Learn Biblical Greek

Undeclined Words in Biblical Greek



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[go] General Comments
[go] Adverbs
[go] Prepositions
[go] Conjunctions
[go] Interjections

General Comments
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Now we come to an island of stability (more or less) in a sea of ever changing words. Greek actually does have some words that remain the same! It is a relative small group of words, but at least you should find them easy to learn. But, be careful! They do have their subtleties.

Adverbs
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Adverbs bear a close relation to adjectives in both form and function. They express ideas dealing with time, place, manner, and degree; and answer questions such as "when?" "where?" "how?" and "to what extent?".

Each adverb must be learned on its own as there is not a predictable pattern. Some adverbs are derived from the genitive plural form of the adjective, just changing the final n to become an V. Other adverbs reflect the endings of nouns, pronouns, or adjectives; while the endings of others are not related to case endings. You may find it useful to know that many adverbs end in -wV.

Adverbs also can be found as prefixes for nouns and verbs. Commonly used are a- and an- from aneu (without), and eu (well or good).

Prepositions
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Prepositions are adverbs that aid the cases to more sharply define their meanings. Also, it is the case that governs the meaning of the preposition, and not the other way around. Not all of the cases can have prepositions either, only the genitive, ablative, locative, instrumental, and accusative.

Prepositions show the direction and the location of the action. The following diagram, based on Bruce Metzger's Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek, can be of some help in visualizing some of the basic meanings.

Basic Meanings of Greek Prepositions

There is much more to understanding the meaning of Greek prepositions. Keep in mind the following formula:

The following chart may be helpful to show how prepositions change according to the case with which they are used.

Preposition

Genitive

Ablative

Locative

Instrumental

Accusative

ana

 

 

 

 

up, among, between

anti

opposite, instead of, for

 

 

 

 

apo

 

from, away from

 

 

 

dia

through, during

 

 

 

because of

eiV

 

 

 

 

into, to, towards

ek (ex)

 

out of

 

 

 

en

 

 

in, on, at

by means of

 

epi

upon, on, over (1), in the time of

 

on, in, above (2)

 

over, across (3), up to, during

kata

down, upon, against

 

 

 

along, according to

meta

with

 

 

 

after

para

 

from (4)

with, by the side of, beside (5)

 

beside, near, beyond, along

peri

about, concerning

 

 

 

about, around

pro

 

before

 

 

 

proV

for, for the sake of

 

at, on, near (5)

 

toward, with, at, in order to

sun

 

 

 

with, together with

 

uper

in behalf of, for the sake of

 

 

 

over, above, beyond

upo

 

by (agency)

 

 

under


1. Emphasizing contact
2. Emphasizing position
3. Emphasizing motion or direction
4. Motion implied
5. Position implied

Elision in Prepositions

Some prepositions drop their final short vowel and replace it with an apostrophe when placed before a word that begins with a vowel. This is called elision. The final consonant can change too if it is mute. Notice the following chart that documents some of these changes:

Preposition

Before Smooth Breathing

Before Rough Breathing

anti

anti

anq'

apo

ap'

af'

dia

di'

di'

epi

ep'

ef'

kata

kat'

kaq'

meta

met'

meq'

para

par'

par'

upo

up'

uf'


(Note that
peri and pro do not drop their final vowel.)

Prepositions with Verbs

When prepositions are added to the front of a verb and form a compound word, it can modify or intensify the basic meaning of the verb. Usually the preposition used this way is repeated before the noun.

Conjunctions
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Conjunctions are used to connect sentences, clauses, phrases, and words. A conjunction often expresses a change in the line of thought of the writer. There are two main types of conjunctions: coordinating and subordinating. Coordinating conjunctions connect two syntactic units of the same grammatical type, while subordinating conjunctions connect two clauses together with the conjunction introducing the dependent clauses. Different from English, in Greek coordinating conjunctions are not always between the elements they connect.

Some of the more commonly used conjunctions are:

Coordinating conjunctions: kai, de, te, h, alla, oude, & oun.
Subordinating conjunctions: oti, dioti, wV, kaqwV, wsper, kaqaper, epei, epeidh, ewV, wste, ei, ina, opwV, & mh.

Use of kai: Usually means "and". It can also mean "also" or "even", in which case it is placed in front of the word to which it is connected. When it appears as kai ... kai, it is a correlative conjunction and means "both ... and".

Use of te: Similar to kai. When used as a correlative conjunction, it appears as te ... te, te ... kai, or te kai.

Use of oude: Can be just a simple negative ("and not" or "nor"), or an emphatic negative ("not even"). The context will govern. oude can also be used as a correlative conjunction, where oude ... oude means "neither ... nor".

Interjections
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Some of the basic interjections found in Greek are shown in the following chart:

Interjection Use Meaning
w invocation oh!
ea interjection ah!
oua surprise or scorn hah!
ouai condemnation woe to (often with dative)
idou warning look out!

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