Greek Word Order

From: Mike Luper (
Date: Thu Jan 23 1997 - 14:06:33 EST

I was wondering what those on the list might have to say regarding the
common or "unmarked" order of words in Greek sentences--both Classical
and Koine. I entered into a discussion of this topic with my Advanced
Greek class based upon the information in Young's grammar. He asserts
that the basic order of words in sentences not containing linking verbs
is verb-subject-object, while sentences with linking verbs generally
follow the pattern verb-subject-compliment (pp. 214-18).

Machen suggests just the opposite: "The normal order of the sentence in
Greek is like that in English--subject, verb, object" (_NT Greek_, p.

Moule does not propose a specific order, but rather simply follows the
logic that "the emphatic word comes at or near the beginning of the
sentence" (_Idiom Book_, p. 166).

It would appear that a number of prominent grammarians would be in
agreement with Young's analysis of an "unmarked" or common word order
being verb-subject-object (so BDF, p. 248; Turner, _Syntax_, p. 347;
Robertson, p. 417).

I would be interested in hearing what those on the list would have to
say about this matter, both in regard to Classical and Koine Greek.

All the Best,



Michael Luper M.B. Biblical Seminary Adj. Faculty, New Testament

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