Verb Sequence in NT Greek

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 14:56:54 EST

This is a question for those who have read R.E. Longacre* on media-final
chaining structures and have some understanding of how this applies or does
not apply to NT Greek.

In the Greek NT we find on occasion two fully inflected verbs in the same
clause and at the same level of the clause structure. Longacre points out
that in medial-final chaining languages this will not take place. The
pattern in these languages is for all the pre-positive** verbs (medial
verbs) to have reduced inflection (e.g., participles and infinitives) and
full inflection is reserved for the final verb.

NT Greek does not fit this pattern. So what is my question? When we see two
fully inflected verbs in the same clause how are we to understand the
relationship between these verbs? Does one of the verbs function as if it
had reduced inflection? For example, can a fully inflected verb function
adverbially to limit the scope of the main verb?

Here are some examples found with imperatives:


This pattern seems to crop up a lot with verbs of saying. This pattern is
very common and looks like frozen pattern. For example:


There is nothing difficult about any of these examples. They make perfectly
good sense. My question is about the function of the first fully inflected
verb in each of these examples. Does it function like a "medial" verb as
defined by Longacre?
Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

**pre-positive verbs are those which are in the same clause on the same
clause level (not in a nested clause) with the final verb and precede the
final verb.

*Robert E. Longacre, <<The Grammar of Discourse>> (New York: Plenum Press,
2nd edition, 1996).

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