Lesson 38: The Predicate/Verb Chains
580. Transitive verbs chaining with an infinitive.
580.1 In traditional grammars, verb chains like those represented by
|(23)||οὐ [γὰρ] ἀπέστειλέν /||με /||Χριστὸς /||βαπτίζειν|
|[For] Christ did not send me to baptize||1 Cor 1:17|
are customarily grouped with verb chains of Group II on the grounds that in both cases the infinitive expresses purpose. However, the structure of (23) differs from the structure of the verb chains in Group II in one important respect: The subject of the infinitive is different from the subject of the cate-native verb, and is normally signaled by the accusative case. The construction with accusative (subject of the infinitive) and infinitive suggests that the catenative verb is transitive. If the catenative is transitive, it should be subject to a passive transformation (§508.3). And the passive form of αποστέλλω with infinitive does appear:
|(24)||κοα) άπεστάλην /||λαλησαι, /||προς σε||Lk 1:19|
|And I was sent to speak to you|
In the passive transform, the accusative subject of the infinitive becomes the subject of the catenative verb, while the infinitive is retained as a verbal complement.
580.2 Verb chains like that represented by (23) and (24) are further illustrated by:
|(25)||καὶ) ἔπεμψεν /||αὐτὸν /||εἰς τοὺς ἀγροὺς|
|αὐτοῦ /||βόσκειν /||χοίρους||Lk 15:15|
|And he sent him into his fields to feed swine|
Verb chains of this type with συνάγω appear in the New Testament only in the passive form:
|(26)||σχεδὸν πᾶσα ἡ πόλις /||συνήχθη /|
|ἀκοῦσαι /||τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου||Acts 13:44|
|Almost the whole city was gathered together to hear the word of the Lord|
|(27)||συνήχθησαν [δὲ] οἱ||ἀποστολοὶ (καὶ) οἱ|
|πρεσβύτεροι /||ἰδεῖν /||περὶ τοῦ λόγου τούτου||Acts 15:6|
|The apostles and elders were gathered together to consider this matter|
580.3 As is the case with verb chains in Group II, an agnate (§592.2) construction with ίνα and the subjunctive may substitute for the infinitive in chains like those represented by (23)-(27). We may call the ἵνα-construction the ἵνα-transformation (Τ-ἵνα, for short), since the relations between the two constructions are regular and systematic. For example, (28) may be regarded as Τ-ἵνα of a sentence identical in structure with (23):
|(28)||οὐ [γὰρ] ἀπέστειλεν /||ὁ θεὸς /||τὸν υἱὸν /|
|εἰς τὸν κόσμον /||ἵνα κρίνῃ τὸν κόσμον||Jn 3:17|
|For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world|
And (29) is the corresponding T-ἵνα of (25):
|(29)||πέμψον /||Λάζαρον /||ἵνα βάψῃ τὸ ἄκρον τοῦ|
|δακτύλου αὺτοῦ ὕδατος (καὶ) καταψύξῃ τὴν γλῶσσάν μου||Lk 16:24|
|Send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue|
580.4 It may be said that transitive verbs like ἀποστέλλω, πέμπω, and ἀνάγω are causatives of motion, and so may be followed by an infinitive expressing purpose in a way quite similar to the catenatives in Group II. Indeed, (25) and (28) show that catenatives of this type may take immediate adverbial modifiers like the catenatives of Group II (§574.2). However, the grammatical difference is critical: The catenatives in Group II are intransitive and thus can have no passive transform; this also means that the subject of catenative and infinitive is always identical (§574.2). In verb chains of the type represented by (23)-(29), the catenative is transitive; consequently, it may have a passive transform (the passive form is not always attested) , and the subject of the catenative and infinitive differ (in the active form). Such verb chains may be designated Group III.
580.5 Verb chains of Group III include more than causatives of motion (§580.4), and the infinitive does not always express purpose, as will be noted below (§§581ff.).
581. θέλω as Catenative. A complementary infinitive often appears with θέλω, wish, want, be willing. If we take
|(30)||θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀμέριμνους εἶναι||1 Cor 7:32|
|I want you to be free from anxieties|
as the paradigm case, verb chains with θέλω belong to Group III (§580). However, a passive transform of (30) is not attested. On the other hand, θέλω may take a direct object in a type III sentence (e.g. Mt 9:13); it is therefore transitive, in spite of the fact that a passive form was not developed. The limitation of §580 (§508.3), viz. that a transitive verb is subject to a passive transformation, does not apply to θέλω.
Alongside (30) must now be set:
|(31)||οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν||Mt 22:3|
|They did not want to come|
in which the subject of catenative and infinitive are identical. The structure of (31) is identical with the structure of verb chains in Group I (§573). How is θέλω to be classified as a catenative verb?
It was observed that for verb chains in Group I analytic constructions with ἵνα and the subjunctive are not possible (§573.3). For verb chains in Groups II (§576) and III (§580.3), however, they are possible. In the case of θέλω, an alternative construction with ἵνα and the subjunctive is permitted only in those instances where the subject of the catenative and the subject of the infinitive are different, e.g.
|(32)||θέλω δὲ πάντας ὑμᾶς λαλεῖν γλώσσαις,
μᾶλλον δὲ ἵνα προφητεύητε
|1 Cor 14:5|
|[Now] I want you all to speak in tongues,
but even more to prophesy
In (32) θέλω is followed by both an infinitive and a ἵνα-clause, with a subject different from that of the catenative. Τ-ἵνα is not possible for (31).
θέλω may thus initiate two types of verb chains: (1) those belonging to Group Ib, in which the subject of catenative and infinitive are identical and an analytic construction is not permitted (§573.3), and (2) those belonging to Group III, in which the subjects are different and an analytic construction is permitted. Neither the infinitive nor ἵνα and the subjunctive with θέλω, strictly speaking, denotes purpose.
Many catenative verbs initiate verb chains of more than one type.
582. Verb chains in Group III, as identified in §§580-581 meet the following criteria:
582.1 The catenative verb is transitive;
582.2 The subject of the infinitive complement (signaled by the accusative case) differs from the subject of the catenative;
582.3 The verb chain is subject to a passive transformation (where the catenative appears in a passive form), in which the accusative subject of the infinitive becomes the subject of the passive catenative and the infinitive is retained as a verbal complement;
582.4 The verb chain is subject to T-ἵva (cf. §580.3), in which ἵva and the subjunctive replaces the infinitive.
582.5 Criteria (1) and (2) will isolate a much larger group of verb chains than can be accommodated by (3) and (4). Criterion (3), the T-pass, is not always applicable (cf. θέλω, §581), and, as we shall see, it is not always applicable in the form stated (§§583.3-4, 585.3-5). Criterion (4), moreover, can be used to distinguish two fundamentally different types of verb chains, both of which meet criteria (1) and (2). As defined, then, Group III includes a variety of verb chains, which require further analysis.
583. Sometimes included among infinitives of purpose are constructions like
|(33)||ἔδωκαν αὐτῷ πιεῖν οἶνον||Mt 27:34|
|They gave him wine to drink|
(e.g. Bl-D §390(2)), on the grounds that the original datival function of the infinitive is manifest: wine for drinking.
583.1 It should be noted that the peculiar arrangement of complements with this verb chain is occasioned by the nature of the catenative verb, δίδωμι, which takes both a direct and an indirect object:
|(34)||ταῦτά σοι πάντα δώσω||Mt 4:9|
|I shall give you all these things|
The direct and indirect objects are related to the verb in (34) but in different ways (S-IV, §§509f.). The same set of relationships holds in (33) between αὺτῷ, oἶvov and the main verb, in spite of the presence of the infinitive.
583.2 The relationships between αὐτώ, οἶνον and the infinitive, πιεῖν, are not the same as between αὐτῷ, oἶvov and the main verb: The indirect object of the main verb, αὐτῷ, is the subject of the infinitive, while oἶvov is the direct object of both the infinitive and the main verb. In other words, the deep structure of αὐτῷ πιεῖν οἶνον is: he drinks wine.
583.3 The passive transformation of (33) is
|(35)||ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς
βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν
|The secrets of the kingdom have been given
to you to know
|(36)||σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ||Mt 12:39|
|A sign shall not be given to it [this generation]|
In both cases the direct object of the finite verb becomes the subject in the passive transformation. And this is the only passive form attested for predicates headed by δίδωμι.
583.4 In relation to the verb chains of Group III, the verb chains of Group IV meet the first two criteria given in §582.1-2, but in the T-passive of IV it is the object of the infinitive that becomes the subject of the passive form (35), rather than the accusative subject of the infinitive (23). The "subject" of the infinitives in Group IV are in the dative case, because the catenatives may head predicates of S-IV, which take both direct and indirect objects.
583.5 An analytical construction with ἵνα and the subjunctive is attested for (33):
|(37)||τὰ γὰρ ἔργα ἃ δέδωκεν μοι ὁ πατὴρ ἵνα τελειώσω αὐτά, . . .||Jn 5:36|
|For the works which the Father has given me to do, . . .|
This construction proves that the indirect object in the deep structure of (33) is the "subject" of the infinitive, since μοι and the subject of τελειώσω in (37) refer to the same person. An identical example is to be found in Jn 17:4.
583.6 On the basis of the distinction indicated in §583.4, verb chains like that represented by (33) should be given the designation, Group IV. The catenative verbs in Group IV are related to the verbs of S-IV (§§509f.).
583.7 The structure of verb chains of Group IV is indicated by the following parallel clauses:
|(38)||ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ,
οὕτως καὶ τῷ υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν
|For just as the father has life in himself,
so he has given life to the son to have
The deep structure of τῷ υἱῷ ... ζωὴν ἔχειν is: the son has life, as is indicated by the preceding clause: the father has life.
583.8 Constituent elements may of course be deleted with verb chains as with common sentence types (§§604-608). In the following, the direct object is deleted:
|(39)||καὶ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν||Mt 5:35|
|and you gave me (something) to eat|
584. Catenatives of Group V consist of verbs of perception, i.e. verbs meaning to hear, see, perceive, find (= discover, detect). These verbs may take a supplementary participle when they denote an actual physical act of perception:
|(40)||καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ δύο μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος||Jn 1:37|
|And the two disciples heard him speaking|
what they heard is: him speaking.
584.1 The structure of (40) is comparable to the structure of verb chains in Group III: The catenative is transitive, and the subject of the participle differs from the subject of the main verb (cf. §582.1-2). The participle and its subject here appear in the genitive case: ἀκούω takes the genitive of the person heard (accusative of the thing, §595).
584.2 Verb chains like that in (40) are also subject to a passive transformation, in which the subject of the supplementary participle (in an oblique case) becomes the subject of the main (passive) verb:
|(41)||εὑρέθη ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχουσα ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου||Mt 1:18|
|She was found to be with child of the holy spirit|
The active form of (41) would be something like:
|(i)||They found her to be with child of the holy spirit|
Verb chains in Group V thus meet the T=pass criterion of verb chains in Group III (§582.3).
584.3 The grammatical difference between verb chains of Group V and those of Group III (and IV) is that Group V chains are not subject to Τ-ἵνα (§582.4). Indeed, for all verb chains like (40) there is no correlative analytical construction at all.
584.4 Verb chains of Group V are also to be distinguished from the supplementary participles appearing in Groups la (§568) and Ib (§571). In the Group V, the subject of the participle always differs from the subject of the main verb; the catenative may take complements other than the participle. The reverse of these statements characterizes Groups la and Ib (§573).
584.5 Catenatives of perception may take complements in a case other than the genitive. The most frequent case is the accusative:
|(42)||εἶδεν Ἰησοῦς τὸν Ναθαναὴλ ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτόν||Jn 1:47|
|Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him|
|(43)||καὶ θεωρεῖ τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεῳγμένον καὶ
καταβαῖνον σκεῦός τι ὡς ὀθόνην μεγάλην
|And he saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet|
A catenative may occasionally require the dative:
|(44)||καὶ ἐμβλέψας τῷ Ἰησοῦ περιπατοῦντι λέγει, . . .||Jn 1:36|
|And he looked at Jesus walking and says, . . .|
The case depends, of course, on the nature of the catenative verb.
584.6 Supplementary participles belonging to Group V are relatively common in hellenistic texts. This type is traditionally referred to as a supplementary participle not in indirect discourse, in order to distinguish it from the supplementary participle in indirect discourse (Group VI, §585). The two resemble each other closely, and are sometimes hard to distinguish.
585.1 In sentences (45) and (46),
|(45)||ἤχουσαν τοῦτο αὐτὸν πεποιηκέναι, τὸ σημεῖον||Jn 12:18|
|They heard (that) he had done this sign|
|(46)||ἀκούω σχίσματα ἐν ὑμῖν ὑπάρχειν||1 Cor 11:18|
|I hear (that) there are divisions among you|
the catenative is transitive and the subject of the infinitive, in these instances, differs from the subject of the catenative. In these respects verb chains of Group VI are like those of Groups III-V, but in other respects they differ. Since verb chains in Group VI occur in what is customarily called indirect discourse, it may be helpful to consider what that entails before proceeding.
585.2 Sentence (45) is usually described as indirect discourse in the form of the (accusative subject and) infinitive after verbs of perception, believing, saying, showing. Someone makes the assertion,
|(i)||He has done this sign|
which may then be heard:
|(ii)||They heard that he had done this sign|
|(iii)||They believed that he had done this sign|
|(iv)||They said that he had done this sign|
|(v)||They indicated that he had done this sign|
Similarly, a group may have observed a certain activity and are reported to have taken note of it mentally:
|(vi)||They observed that he had done this sign|
Verbs of perception followed by indirect discourse (vi) denote an intellectual act of perception. This usage is to be distinguished from catenatives of perception denoting a physical act of perception and taking a supplementary participle (§584).
In sentences (ii)-(vi), the original assertion (i) is said to be reported indirectly. That (ii)-(vi) represent indirect speech is indicated by the shift in tense (in English but not necessarily in Greek) between (i) and the other forms. Other examples of indirect discourse may also involve a change in person (e.g. I saw him do it / He said that he saw him do it). The assertion in (i) may, of course, be reported directly:
|(vii)||They said, "He has done this sign"|
in which (i) is embedded unchanged.
In Greek, (i) is embedded in indirect form either by means of the (accusative and) infinitive, or by means of a ὅτι-clause (§648). Less frequently, indirect discourse is represented by the supplementary participle.
585.3 In the passive form of (45), (46), the infinitive and its complements become the subject of the passive verb, i.e. the indirectly reported statement becomes the subject of the passive verb:
|(47)||καὶ ἦν αὐτῷ κεχρηματισμένον ὑπὸ τοῦ πνεύματος
τοῦ ἁγίου μὴ ἰδεῖν θάνατον
|And it had been revealed to him by the holy spirit
that he should not see death
The passive form is not common.
585.4 The use of the infinitive in indirect discourse is on the decline in the hellenistic period (Bl-D §§396, 470). The correlative analytic construction with ὅτι (§648) is more common:
|(48)||ἤκουσατε ὅτι ἐγὼ εἶπον ὑμῖν,
ὑπάγω καὶ ἔρχομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς
|you heard that I said to you,
"I go away and I will come to you"
This example is cited not only because it illustrates indirect discourse introduced by ὅτι, but also because it contains a direct quotation embedded in the indirect. The passive form of (48) is:
|(49)||ἠκούσθη ὅτι ἐν οὄκῳ ἐστίν||Mk 2:1|
|It was reported that he was at home|
As in the form with infinitive (48), the entire indirectly quoted statement becomes the subject of the passive verb.
585.5 Verb chains of Group VI are like those of Groups III-V in that the catenative is transitive and, in the examples given thus far, the subject of the infinitive differs from the subject of the main (catenative) verb. Verb chains in Groups III and IV are subject to T-ἵνα. (§§582.4, 583.5); those in Group V have no correlative analytical construction, while those in Group VI are subject to Τ-ὅτι (§585.4). The T-pass of VI differs from the passive transformations of the preceding groups as well (cf. §585.3 with §§582.3, 583.2, 584.2). Verb chains like those represented by (45) and (46) therefore represent a distinct group.
585.50 It is possible in indirect discourse for the subject of the catenative and the subject of the infinitive (or participle) to be identical:
|(50)||φάχτκοντες εἶναι, σοφοὶ ...||Rom 1:22|
|Asserting that they are wise ...|
In this case, the subject of the infinitive has to be supplied from the main verb, and complements of the subject will accordingly be in the nominative case. This construction is not common in the New Testament (Bl-D §405). This form of indirect discourse does not belong, of course, to verb chains in Group VI as defined in §585.5.
585.6 Further examples of the infinitive in indirect discourse:
|(51)||ἔλεγον αὔτὸν εἶναι θεόν||Acts 28:6|
|They said that he was a God|
|(52)||τινά με λέγουσιν oἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι;||Mk 8:27|
|Who do men say that I am?|
Another example of Τ-ὅτι:
|(53)||ἀλλ' ὅτε εἶδον ὅτι οὐκ ὁρθοποδοῦσιν||Gal 2:14|
|But when I saw that they were not straightforward|
585.7 The participle is also found in verb chains of Group VI:
|(54)||ἀκούομεν γὰρ τινας περιπατοῦντας ἐν
|2 Thess 3:11|
|For we hear that some of you are living in idleness|
|(55)||ὃς οὐ γινώσκει τὴν Ἐφεσίων πόλιν νεωκόρον
οὖσαν τῆς μεγάλης Ἀρτέμιδος ...;
|Who does not know that the city of the
Ephesians is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis?
The supplementary participle in indirect discourse is to be distinguished from the supplementary participle in Group V (§584) in accordance with §585.2. The construction with the participle in Group VI is not common in hellenistic Greek. Cf. Bl-D §416.