Re: Greek Word Order

Edgar Krentz (
Thu, 23 Jan 1997 15:26:58 -0600

>I was wondering what those on the list might have to say regarding the
>common or "unmarked" order of words in Greek sentences--both Classical
>and Koine. I entered into a discussion of this topic with my Advanced
>Greek class based upon the information in Young's grammar. He asserts
>that the basic order of words in sentences not containing linking verbs
>is verb-subject-object, while sentences with linking verbs generally
>follow the pattern verb-subject-compliment (pp. 214-18).
>Machen suggests just the opposite: "The normal order of the sentence in
>Greek is like that in English--subject, verb, object" (_NT Greek_, p.
>Moule does not propose a specific order, but rather simply follows the
>logic that "the emphatic word comes at or near the beginning of the
>sentence" (_Idiom Book_, p. 166).
>It would appear that a number of prominent grammarians would be in
>agreement with Young's analysis of an "unmarked" or common word order
>being verb-subject-object (so BDF, p. 248; Turner, _Syntax_, p. 347;
>Robertson, p. 417).
>I would be interested in hearing what those on the list would have to
>say about this matter, both in regard to Classical and Koine Greek.
There was quite a string on this about 18 months ago. At that time I
referreda to K.J. Dover's GREEK WORD ORDER (Oxford U Press in the 1950s).

I have neglected to note the url for the archives, but Jonathon can give
you that and you can search for that discussion.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel: [773] 256-0752; (H) [773] 947-8105