1 Guide to Principal Parts of Regular Verbs 1. Preliminary Remarks. (a) (b) Irregular Patterns. For a great many verbs in ancient Greek it is necessary to memorize all available principal parts, as they do not propagate regularly or predictably from a given starting point So, for instance, the pps ( principal parts ) of ἔχω ( have ) can t be predicted from the form ἔχω. Rather, each pp represents a variation on regular patterns, partly expected, partly surprising: ἔχω I have : 1. ἔχω. 2. ἕξω / σχήσω. (sigma s added to the root variant versions of the root) 3. ἔσχον. (thematic second aorist, less common than the 1 st, or σα- aorist) 4. ἔσχηκα. (expected and unexpected elements) 5. ἔσχημαι. (ditto) 6. ἐσχέθην. (ditto) For those non-regular patterns of pps, I recommend you study well the Verbs with Challenging Principal Parts Bingweb PDF at: Regular Patterns. Still, there are a number of verbs whose principal parts are regular and will even help you learn the patterns for all verbs. What can be frustrating is that the book won t write them all out; it expects you to be able to predict them from set patterns. How to study these last, to learn their patterns? 1. Learn what each of the tenses means. 2. Learn what the six principal parts are all about (what the present system is, etc.).
2 Guide to Principal Parts of Regular Verbs 2 3. Learn what the pattern of formation is for each category of verb with regular principal parts. 4. Study the various verbs belonging to each category; practice forming their principal parts. 2. What Does Each of the Tenses Mean? 1. Present. a. Indicative. Action happening during the now of the main verb, or in subordinate clauses, concurrently with the now of the main idea. b. Infinitive. i. λύω τὸν παῖδα. I am freeing the child (i.e., now). ii. εἶπον ὅτι λύω (present because concurrent with main verb εἶπον) τὸν παῖδα. I said that I was freeing the child (i.e., at that moment was doing it). i. On-going (imperfective) action/state completing an idea: βούλομαι λύειν τὸν παῖδα. I want to be freeing the child. ii. Concurrent action/state completing an idea: c. Participle. λύειν ἔφην τὸν παῖδα. I said that I was freeing the child. i. On-going (imperfective) action/state relating to a (stated or unstated) noun or pronoun: χαίρω λύων τὸν παῖδα. I rejoice (in) freeing the child. ii. Concurrent action/state relating to a (stated or unstated) noun or pronoun: χαίρω λύων τὸν παῖδα. I rejoice while freeing the child. d. Imperative. On-going (imperfective) command:
3 Guide to Principal Parts of Regular Verbs 3 λῦε τὸν παῖδα. Be freeing the child. 2. Imperfect tense. Ongoing (imperfective) action prior to the now of the sentence or the main idea: ἔλυον τὸν παῖδα. I was freeing the child. (Not now, but before) εἶπον ὅτι ἔλυον τὸν παῖδα. I said that I had been freeing the child. (Not then, but before then) 3. Future. Action happening subsequent to the now of the sentence λύω τὸν παῖδα. I will free the child (At a time after this) or to that of the main verb 4. Aorist. εἶπον ὅτι λύσω τὸν παῖδα. I said that I would free the child. (At a time after then) Aorist sometimes = simple past action/state, sometimes simple prior action/state, sometimes just simple action/state with no time idea at all. a. Simple past. ἔλυσα τὸν παῖδα. I freed the child. b. Simple action/state (aoristic aspect) in prior time (in subordinate clauses/ptc phrases, etc.). εἶπον ὅτι ἔλυσα τὸν παῖδα. I said that I had freed the child. (aor. indic. indirect discourse) τὸν παῖδα ἔφην λῦσαι (aor. inf. indirect discourse). I said that I had freed the child. τὸν παῖδα λύσας, ἐχαίρησα (aor. ptc.). Having freed the child, I rejoiced.
4 Guide to Principal Parts of Regular Verbs 4 c. Simple action/state (aoristic aspect), no time reference at all. λῦσον (aor. imperative) τὸν παῖδα. Free the child! βούλομαι λῦσαι (aor. inf.) τὸν παῖδα. I want to free the child. ἐχαίρησα λύσᾱς τὸν παῖδα. I rejoiced in (the simple fact) of freeing the child. 5. Perfect tense. It s a kind of present-time tense refering (usually) to prior action (usually recent) with important implications for a now state of affairs: εὕρηκα. I have found it! ( The fact that I just found it is important for me now ) 6. Pluperfect tense. It s a kind of past-time tense refering (usually) to prior action with important implications for a then state of affairs: ἐπεὶ προστάτης ἦν ὁ Περικλῆς, ἤδη ηὑρήκην. When Pericles was the leader, I had already found it. 7. Future perfect = a future state. ὡς λύσεις τὸν παῖδα, ἤδη τεθνηξω. When you will free the child, I shall already be dead. 3. What Are the Six Principal Parts All About? They re about stems i.e., the principal parts (usually, but not always, six) of verbs give you the stems (what you add endings to) of various tense/voice systems as follows (using λύω to illustrate): 1. λύω. present aka imperfective system. a. Present stem λῡλύω etc. active. λύομαι etc. middle passive. b. Imperfect stem ἔλυ- ἔλυον etc. act. ἐλυόμην etc. middle/passive. 2. λύσω. future system, active and middle only (not passive!). Stem λύσ- + present act/mid endings (λύσω etc. act., λύσομαι etc. mid.).
5 Guide to Principal Parts of Regular Verbs 5 3. ἔλυσα. aorist system, active and middle only (not passive!). Stem ἐλυσ- (with augment) + present act/mid indicative endings (ἔλυσα etc. act., ἐλυςάμην etc. mid.). Stem λυσ- (without augment) + endings/suffixes for non-indicative moods + for ptc. Active or middle (not passive!) 4. λέλυκα. Perfect active system (active perfect, pluperfect, future perfect tenses). 5. λέλυμαι. Perfect middle-passive system (middle/passive perfect, pluperfect, future perfect tenses). 6. ἐλύθην. Aorist passive system. a. Aorist passive stem (ε)λυθ-. b. Future passive stem λυθήσ-. 4. Principal Parts: The Patterns There are basically 4 patterns of verbs with (mostly) regular principal parts: Purely regular omega verbs Dental stem omega verbs Liquid/nasal stem omega verbs Contract verbs Rather few of those are completely regular, but most of them follow set patterns more or less closely as follows: 1. Purely regular verbs, e.g., λύω. a. First pp. λύω. (present aka imperfective system) It s simply the dictionary citation form. It tells you that the present and imperfect tenses follow regular thematic patterns of conjugation. b. Second pp. λύσω. (future active/middle system) Take 1 st pp., drop the 1 st -person ending, add sigma + present I ending, whether middle or passive. This tells you that the stem ends in sigma, but that the endings are normal thematic present endings.
6 Guide to Principal Parts of Regular Verbs 6 c. Third pp. ἔλυσα. (aorist active/middle system) Take 1 st pp., drop the 1 st -person ending, add augment + sigma + I 1 st aorist ending (whether active or middle). This tells you not to mix 1 st aorist up with future. Theses are special endings. d. Fourth pp. λέλυκα. (perfect active system) Take 1st pp., drop the 1st-person ending, add augment/reduplication + kappa + alpha. e. Fifth pp. λέλυμαι. (perfect middle-passive system) Take 1st pp., drop the 1st-person ending, add augment/reduplication + middle/passive I ending. f. Sixth pp. ἐλύθην. (passive aorist/future systems) Take 1st pp., drop the 1st-person ending, add augment + theta + aor. passive I ending (-ην). This tells you that the aorist and future passive of the verb follow the regular latter: Aorist passive in θην etc. Future passive in θήσομαι etc. The remaining patterns are best seen are variants on the λύω pattern. 2. Dental stem omega verbs. For the 2 nd, 3 rd, often 5 th, and often 6 th pps, change a dental consonant (δ, θ, ζ) to sigma. If the tense stem involves a sigma ορ καππα, just drop the dental totally. σπεύδω hurry : σπεύδω, σπεύσω, ἔσπευσα, ἔσπευκα, ἔσπευσμαι, (no 6 th part). 3. Liquid/nasal stem omega verbs (stems in μ, ν, ρ, λ). Future and 1 st aorist don t use sigma. μένω I wait/remain. μένω, μενῶ, ἔμεινα, μεμένηκα. (no 5 th or 6 th part). This tells you that: a. There s no sigma in either the future or 1 st aorist, act or mid. b. The future uses present-tense epsilon contract conjugation.
7 Guide to Principal Parts of Regular Verbs 7 4. Contract verbs. for the 2 nd through 6 th parts, lengthen the stem vowel as follows: α η ε η ο ω 5. Other Verbs. τιμάω honor : τιμάω (τιμῶ you ll need to learn how the contracted forms work [we studied that]), ἐτίμησα, τετίμηκα, τετίμημαι, ἐτιμήθην. φιλέω love : φιλέω (φιλῶ), φιλήσω, ἐφίλησα, πεφίλημαι, ἐφιλήθην. δουλόω enslave : δουλόω (δουλῶ), δουλώσω, ἐδούλωσα, δεδούλωκα, δεδούλωμαι, ἐδουλώθην. You should use the Bingweb document at: as your guide to the many important verbs that depart from the patterns sketched out above. Still, there are patterns that, while not quite fully regular, are recognizable. They include: (a) (b) (c) (d) Verbs with thematic 2 nd aorists: λαμβάνω, λήψομαι, ἔλαβον, εἴληφα, εἴλημμαι, ἐλήφθην take. Verbs with athematic 2 nd aorists. βαίνω, βήσομαι, ἔβην, βέβηκα. (Also ἵστημι, γιγνώσκω) Deponent verbs. Some verbs never appear in the active (i.e., they only use middle or passive endings) yet have active meaning in English translation: ἕπομαι, ἕψομαι, ἑσπόμην (that s it all middle) follow. πορεύομαι, πορεύσομαι (middle), πεπόρευμαι, ἐπορεύθην (uncompounded it uses passive, not middle, aorist). Deponent-future verbs (i.e., whose future is never active): βαίνω, βήσομαι, ἔβην, βέβηκα.
8 Guide to Principal Parts of Regular Verbs 8 (e) (f) Athematic verbs, to which special attention has to be paid (see handouts, text): τίθημι δίδωμι ἵστημι δείκνυμι ἀνοίγνυμι ῥήγνυμι ἵημι All those other irregular verbs (εἰμι, εἶμι, etc.)