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The Noun

Synopsis 2nd Declension 1st Declension Related nouns
With Possessive Genitive Reading Exercises



1. The Greek noun is characterised by:


GENDER masculine, feminine or neuter
NUMBER singular, plural or the rare dual
CASE nominative for the subject of the verb
  accusative for the object of the verb
  genitive for the possessor  
  dative for the indirect object of the verb

2. Other case uses:


for place

where to:

ei0j th_n a)gora&n
into the agora



for place

where from:

e0k th~j a)gora~j

out of the agora

for the agent

by whom:

u(po_ tou~ strathgou~
by the general



for place

where at:

e0n th~| a)gora~|
in the agora

for the instrument

with what:

paideu&ousi bi/bloij
they educate with books

for possession with


timh_ e0sti_ tw~| poihth~|.
Honour is to the poet.
The poet has honour.


A separate vocative case is sometimes used for the person addressed, usually with  w} :
w} Zeu~  O Zeus! w} fi/le my friend
w} a!nqrwpe dear chap w} a!ner my husband
w} gu&nai o lady /dear wife w} a)noh&te idiot!


3. There are three declensions or classes of nouns:


Nouns of the first declension are of five types in the singular:



 Accusative  Genitive  Dative
(i) -h -hn -h~j -h|~ 
(ii) -ia, -ra -an -aj -a|~ 
(iii) -sa, -ssa -ca -an -hj -h|~ 


(iv) -hj -hn -ou -h| 
(v) -aj -an -ou -a| 


and of one type in the plural:










-ai -aj -wn



Nouns of the second declension are of two types:


  Singular   Plural
  Nom. Acc. Gen. Dat.   Nom. Acc. Gen. Dat.
  • (i)
-oj -on -ou -w|   -oi -ouj -wn -oij
  • (ii)
-on -on -ou -w|   -a -a -wn -oij


Nouns of type (i) are masculine
  • (with a few feminine exceptions**).

** Feminine exceptions:

h( bi/bloj book
h( h!peiroj mainland
h( nh~soj island
h( no&soj illness
h( o(do&j road
h( parqe/noj maiden
Nouns of type (ii) are neuter.


4. (a) Neuter nouns have the same form for the nominative and accusative.
(b) The nominative and accusative plural of neuter nouns ends in -a.


Neuter nouns in the nominative plural count as one collection and take a singular verb.


THE NOUN: Second Declension Masculine and Neuter

Here is the pattern for o( lo&goj the word (also account or argument)
and to_ e1rgon work, task in the four cases:
  • subject (nominative)
  • object (accusative)
  • possession (genitive)
  • indirect object or instrument (dative)
with the direct article, and in singular and plural:


Masculine - 2nd Declension

Neuter - 2nd Declension





Nominative o(  lo&goj oi9  lo&goi to_  e1rgon ta_  e1rga
Accusative to_n lo&gon tou_j lo&gouj to_  e1rgon ta_  e1rga
Genitive tou~ lo&gou tw~n lo&gwn tou~ e1rgou tw~n e1rgwn
Dative tw~|  lo&gw|  toi=j lo&goij tw~|  e1rgw|  toi=j e1rgoij


The following are of the same pattern as
  o( lo&goj and to_ e1rgon:


o(  a)gro&j field to&  a!rotron plough
o(  a!nqrwpoj man, human to&  de/ndron tree
o(  dou~loj slave to&  dw~ron gift
o(  i0atro&j doctor to&  ploi=on boat
o(  i3ppoj horse to&  r(o&don rose
o(  li/qoj stone
o(  ce/noj stranger, guest
o(  oi]koj house
o(  potamo&j river

Note the pattern of these three common prepositions:


  • ei0jaccusativeinto
  • e0k (e0c before a vowel)  + genitiveout of
  • e0n + dativein or on

Second Declension Examples:

genitive singular


genitive plural


o( i3ppoj tou~ i3ppou tw~n i3ppwn
o( dou~loj tou~ dou&lou tw~n dou&lwn
to_ ploi=on


tou~ ploi/ou


tw~n ploi/wn


dative singular


dative plural


o( i0atro&j tw~| i0atrw~| toi=j i0atroi=j
o( ce/noj tou~ ce/nou toi=j ce/noij
to_ de/ndron


tou~ de/ndrou


toi=j de/ndroij



o( a)gro&j
  ei0j to_n a)gro&n e0k tou~ a)grou~ e0n tw~| a)grw~|
  into the field


out of the field


in the field


o( potamo&j
  ei0j to_n potamo&n e0k tou~ potamou~ e0n tw~| potamw~|
  into the river


out of the river


in the river


to_ ploi=on
  ei0j to_ ploi=on e0k tou~ ploi/ou e0n tw~| ploi/w|
  into the boat


out of the boat


on the boat


1. We hurry into the field speu&domen ei0j to_n a)gro&n.
2. He escapes out of the river feu&gei e0k tou~ potamou~.
3. They sacrifice in the house qou&ousin e0n tw~| oi1kw|.

Further Second Declension Vocabulary


h3lioj qa&natoj qeo&j mu~qoj oi]noj plou~toj si=toj to&poj












grain, food




o(  0Aqhnai=oj o( Lakedaimo&nioj
the Athenian the Spartan

a)rgu&rion nautiko&n strato&pedon zw~|on
silver, money








ta_ o3pla  [cf. hoplite]
arms  (neuter plural)

A noun (ending in -oj) and a verb (ending in -w) can have the same root meaning:


o( a!ggeloj  the messenger (cf. angel) o( lo&goj  the (spoken) word
a)gge/llw  I announce (a message) le/gw  I speak


More Prepositions:


pro&j  + acc. a)po& + gen. e0n + dat.
towards away from in, on

Useful Time Adverbs:


nu~n h!dh e1ti ou)ke/ti ou)de/pote
now already yet no longer never

Jump to 2nd Declension Exercises.

THE NOUN: First Declension Feminine and Masculine


Most nouns of the First Declension are feminine;
a few awkward ones are masculine.


For Feminine Nouns:


 when the last letter of the stem is a consonant the ending is in -h ,
after a vowel or r the last letter is -a ,
and, more rarely,
  • after ss / tt or c it is -a, -an then -h~j, -h~|.

The awkward First Declension Masculine Nouns end in:

-hj, -hn, -ou (here cf: the genitive of  lo&goj) and h~|.


A very few (the main one is neani/aj) end in -aj after i.


Note the agreement of the Article with the GENDER of the noun.


All First Declension Plurals have the same endings in:
  •  -ai, -aj, -wn, -aij.


a)rxh& xw&ra qea& do&ca
beginning / rule place / area goddess opinion

nau&thj neani/aj
sailor young man


Feminine - First Declension

Masculine - First Declension
N. h(  a)rxh&  xw&ra qea& do&ca o(  nau&thj neani/aj
A. th_n  a)rxh&n xw&ran qea&n do&can to_n nau&thn neani/an
G. th~j  a)rxh~j xw&raj qea&j do&chj tou~ nau&tou neani/ou


th~|  a)rxh~|  








tw~|  nau&th~| 




N. ai9  a)rxai/  xw&rai qeai/ do&cai oi9  nau&tai neani/ai
A. ta_j  a)rxa&j

All these plurals have the same form

G. tw~n  a)rxw~n
D. tai=j  a)rxai=j

First Declension Vocabulary
Feminine Nouns in -h


h(  a)reth& gh~ ei)rh&nh e)pisth&mh e)pisto&lh
virtue / valour earth peace knowledge letter / epistle
h(  h(donh& kefalh& kw&mh mhxanh& selh&nh
pleasure head village machine / device moon
h(  skh&nh te/xnh tu&xh fwnh& yuxh&
tent craft luck / chance voice soul

Feminine Nouns in -a


h(  e9spe/ra h(me/ra moi=ra w#ra
evening day fate hour
ai0ti/a a9marti/a e0kklhsi/a mani/a
cause error assembly madness
sofi/a qa&lassa glw&ssa Mou~sa








and plurals


ai9  pu&lai qu&rai  0Aqh~nai Qh~bai
gates doors Athens Thebes

Related Masculine Second Declension and 

Feminine First Declension Nouns:


o( a)delfo&j o( ko&roj o( qeo&j o( e9tai=roj
brother young boy god companion
h( a)delfh& h( ko&rh h( qea& h( e9tai=ra
sister girl, doll goddess prostitute

Feminine First Declension Abstract Nouns related to Verbs:
h( grafh& h( fugh& h( spoudh& h( di/kh
writing, writ flight, rout, exile speed, zeal justice
gra&fw feu&gw speu&dw a)-dike/-w
I write, draw I run away I hurry I do wrong

Masculine First Declension Nouns (often of an occupation):
o( poih&thj  (poie/w) despo&thj krith&j
the poet
(relates to I make)


master (of slaves)


judge (cf. critic)


o( poli/thj stratiw&thj o( Pe/rshj
the citizen soldier Persian

Derivatives from First Declension Nouns:
Nouns are identified (in vocabularies)
by the nominative and genitive with article.


 The following English words derive from First Declension Nouns:


psychic h( yuxh& th~j yuxh~j
hedonism h( h(donh& th~j h(donh~j
machine h( mhxanh& th~j mhxanh~j
technical h( te/xnh th~j texnh~j
despot o( despo&thj tou~ despo&tou
scene h( skh&nh th~j skh&nhj
epistle h( e0pisto&lh th~j e0pisto&lhj
phonetic h( fwnh& th~j fwnh~j
poetic o( poih&thj tou~ poih&tou

Nominative singular of First Declension Nouns given indirectly:
th~| gh~| - h( gh~ th~| h(mera|~ - h( h(me/ra





th~j qala&sshj - h( qala&ssa tai=j kw&maij - h( kw&mh




oi9 kritai/ - o( krith&j tw~n Persw~n - o( Pe/rshj


tou~ poli/tou - o( poli&thj tw~n skhnw~n - h( skh&nh




ta_j a(marti/aj - h( a(marti/a

Nouns with a possessive genitive:


e.g. the wisdom of the Muse - h( th~j Mou&shj sofi/a


the words of the poet the life of the gods
oi9 tou~ poih&tou lo&gou


o( tw~n qew~n bi/oj


the wars of the Persians the generals' victory
oi9 tw~n Pe/rswn po&lemoi


h( tw~n strathgw~n ni/kh


the master's voice the goddess of the Athenians
h( tou~ despo&tou fwnh&  h( tw~n  0Aqhnai/wn qea& 



A children's song:


pou~ moi ta_ r(o&da; pou~ moi ta_ i1a; pou~ moi ta_ kala_ se/lina;

Where for me (are) the roses? where for me the violets? where for me the beautiful ferns?


tadi\ ta_ r(o&da, tadi\ ta_ i1a, tadi\ ta_ kala_ se/lina.

Here the roses, here the violets, here the beautiful ferns.


[to_ i1on - violet to_ se/linon - celery, parsley]


Sayings from Heraclitus:

polumaqi/a nou~n ou) dida&skei.
Much learning does not teach intelligence.


h}qoj a)nqrw&peion me\n ou)k e1xei gnw&mhn, qei=on de\ e1xei.
Way if behaviour human (on the one hand) has no sense, divine (on the other hand) does.


o( a!nac o( e0n Delfoi=j ou!de le/gei ou!de kru&ptei a)lla_ shmai/nei.
The lord the (one) in Delphi [i.e. Apollo] neither speaks (out) nor hides but signals . .




THE NOUN: Second Declension Exercises
Give the genitive singular and plural of:



genitive singular


genitive plural


o( mu~qoj    
o( oi]koj    
o( to&poj    
o( a!ggeloj    
o( dou~loj    
to_ nautiko&n    

Now check your ANSWERS here.


Complete the table below:

pro&j (+acc.)


a)po& (+ gen.)


e0n (+ dat.)


to_ de/ndron


pro_j to_ de/ndron a)po_ tou~ de/ndrou e0n tw~| de/ndrw| 
towards the tree


away from the tree


on the tree


o( to&poj 






oi9 a)groi/ 






Now check your ANSWERS here.

THE NOUN: Exercise with names

Give English names derived from Greek nouns:
  h( Moi=ra destiny
  h( ei0rh&nh peace
  h( sofi/a wisdom
  h( ni/kh victory (with eu} in a good way)
  to_ dw~ron, o( qeo&j gift, god
  o( ste/fanoj crown, garland
  o( i3ppoj horse (and file/w I love)
  h( a)ndrei/a courage
  o( gewrgo&j farmer
  o( pe/troj stone
  h( da&fnh laurel
  o( basilei/a kingdom
  o( xri/stoj Christ (and fe/rw I carry)

Now check your ANSWERS here.

Reading Exercise:
1. o( a!nqrwpoj e0sti politiko_n zw~|on.
Man is a political animal.
2. o( xro&noj toi=j a)nqrw&poij e0stin i0atro_j tw~n po&nwn.
Time for man is a healer of troubles.
3. o( tw~n a)nqrw&pwn bi/oj e0sti dw~ron tw~n qew~n.
The life of men (i.e. human life) is a gift of the gods.
4. skia&j o!nar a!nqrwpoj.
Dream of a shadow is man.
5. lo&goj e0sti\n e1rgou skia&.
Talk is the shadow of action.
6. lo&gw| me\n h( ni/kh e0sti tw~| strathgw~|, e1rgw| de\ toi=j stratiw&taij.
In theory the victory is the general's, but in fact it is due to the soldiers.
7. tw~| me\n tura&nnw| e0sti plou~toj, tw~| de\ poihth~| timh&.
To the tyrant is wealth, to the poet honour.
8. oi9 stratiw~tai bow~si  Qa&lassa, qa&lassa.
The soldiers shout "The sea, the sea".

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