verb usage

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.
grogers
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Joined: February 7th, 2013, 6:43 pm

verb usage

Post by grogers » December 27th, 2014, 12:12 pm

I understand the general rule that verbs must agree in person and number but is there any example in the NT where an exception to this rule is found? For example, can a second person singular verb ever be linked to a third person singular verb?
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Glen Rogers

Wes Wood
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Re: verb usage

Post by Wes Wood » December 27th, 2014, 12:27 pm

I don't know of an example exactly like you are asking for off the top of my head, but here is one that fits your initial criteria. It is used to illustrate this phenomenon in at least one introductory grammar. I John 4:1 "Ἀγαπητοί, μὴ παντὶ πνεύματι πιστεύετε, ἀλλὰ δοκιμάζετε τὰ πνεύματα εἰ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστίν, ὅτι πολλοὶ ψευδοπροφῆται ἐξεληλύθασιν εἰς τὸν κόσμον." What would you expect the subject and number of the verb ἐστίν to be?
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

grogers
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Joined: February 7th, 2013, 6:43 pm

Re: verb usage

Post by grogers » December 27th, 2014, 12:59 pm

That is a really good example. It would seem that ἐστιν 3S has to be the same as the spirits who are to not be πιστεύετε but δοκιμάζετε although they agree in neither person or in number.
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Glen Rogers

Wes Wood
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Re: verb usage

Post by Wes Wood » December 27th, 2014, 1:16 pm

These verses below from John are also a bit unusual, though again not quite what I believe you are looking for.

John 15:4-5 [4] μείνατε ἐν ἐμοί, κἀγὼ ἐν ὑμῖν. καθὼς τὸ κλῆμα οὐ δύναται καρπὸν φέρειν ἀφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ ἐὰν μὴ μένῃ ἐν τῇ ἀμπέλῳ, οὕτως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς ἐὰν μὴ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένητε. ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος, ὑμεῖς τὰ κλήματα.[5] ὁ μένων ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ οὗτος φέρει καρπὸν πολύν, ὅτι χωρὶς ἐμοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν.

I will admit that I don't believe that the writings attributed to John are the best places to search for examples :oops: .
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Wes Wood
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Joined: September 20th, 2013, 8:18 pm

Re: verb usage

Post by Wes Wood » December 27th, 2014, 4:15 pm

grogers wrote:That is a really good example. It would seem that ἐστιν 3S has to be the same as the spirits who are to not be πιστεύετε but δοκιμάζετε although they agree in neither person or in number.
Mounce in Basics of Biblical Greek, "Greek often uses a singular verb when the subject is neuter plural. It is an indication that the author is viewing the plural subject not as a collection of different things but as one group."
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: verb usage

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 28th, 2014, 9:11 am

grogers wrote:I understand the general rule that verbs must agree in person and number but is there any example in the NT where an exception to this rule is found? For example, can a second person singular verb ever be linked to a third person singular verb?
Glen, you're question is a bit ambiguous. If you mean something like "We is a freighter" (an allusion to what movie?) then no, nothing like that. The examples Wes quoted do not confuse subject and verb agreement, but simply show a mixture of subjects and verbs. Neuter plurals regularly (but optionally) take singular verbs in Greek, but this is not really considered an exception to the rule.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

grogers
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Joined: February 7th, 2013, 6:43 pm

Re: verb usage

Post by grogers » December 28th, 2014, 4:15 pm

Thank you for your response. Let me pose the question to you from a different text. I was reading an argument posted by a young man on another site who seemed to be attempting to manipulate the grammar of Acts 2:38 and his argument was that since Μετανοήσατε is 2P it cannot be linked to βαπτισθήτω which is 3S in the same clause citing the rule of grammar that "modifying phrases must stand in their respective, individual clauses" and that "the verb must agree with its subject in both person and in number." Now I am familiar with the general rules but this construction does not seem to violate that rule. Personally, I do not care what the soterioligy of this verse is but I am interested in getting the grammar right. I will honor which ever soteriolgy the grammatical structure of this verse reinforces. My question is this, does this verse stand as an exception to the general rule since both verbs are linked by καὶ and does ὑμῶν stand as a modifier for both Μετανοήσατε and βαπτισθήτω?
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Glen Rogers

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: verb usage

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » December 29th, 2014, 1:30 am

Peter spoke to "them" (πρὸς αὐτούς) and it seems pretty clear that there is only one "them" in view - those to whom he preached the Gospel from vs. 14 to 36. In vs. 37 they ( the same "them") asked him τί ποιήσωμεν "what shall we do". In vs. 38 Peter answered "them" (αὐτούς), and he gave two instructions to "them": 1) μετανοήσατε - "Repent" (you plural)!, and 2) βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος - "Each of you be baptized".

This is exactly how you might give two instructions to the same group in English - 'Line up (all of you) and each of you pick up your supplies!" Same group! The singular with "each" (ἕκαστος) is just as acceptable to address a group as the 2nd person plural. And there is no disagreement with subject and verb! "βαπτισθήτω" is 3rd person singular to match the nominative singular adjective ἕκαστος", acting here as a substantive ("each"). μετανοήσατε has a different subject than μετανοήσατε ("you" plural expressed in the form of the verb), even though both verbs refer to the same group.
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grogers
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Re: verb usage

Post by grogers » December 29th, 2014, 9:50 am

Thanks a lot for your response. I only had a couple of years of Greek over 30 years ago and am certainly no scholar in the language but I just could not see any justification for this young man's treatment of the grammar. It looks to me like the syntax is very simple and uncpomplicated. He was attempting to separate the first clause into two separate clauses insisting that these two imperatives were directed to two separate groups and I simply could not get that out of that construction.
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Glen Rogers

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: verb usage

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » December 29th, 2014, 10:51 am

μετανοήσατε has a different subject than μετανοήσατε ("you" plural expressed in the form of the verb), even though both verbs refer to the same group.
Rather, I meant to say "βαπτισθήτω" has a different subject than μετανοήσατε...." And, I suppose that to be more precise, one should say that the two verbs have the same subject stated differently. The point is that the 2nd person imperative "Repent" and 3rd person imperative, "Let each be baptized!", are the appropriate verb forms for their subjects. There is no disagreement between verb and subject.

The same construction appears elsewhere, with a mix of 2nd and 3rd person imperatives, such as in 1Cor 16:1-2, or Joshua 4:5. There, as here, the group addressed is the same group.

You are welcome. Hope you might find some time to dust off your Greek grammar books, and discover the joy all over again! :)
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