Greek verb inflected forms

From: Ward Powers (
Date: Tue Mar 11 1997 - 02:35:12 EST

At 12:24 97/03/10 -0600, Carl Conrad wrote:

>Inflection may be very, very complex; a Greek verb that is not defective in
>one or more of its tenses or voices (say, one like LUW) may have close to
>700 different inflected forms, all of which express some nuanced
>distinction of the verbal idea of "unlink."

I calculate 507 different possible forms for LUW and all the other NT verbs
which follow it. Not all these forms actually occur in the NT, of course,
but the point we are recognizing is that they exist for a Greek speaker or
writer in the sense that he could have used any of them had he wanted to, in
order to express a particular thought: they were available in the language
and they would have been understood by a hearer familiar with the Greek

In the Durative (present/imperfect) and Perfective (perfect/pluperfect)
Aspects I have counted each of the middle and passive forms only once as
they are in fact the same form, though used for both tenses; and I have not
listed such esoteric forms as a future subjunctive (for which I find no
direct evidence of its existence, though some scholars argue for it).

I tally up the forms for Primary Indicative, Secondary Indicative,
Subjunctive, Optative, Imperative, Infinitive, and Participle for each of
the four subsystems of a Greek verb, and I get: Durative
(present/imperfect): 106; Future: 111; Punctiliar (aorist): 141; Perfective
(present perfect/pluperfect): 106; plus Future Perfect: 43. Gives a total of
507 possible forms of a non-defective verb available to a Greek speaker.

My tally falls short of your assessment of close to 700. What am I missing?

Ward Powers

Rev Dr B. Ward Powers			Email:
10 Grosvenor Crescent			International Tel: +61-2-9799-7501
SUMMER HILL  NSW  2130			Australian Tel:     (02) 9799-7501

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