Lesson 25: Verbs/Indicative Mood, Primary Tenses

A. Conjugation of the Primary Tenses (continued)
3. The Perfect Active

0385. The perfect middle-passive is built on the fifth principal part (§303) and so may be reserved for the subsequent section (§§389-3922).

385. The perfect active system is headed by the fourth principal part (§303). Since the pluperfect active, which belongs to the system, is a secondary tense, attention is confined here to the perfect active. The perfect active is formed on a reduplicated base (§§341-3440), to which is added the tense suffix -κα- (§§346.3, 347, 3663), and primary endings (§318).

3850. The perfect active described in §385 is the so-called first perfect. There is also a less common second perfect, which is formed in exactly the same way, except that the tense suffix is -α- rather than -κα-. There is no grammatical significance in the difference between the two formations.

386. The first perfect active
Verb base: πιστεύω, perfect active base: πε-πιστευ-κ-α

Sg. 1. πεπίστευκα
2. πεπίστευκας
3. πεπίστευκε (ν)
Pl. 1. πεπιστεύκαμεν
2. πεπιστεύκατε
3. πεπιστεύκασι (ν)

3860. Notes:

3860.1 The 1. sg. has no personal ending, nor does the 3. sg. The sole contrasting feature is the difference between α and ε (to the latter ν-movable may be added).

3860.2 On the 3. pl. ending -σι (ν) , s. §3180.4. In place of this ending -αν is occasionally found (borrowed from first aorist active — a secondary ending), s. Bl-D §83 for particulars.

387. The second perfect active
Verb base: γράφω, perfect active base: γε-γραφ-α

Sg. 1. γέγραφα
2. γέγραφας
3. γέγραφε (ν)
Pl. 1. γεγράφαμεν
2. γεγράφατε
3. γεγράφασι (ν)

↓ 3870. There are twenty-one verbs showing second perfects in the literature covered by Bauer. Arranged in the order of the categories in Appendix III, they are:

I.1a ἀκούω ἀκήκοα
I.3a γράφω γέγραφα
λείπω -λέλοιπα
πέμπω πέπομφα
σήπω σέσηπα
I.3b ἀνοίγω ἀνέῳγα
φεύγω -πέφευγα
I.3c πείθω πέποιθα
I.7b γίνομαι γέγονα
III.1b κράζω κέκραγα
III.2 πράσσω πέπραχα
τάσσω τέταχα
φύλασσω πεφύλαχα
IV.2 λαμβάνω εἴληφα
τυγχάνω τέτευχα
IV.4 δείκνυμι δέδειχα
ὄλλυμι (-όλωλα)
ῥήγνυμι -έρρηγα
VI. ἔρχομαι ἐλήλυθα
πάσχω πέπονθα
φέρω -ενήνοχα

↓ 3871. Occasionally second perfects from verbs with stems ending in π, β or χ, γ show an aspirated tense stem on the analogy of the correlative aspirated stops, φ and χ: γράφω / γέγραφα, then λαμβάνω / εἴληφα (stem: λαβ-). There are seven examples in the list in §3870: πέμπω / πέπομφα; πράσσω / πέπραχα; τάσσω / τέταχα; φυλάσσω / πεφύλαχα; λαμβάνω / εἴληφα; δείκνυμι / δέδειχα; φέρω / -ενήνοχα (perfect stem: ενοχ-).

388. Οἶδα. οἶδα, I know, is a second or strong perfect used as a present (i.e. there are no 'tenses' other than perfect and pluperfect [§§418, 487.5]). It does not show reduplication, but its inflection is perfectly regular:

Sg. 1. οἶδα Pl. 1. οἴδαμεν
2. οἶδας 2. οἴδατε
3. οἶδε (ν) 3. οἴδασι (ν)

Note: A third plural ἴσασι (ν) appears once in the New Testament (Acts 26:4); it is a survival of the old Attic conjugation.

↓ 3880. Perfects without present stem. Two other verbs have perfect (and pluperfect) forms only: εἴωθα, I am accustomed, from an obsolete present ἔθω, ἔοικα, seem, used only impersonally, it seems, ἔοικεν, from an obsolete present εἴκω.

4. The Perfect Middle-Passive

389. The perfect middle-passive system is headed by the fifth principal part (§303). Since the pluperfect middle-passive, which belongs to the system, is a secondary tense, attention is confined here to the perfect middle-passive forms. The perfect middle-passive base is formed on a reduplicated base (§§341-3440) , which is regularly identical with this part of the perfect active base. To the reduplicated base primary middle-passive endings (§318) are joined directly, i.e. there is no tense suffix and no other stem formative (cf. the perfect active, §385).

390. In the case of verbs with perfect middle-passive stems ending in a vowel, the personal endings are joined to the stem without phonetic change.

Verb base: πιστεύω, Perfect middle-passive base: πε-πιστευ-μαι

Sg. 1. πεπίστευμαι Pl. 1. πεπιστεύμεθα
2. πεπίστευσαι 2. πεπίστευσθε
3. πεπίστευται 3. πεπίστευνται

391. Verbs with perfect middle-passive stems ending in a liquid (λ, ρ) or nasal (μ, ν) are also largely free of phonetic change.

391.1 In both cases, however, the σ of the 2. pl. ending (-σθε) drops out between two consonants, e.g. ἔσταλθε (< εσταλσθε), ἐξήρανθε (< εξηρανσθε).

391.2 In the case of stems ending in ν, the ν is of course assimilated to a following μ (§929.5), in the 1. sg. and 1. pl., and in the participle used to form the 3. pl.

στέλλω, ἔσταλ- ξηραίνω, ἐξήραν-
Sg. 1. ἔσταλμαι ἐξήραμμαι (< -νμαι)
2. ἔσταλσαι ἐξήρανσαι
3. ἔσταλται ἐξήρανται
Pl. 1. ἐστάλμεθα ἐξηράμμεθα (< -νμεθα)
2. ἔσταλθε (< -λσθε) ἐξήρανθε (< -νσθε)
3. ἐσταλμένοι εἰσί (ν) ἐξηραμμένοι εἰσί (ν) (< -νμένοι)

3910. Note:

Perfect middle-passive stems ending in a consonant regularly form the 3. pl. periphrastically, i.e. with participle and the 3. pl. of the verb be. This applies also to verbs with stems ending in a stop, §392.

392. Verbs with perfect middle-passive stems ending in a stop undergo phonetic change,when joined to the personal endings, in accordance with regular patterns. The pattern depends on whether the stop in question is a labial (π, β, φ), a palatal (κ, γ, χ), or a dental (τ, δ, θ). The patterns may be summarized in relation to the endings:

392.1 Before μ (1. sg. -μαι, 1. pl. -μεθα, and 3. pl. in the participle)

a labial becomes μ
a palatal becomes γ
a dental becomes σ

392.2 Before σ (2. sg. -σαι),

a labial becomes ψ
a palatal becomes ξ.
a dental becomes σ (the double σσ is then simplified to σ)

Cf. the formation of the future tense base, §375.

392.3 Before a dental (3. sg. -ται, 2. pi. -(σ)θε [the σ drops out]),

a labial becomes coordinate, i.e. before τ, π, before θ, φ
a palatal becomes coordinate, i.e. before τ, κ, before θ, χ
a dental becomes σ

See §§925, 926, 927 for a fuller account of these phonetic changes.

There are thus three patterns for the perfect middle-passive of verbs ending in a stop, one for labials, one for palatals, and one for dentals.

3920. Ordered as form-sets, the patterns may be exemplified as follows:

  Labial stems Palatal stems Dental stems
  γράφω, γεγραφ- δέχομαι, δεδεχ- πείθω, πεπειθ-
1.    γέγραμμαι δέδεγμαι πέπεισμαι
2.    γέγραψαι δέδεξαι πέπεισαι
3.    γέγραπται δέδεκται πέπεισται
1.    γεγράμμεθα δεδέγμεθα πεπείσμεθα
2.    γέγραφθε δέδεχθε πέπεισθε
3.    γεγραμμένοι εἰσί (ν) δεδεγμένοι εἰσί (ν) πεπεισμένοι εἰσί (ν)

3921. Notes:

3921.1 Dentals stems show σ throughout.

3921.2 The 3. pl. forms are periphrastic; cf. §3910.

3922. Verbs of classes I.3c and III.1a, Appendix III, will show σ as the final stem consonant in the perfect middle-passive since these verbs all have dental stems. Verbs of class III.1a, especially, are numerous. On the analogy of these verbs and others whose stems end in σ, a number of other verbs show a final stem σ in the perfect middle-passive and/or first aorist passive (on which see §422). This is characteristically the case where the final stem vowel in the perfect middle-passive is short, but it appears also in other cases.

A catalogue of verbs showing an inserted σ in the perfect middle-passive and/or aorist passive is given in §422.

5. The Future Passive

0393. The future passive is built on the sixth principal part, which is the 1. sg. indicative of the aorist passive (§303). Although the aorist passive is a secondary tense, it will be necessary to give a preliminary account of the formation of the aorist passive base in order to be able to treat the future passive, which is, of course, a primary tense.

393. The aorist passive base of the 'regular' verb will show an augment prefixed to the verb base, and a tense formative in -θη- suffixed to the verb base (§§346.4, 347), e.g. ἐ-πιστεύ-θη-. Secondary active endings are employed, which, in the 1. sg., is -ν, giving the full form ἐ-πιστεύ-θη-ν. Analogous to the perfect active, there is a first and second aorist passive: one form with -θη- as the tense suffix, and one form with only -η- (the perfect has forms with and without -κ-, §3850). The second aorist passive is exemplified by φύω: ἐ-φύ-η-ν. There is normally no grammatical significance in the difference between first and second aorist passive forms.

394. The future passive base is the aorist passive base, (1) less augment (primary tenses are not augmented, §0335, (2) plus the tense suffix of the future, σ §§346.2, 347), e.g. ἐ-πιστευ-θη: πιστευ-θη-σ-. Primary middle-passive endings are employed (§318), and are joined to the base by means of variable vowel ο/ε (§§322, 372): e.g. πιστευ-θή-σ-ο-μαι. The second future passive is formed in precisely the same way from verbs showing a second aorist passive (the tense formant will, of course, be -η- rather than -θη-): ἐ-φύ-η-ν: φυ-ή-σ-ο-μαι.

πιστεύω, ἐπιστεύθην (πιστευθήσομαι) φύω, ἐφύην (φυήσομαι)
Sg. 1. πιστευθήσομαι φυήσομαι
2. πιστευθήσῃ φυήσῃ
3. πιστευθήσεται φυήσεται
Pl. 1. πιστευθησόμεθα φυησόμεθα
2. πιστευθήσεσθε φυήσεσθε
3. πιστευθήσονται φυήσονται

3940. Mnemonic hints:

3940.1 The 2. sg. ending -σαι contracts to -ῃ as it does in the present middle-passive of ω-verbs and in the future middle (§3180.5).

3940.2 The tense formant -θη- (or -η-) is the only means of distinguishing the future passive from the future middle in 'regular' verbs, e.g. πιστεύσομαι / πιστευθήσομαι. In many verbs, however, there will also be a difference in the verb stem, e.g. πέμπω, future middle πέμψομαι, future passive πεμφθήσομαι; cf. στρέφω, -στρέψομαι, στραφήσομαι.

395. Summary. The perfect active, middle-passive and future passive will occur relatively infrequently in texts, in comparison with the frequency of the present, future active and future middle. Forms of the former should be readily identifiable, nevertheless, by virtue of their characteristic markers:

395.1 Perfect active: reduplicated base, plus stem formative α(ε), with or without tense formative κ.

395.2 Perfect middle-passive: reduplicated base, with mid.-pass. primary personal endings joined directly to the stem.

395.3 Future passive: tense formative -θη- or -η-, plus tense sign of the future σ, with variable vowel ο/ε and primary personal endings.

It will naturally be easier to spot these forms after gaining some familiarity with the ways the tense stems of various classes of verbs are normally developed.