Lesson 40: The Predicate/Variation on Constituent Elements



600. The predicate of a type IV sentence (S-IV) was defined (§509) as a verb taking both a direct (accusative case) and an indirect (dative case) object. Type IV sentences are common with verbs of saying, answering, and related words (λέγω, εἶπον [s. Appendix III, class VI for the principal parts], λαλέω, ἀποκρίνομαι, φημί) , e.g.

1b 4n+ 2 5b
(1) ἀλλ'] ἐγὼ / τὴν ἀλήθευαν / λέγω / ὑμῖν Jn 16:7
But] I tell you the truth

One form of the passive transformation of S-IV (s. §510) is the following:

5n+ 2pass 1n+
(2) τῷ [δὲ] Ἀβραὰμ / ἐρρέθησαν / αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι /
(καὶ) τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ Gal 3:16
The promises were made (said) to Abraham and to his descendants

In this form the direct object of the active becomes the subject in the passive.

601. The direct object in S-IV. Compare the following trio of sentences:

(i) I tell you the truth
(ii) I tell you that you can do it
(iii) I tell you, "You can do it"

(i)-(iii) indicate that the direct object with verbs of saying can take the form of (i) a noun cluster (or equivalent), (ii) an indirectly quoted statement, and (iii) a directly quoted statement. In Greek texts like the New Testament, forms (ii) and (iii) are more common than (i). In fact, the preponderance of type IV sentences in the gospels consists of sentences with the structure of (iii).

601.1 An included sentence as object is not, of course, signaled by case. The quoted statement, however, normally comes last in the sentence. This example is typical:

2 5d 1n+ S4
(3) εἶπον [οὖν] αὐτῷ / οἱ Φαρισαῖοι / σὺ
περὶ σεαυτοῦ μαρτυρεῖς Jn 8:13
The Pharisees [then] said to him, "You
give testimony on your own behalf ... "

Note: s was the symbol adopted for any included sentence (§5550) It is marked s4 when the included sentence is object (§592). A convenient convention is to capitalize the symbol (S4) when the included statement represents a direct (as opposed to an indirect) quotation.

601.2 A quoted statement as object may also take the indirect form, as in (ii) :

2-1 5b s4
(4) εἶπον [οὖν] ὑμῖν / ὅτι ἀποθανεῖσθε ἐν
ταῖς ἁμαρτίας ὑμῶν Jn 8:24
I [therefore] told you that you would die in your sins

601.3 The direct object in S-IV with verbs of saying may thus commonly take the form of 4n+ (noun cluster with head term in the accusative case), S4 , and s4.

602. The indirect object in S-IV. Compare the following sentences:

(i) I told him the truth
(ii) I told the truth to him
(iii) I tell you, "You will die in your sins"
(iv) I say to you, "you will die in your sins"

(i) and (ii) indicate that the indirect object in English is used without preposition if it precedes the direct object, but with preposition if it follows the direct object. This convention appears to be rigid since a violation produces nonsense or at least awkwardness:

xI told the truth him
xI told to him the truth

Some verbs of saying in English require a preposition with the indirect object, others do not admit it under certain circumstances. We may say, I tell you, " . . . ", but not xI tell to you, ". . . ". Or, I say to you, ". . . ", but not, xI say you, ". . . ".

602.1 The indirect object in Greek, too, may be introduced by a preposition. With

2 5d 1n S4
(5) εἶπεν / αὐτοῖς / Ἰησοῦς / . . . Jn 8:58
Jesus said to them, . . .


2 1n+ p4d5
(6) εἶπον [οὖν] οἱ Ἰουδαίοι / πρὸς αὐτόν,... Jn 8:57
The Jews [then] said to him, . . .

p4d in (6) replaced 5d in (5) with no apparent difference in grammatical relation. (6) may therefore be said to be agnate to (5); p4d is thus marked p4d5 to indicate that the p-group functions as indirect object.

Note: This use of the symbol 5 assumes that the dative case normally signals the indirect object in the predicate. Statistically this is probably an incorrect assumption. Nevertheless, in order to conserve symbols and to relate morphology and syntax wherever possible, it seems appropriate to utilize the symbol for the form of the dative also as a designation for one of the basic syntactical relations the dative serves to express. Cf. §592.3, Note.

602.2 πρός with the acc. is used to signal the indirect object with all the verbs of saying listed in §600. It is the common agnate construction for the simple dative of the indirect object with these verbs. Occasionally one finds still other agnate constructions, e.g.

4d 2-1 p4n+5
(7) ταῦτα / λαλῶ / εἰς τὸν κόσμον Jn 8:26
These things I declare to the world

And with a slight difference in nuance:

2 4n 1d
(8) λαλεῖτε / ἀλήθειαν / ἕκαστος / μετὰ τοῦ
πλήσιον αὐτοῦ Eph 5:25
Let every one speak the truth with his neighbor

i.e. reciprocally.

Note: μετὰ τοῦ πλήσιον αὐτοῦ is marked p6A because πλήσιον is an indeclinable adverb, often used as a substantive (ὁ πλήσιον = the near one).

602.3 With verbs other than verbs of saying, agnate constructions for the simple dative of the indirect object in S-IV are perhaps less common. Nevertheless, πέμπω, send, admits πρός and acc. along with the dative:

2-1 5b 4n
(9) διὰ τοῦτο] ἔπεμψα / ὑμῖν / Τιμόθεον 1 Cor 4:17
For this reason] I sent Timothy to you
4n 2-1 4n
(10) ἀναγκαῖον [δὲ] ἡγησάμην / Ἐπαφρόδιτον / ...
i p4b5
πέμψαι / πρὸς ὑμᾶς Phil 2:25
I deemed it necessary to send Epaphroditus ... to you

ἀποστέλλω, also meaning send, takes πρός and εἰς with the acc. as agnate constructions for the simple dative. δίδωμι, give, does not admit πρός, but does admit εἰς and the acc.:

4g+ 4n+
(11) ... τὸν θεὸν] τὸν διδόντα / τὸ πνεύμα αὐτοῦ
τὸ ἅγιον / εἰς ὑμᾶς 1 Thess 4:8
... God] the one who gives his holy spirit to you

along with the more common dat.:

1d 2 5b 4n+
(12) ... ὃς / ἔδωκεν / ἡμῖν / τὸ φρέαρ Jn 4:12
... who gave us the well

On the other hand, γράφω, write; ἀφίημι, forgive; δείκνυμι, show, admit no agnate constructions for the simple dative in S-IV.

A full list of agnate constructions for the simple dative of indirect object would require cataloguing the verbs which appear in S-IV.

603. Summary. The agnate constructions described in §§601-602 indicate that the direct object in S-IV take the form of:

a word or word group with head term in the accusative case

an included sentence (s4, S4)

The indirect object may be signaled by:

the simple dative case

an oblique case introduced by a preposition

There is thus less variation in S-IV than in S-III (cf. §597).


604. Some verbs characteristically appear in specific sentence types. For example, many verbs are characteristically transitive and so regularly appear in S-III, while others are characteristically intransitive and so regularly appear in S-I. Some verbs may appear in more than one sentence type, often with a difference in meaning. The type of sentence in which a given verb appears may thus be a significant clue to its meaning in that context. Yet it is not always easy to determine the sentence type owing to what may be called the deletion of constituent elements.

In English the verb forgive may appear in a type IV sentence:

(i) He forgives us our sins

This same sentence may be written in abbreviated form, without direct object:

(ii) He forgives us

or, without indirect object:

(iii) He forgives our sins

Both objects could conceivably (i.e. in particular contexts) be omitted:

(iv) He forgives

where us our sins is to be understood from the context.

If (i) represents the full, context-free form of the sentence, (ii) would then be an example of object deletion,
(iii) an example of the deletion of the indirect object, and
(iv) an example of the deletion of both.

605. ἀφίημι with the meaning let, let go, let alone takes a personal object in the accusative case (S-III):

2-1 4d
(1) ἄφετε / αὐτούς Mt 15:14
Let them alone

With the meaning cancel, remit, pardon, forgive it characteristically appears in S-IV:

2-1 5b 4n+
(2) ἄφες / ἡμῖν / τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν Mt 6:12
Forgive us our debts

This sentence may be described as IV.4n+/5b (IV-S with 4n+ as direct object and 5b as indirect object).

In the same context of the Lord's Prayer compare the following forms of the same sentence type:

1b 2 5n+
(3) ἡμεῖς / ἀφήκαμεν / τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν Mt 6:12
We have forgiven our debtors

Description: IV.0/5n+

1n+ 2
(4) οὐδὲ / ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν / ἀφήσει / τὰ
παραπτώματα ὑμῶν Mt 6:15
Neither will your father forgive your trespasses

Description: IV.4n+/0

1b 2
(5) εἰ δὲ] ὑμεῖς / οὐκ ἀφίετε, ... Mk 11:26
But if] you do not forgive, . . .

Description: IV. 0/0

It thus appears quite permissible, in context, to delete the direct object (3), the indirect object (4), or both (5) with this verb. The symbol 0 represents the deletion of constituent elements in examples (3)-(5).

606. The passive transformation of (2), i.e. the sentence in its full form, is represented by:

2pass 5b 1n+
(6) ἀφέωνταί / σοι / αἱ ἁμαρτίαι σου Lk 5:20
Your sins have been forgiven you

in which the direct object has become the subject. This form of the sentence may be described as IVP. (4n+>1n+) /5b (P = the passive transformation); (4n+>1n+) means that the direct object, 4n+, of the active form has become the subject, 1n+, in the passive form.

The indirect object may be deleted in a sentence with the basic form of (6):

2pass 1n+
(7) ἀφέωνται / αἱ ἁμαρτίαι αὐτῆς αἱ πολλαί Lk 7:47
Her many sins are forgiven

Description: IVP. (4n+>1n+)/0

Note: (6) and (7) are the only passive forms of the sentence that appear in the New Testament, i.e. the indirect object never becomes subject. Cf. §510.

607. The direct object may also occasionally be deleted with transitive verbs that characteristically appear in S-III. The object can normally be supplied from the immediate context.

1a+ 3g+
(8) οἱ [δὲ] λοιποὶ / κρατήσαντες τοὺς δούλους
2 2
αὐτοῦ / ὕβρισαν (καὶ) ἀπέκτειναν Mt 22:6
While the others seizing his servants abused and killed [them]

This sentence may be described as III.0 (i.e. S-III with object deleted). The object is easily supplied from the object of the participle.

608. Constituent elements are deleted in other sentence types as well, e.g. the verb in S-II. Greek also permits the ellipsis of non-constituent items, sometimes on the basis of convention, sometimes out of the individual author's whim. Cf. Bl-D §§479-481. Object deletion in S-III and S-IV can be pursued by studying the verb entries in Bauer, although not all the articles are so arranged as to permit analysis of this type without the use of a concordance.