New Testament Greek Syntax

Grammatical Notes

Absolute. A noun, verb, paticiple .... standing alone in a sentence.

    Genitive absolute. Formed by a genitive noun or pronoun + a genitive participle.

    Nominative absolute Formed by an independent substantive.

Adjectivizer. The use of an article with a phrase or clause to make it an adjectival phrase or clause in order to modify / limit a noun, or substantive infinitive or participle.

Adnominal. Something related to a noun.

Advancement. Where a dative indirect object takes the place of an accusative direct object and adopts the accusative case.

Adversative. Contrast, "but", "rather than"

Agent. The person or thing performing the action

Anacoluthon. A broken or irregular syntactical construction where the author looses track of the syntax.

Anaphoric. Particularly of an article or demonstrative pronoun referring back. cf. 2Cor.5:4

      in THIS tent

      en tw/ skhnei

Anarthrous. Without an article

Anticedent. A word (the previous referent) referred to later in the sentence

Aorist. A verb with punctiliar action, having perfective verbal aspect:

    i] Constative = the point of action;

    ii] Ingressive = the point at which the action begins

    iii] Culminative = the point at which the action ends

    iv] Gnomic = expressing a universal truth

    v] Epistolary = the action is expressed in the time-frame of the reader.

    vi] Dramatic = used to express dramatic effect

    vii] Futuristic = an action in the future that is certain to occur.

Apodosis. The "then" clause that corresponds to the "if" clause, the protasis, in a conditional sentence.

Aposiopesis. A conditional clause / sentence which omits the apodosis.

Apposition. Two nouns, side by side, where the second further defines the first. Usually in the same case, sometimes the second is genitive.

Articular. With an article

Ascensive. Climatic.

Aspect. Verbal aspect defines the action of the verb:

    Perfective where the action is complete - aorist tense

    Imperfective where the action is in progress - present, imperfect tense

    Stative where the action is a given state of affairs - perfect, pluperfect tense

Asyndeton. The omission of a conjunction, both coordinating or adversative, where it would have been gramatically correct to have had one.

Attraction. The case of a relative pronoun that has improperly taken on the case (has been "attracted" to) its anticedent or predicate

      a man whom we appointed

      en andri wJ/ (oJn) wJrisen

Attributive adjective. One that directly modifies a substantive, as opposed to a predicative adjective which modifies a substantive indirectly.

Augment. The prefix e

Brachylogy. An overly concise expression

Canon of Apollonius. With two nouns, where one is depending on the other, either both have an article or both lack it. This rule is not always evident in the NT especially when the first noun follows a preposition.

in the Spirit of God

en tw/ pneumati tou qeou

Casus Pendens. (Hanging case). Referring to a noun phrase standing outside a clause and replaced in the clause by a resumptive pronoun.

eg. "The God of the Hebrews, he has created the world."

Catachresis. A word or phrase that is alien to the context

      put to death therefore, [your] LIMBS on the earth = whatever in you is earthly, NRSV

      nekrwsate oun ta melh ta epi thV ghV

Cataphoric. Particularly of a demonstrative pronoun pointing forward

"In THIS is love, namely that ...."

Causal. A clause expressing cause, causative

Causative. A verb expressing cause

Chiasmus. A Chiastic construction is one where the word order is inverted. Possibly Semitic in origin. eg Matt.9:17.

Colwell's Rule.

Definite predicate nouns that follow the verb usually take the article.

Definite predicate nouns that precede the verb usually lack the article.

Comparative. A clause expressing comparison

eg. wJV "like, "as", "even as"

men ......... de ..... "on the one hand ........ but on the other hand ......." (adversative comparative constructions)

Complement. A word or phrase that adds to the sense of another word in the sentence - see Object Complement.

Conative. Action that is attempted

Concessive. Concedes a point. "although", "though"

Concomitant. An action occurring at the same time

Concord. Where words in a sentence agree in number etc.

Conditional. A clause expressing a supposition

Conditional clause. Made up of an "if" clause, the protasis, and a "then" clause, the apodosis:

i] 1st. class = the condition is assumed to be a reality: ei + ind. in the protasis; "if, as is the case, ..... then ...."

ii] 2nd. class = the condition is assumed to be contrary to fact: ei + past tense ind. in the protasis and a[n + past tense ind. in the apodosis; "if, as is not the case, ..... then ....."

iii] 3rd. class = the condition is assumed to be a future possibility: ean or a[ + subj. in the protasis; "if, as may be the case, ..... then ......"

iv] 4th. class = the condition is assumed to be a remote future possibility: ei + opt. in the protasis, and a[n + opt. in the apodosis; "if, as should possibly happen to be the case, .... then ....." In the NT only incomplete examples exist.

Connective. Used to join together two words, phrases, clauses, sentences, eg.

de, kai, gar

Constructio ad sensum. Where a clause etc. follows good sense rather than good grammar.

Contrastive. Establishing a contrast or comparison. eg.

de sometimes introduces a contrastive clause, at other times adversative, or simply connective.

Coordination. Two clauses given equal weight, joined by a coordinating conjunction

Copulative. An intensive verb that connects the subject and the predicate.

      The main linking verbs

      eimi, ginomai, uJparcw, kalew

Correlative. A correlative construction often formed by kai ......... kai .........

Crasis. The joining of two words with the loss of a vowel from the first

      kai + moi = kamoi

Deliberative. Asks a question

Dependent statement. An object clause of direct or indirect speech, or perception, expressing the content of what was said, seen or thought of a cognitive verb, ie., a verb of saying, or thinking. Such a clause is formed by oJti + ind., iJna + subj., oJpwV + subj., rarely an optative verb, but commonly an infinitive. A participle is often used to form a dependent statement of perception.

Deponent verb. Verbs that have only middle or passive forms, but are active in meaning

Elative superlative. The absolute use of the superlative where there is no comparison

      very/extremely small


Complement. A word or phrase used after a verb to complete predication.

Dialogue. In a dialogue between two parties, the dialogue shift is often indicated by the use of de

Ecbatic. Expressing result.

Elision. The dropping of the final vowel of a word. Identified by an apostrophe.


      di'... dia

Ellipsis. The omission of words from a sentence that are significant, but can still be determined from the context.

      the [LETTER] from laodicea

      thn ek LaodikeiaV

Emphatic. Emphasizing a point

Usually achieved by the placement of the word at the beginning of a sentence or by the use of an unnecessary personal pronoun

Epexegetic. Explanatory, explaining the meaning of, "because"

Epidiorthosis. A correction of a previous statement or impression

Epistolary plural. A singular writer refers to himself using a plural number

Final. A clause expressing purpose - an intended result

Future tense. Action in the future relative to the writer:

    i] Predictive. The action will take place, either progressively (linear), repeatedly (iterative), or in a single action (punctiliar).

   ii] Imperatival. Used for a command

    iii] Deliberative. Asking a question or implying doubt.

    iv] Gnomic. Referring to an action that will always happen within certain parameters.

Generalizing plural. A plural used for a singular example of the same.


      oiJ zhtounteV

Generic singular. A singular noun that refers to multiple examples of the same

Gnomic. Expressing a general truth.

Granville Sharp's Rule (modified). Where there are two coordinated nouns, the repetition of the article distinguishes them, while a single article associates them.

Hapax Legomenon. A once only use in the New Testament

Hendiadys. A single idea expressed through two separate words joined by "and", kai

      rejoicing and seeing = rejoice to see

      cairwn kai blepwn

Hortatory. An exhortation

      eg. a subjunctive, or afeV + subj. = "Let us ....."

Hyperbaton. An inversion of the normal word order. Often where the subject or object of a subordinate clause is displaced such that it becomes the subject or object of another clause, usually, the main clause.

Hysteron-proteron. "Last first". The reversal of a natural order to give emphasis to the first item.

threi kai metanohson, "hold fast (keep) and repent." The natural order would be "repent" and then "hold fast."

Imperfect tense. Expressing linear action, usually in the past, a past/remote process, in indicative mood only:

    i] Descriptive. Progressive action that took place at some point of time in the past.

    ii] Durative. Progressive action that took place over a long period of time, but is now complete.

    iii] Iterative. Repeated action in the past, "they used to do ...."

    iv] Tendential. Unrealized attempted action.

    v] Voluntative. A desire to attempt a certain action

        I could wish that I myself were present with you right now

        hqelon pareinai proV uJmaV arti

Inceptive. The beginning of the action is emphasized, "began to".

Imperative. A command or instruction.

Perfective aspect (aor. imperative) urges activity as a whole action

Imperfective aspect (pres., imperf. imperative) urges activity as an ongoing progress

Some linguists still argue that:

A perfective imperative prohibits the commencement of activity

An imperfective imperative prohibits action in progress

Imperfective. The verbal aspect of action in progress, usually represented by the present and imperfect tense.

Inceptive. Denoting the beginning of an action.

Indefinite. Not referring to a specific person or thing

eg. A relative pronoun + an, or ean + a subjunctive

oJ ean + subj. = "whoever / whosoever". Neut. "wherever / whenever"

Ingressive. Expressing the beginning of an action

Intensive. Indicating that the word has a heightened force, emphatic

Interjection. An exclamation

Interrogative. A word or phrase used to ask a direct or indirect question.

Formed by an interrogative pronoun, eg. tiV posoV poiV

Formed by an interrogative adverb, eg. pote, e{wV o{pwV pwV o{pou poqen

mh or ara are used with a question expecting a negative answer

ou is used with a question expecting a positive answer

Intransitive. A verb whose action ends with the subject and does not "go over" (transeo) to a direct object. It makes complete sense in itself. eg. "I run".

Iterative. Repeated or habitual action

Linear. Action that is continuous or durative

Litotes. (Meiosis) A negated understatement used to state the opposite

      a debate [of] no little [proportion] = a whopping big argument

      zhthsewV ouk olighV

Locative. Expressing location, place

Local. A clause expressing place, "where"

Metonym. The substitution of one term for another for which it is associated

Middle voice. Used when the subject is intimately affected by it's own action

Modal. Expressing manner.

Modifier. A word or phrase that qualifies or restricts another word

Nominalizer. The use of an article with a phrase or clause to make it a noun phrase or clause to serve as the subject or object of a verb. An article is similarly used to make an adjective or a participle a noun.

Object. A substantive that receives or is affected by the action of a verb.

Object Complement. The complement to the object in a sentence completes the verbal idea and so forms a double accusative construction, eg. "I named my son John." "John" is the object complement.

Parataxis. Placed side by side

Paronomasia. The placement of words together that sound alike

      that in everything always all = so that by always [having] enough [of everything]

      iJna en panti pantote pasan

Pendent Nominative. Similar to a Nominative Absolute, but, standing at the beginning of a sentence, it is taken up again in the sentence by a resumptive pronoun.

eg. "The one who overcomes, I will make HIM a pillar"

The pronoun takes on the syntax demanded of the sentence rather than that of the Pendent Nominative.

Perfect tense. Expressing a completed action that has abiding results:

    i] Intensive. Emphasizing the present results or state of a past action.

    ii] Extensive (Consummative). Emphasizing a past completed action from which has come abiding results.

    iii] Iterative. An extensive perfect where the past event was repeated.

    iv] Dramatic. The action is vividly portrayed in the present.

    v] Aoristic. Where resulted action is not present.

Periphrastic construction. A roundabout way of expressing a simple verbal idea, possibly used to emphasize verbal aspect - the verb "to be" + a participle. See Participles.

Perfective. The verbal aspect of a completed action, mainly represented by the aorist tense. The verb may be weak or strong.

Periphrasis. A roundabout way of speaking

Permissive. A word or phrase that gives permission

Pleonasm. The use of a redundant word

Pluperfect tense. Expressing a past state which issued from a previous action.

    i] Intensive. Emphasizing the abiding results.

    ii] Extensive. Emphasis is placed on the completed action.

Polysyndton. The piling up of connectives for emphatic effect.

Postpositive. A word that never leads a clause or sentence, eg. "for", gar

Predicate. The verb plus its comlements or modifiers

Pregnant construction. A clause that carries an implied expression, eg. Lk.6:8

      Stand into the center = COME into the center and stand here

      sthqi eiV to meson

Present Tense. Expressing linear action, not necessarily in the present.

i] Descriptive / Progressive. Action taking place at the stated moment.

ii] Durative. Action commenced in the past and continuing into the present.

iii] Iterative. Repeated action.

iv] Tendential / Conative. Action being contemplated.

v] Gnomic. Action that always exists.

vi] Historical. Past action graphically described.

vii] Futuristic. Future action confidently expected.

viii] Aoristic. Undefined action.

ix] Perfective. Action in the present which commenced in the past.

Preterit. Expresses action that occurred in the past

Privative. A word with the prefix "a" serving to negate the word. Before a vowel = an

Proclitic. A word that has no accent of its own, eg:

      eiV, wJV, ou

Prodiorthosis. An anticipatory correction of an expression or impression.

      I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness

      ofelon aneicesqe mou mikron ti afrosunhV


mh + present imperative = stop an action already in progress

mh + aorist subjunctive = stop the beginning of an action

Proleptic. Where a future event is spoken of as having already occurred because of the certainty of its occurrence.

      lit. unless someone remains in me he WAS CAST OUT

      whoever does not abide in me will be thrown away.

      ean mh tiV menh/ en moi eblhqh

Prospective. Pointing toward the future

Punctiliar. Instantanious or momentary action

Recitative oJti. Used to introduce direct speech. Redundant and not translated

Reflective. Where the action of the subject comes back on itself

Relative Pronoun. Used to relate one substantive to another

It is often attracted to the case of its antecedent although treated as retaining its own case function

The antecedent is often not expressed

o}V ouk estin kaq uJmwn

He WHO is not against you

A neuter relative pronoun is sometimes used in place of a masc/fem where it is obvious that it is not neuter

o} gar apeqanen th/ aJmartia/

for HE died to sin

Semitism. A Greek linguistic feature that demonstrates a Hebrew or Aramaic influence

Solecism. A grammatical mistake

Stative. The verbal aspect of a previous action with repeated or ongoing action, usually represented by the perfect and pluperfect tenses. The verb may be weak or strong.

Subordination. Where one clause is subordinate to another. Often a hina clause

Substantive. A noun or anything that functions as a noun

A relative neuter pronoun is often used for an obvious substantive in a clause

Superlative. The third degree of comparison - positive, comparative and superlative.

Synecdoche. Designating the whole by reference to a part of the whole

      in the heart of you = in your HEART = in your WHOLE BEING

      en taiV kardiaiV uJmwn

Tautology. Repetition of words and ideas that adds nothing to the sense.

Telic. Expressing purpose.

Temporal. A clause expressing time, "when"

Theological Passive. A use of the passive voice when God is the implied agent.

Transitive. A verb whose action does not end with the subject, but "goes over" to a direct object. It requires an object to make sense of it. eg, "I buy" = "I buy my vegitables".

Volitive Future. A future tense used to express a command. "You shall ....."

Voluntative. Expressing a wish or a prayer

Zeugma. Two nouns or clauses joined by a single verb that only suits one of them

      milk I gave you TO DRINK not solid food (can't drink solid food!)

      gala uJmaV epotisa ou brwma


A Syntax of New Testament Greek

[Pumpkin Cottage]