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Pronouns

Synopsis Personal Pronouns Reflexives
Demonstratives Pronoun Patterns ou{toj
au)to&j Interrogatives Exercises
Relatives ******** ********

 

Synopsis

 

A pronoun is used in place of a noun to designate someone or something that can be understood from the context. Generally it is a shorthand way of avoiding the repetition of the noun, e.g. in the tedious long form:

 

o( strathgo_j kalei= tou_j stratiw&taj. oi9 de\ stratiw~tai ble/pousi pro_j to_n strathgo&n.

The general calls the soldiers. And the soldiers look towards the general.

 

The second sentence would be replaced with something like:

oi9 de\ ble/pousi pro_j au)to&n.

And they look towards him.

they and him stand for the soldiers and the general and are called personal pronouns.

 


 

Other types of pronouns:

a reflexive pronoun refers back to the subject of the verb and adds self to the pronoun:

 

lou&ei e9auth&n

she is washing herself

tre/pe sauto&n

 

turn yourself round

 

(the middle voice can also be used here)


 

a demonstrative pronoun points out a person or thing:
ou{toi me\n tou&tw| pisteuou&sin, h(mei=j de\ le/gomen ta&de
these trust this (man), but we say the following:

 

an indefinite pronoun refers to people or things unknown:
ou)dei\j a)pobai/nei

nobody is going away

kalei= ti/j se

someone is calling you


 

an interrogative pronoun asks questions:
ti/j kalei=; who is calling?
ti/noj bi/blon fe/reij; whose book are you carrying?
ti/ qe/lete; what do you want?

 

a relative pronoun relates to a preceding noun (with which it agrees in number and gender) and introduces further information:
o( stratiwth&j o#j feu&gei the soldier who is running away
ai9 qeai/ a$j timw~men the goddesses whom we honour

 

Personal Pronouns: First and Second Person

 

Personal pronouns refer to the first, second and third persons in the singular (I, you, he/she/it) and in the plural (we, you, they). Note that Greek, unlike English, distinguishes singular from plural you and masculine, feminine and neuter in the plural (rather than using they for all genders). Also, the personal pronoun in the nominative is not often used (gra&fw I write) unless there is particular emphasis:

 

e0gw_ gra&fw, a)kou&eij su&.

 

I am writing, you are listening.

 


This is the pattern of the first and second personal pronoun in the singular:

 

nom. e0gw& I su& you  
acc. e0me/ *, me me se/ you  
gen. e0mou~, mou of me sou~ of you  
dat.

 

e0moi/, moi

 

to me

 

soi/

 

to you

 

 
  * the longer form is used with prepositions

 

and in the plural:
 
n. h(mei=j we u(mei=j you
a. h(ma~j us u(ma~j you
g. h(mw~n of us u(mw~n of you
d.

 

h(mi=n

 

to us

 

u(mi=n

 

to you

 

The related adjectives are:

 

o( e0mo&j

(my)

o( so&j

(your) declined like kalo&j

o( h(me/teroj

(our)

o( u(me/teroj

(your) declined like ai0sxro&j

 

Personal Pronouns: Third Person

 

The third person pronoun - he, she, it and they - are expressed in a variety of ways:

 

by a demonstrative pronoun pointing out:

 

 

o#de

this one here
 

e0kei=noj

that one there
 

ou[toj

 

this / that (more generally)

 


 

The indirect cases (i.e. Acc., Gen. and Dat.) of au)to&j are also used for he, she, it, them and in these cases can be used for the reflexives:

 

e0mauto&n   e0mauth&n myself
s(e)auto&n   s(e)auth&n yourself
e9auto&n

 

himself

 


When the reference is to the subject of the main verb:

 

 e#

ou[

 oi[

for masculine, and feminine singular and

sfa~j

 

sfw~n

 

sfi/si

 

for the plural are found.

 


The definite article with de/ picks up a person who has been referred to indirectly and becomes the subject of the next sentence as:

 

o( strathgo_j kalei= tou_j stratiw&taj. oi9 de\ ble/pousi pro_j au)to&n.

The general calls the soldiers and they look towards him.

 


Two pronouns may be contrasted with:

 

o( me/n ... o( de/ one ... another
oi9 me/n ... oi9 de/ some ... others
as in:

oi9 me/n e0leu&qeroi, oi9 de/ dou~loi

 

some are free and others slaves.

 


 o3de, e0kei=noj, ou[toj can also be used as demonstrative adjectives with the definite article (which is not translated):
o3de o( strathgo&j this general (here, present)
e0kei/nh h( korh& that girl
tau~ta ta_ dw~ra these gifts

 

Pronoun Patterns

 

o3de

 

h3de

 

to&de

 

this (man / woman / thing here)

 

is declined like the definite article + de
so that the accusative is: to&nde th~nde to&de
and the genitive is:

 

tou~de

 

th~sde

 

tou~de

 

etc.

 


e0kei=noj e0kei/nh e0kei=no that (man / woman / thing)
and
au)to&j au)th&  au)to&  self, same, he / she / it
are declined like
kalo&j kalh&  kalo&n
except that the neuter singular (as with the definite article) ends in -o not -on.

 


 

 

ou[toj

 

au#th

 

tou~to

 

this (man / woman / thing)

 

combines features of au)to&j and the definite article:

 

singular
masc. fem. neut.
ou[toj au3th tou~to
tou~to&n tau&thn tou~to
tou&tou tau&thj tou&tou
tou&tw| 

 

tau&th| 

 

tou&tw| 

 

plural
ou[toi au{tai tau~ta
tou&touj tau&taj tau~ta
tou&tw|n tou&twn tou&twn
tou&toij tau&taij tou&toij
The same pattern is followed by the following compounds:

 

tosou~toj

 

tosau&th

 

tosou~to

 

(so much, so many)

 

toiou~toj

 

toiau&th

 

toiou~to

 

(such, like this)

 

as in:

 

a)du&naton poiei=n tosau~ta. It is impossible to do so many things.
toi/outoij ou) pisteu&w.

 

I do not trust people like this.

 


[autos]
 

 

au)to&j

au)th& 

au)to& 

 

 

This common word declines like:

 

kalo&j

 

kalh& 

 

kalo&n

 

except that the neuter singular, like many other pronouns, ends in -o rather than -on.

 

It has a variety of uses:

 

As a pronoun au)to&j is used in cases other than the nominative for him, her, it, them:

 

au)th_n timw~men we honour her
le/ge mu~qon au)toi=j

 

tell them a story

 


This is especially true of the genitive. Since Greek has no personal adjective for his, her, their corresponding to my and your, the genitive of au)to&j is used:

 

au)th~j to_ dw~ron

of her the gift / her gift

h( xw&ra au)tw~n

 

the land of them / their land

 


In the nominative au)to&j emphasises the subject with the sense of self:

 

au)to_j keleu&ei

 

he himself / in person gives the order

 

 

and a superlative form au)to&tatoj was invented to refer to the master philosopher Pythagoras without using his name:

au)to&tatoj e1fh

 

his very self said so

 

Also, in the sense of self it might be joined to the indirect cases of the personal pronoun as:

 

e0mauto&n myself h(ma~j au)tou&j ourselves
s(e)auto&n yourself u(ma~j au)tou&j yourselves
e9auto&n or au(to&n

 

himself

 

sfa~j au)tou&j

 

themselves

 

and again in the genitive with special emphasis:

 

h( e0mautou~ a)delfh& 

the sister of myself / my (very own) sister

oi9 e9autou~ a1groi

 

the fields of himself / his own fields

 


As an adjective au)to&j with the definite article has the sense of -self or same depending on its position:

 

predicative position:

 

au)to_j o( strathgo&j or o( strathgo_j au)to&j the general himself
au)tai\ ai9 gunai=kej or ai9 gunai=kej au)tai/ 

 

the women themselves

 

attributive position:

 

o( au)to_j strathgo&j the same general
ai9 au)tai\ gunai=kej the same women
tau)ta& (= ta_ au)ta&)

 

the same things

 


 

Plato used au)to& to refer to Forms:

 

  • to_ kalo_n au)to kaq' au(to&    beauty itself by itself

  • au)to_ to_ e3n    the one itself, the form of one

 


 

Interrogative Pronouns

 

The interrogative pronoun (who? what?) follows the pattern of third declension nouns with one form  ti/j; for the masculine and feminine, and  ti/; for the neuter, with a base stem  tin-

 

singular
masc. / fem. neut.
ti/j who? ti/ what?
ti/na ti/
ti/noj ti/noj or tou~
ti/ni ti/ni   or tw~|

plural

ti/nej ti/na
ti/naj ti/na
ti/nwn ti/nwn
ti/si(n) ti/si(n)

 

In English the interrogative pronoun is still declined:

 

in the nom.: ti/j le/gei; who is speaking?
in the acc.: ti/na filei=; whom do you like?
in the gen.:

 

ti/noj e0sti/;

 

whose is it?

 

Note:
ti/j;  ti/ (accented, first word) = who? what?

tij  ti (unaccented, not first word) is indefinite (a, some)

 

ti/j le/gei; Who is speaking? ti/ le/gei; What is he saying?
le/gei tij.

 

Someone is speaking.

 

le/gei ti.

 

He is saying something.

 


Interrogate and indefinite pronouns can also be used as adjectives:

7(i) Exercise

Translate:

 

ti/j poli/thj le/gei;  
le/gei poli/thj tij.

 

 

ti/ dw~ron pare/xei;  
pare/xei dw~ron ti.  

Now check your ANSWERS here.


The Relative Pronoun

 

The relative pronoun (e.g. the boy who is running down the street ...) follows the pattern of the definite article with o3j for  o( and without the initial t-. Instead there is a rough breathing, and each form has an accent:

 

masc. fem. neut.

singular

nominative o3j h3  o# 
accusative o3n h3n o# 
genitive ou{ h{j ou{
dative

 

w{| 

 

h{| 

 

w{| 

 

plural

nom. oi#  ai#  a# 
acc. ou3j a3j a# 
gen. w{n w{n w{n
dat.

 

oi[j

 

ai[j

 

oi[j

 


 

There is also a longer form: o3stij h#tij o3ti
which is a combination of o3j and tij.

 

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