Re: Finite verbs

Stephen C Carlson (
Wed, 15 May 1996 23:05:47 -0400 (EDT) wrote:
>If the finite verb endings are really pronouns and are the subject of the
>verb and the subject of the verb must be in the nominative case it is
>obvious that these verb endings are nominative case pronouns. Is this what
>Goodwin and other writers are saying?

No. The finite verb endings in Greek are not really pronouns. They
are an inseparable part of the inflected verb. It has been speculated
that they had derived from pronouns in the precursor to Proto-Indo-
European, the mother of Greek. Although a very plausible speculation,
it has no bearing on the Greek verb, or for that matter on the PIE
verb, as the verb endings were quite fixed and inseparable even in
PIE times (c. 4000 B.C.). Goodwin and others are not referring to
the speculative source of the finite verb endings but to the finite
verb's grammatical subject.

> Have I been wrong to look for a
>nominative case noun, pronoun, etc. as the subejct of these finite verbs?
>This is what I have been asking all along in this matter.

No, you have not been wrong. The subject of a finite verb in Greek is
in the nominative. There are only two things to be concerned about:
(1) the subject need not be expressed, and (2) the rules can get quite
complicated for the subject of an infinitive.

>I certainly recognize that the case of a pronoun is determined by its usage
>in the sentence. I have always understood that if a pronoun was the
>subject of the sentence it must be in the nominative case. Have I been
>wrong in this respect?

No, you have not been wrong in this respect either. A pronoun that is
the subject of a finite verb is in the nominative. However, pronoun
subjects are often not expressed, except for emphasis.

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson, George Mason University School of Law, Patent Track, 4LE              : Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs     : chant the words.  -- Shujing 2.35