Re: Finite verbs

Carlton L. Winbery (
Thu, 9 May 1996 14:47:22 +0400

Marion Fox wrote;
>Marion here again: I have one grammar book that states this but I am
>having a discussion with another person who claims I am misunderstanding
>the book. Goodwin states: The subject of a finite verb is in the
>nominative. . .(page 197)."
>>In addition, does this mean that the subject is either a nominative case
>>(noun, pronoun, adjective, or articular participle).
>Or noun clause or infinitive, that is any noun substitute.
>Marion here again: would it be an articular infinitive. I understood that
>the infinitive took its subject in the accusative case. Is this incorrect?

The infinitive may function like a noun with or without the article
(PLHRWSAI Mtt. 3:15) and thus as subject of a finite verb. Some of us old
timers trained in the mold of the older grammarians still stutter when we
try and say "subject" of the infinitive. The agent of the action of an
infinitive or the recipient of the action of a passive infinitive is
normally in the accusative case. I have preferred to call these
accusatives of general reference. Then there is no problem when a pronoun
that does the same thing is in the dative case, i.e., a dative of
reference. Mind you many disagreed with this terminology in the earlier
string on this subject.

>Marion here again: Could the subject of a finite verb be in another case
>(for example the genitive or dative cases)? I am speaking about a subject
>that is not elliptical (explicitly stated). Would this rule be different
>for an elliptical subject? (You seemed to answer this in the following):

No. You may have a noun cluster as subject but it will have an article in
the nominative to indicate that it is subject, eg. hOI TOU XRISTOU "Those
who belong to Christ."

>Marion here again: Could you give me the ISBN number of your book, the
>publisher, and date of the copyright. (I want to order a copy of it).
>Sorry about the trouble I am causing you.
No trouble! James Brooks and Carlton Winbery, Syntax of NT Greek, Univ.
Press of America, 1979. ISBN 0-8191-0473-6
4720 Boston Way Lanham, MD 20706
Grace & Peace,

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College