Lesson 24: Verbs/Indicative Mood, Primary TensesINFLECTION OF THE VERB IN THE INDICATIVE MOOD (§§365-4241)
Form-sets and sub-sets
365. The verbal system is comprised of contrasting form-sets with respect to tense-aspect and mood, of contrasting subsets with respect to voice, and of contrasting forms with regard to person and number. That is to say, the system represents contrasting features at three different levels, though these levels are not entirely discrete.
365.1 At the broadest level, the present active indicative and present middle-passive indicative represent a form-set that contrasts, for example, with the future active, middle, and passive indicative. The same set contrasts, of course, with other form-sets representing different tense-aspects and moods.
In sum, form-sets reflect the contrastive features of the tense systems and the contrastive features of the moods within those systems.
365.2 A number of the form-sets have contrasting sub-sets to reflect a difference in voice. The present indicative, for example, has two sub-sets, one an active, the other a middle-passive sub-set.
365.3 Each form-set and sub-set, in turn, exhibits contrasting features that distinguish each individual form from all other forms in that set. Such contrastive features within a set and sub-set enable one to distinguish person and number.
3650. The verbal system consists not of one but of a number of interlocking systems. Thus far we have attempted to generalize the contrastive features of the verbal system as a whole. These generalizations do, in fact, cover the majority of verb forms appearing in a given text, but it is necessary to take account of a number of sub-systems in order to be able to identify all the verb forms in common use. It will be our aim next to lay out the verb system in sufficient detail to gain some experience not only of how the 'regular' system works, but also of how various sub-systems feed into the more 'regular' patterns.
↓ 3651. It should be observed that form-sets, sub-sets and individual forms do not always fully contrast with every other possible form or set at the same level. For example, ἐπίστευον can be either first singular or third plural, imperfect active indicative. There is thus 'ambiguity' in the system (in this instance, as regards person and number), πιστεύω can be either indicative or subjunctive (ambiguity in mood). Again, ἐπίστευον is imperfect, but ἔλιπον is aorist: ambiguity arises here only because of false generalization, since ἔλιπον contrasts with its imperfect, ἔλειπον, and ἐπίστευον contrasts with its aorist, ἐπίστευσα. In this case one must know the contours of the system to which the verb in question belongs.
Verb forms are not considered in isolation, of course, except in grammars. The kinds of 'ambiguities' indicated may be resolved by other signals in the context in which they occur. Yet a residue of irresoluble ambiguities will always remain since no language is perfect as it is spoken and written.A. Conjugation of the Primary Tenses 1. The Present Indicative
366. Verbs are conjugated in three ways in the present indicative. The names given to the three conjugations are (1) ω-verbs uncontracted, (2) ω-verbs contracted, (3) μι-verbs. The names are derived from the ending attached to the first person singular active (-ω or -μι), and from whether or not contraction takes place. Difference in inflectional pattern carries no grammatical significance.
3660. The two sub-classes of ω-verbs are conjugated alike, except for contraction. The conjugation of the two groups of ω-verbs differs in two particulars from the conjugation of μι-verbs: (1) μι-verbs employ the second alternatives in the table of primary personal endings given in §318 (i.e. -μι, -σι, -ασι in the active, but -σαι [uncontracted] in the middle-passive); (2) ω-verbs are conjugated with a theme or thematic vowel, μι-verbs are not.
3661. A theme (also called thematic or variable) vowel is employed in some inflection patterns to join the personal endings to the stem (§322), e.g. πιστεύ-ο-μεν, πιστεύ-ε-τε. It varies between ο and ε in the indicative mood; ο appears before μ or ν, ε elsewhere. It is not, however, always apparent in forms belonging to the thematic pattern, e.g. πιστεύω, πιστεύουσι (but see §3180.1, 4). Other inflectional patterns do not employ this vowel, e.g. τίθη-μι, ἔγνω-ν. Inflection with such a vowel is called thematic, without such a vowel, athematic.
↓ 3662. Thematic inflections in the indicative, with variable vowel (ο/ε) include: some present and imperfect patterns, all futures, some second (strong) aorists (active/middle). Athematic inflections include: some present and imperfect patterns, some second (strong) aorists (active/middle), all perfect and pluperfect middles, all aorists passive, and a very few second (strong) perfects (pluperfects) active.
↓ 3663. The first (weak) aorist in -σα, the first (weak) perfect in -κα, and the second (strong) perfect in -α show α before the personal endings in every instance, except third singulars, where ε is used. These stem formatives correspond to the thematic vowel in other patterns. The pluperfect active, which is built on the perfect active base, shows the vowel ει (-κει-, -ει-, i.e. with and without κ).
↓ 3664. The thematic conjugation is the more common, athematic the older. There is a number of very common verbs with athematic form-sets, e.g. in the present tense, εἰμί I am, ἵστημι I stand, τίθημι I take; in the aorist, ἔγνων I knew.
3665. Verbs will be consistently thematic or athematic within tense systems, but not necessarily across tense systems where options are available, e.g. a verb may have a thematic present conjugation but an athematic aorist conjugation, and conversely.
367. ω-verbs uncontracted. To the present base is added theme vowel ο/ε and primary personal endings. The contrast between active and middle-passive voices produces two sub-sets:
3670.1 For -ω in first singular active see §3180.1; -ουσι in third plural active §3180.4; -ῃ in second singular middle-passive §3180.5.
3670.2 -ει- in second and third singular active is inexplicable.
3670.3 Note that the endings given first in,the table, §318, are employed in the thematic conjugation.
368. ω-verbs contracted. The present base of contract verbs, ends in a short vowel (α, ε, ο), which contracts with the thematic vowel ο/ε in accordance with regular rules of contraction (§917). Differences among the form-sets of contract verbs and between contracted and uncontracted ω-verbs are the result of contraction. Since three stem vowels are involved (α, ε, ο), there will be a form-set for each type of stem; the paradigm of the uncontracted ω-verb (§367) may be set alongside for comparison.
|3.||ἀγαπῶσι (ν)||(α+ου)||ποιοῦσι (ν)||(ε+ου)||πληροῦσι (ν)||(ο+ου)|
3680.1 The second singular middle-passive of verbs in -άω has the uncontracted personal ending -σαι (often = ῃ < ε + σαι; §3180.5).
3680.2 The accent in the present tense of contract verbs is always on the contracted syllable, a characteristic sometimes helpful in identifying them.
3680.3 The contractions in -άω verbs yield either ω or α (ᾳ); in -έω verbs either ει or ου (except -ῶ and -ῃ); in -όω verbs either οι or ου (except -ῶ).
369. The rules of vowel contraction may be reduced to four formulas (cf. §917):
369.1 Like vowels produce a common long vowel (or diphthong):
|ε + ε = ει||ο + ο = ου|
|ε + ει = ει||ο + ω = ω|
|ε + ῃ = ῃ|
369.2 When unlike vowels contract, ο or ω prevails over other vowels:
|α + ο = ω||ε + ο = ου||ο + ει = οι|
|α + ω = ω||ε + ω = ω||ο + ῃ = οι|
|α + ου = ω|
369.3 α prevails when it precedes ε or η:
α + ει = ᾳ
α + ῃ = ᾳ
369.4 Iota is always retained.
↓ 3690. Uncontracted verbs in -έω. A few verbs with present bases in -έω show uncontracted forms in the present indicative. The present indicative form-set may be a mixture of contracted and uncontracted forms. None of the verbs exhibiting any uncontracted forms in any mood or tense (δέομαι, δεῖ, ζέω, θέω, πλέω, πνέω, ῥέω, -χέω) shows a complete form-set for the present indicative. A hypothetical form-set for the active voice is derived from the classical model of πλέω, sail: πλέω (the actual, not dictionary, form of the first singular), πλεῖς, πλεῖ, πλέομεν, πλεῖτε, πλέουσι (ν). Only πλεῖ is attested in the New Testament. A hypothetical form-set for the middle-passive voice is derived from δέομαι, request: δέομαι, δέῃ, δεῖται, δεόμεθα, δεῖσθε, δέονται. The first and third singular and the first plural are attested for the New Testament. Cf. Moulton-Howard:193-201.
↓ 3691. Contract verbs in -ηω. Of the contract verbs with long final vowel in classical Greek, e.g. ζήω, live, only two have resisted complete assimilation to verbs in -άω. The present indicative active of ζήω (ζάω) is: ζῶ, ζῇς, ζῇ, ζῶμεν, ζῆτε, ζῶσι (ν). In the present indicative middle-passive χρήομαι has apparently been assimilated to verbs in -άω: χρῶμαι, χρᾶσαι, χρᾶται, χρώμεθα, χρᾶσθε, χρῶνται (cf. ἀγαπῶμαι, §368).
370. Athematic conjugation. In athematic conjugations personal endings are added directly to the tense base (without thematic vowel). Some generalizations can be made with respect to the athematic conjugation in the present tense:
370.1 The second alternatives are employed in the table of primary personal endings given in §318, i.e. -μι instead of -ω, -σι instead of -#, -ασι instead of -ουσι.
370.2 The second singular middle-passive ending -σαι does not contract as it customarily does in the thematic conjugation (§3180.5; cf. §3680.1).
370.3 The final stem vowel of -μι, verbs in the present tense varies between long (active singular) and short (active plural, all middle-passive forms) vowel, e.g. ἱστη- / ἱστα-; τιθη- / τιθε-; διδω- / διδο-, except for verbs with stems ending in -υ (e.g. δείκνυμι).
3700. Paradigms for athematic (μι) conjugations in the present tense.
|3.||ἵστησι (ν)||τίθησι (ν)||δίδωσι (ν)||δείκνυσι (ν)|
|3.||ἱστᾶσι (ν)||τιθέασι (ν)||διδόασι (ν)||δεικνύασι (ν)|
3701.1 The third plural active ἱστᾶσι (ν) is a contraction of ἱστάασι (ν). The corresponding forms elsewhere do not contract.
3701.2 The μι-verbs are on the decline in hellenistic Greek (they have disappeared in modern Greek). There is a tendency for them to pass over to the thematic conjugation, e.g. δείκνυς is replaced by δεικνύεις, ἵστημι has formed a new present stem in ἱστάνω, etc. See Bl-D §§92-94 for particulars.
3702. Μι-verbs following the paradigms in §370.
3702.1 Like the middle-passive of ἵσταμαι are conjugated: δύναμαι, ἐπίσταμαι, κρέμαμαι (1.6), πίμπραμαι, ὀνίναμαι (I.7b).
3702.2 More or less like τίθημι is conjugated -ίημι (ιη- / ἱε-), which occurs only in compound form (s. Appendix III, I.7b): active: -ίημι, -εῖς, -ίησι (ν), -ίεμεν, -ίετε, -ιᾶσι (ν) and -ιοῦσι (ν); middle-passive only -ίεται (3. sg.), -ίενται and -ίονται (3. pl.). Some forms have gone over to the thematic conjugation.
3702.3 Like δείκνυμι are conjugated the verbs in -νυμι and -ννυμι given in Appendix III, IV.4. Note that some of the verbs in this category were or have become ω-verbs.
371. Εἰμί. The common verb εἰμί, I am, is irregular. The present tense (active; there is, of course, no middle-passive) is conjugated as follows:
|Sg. 1.||εἰμί||PI. 1.||ἐσμέν|
|3.||ἐστί (ν)||3.||εἰσί (ν)|
3710.1 The stem of εἰμί is ἐσ-, to which are added personal endings (athematic conjugation). The forms ἐστί (ν) (with old third singular ending, see §3180.3). ἐσμέν, ἐστέ are thus 'regular.'
3710.2 Εἰμί is from *ἐσμι (σ before μ or ν is often dropped and the preceding vowel lengthened in compensation), εἶ from *ἐσι < ἐσ-σι (intervocalic σ disappears, followed by contraction), εἰσι (ν) shows the third plural ending -σι but without α (Homer has ἔασι).
3710.3 Because of the high frequency of this verb and its modest irregularities, the conjugation must be committed to memory.
3711. Other irregular μι-verbs in the present indicative.
3711.1 φημί, say (φη-/φα-): φημί, φησί (3. sg.), φασί (third plural). No middle-passive.
3711.2 εἶμι, go (ει-/ι-): only third plural -ίασι (ν). No middle-passive.
3711.3 κάθημαι, sit (καθη-) : κάθημαι, κάθῃ, κάθηται, third plural κάθηνται.
3711.4 κεῖμαι, lie, recline (κει-): κεῖμαι, third singular κεῖται, first plural κείμεθα, third plural κεῖνται.
3712. Catalogue of μι-verbs. A complete catalogue of verbs (in Bauer) showing any athematic inflection in the present (and imperfect) tense may be found in Appendix III: I.6 and I.7b (the latter is comprised of μι-verbs that reduplicate the present stem [§§342, 345.2]), together with the verbs in -νυμι and -ννυμι in IV.4. Note the large number, especially in IV.4, for which alternative present bases of a thematic type are given. For the athematic imperfect conjugation, see §§404-4050. For the athematic aorist, §§411-4121.2. The Future Indicative (Active and Middle)
0372. The future passive is built on the sixth principal part (§303) and so may be reserved for subsequent consideration (§§393-395).
372. The future system is headed by the second principal part (§303). The tense formant is σ (§346.2). Primary endings are employed. All futures are conjugated thematically (i.e. with variable vowel ο/ε, §§3661f.).
373. Vowel stem futures. Verbs having vowel stems that do not contract in the present tense (Class I.1a, §357) simply join σ to the present base to form the future base. Except for this difference, the future is inflected exactly like the present.
374. Contract verbs ending in a short vowel (α, ε, ο) (Class 1.2, §358) generally lengthen that vowel before the tense suffix: ἀγαπάω, ἀγαπήσω; λαλέω, λαλήσω; πληρόω, πληρώσω (subclasses I.2a, b, c). Some verbs in -α retain -α in forming the remaining tense stems (§358.1), e.g. γελάω, γελάσω. There is also a small group of verbs in -έω that retain short ε in the future (see Appendix III, I.5d, for a list).
375. Stop stem futures. Verbs with stems ending in a stop undergo regular transformation when σ is joined to the stem (Class I.3, Appendix III):
|labials||π, β, φ + σ = ψ||(ψ is pronounced πσ)|
|palatals||κ, γ, χ + σ = ξ||(ξ is pronounced κσ)|
|dentals||τ, δ, θ¸ + σ = σ||(a dental is lost before σ)|
|E.g.||βλέπω, βλέψω; τρίβω, τρίψω; γράφω, γράψω
διώκω, διώξω; ἄγω, ἀξω; ἄρχω, ἄρξομαι
φείδομαι, φείσομαι; πείθω, πείσω
|(no examples in Bauer of τ)|
3750. Once the tense stem is formed, the verbs in §§373-375, are inflected exactly like πιστεύσω (§373). The only difference between the present and future form-sets lies in the tense stem (suffix σ, with any consequent modifications).
376. Liquid futures. As indicated in §§3750, 346.2, the contrastive feature in present and future form-sets is customarily the obvious presence of the tense formant σ in the latter. The presence of the σ is not always apparent, however. Verbs whose base ends in a liquid (λ, ρ) or nasal (μ, ν) form the future base by adding -εσ ο/ε to the base: the σ disappears (intervocalic σ is often lost, §930.2), and ε contracts with the thematic vowel in accordance with the regular pattern (§917). Since the stem vowel is always ε, future form-sets of verbs of this type will look exactly like contract verbs in -έω in the present (§368, ποιέω). These futures are called 'liquid futures' for short.
|Sg. 1.||μενῶ (< μενεσω)||μενοῦμαι|
3760. Another group of verbs having a present tense in -ίζω, e.g. ἐγγίζω, also exhibit a 'contract' future. These verbs have stems ending in a dental (τ, δ or θ), which is lost before the σ (tense formant; cf. §359). In the Attic dialect, verbs of more than two syllables of this type added -(σ)ε- to the base to form the future base: ἐγγι-(σ)ε-ω > ἐγγιῶ. The σ disappeared, and the ε contracted with the thematic vowel, yielding a form-set identical with that of liquid verbs (μενῶ, §376). Because the pattern was common only in Attic, it is called the 'Attic future.' In other dialects, however, the customary pattern was followed, i.e. the dental of the base is simply lost before the tense formant: βαπτίζω (base: βαπτιδ-), βαπτίσω. As might be expected, hellenistic Greek utilizes both form-sets, sometimes showing alternative form-sets for the same verb, e.g. καθίζω, καθίσω or καθιῶ. These verbs belong to Class III.1a (Appendix III), but only verbs in -ίζω are involved (verbs in -άζω all have futures on the model, -άσω). Sixteen verbs of the 168 in Class III.1a show contract futures either as the only or the alternative form.
3761. One verb, πίπτω, has a 'Doric future,' πεσοῦμαι (aorist, ἔπεσον), which is also a 'contract' future, but the contraction in this case follows after the σ.
3762. The verbs χέω and πάσχω also show 'contract' futures: χέω, -χεῶ (χῶ is present, -χεῶ future); πάσχω, παθεῖται (only third singular appears in Bauer; the aorist is ἔπαθον).
3763. A few verbs form futures without the tense formant at all. These are verbs employing more than one root in the elaboration of principal parts (Class VI, Appendix III). There are only two listed in Bauer:
|ἐσθίω,||I eat||φάγομαι or ἔδομαι|
These futures are conjugated exactly like the present tense of ω-verbs (§367).
↓ 377. The 'liquid futures' referred to in §376 occur
with verbs drawn from a number of classes (Appendix III). All, of
course, have liquid or nasal stems. There are two major
(1) verbs having ostensibly identical present and future bases;
(2) verbs having an 'expanded' present base (in contrast to other principal parts).
377.1 Verbs of the first type come from Class I.4. A complete list is given below, §3791.4. The list is exhaustive for verbs of this class, except for οἰκτίρω (I.4), which shows a future, οἰκτιρήσω (a sigmatic, i.e. 'regular,' future).
377.2 Verbs of the second type belong to Classes III.3, 4; IV.4; V; VI. The following is a complete catalogue based on Bauer.
χαίρω, -χαροῦμαι (more commonly, χαρήσομαι)
|IV.4||ὄλλυμι, ὀλῶ (more commonly, -ολέσω)|
|VI||αἰρέω, αἰρήσομαι but also -ελῶ
378. The future of εἰμί. The common verb εἰμί, I am, is irregular in the future tense, but only modestly so. It is deponent in the future, i.e. it takes primary middle-passive endings (§318) but is active in meaning. Except for the third singular, it is conjugated thematically.
|Sg. 1.||ἔσομαι||Pl.. 1.||ἐσόμεθα|
The future conjugation, like the present (§371) and imperfect (§405), must be committed carefully to memory.
379. Contrastive features of the future. Aside from the two 'irregular' verbs in §3763, the future tense is marked by two form-sets, one showing the tense formant σ attached to the present base (with appropriate phonetic modification where the base ends in a stop consonant, §375), the other exhibiting a contract pattern without the tense formant (the 'Doric future,' §3761, excepted). In both cases the personal endings are identical with those employed in the present tense. The first type of form-set is by far the more common.
3790. In the former, the presence of the tense formant σ in contrast to the present base is a clear signal:
It is often the case, of course, that the future base differs from the present base in other respects as well, e.g. δίδωμι, δώσω.
3791. In the latter, the situation is more complex. The contract pattern of conjugation (§§368f. , 376) is confined to the present (including the imperfect, §§402-4031) and future tense systems. And a verb showing a contract pattern in the present system will not show one in the future and conversely (χέω, §3762, excepted; unlike Attic, there are no verbs with identical present and future form-sets; cf. Bl-D §74 (1), Smyth §§535, 538f., 540). Since there are other clues to the imperfect (augment, secondary endings), identification of a future contract form depends again on contrastive features in relation to the present forms of the same verbs. The most general rule that applies would be:
3791.1 A contract form in contrast to an unaontraated present form of the same verb will be future.
This general rule should be particularized and the possible confusions pointed out:
3791.2 A contract form ending in -ιῶ, in contrast to a present form in -ζω, is future. Possible confusion: a number of contract verbs in -άω and -όω in the present tense have present bases ending in ι (in their contracted form), e.g. κοπιάω = κοπιῶ, etc.; ἀξιόω = ἀξιῶ, etc. These present forms might be confused, at a few points in the form set, with futures in -ιῶ from verbs in -ζω.
3791.3 A contract form with a base ending in a liquid (λ, ρ) or nasal (μ, ν), in contrast to an uncontracted present form with an 'expanded' base, will be future. That is to say, most verbs with liquid or nasal bases show a contrast also in base as between present and future, e.g.:
Note that the present base is 'expanded' by comparison with the future base.
3791.4 There is, nevertheless, a very small class of liquid verbs with present and future bases ostensibly identical, e.g. μένω / μενῶ. Verbs comprising this small group come from Class 1.4, Appendix III:
The contrast turns, in the first singular, solely on the accent, but this possibility of confusion does not extend to the whole set, since other forms in the sets show contrasts involving vowel or diphthong joining base to ending. The full paradigms are given for comparison; forms identical save for accent are underlined.
|3.||μένουσι (ν)||μενοῦσι (ν)|
Easy confusions are thus confined to five forms in the set.
3791.5 It is necessary to bear in mind that not all contract forms with liquid or nasal bases are future: there are many verbs with liquid or nasal stems that are conjugated on the contract pattern in the present tense, e.g. (λαλέω) λαλῶ, (μαρτυρέω) μαρτυρῶ; these verbs will not, of course, have liquid (=contract) futures, e.g. λαλήσω, μαρτυρήσω. The contrasts set out in §§3791.1-4 therefore refer to the present tense of the same verb.
380. Summary. The vast majority of Greek verbs will show the tense formant σ as the sign of the future. Those that do not will have 'contract' futures, and these have to be identified as futures by contrast with present forms of the same verbs. Special attention should therefore be given to the first and second principal parts of these verbs (§§377, 3791.4).