Augment on the Pluperfect

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Feb 19 1997 - 13:57:37 EST

Having seen, apart from the fairly frequent hEISTHKEI, "he was standing"
fewer pluperfects in the NT than I can count on the fingers of one hand, I
almost literally stumbled this morning upon GEGONEI in Acts 4:22. I asked
my student, "what is that form," to which he replied, "I wasn't sure; it
looks sort of like a perfect tense but also sort of like a pluperfect."
That, I thought, was a very good description. After hunting around in NT
grammars I finally found indications in a couple of them that the augment
is "often" or "generally" omitted on pluperfects. (Machen on the
pluperfect: "The pluperfect appears so rarely in the NT that you shouldn't
bother to learn it."). This is a brand new fact to me, but I guess it's
part and parcel of regularization taking place faster in the
less-commonly-used forms. Modern Greek retains the augment on past tenses
ONLY if the augmented form is three syllables long or less.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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