Re: Adjectives for Adverbs

Carl W. Conrad (
Mon, 30 Dec 1996 06:38:43 -0600

It appears that Wes has not to date had a response to his query of last
Monday, so I'll take a stab at it.

At 7:14 PM -0600 12/23/96, wrote:
> I know that at times adjectives are used to modify verbs. But is there
> a general rule in the Koine that governs when an adjective is used to
> modify a verb?
> e.g.
> Luke 7:43 ORQWS EKRINAS "you judged CORRECT(ly)"
> Gal 1:23 MONON DE AKOUONTES HSAN "they ONLY used to hear"

To begin with the words you're highlighting here are both adverbs rather
than adjectives: (1) ORQWS is constructed according to the general rule
that adjectives of the 1st & 2nd declensions add -WS to the adjective stem
to form adverbs; (2) MONON is the neuter accusative of the adjective, the
form of the adjective commonly used in an adverbial sense; MONON in
particular was already the standard form of the adverb for MONOS/-H/-ON in
classical Attic. I can't recall ever having seen a orm MONWS, although I
wouldn't want to bet that such a form doesn't exist.

> I remember reading something years ago about adjectives are used with
> verbs of perception, but cannot remember where and cannot find it
> again. The author may have tried to parallel the English use with
> verbs of perception:
> "I run WELL," and
> "I am WELL,' but
> "I look GOOD," and
> "I feel GOOD."

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I'm not sure I'd characterize these English
expressions quite as you have; I think that "well" in "I am well" is
adjectival with the sense of "healthy," although it is clearly adverbial in
"I run well;" on the other hand, I think that "good" in "I look good" is
really a predicate adjective referring back to the subject with an
intransitive verb; it certainly doesn't mean anything like BLEPW KALWS. And
as for "I feel good," although I've seen and heard it all my life, I think
it violates grammatical rules if it is understood in the sense, "I am very
good at recognizing things by their feel;" if, on the other hand, it
means,"I feel like a healthy person," then I think that "feel" in this
instance must be understood as an intransitive verb, in which case "good"
is a predicate adjective. A Greek equivalent for that might be ISXUROS DOKW

> Does this general rule also hold for Koine?

I don't know what rule you might be referring to, Wes; the only
distinctions I'm aware of offhand regarding verbs of perception are (1)
they tend to take partitive genitive objects (e.g. AKOUW AUTWN, "I hear
them," AISQANOMAI TOU ANEMOU, "I feel the wind."); (2) in classical Attic,
at least, they tend to take indirect discourse with a participle rather
than with an infinitive (e.g. AKOUW AUTON EPIDHMOUNTA, "I hear that he is
in town," EIDON AUTOUS PARONTAS, "I saw that they had arrived.").

On the other hand, it is not uncommon to find an adjective in agreement
with a subject used PREDICATIVELY with an intransitive verb (e.g. BRADUS
TREXEI EKEINOS, "that fellow runs slowly"--i.e. "as a slow person,"rather
than BRADEWS, which might also be found in this expression; or XRONIOS
PARESTIN, "he's arrived late.")

I have a feeling that I may have complicated this discussion unnecessarily,
but it seems to me that this is a particularly murky area of syntactical
usage in both English and Greek. Perhaps that's why nobody has probed it
for over a week and I have charged in rashly (I think the Greek equivalent
here would be "I have charged in RASH.").

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR