[b-greek] Re: tense

From: Kimmo Huovila (kimmo.huovila@helsinki.fi)
Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 - 14:28:55 EDT

An approximation to start with would be translating the present
infinitive 'to be verbing' and the aorist infinitive 'to verb'.

Translation is one thing, and it should not be done until the Greek is
understood in its own terms. Greek and English aspect are not exactly

You limited your question into actions (not states). The above
generalization does not apply to states.

If the action is punctual (linguistically speaking, though not
necessarily in real life, momentary and timewise indivisible), the
present infinitive implies iteration ('to verb (several times)', 'to
keep verbing' etc).

If the action is telic (i.e. has a natural end point), the aorist
infinitive implies the reaching of the end point. The present infinitive
in such a case implies nothing as to the reaching of the end point (or
more accurately, the end point is outside of the scope of predication).

I hope this helps.


George Freudenberger wrote:
> Dear friends, I am new to this, but have had some training in N. T.
> Greek. Recently I came across a translation that I was unsure of. Can
> anyone help me in understanding the difference between the aorist active
> infinitive and the present active infinitive when dealing with
> translating actions into english to see if this persons conclusion is
> possible?
> Thanks, George Freudenberger

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