Common type A-verbs

έχω =  have αγοράζω=   buy διαβάζω=read γράφω =  write θέλω=  want βάζω= put ξέρω=  know   μαθαίνω=  learn    παίζω = play  

Activity: Complete the gaps with the correct form of the verbs in brackets. Then translate each sentence into English.

  1. O  Γιώργος ……… [ έχω] δύο αδέρφια.
  2. Η Μαρία και ο Νίκος ……. [μαθαίνω] γαλλικά.
  3. Η οικογένεια μου ………… [ θέλω] να ξέρω ελληνικά.
  4. Ο σύντροφος μου ……….. [έχω] πυρετό.
  5. Η κοπέλα μου ………. [ξέρω] να μιλάει αγγλικά.
  6. Σου αρέσει να ……. [ παίζω] μπάσκετ;

Group B1 verbs

Group B verbs end in a stressed ώ [strong ώ]. All you have to do is to find the stem of the verb by removing the ending [ αγαπώ]and then add the endings to form the other persons.

αγαπώ                         Ι love

αγαπάς                        you love

αγαπάει                      he/ she/ it loves

αγαπάμε                     we love

αγαπάτε                      you love

αγαπούν                     they love

The first and third person singular and the third person plural have a second conjugation:

Αγαπώ or αγαπάω

Αγαπάει or αγαπά

Αγαπούν or αγαπάνε

Recognizing Group B1 verbs  ?

There are two characteristics common to type B1 verbs:

  1. The εγώ conjugation always ends in –άω or –ώ
  2. They have two conjugations for the 1st and 3rd person singular and 3rd person plural.

Common type B1 verbs

μιλάω or μιλώ =  speak πεινάω or πεινώ= be hungry διψάω or διψώ=be thirsty κολυμπάω or κολυμπώ= to swim ζητάω or ζητώ =  to ask for ρωτάω or ρωτώ =to ask  

Activity: Complete the gaps with the correct form of the verbs in brackets. Then translate each sentence into English.

  1. O Γιώργος ……. [ ρωτάω] μία ερώτηση.[ a question]
  2. Θέλω ένα τοστ. ……. [ πεινάω] πολύ.
  3. Οι γονείς μου ………. [ κολυμπώ] στην παραλία.
  4. Ένα νερό παρακαλώ γιατί …….. [ διψάω].
  5. Η Μαρία [ αγαπώ]……. πολύ τα αδέρφια της.
  6. Η Σίλβια και ο Γιώργος …….. [ μιλώ] γερμανικά.
  7. Η οικογένεια μου δεν …… [ μιλώ] αγγλικά.

Group B2 Verbs

Group B2 verbs end in a stressed ώ [strong ώ] like B1 verbs. However, their declension is much more close to A type verbs. The good news is that there are only a few verbs that belong to this category. The bad news is that there is no way to predict whether a verb ending in a strong ώ is a Group B1 verb or a Group B2 verb unless you learn Group B2 verbs by heart.

μπορώ                                 Ι am able/ I can

μπορείς                               you are able/ you can

μπορεί                                 he/ she/ it  is able/ can

μπορούμε                            we are able/ can

μπορείτε                              you are able / can

μπορούν                              they are able/ can         

In fact, Group B2 verbs are like Group A verbs (μένω). The only change is the second plural person (-είτε instead of –ετε).

There are only 7 Group Β2 verbs.

αργώ           slow down ζω                 live μπορώ        be able οδηγώ          drive συγχωρώ     forgive τηλεφωνώ     call χρησιμοποιώ  use

Activity: Put the verbs in brackets into the correct form. Then translate each sentence into English.

  1. Oι γονείς μου ……… [ μπορώ] να μιλούν ελληνικά.
  2. Μου αρέσει να ……… [ χρησιμοποιώ] το λεξικό

[ dictionary]

  • Ο Γιάννης ………. [ οδηγώ] Mercedes Benz.
  • H Μαρία ………… [ συγχωρώ] το λάθος σου.
  • Η Εύα ……. [ ζω] στο Λονδίνο.

Activity: Classify the following verbs into the correct Group.

Verbs Group A Group B1 Group B2
διαβάζω      
γράφω      
διψάω      
μπορώ      
αργώ      
μιλάω      
ζω      

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