Lesson 42: Function Words/Conjunctions


620. A conjunction is a word that may connect or link one grammatical element of any order with another of the same order. In considering negatives (§§610-617), we have already encroached upon conjunctions, since the simple negatives (οὐ, μή) sometimes have conjunctive force (§617.1-2), and there are, of course, negative conjunctions, e.g. οὔτε, οὐδέ (§617.3-5). But the negatives can be isolated as a special class of function words since they function in ways other particles do not. Sentence connectors, like conjunctions, connect grammatical elements of the same type, but the type of element they may connect is limited to sentences (independent) and clauses (included sentences). Conjunctions may thus function as sentence connectors, but also in ways sentence connectors do not; they may therefore be identified as a special group (Roberts, 1958: 233f.).

The common conjunctions include:

καὶ ... καὶ ...
τε καί
τε ... καί
ἢ ... ἤ
ἀλλά (οὐ ... ἀλλά)

And the negative conjunctions:

οὔτε (μήτε)
οὐδέ (μηδέ)

621. καί is the most common of the conjunctions. It links elements of the same grammatical order and stands between them.

621.1 καί is often used, especially in narrative portions of the New Testament, in a monotonous and colloquial way to string sentences together (a colloquial running style).

In Mk l:12f., for example, καί is used to string four relatively brief sentences together. In the short narrative, Mk 1:16-20, the sequence of conjunctions and sentence connectors is as follows: (16) καὶ ... γὰρ ... (17) καὶ ... καὶ ... (18) καὶ ... (19) καὶ ... (20) καὶ ... καὶ ... The uses of καὶ to connect other than full sentences are omitted. Thus, only γὰρ appears among 7 examples of καί linking sentences. Cf. Bl-D §§442, 458.

621.2 καί may also be used to link included sentences of both dependent and independent types.

2-1 s4 C s4
(1) οἶδα / πόθεν ἤλθον (καὶ) ποῦ ὑπάγω Jn 8:14
I know whence I come and where I go
NQ A 2 1b
(2) οὐ / καλῶς / λέγομεν / ἡμεῖς / ὅτι
S4 C
Σαμαρίτης εἶ σὺ (καὶ)
δαιμόνιον ἔχεις; Jn 8:48
Did we not rightly say,
"You are a Samaritan" and
"You have a demon"?

Note: (2) is here interpreted as direct discourse, although it could just as well be taken as indirect discourse.

In some instances of linked included dependent sentences, one or more elements may be omitted from the second sentence. For example, in

B4d 2-1 p6d C
(3) ... ἣν / ἀκηκόαμεν / ἀπ' αὐτοῦ (καὶ)
2-1 5b
ἀναγγέλομεν / ὑμῖν 1 Jn 1:5
... which we heard from him and [which] we proclaim to you

the relative pronoun is not repeated in the second sentence. This is an example of a deleted object in S-IV (§§60-- ).

621.3 Among grammatical elements of lesser compass than the sentence, καί links two subjects with one verb:

C 2 1d C 1n+
(4) καὶ) ἐπίστευσεν / αὐτὸς / καὶ / ἡ οἰκία
αὐτοῦ ὅλη Jn 4:53
And he and his whole house believed

Note: The elements linked may be different types of word groups (d and n+) so long as they are of the same grammatical order (1). On the singular verb with two subjects, s. §537.

While καί stands between the elements it links, it is not the only item which may come between:

1n 2 C 1n+
(5) Ἀβραὰμ / ἀπέθανεν (καὶ) / oἱ προφῆται Jn 8:52
Abraham and the prophets died

Note: The descriptive analysis of (5) indicates what two items must be linked by καί: 1n and 1n+ are the only two grammatical elements of the same order.

621.4 καί may link two verbs with a single subject:

2 1n C 2 5d
(6) ἀπεκρίθη / Ἰησοῦς / (καὶ) εἶπεν / αὐτοῖς ... Jn 8:13
Jesus answered and said to them ...

621.5 καί may link two predicate adjectives with verb and subject in S-II:

3a 2-1 C 3a
(7) πιστός / ἐστιν (καὶ) δίκαιος 1 Jn 1:9
he is faithful and just

621.6 καί may link two objects in S-III:

4n 2-1 C Ν -> 4n
(8) ἔλεος / θέλω (καὶ) οὐ θυσίαν Mt 12:7
I desire mercy and not sacrifice

621.7 In S-IV καί may connect two indirect and two direct objects with a single verb:

2-1 D 4d+ 5n
(9) ἀποδότε [οὖν] τὰ Καίσαρος / Καίσαρι
C 4d+ 5n+
(καὶ) τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ / τῷ θεῷ Mt 22:21
Therefore render the things of Caesar to Caesar, and the things of God to God

Or two indirect objects to a single verb and single object:

Β i 4d 5n+
(10) ... ὥστε / παραδοῦναι / αὐτὸν / τῇ ἀρχῇ
C 5n+
(καὶ) τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος Lk 20:20
... so as to deliver him to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor

621.8 καί is used to link two infinitives to a single catenative verb (§566.1):

C 2-1 i 4n C i
(11) καὶ) ἤρξαντο / τίλλειν / στάχυας (καὶ) ἐσθίειν Mt 12:1
And they began to pluck ears of grain and to eat

621.9 καί may link two participles:

3d p6d+
(12) ... εἷς / ἐκ τῶν δύο ἀκουσάντων παρὰ Ἰωάννου
C 6d+
(καὶ) ἀκολουθησάντων αὐτῷ Jn 1:40
... one of the two who heard John and followed him

Note: (12) is a single word group within the structure of the whole sentence, but it is composed of 3d + p6d+ (C) 6d+.

621.10 καί may link two nouns governed by a single preposition (cf. (12) above):

Β 1d 2pass p6n C 6n
(13) ἐὰν μή / τις / γεννηθῇ / ἐξ ὕδατος (καὶ) πνεύματος Jn 3:5
Unless one is born of water and spirit

In sum, καί may link any two grammatical items of the same order. It is therefore an exceedingly common signal of sentence structure.

622. καὶ ... καὶ ..., both ... and .... In linking two grammatical elements of the same order, καί may be doubled. In that case, the first καί precedes the first element and the second καί comes between them.