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Lesson 16: More Third Declension Nouns
and the Verb εἰμί

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The Lesson at a Glance

Vowel Stem Third-Declension Nouns

In lesson 15 you learned the forms for third declension nouns whose stems end in a consonant. In this lesson you will learn the forms for third declension nouns with stems ending in a vowel.

Unaugmented Indicative forms of εἰμί

The verb εἰμί, without an augment, usually refers to the present.

Augmented Indicative forms of εἰμί

The verb εἰμί, when it appears with an augment, usually refers to the past.

Grammatical Discussion

Review of Third Declension Nouns

In the previous lesson you learned to recognize third declension nouns with stems ending in a consonant. The third delension nouns present in this lesson are a little more difficult to recognize. Their stems end with a vowel, and this vowel often contracts with the case ending. If you have learned the basic case endings well, though, and remember to look for contractions, you will master these nouns quickly.

Take a moment to review the basic third declension case endings now. Notice that masculine and feminine third declension nouns use the same set of endings. Neuter nouns use a slightly different set. The basic endings for third declension nouns are as follows. A long dash (—) indicates that no case ending is used.

Case

Masculine and Feminine

Neuter

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

Nominative

-ς or —

-ες

Genitive

-ος

-ων

-ος

-ων

Dative

-σι

-σι

Accusative

-α or —

-ας

Vowel Stems and Contraction

If a noun stem ends in ε or ο, this stem-final vowel will often contract with the vowel of the third declension case ending causing spelling changes that you must recognize in order to read these nouns correctly.

Remember from the previous lesson that the way to find the stem of a third declension noun is to remove the ending for the genitive singular form. For example, the stem of πούς (foot) is not πού, but ποδ- (the genitive singular ποδός minus its case ending).

Some third declension nouns, though, have stems that end with ε, and this ε contracts with the genitive singular case ending to form -ους instead of -ος. To find the stem of such words, you must know this basic contraction pattern: ε or ο contract with ο to yield ου.

Formation of Third Declension Vowel Stem Nouns

The lists below include only third declension nouns whose stems end with a vowel. Because these third declension nouns have stems that end with a vowel, the α of the nominative and accusative plural of a few neuter nouns will lengthen to η.

Observe the forms of the following nouns and note especially the genitive singular forms. Since ἔτος is neuter, its accusative forms are identical to its nominative forms.

Singular

Stem:

πόλι-
city

ἰχθύ-
fish

γραμματεύ-
scribe

ἔτο-
year

Nom.

πόλις

ἰχθύς

γραμματεύς

ἔτος

Gen.

πόλεως

ἰχθύος

γραμματέως

ἔτους

Dat.

πόλει

ἰχθύι

γραμματε

ἔτει

Acc.

πόλιν

ἰχθύν

γραμματέα

ἔτος

Voc.

πόλι

ἰχθύ

γραμματεύ


Plural

Nom.

πόλεις

ἰχθύες

γραμματεῖς

ἔτη

Gen.

πόλεων

ἰχθύων

γραμματέων

ἔτων

Dat.

πόλεσι(ν)

ἰχθύσι(ν)

γραμματεῦσι(ν)

ἔτεσι(ν)

Acc.

πόλεις

ἰχθύας

γραμματεῖς

ἔτη

Notice that the accentuation of the genitive case forms of πόλις (πόλεως and πόλεων) violates the normal accentuation rules. Since the final vowel (ω) is long, we would expect that the accent could not fall on the third syllable from the end, yet it does.

Notice that all three of the words with vocative singular forms simply remove the –ς ending of the nominative singular to form the vocative singular.

Exercise One: Singular and Plural Third-Declension Nouns

Choose the correct plural form for each singular noun, and the correct singular form for each plural noun.

Exercise Two: Case Forms

Identify the case of third declension nouns.

Introduction to the Verb εἰμί

The verb εἰμί (“I am”) occurs 2460 times in the New Testament alone. It is well worth your time to learn its forms well.

Most Greek verbs have several different tenses, like the imperfect and aorist that you have already studied as well as the present, future, perfect, and pluperfect to be studied later. But εἰμί only has two tenses, one augmented and one unaugmented.

Formation of the Verb εἰμί

The forms of the present indicative of εἰμί were introduced as separate words in earlier vocabulary lists. Here the complete paradigms for both the present and imperfect indicative of this verb are presented. Since εἰμί occurs 2460 times in the New Testament and many more thousands of times in other Hellenistic Greek literature, you should learn its forms well.

Present (Unaugmented) Active Indicative


Singular

Plural

First Person

εἰμί

I am

ἐσμέν

We are

Second Person

εἶ

You are

ἐστέ

You (y'all) are

Third Person

ἐστί(ν)

She is. He is. It is

εἰσί(ν)

They are

The present active infinitive of εἰμί is εἶναι. You will usually translate this form as "to be."

Imperfect (Augmented) Active Indicative


Singular

Plural

First Person

ἤμην

I was

ἤμεθα

We were

Second Person

ἦς

You were

ἦτε

You (y'all) were

Third Person

ἦν

She was. He was. It was

ἦσαν

They were

Exercises Three and Four: Forms of the Verb εἰμί

Choose the best translation for each unaugmented from of the verb εἰμί.

Choose the best translation for each augmented form of εἰμί

Vocabulary

The following list contains twelve more third declension nouns that occur fifty times or more in the New Testament. The rest were presented in the previous lesson, so after you learn these twelve, you should be able to recognize all of the third declension nouns that appear fifty or more times. These same nouns appear many hundreds of times in other Hellenistic Greek literature as well.

As always with nouns, each word is given with its nominative singular form followed by its genitive singular form and the nominative singular article of the appropriate gender. You must learn both the nominative singular and the genitive singular form for each third declension noun. You will need to know the genitive form for most of these words to recognize the other case forms, and you will need the nominative form to look the word up in a lexicon.

122

ἀρχιερεύς, ἀρχιερέως, ὁ

high priest, chief priest (Remember: ἀρχή = authority; ἱερεύς = priest)

115

βασιλεύς, βασιλέως, ὁ

king (Remember: βασιλεἰα = kingdom)

63

γραμματεύς, γραμματέως, ὁ

scribe, secretary, lawyer

119

δύναμις, δυνάμεως, ἡ

power, powerful deed, great work

162

ἔθνος, ἔθνους, τό

nation, people [The plural forms of ἔθνος are often translated “gentiles” (that is, “non-Jews”)]

80

Μωϋσῆς, Μωϋσέως, ὁ

Moses

63

ὄρος, ὄρους, τό

mountain, hill

243

πίστις, πίστεως, ἡ

trust, faith, assurance, faithfulness (Remember: πιστεύω = I have faith in, I trust; I am faithful to)

162

πόλις, πόλεως, ἡ

city, town (a metropolis is a principal city [from μητρός plus πόλις])


The following three words are not vowel stem nouns. They follow the patterns discussed in the previous lesson.

62

θέλημα, θελήματος, τό

will, wish (Remember: θέλω = I intend, wish, will, want)

83

μήτηρ, μητρός, ἡ

mother (maternal)

78

στόμα, στόματος, τό

mouth, speech (Στόμα does not mean stomach.)




Reading and Translation

Can you recognize the case of the noun ἔθνους in this text? If you do not recognize the form, can you find a clue in the text? There is another word that can tell you the case of ἔθνους.

1. [ὑπέρ = on behalf of, for; ἀποθνήσκειν is the present active infinitive of ἀποθνήσκω. Translate it as “to die.”]

ἔμελλεν Ἰησοῦς ἀποθνῄσκειν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἔθνους, καὶ οὐχ ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἔθνους μόνον

Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only (John 11.51-52).
Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not only for the nation.

2. τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης

For this is my blood of the covenant (Matthew 26:28)

Contraction: -ευ + -ες = εῖς

3. Καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς

And the chief priests and scribes heard [it] (Mark 11:18).

4. πιστεύεις, βασιλεῦ Αγρίππα, τοῖς προφήταις;

Do you, King Agrippa, believe the prophets? (Acts 26:27)
Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa?

What case and number is the word βασιλεῦ in the sentence above? If you do not recognize this form, look back at the lesson above. Why do you think the word is assigned this case here?

5. οὐ γὰρ ἐν λόγῳ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ἀλλ᾽ ἐν δυνάμει.

Notice that while a verb like "is" or "exist" is needed for this sentence in English, there is no verb in Greek. This is normal Greek usage.

For not by word is the Kingdom of God, but by power.
For the Kingdom of God does not exist in word, but in power (1 Corinthians 4:20).

6. [λύχνος = lamp]

What case is σώματός in this sentence? Notice that the ending -ος, which indicates nominative singular for 2nd declension nouns, represents a different case in the 3rd delension.

Ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλμός.

The lamp of the body is the eye (Matthew 6:22).
The eye is the body's lamp.

7. [ὁ αὐτός = the same]

ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ στόματος (James 3:10)

out of the same mouth

Can you guess the meaning of κατάρα based on the context in which it is used here?

8. [εὐλογία = blessing; ἐξέρχεται = they come out]

ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ στόματος ἐξέρχεται εὐλογία καὶ κατάρα. (James 3:10)

Out of the same mouth come blessing and curse.

9. Μωϋσῆς γὰρ εἶπεν· τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα σου.

For Moses said: respect your father and mother (Mark 7:10).

10. [γέγραπται = it is written]

ἐν γὰρ τῷ Μωϋσέως νόμῳ γέγραπται

For it is written in the law of Moses (1 Corinthians 9:9)

11. [σῷ = your (dative case)]

τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι

in your name

12. [οὐ = not; προφητεύω = I prophesy]

οὐ ἐπροφητεύσαμεν

We did not prophesy.
We didn't prophesy.

What does the little symbol ";" at the end of this Greek sentence mean?

13. οὐ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι ἐπροφητεύσαμεν;

Didn't we prephesy in your name? (Matthew 7:22).

14. [ἀκάθαρτος = unclean]

Can you indentify ἦν? It is a form of the verb εἰμί.

What case is πνεύματι?

ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ

There was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit.
In their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:23).

Notice that the preposition ἐν appears twice in the sentence above and is translated two different ways. This little word has a range of meaning that no single word in English does. Some of the common ways it is translated are in, on, by, and with. You must determine which fits best in the context in which ἐν is used.

Vocabulary Practice

Flash Cards
Drag and Drop Game One
Drag and Drop Game Two
Practice Quiz