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The Passive Voice

Synopsis Consonantal Stems Examples
With Passive Verbs Participles Weak Aorist
Strong Aorist Infinitives Exercises

 

Synopsis
A verb is said to be:

 

(i) in the active voice when the subject of the verb performs the action:
  • John defends Mary
(ii) in the middle voice when the action returns to the subject:
  • John defends himself
(iii) in the passive voice when the subject does nothing, but is the recipient of an action:
  • Mary is defended by John

 

In the present, imperfect and perfect tenses:
  • the passive has the same form as the middle
In the future:
  • the syllable  -qh- is inserted before the present middle ending
In the aorist:
  • there is the augment at the beginning and the characteristic passive syllable  -qh-  as a simple ending:
-qhn

 

-qhj

 

-qh

 

-qhmen

 

qhte

 

-qhsan

 

 -a-  or  -e- , before the theta, lengthen to  -h- , and  -o-  to  -w-  as in the aorist active:

 

tima&w

e0ti/mhsa

 

I honoured

 

e0timh&qhn

 

I was honoured

 

file/w

e0fi/lhsa

 

I loved

 

e0filh&qhn

 

I was loved

 

doulo&w

e0dou&lwsa

 

I enslaved

 

e0doulw&qhn

 

I was enslaved

 


Consonantal Stems:

 

Where the stem ends in a consonant, this is adapted to the  -s-  of the future and aorist active
(see consonant verbs),
and also to the  -q-  of the passive.

 

A guttural consonant softens to the appropriate aspirate  -x-,

a labial to  -f-,

a dental to  -s-  (because double theta is impossible).

 

Here are some Examples:

 

Present

 

Future

 

Aorist

 

pau&w pau&omai pauqh&somai e0pau&qhn
I stop I am stopped I shall be stopped I was stopped
diw&kw diw&komai diwxqh&somai e0diw&xqhn
I chase I am chased
pe/mpw pe/mpomai pemfqh&somai e0pe/mfqhn
I send I am sent
r(i/ptw r(i/ptomai r(ifqh&somai e0rri/fqhn
I throw I am thrown
pei/qw pei/qomai peisqh&somai e0pei/sqhn
I persuade

 

I am persuaded

 

similarly with -izw:

 

u(bri/zw u(bri/zomai u(brisqh&somai u(bri/sqhn
I insult

 

I am insulted

 

sw~|zw drops -z- before -q:

 

sw&|zw sw&|zomai swqh&somai e0sw&qhn
I save

 

I am saved

 

 

Sometimes there may be a strong future and aorist passive without -q- as:

 

bla&ptw bla&ptomai blafqh&somai e0bla&fqhn

I harm

 

blabh&somai

 

e0bla&bhn

 

ste/llw ste/llomai stalh&somai e0sta&lhn

I send

tre/pw tre/pomai traph&somai e0tra&phn

I turn

fai/nw fai/nomai fanh&somai e0fa&nhn

I show

diafqei/rw -fqei/romai -fqarh&somai diefqa&rhn

I destroy

 


With passive verbs:
  • u(po& + genitive is used for a person (agent)
  • dative only for a thing (instrument)

He is injured

by his brother. bla&ptetai u(po_ tou~ a)delfou~.
by a stone. li/qw|.

Passive Participles

 

masculine feminine neuter
Present

active

lu&wn lu&ousa lu&on

releasing

passive

luo&menoj luome/nh luo&menon

being released

Future

active

lu&swn lu&sousa lu&son
going to release

passive

luqhso&menoj luqhsome/nh luqhso&menon

going to be released

Aorist

active

lu&saj lu&sasa lu&san
having released

passive

luqei/j luqei=sa luqe/n
having been released

 

This is the declension of the weak aorist passive participle:

 

singular nom. luqei/j luqei=sa luqe/n
acc. luqe/nta luqei/san luqe/n
gen. luqe/ntoj luqei/shj luqe/ntoj
dat.

 

luqe/nti

 

luqei/sh|

 

luqe/nti

 

plural nom. luqe/ntej luqei=sai luqe/nta
acc. luqe/ntaj luqei=saj luqe/nta
gen. luqe/ntwn luqeisw~n luqe/ntwn
dat.

 

luqei=si  (n)

 

luqei/saij

 

luqei=si  (n)

 


In the strong aorist the active and middle participles use present endings on the strong aorist stem,
but the strong aorist passive participle is formed with -qeij:

 

Active lipw&n lipou~sa lipo&n
having left (from lei/pw).

 

Middle lipo&menoj lipome/nh lipome/non
having left behind.

 

Passive leifqei/j leifqei=sa leifqe/n
having been left.

 


Passive Infinitives

 

The present passive infinitive is the same as the middle; 
the future and aorist have the  syllable -qh-

 

Present lu&esqai to be released
Future luqh&sesqai to be about to be released
Aorist

 

luqh~nai

 

to have been released

 

Note:
The Beatitudes present a useful illustration of the passive.
 

Exercises

18(i)

Put into the Passive and translate:

 

fe/rei he carries fe/retai he is carried
filou~men      
e0filh&samen      
pe/mpei      
pe/myei      
e1pemye      
kwlu&w      
kwlu&somen      
diw&kousi      
diw&cousi      
sw&|zei      
e1swse      

Now check your ANSWERS here.

 

18(ii)

Translate into Greek:

 

He is saved by the sailor by chance.
     
He was driven by the tyrant by the wind.
     
They were deceived by the slaves by the storm.
     

Now check your ANSWERS here.

 

18(iii)

Translate into Greek and change to Passive:

 

All honour the general.  

[P]

 
The god loves the girl.  

[P]

 
The soldiers write letters.  

[P]

 
The guide led the Greeks.  

[P]

 
The master released the slaves.  

[P]

 
Barbarians will not rule us.  

[P]

 

Now check your ANSWERS here.

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