So far, I really like it a lot. The explanations are clear and simple, with lots of examples, and the examples show enough narrative to give a feel for how the grammatical structures affect the overall flow of a text. The examples are translated in a way that makes the book accessible even for those of us who have not read widely outside of the biblical corpus.
For instance, in chapter 33, the first examples are in English:
concerns the location of an action in the past, present or future, relative to the moment of speaking
- The Greeks burned Troy.
- The Greeks are burning Troy.
- The Greeks will burn Troy.
concerns the location of an action in time relative to another temporal reference point given in the context
, either prior to that reference point (anteriority
), at the same time as that reference point (simultaneity
), or after it (posteriority
- We arrived when the Greeks had burned Troy.
anterior to a moment in the past
- We arrived when the Greeks were burning Troy.
simultaneous with a moment in the past
- By the time we arrive, the Greeks will have burned Troy.
anterior to a moment in the future
- The Greeks said that they would burn Troy.
posterior to a moment in the past
By the second page of the chapter we have sentence-length examples in Greek with clear translations:
(1) οἱ Ἀριαίου πρόσθεν σὺν ἡμῖν ταττόμενοι νῦν ἀφεστήκασιν. (Xen. An. 3.2.17)
Ariaeus’ men, although they previously used to line up alongside us, have now deserted us. Pf. ind. referring to the present; note νῦν.
(2) τότε... πεδία πλήρη γῆς πιείρας ἐκέκτητο, καὶ πολλὴν ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν ὕλην εἶχεν. (Pl. Criti. 111c)
At that time, (the country) possessed plains full of rich soil, and had much forestland in the mountains. Plpf. and impf. referring to the past; note τότε.
(3) ἦ μὴν σὺ δώσεις αὔριον τούτων δίκην. (Ar. Vesp. 1331)
I swear, you’ll pay for this tomorrow. Fut. ind., referring to the future; note αὔριον.
By the third page of the chapter, we have a passage long enough to give some real texture.
(4) οἱ δὲ Ὀλύνθιοι ὡς εἶδον προθέοντας τοὺς πελταστάς, ἀναστρέψαντες... διέβησαν πάλιν τὸν ποταμόν. οἱ δ᾽ ἠκολούθουν μάλα θρασέως, καὶ ὡς φεύγουσι διώξοντες ἐπιδιέβαινον. ἔνθα δὴ οἱ Ὀλύνθιοι ἱππεῖς, ἡνίκα ἔτι εὐχείρωτοι αὐτοῖς ἐδόκουν εἶναι οἱ διαβεβηκότες, ἀναστρέψαντες ἐμβάλλουσιν αὐτοῖς, καὶ... ἀπέκτειναν... πλείους ἢ ἑκατόν. (Xen. Hell. 5.3.4)
The Olynthians, when they saw the peltasts running forward, turned around and crossed the river again. The peltasts followed them very rashly, and, convinced that they were fleeing, proceeded to cross so as to give chase. Then the Olynthian horsemen, at a moment when those who had crossed still seemed to them to be easy to overcome, wheeled about and attacked them, and they killed more than a hundred.
The narrator uses the aorist indicative διέβησαν to describe the Olynthians’ crossing in its entirety (perfective aspect): he is interested in the simple fact that it happened, not in its process; further events which took place during their crossing are not referred to. When the peltasts cross, however, he uses present-stem (impf.) ἐπιδιέβαινον to describe the crossing in process (i.e. before its end-point was reached; imperfective aspect), because he is interested in other events that happened during it (the attack). The perfect participle διαβεβηκότες, finally, refers to men who are in the state of having successfully crossed the river. Observe that the killing of these men is expressed by means of aorist ἀπέκτειναν (even though it will have taken quite some time to kill over a hundred men), because the narrator is interested in the simple fact that it happened; again, further events which took place during the killing spree (individual killings, resistance, etc.) are not referred to. For this kind of alternation between imperfects and aorists in narrative texts, →33.48–9. For the historical present ἐμβάλλουσιν, →33.54–5.
So one of the great benefits of this book is that it gives you enough real examples with enough context to help you read real texts with sensitivity to the constructs it presents.