The verb to be – Classical Greek

As in most languages, this is irregular, but will quickly be familiar:


* again the “movable nu” is added (to make pronunciation easier) if the next word starts with a vowel, or if this is the last word in the sentence: notice that here this applies to the third person singular as well as the third person plural.

  • Notice the slight similarity to the Latin equivalent (sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt). Notice also that the -μεν and -τε endings resemble the equivalent parts of παύω.
  • The verb to be takes not an object (in the accusative) but a complement (another nominative): distinguish between
ὁ ξένος δοῦλον διώκει  
the stranger chases a slave
ὁ ξένος δοῦλοs ἐστίν
the stranger is a slave
In the second sentence the stranger is not doing something to a slave; we are just being told that he is a slave.
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