H. W. Smyth

Greek Grammar (First Edition)

Part 2, 423-438

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423. Simple or compound verbs usually throw the accent as far back as the quantity of the last syllable permits (recessive accent, 159).

λύ̄ω, λύ̄ομεν, ἐλῡόμην; παιδεύω, παιδεύουσι, ἐπαιδευέτην; ἀποβάλλω, ἀπόβαλλε; ἀπολύ̄ω, ἀπέλῡον; ἄπειμι, σύνεσμεν, σύμφημι, πάρεστι.

424. To this general rule there are exceptions.

a. Enclitics. All the forms of φημί say, and εἰμί am, except φῄς and εἶ.

b. Imperatives. (1) The second person sing. of the second aorist active imperative of five verbs is oxytone:  εἰπέ say, ἐλθέ come, εὑρέ find, ἰδέ see, λαβέ take. Their plurals are accented εἰπέτε, ἐλθέτε, etc.; compounds have recessive accent:  κάτειπε, ἄπελθε, ἔφευρε, παράλαβε.

(2) The second aorist middle (2 sing.) is perispomenon, as λαβοῦ, παραβαλοῦ, καθελοῦ.

c. Contracted verbs are only apparent exceptions: thus, e.g., τῑμᾷ for τῑμάει, δηλοῦσι for δηλόουσι, φιλεῖν for φιλέειν.  So the subjunctive of the first and second aorist passive λυθῶ for λυθέω, φανῶ for φανέω; the optatives λυθεῖμεν from λυθέ-ῑ-μεν, διδοῖμεν from διδό-ῑ-μεν; the futures φανῶ for φανέω, φανοῖμι for φανέοιμι, φανεῖν for φανέειν, φανῶν for φανέων; λιπεῖν for λιπέεν; and the present and second aorist active and middle subjunctive of most μι-verbs, as τιθῶ for τιθέω, ἱστῶμαι, θῶμαι, perf. κεκτῶμαι. On διδοῦσι, τιθεῖσι, see 463 d.

N. 1. In athematic optatives the accent does not recede beyond the diphthong containing -ῑ-, the sign of the optative mood:  ἱσταῖο, ἱσταῖμεν, ἱσταῖτο, διδοῖτο; and so in λυθεῖμεν, λυθεῖεν.

N. 2. δύναμαι am able, ἐπίσταμαι understand, κρέμαμαι hang, ὀνίνημι profit, and ἐπριάμην bought (749 b, 750 b, 757 a) have recessive accent in the subjunctive and optative (δύνωμαι, ἐπίστωμαι, δύναιτο, κρέμαιτο).

d. Poetic forms sometimes fail to follow the rule, as ἐών being.

425. Infinitives, participles, and verbal adjectives are verbal nouns (358), and hence do not regularly show recessive accent.

a. Infinitives. The following infinitives accent the penult: all infinitives in -ναι, as λελυκέναι, λυθῆναι, ἱστάναι, στῆναι (except Epic -μεναι, as στήμεναι); in verbs in ω the first aorist active, as λῦσαι, παιδεῦσαι, the second aorist middle, as λιπέσθαι, the perfect (middle) passive, as λελύσθαι, πεπαιδεῦσθαι, πεποιῆσθαι.

N. The present inf. of contracted verbs and the second aorist active inf. of ω-verbs have the perispomenon by 424 c.

bParticiples. (1) Oxytone:  the masculine and neuter sing. of the second aorist active, as λιπών, λιπόν; and of all participles of the third declension ending in -ς in the masculine (except the first aorist active), as λυθείς λυθέν, λελυκώς λελυκός, ἑστώς ἑστός, τιθείς τιθέν, διδούς διδόν, ἱστά̄ς ἱστάν, δεικνύ̄ς δεικνύν (but λύ̄σᾱς, ποιήσᾱς).  Also ἰών going from εἶμι.


(2) Paroxytone:  the perfect middle (passive): λελυμένος.

N. Participles are accented like adjectives, not like verbs. The fem. and neuter nom. accent the same syllable as the masc. nom. if the quantity of the ultima permits, thus παιδεύων, παιδεύουσα, παιδεῦον (not παίδευον); ποιήσᾱς, ποιήσᾱσα, ποιῆσαν (not ποίησαν); φιλῶν, φιλοῦσα, φιλοῦν (from φιλέον).

c. Verbal Adjectives. The verbal adjective in -τος is accented on the ultima (λυτός); that in -τεος on the penult (λυτέος).

N. Prepositional compounds in -τος denoting possibility generally accent the last syllable and have three endings (286), as διαλυτός dissoluble, ἐξαιρετός removable.  Such compounds as have the force of a perfect passive participle accent the antepenult and have two endings, as διάλυτος dissolved, ἐξαίρετος chosen.  All other compounds in -τος accent the antepenult and have two endings, as ἄβατος impassable, χειροποίητος artificial.

426.  Exceptions to the recessive accent of compound verbs. a. The accent cannot precede the augment or reduplication: ἄπειμι am absent, ἀπῆν was absent, εἰσ-ῆλθον they entered, ἀπ-ῆσαν they were absent; ἀφ-ῖκται arrived (cp. ἷκται).

N. A long vowel or diphthong not changed by the augment receives the accent:  ὑπ-εῖκε was yielding (indic. ὑπ-είκω, imper. ὕπ-εικε).

b. The accent cannot precede the last syllable of the preposition before the simple verb nor move back to the first of two prepositions:  περίθες put around, συνέκδος give up together (not σύνεκδος), συγκάθες put down together (not σύγκαθες).  Compounds of the second aorist active imperatives δός, ἕς, θές, and σχές are thus paroxytone:  ἐπίθες set on, περίθες put around, ἐπίσχες hold on.

c. When compounded with a monosyllabic preposition, monosyllabic second aorist middle imperatives in -οῦ from μι-verbs retain the circumflex: προδοῦ betray, ἐνθοῦ put in.  But the accent recedes when these imperatives prefix a dissyllabic preposition:  ἀπόδου sell, κατάθου put down.  The open forms always have recessive accent, as ἔνθεο, κατάθεο.

d. The accent of uncompounded infinitives, participles, aorist passive, perfect passive, and of the second aorist middle imperative (2. p. sing., but see 426 c) is retained in composition.

e. ἀπέσται will be far from, ἐπέσται will be upon do not have recessive accent.

f. Compound subjunctives are differently accentuated in the Mss.:  ἀποδῶμαι and ἀπόδωμαι, ἐπιθῆται and ἐπίθηται; the aorist of ἵ̄ημι has προῶμαι and πρόωμαι. ἀπέχω has ἀπόσχωμαι. Compound optatives retain the accent of the primitives: ἀποδοῖτο, as δοῖτο. For συνθοῖτο, προσθοῖσθε (746 c) the Mss. occasionally have σύνθοιτο, πρόσθοισθε; and so πρόοιτο.

427Final -αι (and -οι) are regarded as long in the optative (169), elsewhere as short. Hence distinguish the forms of the first aorist.

3. Sing. Opt. Act. Inf. Act. 2. Sing. Imper. Mid.















428The augment (increase) denotes past time. It appears only in the secondary or past tenses of the indicative mood, namely, imperfect, aorist, and pluperfect. The augment has two forms, the syllabic and the temporal.

429.  Syllabic Augment. Verbs beginning with a consonant prefix ε as the augment, which thus increases the word by one syllable. In the pluperfect ε is prefixed to the reduplication.

λύ̄ω loose ἔ-λῡον ἔ-λῡσα ἐ-λελύκη
παιδεύω educate ἐ-παίδευον ἐ-παίδευσα ἐ-πεπαιδεύκη

a. Verbs beginning with ρ double the ρ after the augment. ῥί̄πτω throw, ἔ-ρρῑπτον, ἔ-ρρῑψα, ἐ-ρρί̄φθην; ῥήγνῡμι break, ἔ-ρρηξα, ἐ-ρράγην.

N. ρρ is here due to assimilation of Ϝρ, as in Hom. ἔρρεξα did (and ἔρεξα); of σρ in ἔρρεον flowed. Cp. 80 a.

430βούλομαι wish, δύναμαι am able, μέλλω intend augment with ε or with η (especially in later Attic); thus, ἐβουλόμην and ἠβουλόμην, ἐδυνάμην and ἠδυνάμην, ἐδυνήθην and ἠδυνήθην.

a. These forms seem to be due to parallelism with ἤθελον (from ἐθέλω wish) and ἔθελον (from θέλω).

431Some verbs beginning with a vowel take the syllabic augment because they formerly began with a consonant. Thus,

ἄγνῡμι break (Ϝάγνῡμι), ἔᾱξα, aor. pass. ἐά̄γην.

ἁλίσκομαι am captured (Ϝαλίσκομαι), imperf. ἡλισκόμην, aor. ἑά̄λων (with temporal augment) or ἥλων.

ἁνδάνω please (Ϝανδάνω), aor. ἕαδον (Ionic).

ἀν-οίγω open (Ϝοίγνῡμι), imperf. ἀν-έῳγον.

ἐάω permit (σεϜαω), εἴων, εἴᾱσα, εἰά̄θην.

ἑζόμαι sit (for σεδιομαι), εἱσάμην.

ἐθίζω accustom Ϝεθίζω, cp. 123), εἴθιζον, εἴθισα, εἰθίσθην.

ἐλίττω roll (Ϝελίττω), εἴλιττον, εἴλιξα, εἰλίχθην.

ἕλκω or ἑλκύω draw (σελκω), εἷλκον, εἵλκυσα, εἱλκύσθην.

ἕπομαι follow (σεπομαι), εἱπόμην.

ἐργάζομαι work (Ϝεργάζομαι), εἰργασάμην. ἕρπω creep (σερπω), εἷρπον.

ἑστιάω entertain (Ϝεστίαω), εἱστίων, εἱστίᾱσα, εἱστιά̄θην.


ἔχω hold (σεχω), εἶχον.

ἵημι send (σισημι), aor. du. εἷτον for ἐ-ἑ-τον, εἵθην for ἐ-ἑ-θην.

ἵστημι put (σιστημι), plup. εἱστήκη for ἐ-σε-στηκη.

ὁράω see (Ϝοράω), ἑώρων, ἑώρᾱκα or ἑόρᾱκα.

ὠθέω push (Ϝωθέω), ἐώθουν, ἔωσα, ἐώσθην.

ὠνέομαι buy (Ϝωνέομαι), ἐωνούμην, ἐωνήθην.

εἶδον saw, 2 aor. of ὁράω (for ἐ-Ϝιδον).

εἷλον took, 2 aor. of αἱρέω (for ἐ-ἑλον).

432Some forms of some verbs in 431 are augmented as if no consonant had preceded the first vowel, as ἠργαζόμην (and εἰργαζόμην).

433Since Ϝ disappeared early, many augmented forms show no trace of its existence, as, ᾤκουν from οἰκέω dwell (Ϝοῖκος).  Besides ε, η was also used as the syllabic augment.  This appears in Hom. ἠ-είδεις (-ης?), Attic ᾔδεις you knew.

434The verbs ἄγνῡμι, ἁλίσκομαι, (ἀν)οίγνῡμι, ὁράω, which began originally with Ϝ, show forms that appear to have a double augment; as ἐά̄γην, ἑά̄λων, (ἀν)ἐῳγον (rarely ἤνοιγον), ἑώρων, ἑώρᾱκα (and ἑόρᾱκα).  These forms appear to be due to transference of quantity (34) from ἠ-Ϝᾰγην, ἠ-Ϝοιγον, ἠ-Ϝορων (cp. 433).

435.  Temporal Augment. Verbs beginning with a vowel take the temporal augment by lengthening the initial vowel.  The temporal augment is so called because it usually increases the time required to pronounce the initial syllable. Diphthongs lengthen their first vowel.

436. Initial becomes ῃ : ᾄδω sing, ᾖδον.   Initial η, ῑ, ῡ, ω remain unchanged.  Initial usually becomes η : ἀ̄ριστάω breakfast, ἠρίστησα. ἀνᾱλίσκω and ἀνᾱλόω expend form ἀνά̄λωσα and ἀνήλωσα, ἀνᾱλώθην and ἀνηλώθην.

437. Initial diphthongs are sometimes unaugmented:  αυ in αὑαίνομαι dry; ει : εἴκαζον, ᾔκαζον; ευ : εὑρέθην and ηὑρέθην from εὑρίσκω find, εὐξάμην and ηὐξάμην from εὔχομαι pray; ου is never augmented, since it is never a pure diphthong when standing at the beginning of a verb-form.


438. Omission of the Augment. aIn Attic tragedy the augment is sometimes omitted in choral passages, rarely in the dialogue parts (messengers' speeches), which are nearer akin to prose.

b. In χρῆν (from χρὴ ̈ ἦν) the augment is strictly unnecessary, but is often added (ἐχρῆν) since the composition of χρῆν was forgotten.

c. In Homer and the lyric poets either the syllabic or the temporal augment is often absent; as φάτο and ἔφατο, βῆν and ἔβην, ἔχον and εἶχον.  Iteratives (495) in Hom. usually have no augment (ἔχεσκον).

N. In Homer the absence of the augment represents the usage of the parent language, in which the augment was not necessarily added to mark past time.  It is therefore erroneous, historically, to speak of the omission of the augment in Homer.

d. In Herodotus the syllabic augment is omitted only in the case of pluperfects and iteratives in σκον; the temporal augment is generally preserved, but it is always omitted in verbs beginning with αι, αυ, ει, ευ, οι, and in ἀγῑνέω, ἀεθλέω, ἀνώγω, ἔρδω, ἐάω, ὁρμέω, etc.; in others it is omitted only in some forms (as ἀγορεύω, ἄγω, ἕλκω, ὁρμάω), and in others it is variable (ἀγγέλλω, ἅπτω, ἄρχω, ἐπίσταμαι, ἀνέχομαι); in cases of Attic reduplication the augment is never added.  Hdt. omits the augment for the reduplication in the above verbs.

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