In the last lesson, we discussed 3rd person personal pronouns and demonstrative pronouns. In this lesson, we review relative pronouns, indefinite pronouns, indefinite relative pronouns, and interrogative pronouns. Each can also be used as an adjective that modifies a noun.
Greek forms the relative pronoun, who/whose/whom, by replacing the τ– of the definite article with the rough breathing (῾). The masculine singular nominative form ends in –ς. Note that the accent pattern is similar to that of the definite article (S 338; GPH p. 54).
Relative pronouns are commonly used to join two sentences or clauses together. Note the following sentences.
- οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισίν. οἱ παῖδες ἀποδιδόασι τὰ χρήματα.
- The rulers give hope to the children. The children give the money back.
- οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισὶν οἳ τὰ χρήματα ἀποδιδόασιν.
- The leaders give hope to the children who give the money back.
In the second sentence, note that the MAIN CLAUSE – the essential part of the sentence that can stand on its own grammatically and as a complete thought – is οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισίν. The relative pronoun is introducing a type of subordinate clause called a RELATIVE CLAUSE, which here is οἳ τὰ χρήματα ἀποδιδόασιν.
Relative clauses often serve to give additional information about the pronoun’s ANTECEDENT, i.e., the noun to which the pronoun refers. Note, however, that while the relative pronoun gets its gender and number from its antecedent, its case depends on its use in the relative clause. The form οἵ, in other words, is masculine and plural because its antecedent is τοῖς παισίν, but nominative because it is the subject of the relative clause. Consider the following examples.
- οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισὶν οἷς τὰ χρήματα διδόασι.
- The leaders give hope to the children to whom they (the leaders) are giving money.
- οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισὶν οὓς ἀνιστᾶσι.
- The leaders give hope to the children whom they are appointing.
Sometimes, the relative pronoun is ATTRACTED to the case of its antecedent, rather than representing the case it should be in its relative clause. When this happens, the antecedent is usually in the genitive or dative case, and the case that it is replacing is the accusative (S 2522).
- οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισὶν οἷς (for οὓς) ἀνιστᾶσι.
- The leaders give hope to the children whom they are appointing.
Intensive Relative Pronoun
The suffix –περ is added to pronouns to denote emphasis (S 338c). When added to the relative pronoun it means the same/very one(s) who/which/that…
The intensive relative pronoun functions just as the relative pronoun does in a Greek sentence.
- οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισὶν οἵπερ τὰ χρήματα ἀποδιδόασιν.
- The leaders give hope to the children, the very ones who give the money back.
- οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισὶν οὕσπερ ἀνιστᾶσι.
- The leaders give hope to the children, the very ones whom they are appointing.
While most pronouns follow the pattern of the definite article, the indefinite pronoun uses the endings of 3rd DECLENSION NOUNS, the noun endings that we learned earlier. As a result, masculine and feminine endings are identical.
This pronoun has the stem τιν-. When the endings involve adding a sigma to the stem (nom. sing. = –ς, dat. plu. = –σι), sigma wins the battle, and the –ν disappears from the end of the stem. Remember that for the 3rd declension, the neuter nominative and accusative singular has no ending. For this pronoun, the result – τιν – is always shortened to τι (S 334; GHP p. 53).
This pronoun refers to someone or something indefinite, and translates to some, any. Note the accent! The indefinite pronoun is ENCLITIC. It follows the regular enclitic accent rules, though note that the genitive plural, if accented, receives a circumflex, and not an acute. As an enclitic, the indefinite pronoun can never come first in a sentence.
- διδόασί τινες τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισίν.
- Some people are giving hope to the children.
- οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασί τι τοῖς παισίν.
- The rulers are giving something to the children.
Indefinite pronouns are often found in negative sentences. Consider the following examples.
- δίδωσιν οὔ τις τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισίν.
- No one (not anyone) gives hope to the children.
- οἱ ἄρχοντες οὐ διδόασί τι τοῖς παισίν.
- The rulers are not giving anything to the children.
- The rulers are giving nothing to the children.
When τις, τι follows a noun it agrees with (in gender, number and case), it becomes an ADJECTIVE that makes the noun indefinite. In such instances, the noun would not have a definite article.
- ἄρχοντές τινες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισίν.
- Some rulers are giving hope to the children.
- οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι ἐλπίδα τινὰ τοῖς παισίν.
- The rulers are giving some hope to the children.
Indefinite Relative Pronoun
Adding τις, τι as a suffix to the relative pronoun (ὅς, ἥ, ὅ) makes the relative pronoun indefinite. The pronoun translates as anyone who/anything which/anything that. Consider the following sentence.
- ὅστις δίδωσι τὰ χρήματα τοῖς παισίν, ἀφίησι τὰ χρήματα.
- Anyone who/Whosoever gives money to the children is throwing the money away.
To form this pronoun, notice that Greek inflects both relative pronoun and its indefinite suffix (S 339; GPH p. 55)!
Note that the neuter nominative and accusative singular is usually written as two words: ὅ τι. This is to distinguish this form from ὅτι, meaning because.
- ὅ τι οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τοῖς παισίν…
- Whatever the rulers are giving to the children…
- ὅτι ἀποδιδόασιν οἱ παῖδες τὰ χρήματα…
- Because the children give their money back…
Note also that although the enclitic suffix τις, τι has been added to the relative pronoun to form one word, the relative pronoun is accented as though the enclitic is still a separate word (S 186). This situation results in forms such as ὧντινων, where the antepenult now can have a circumflex!
The pronoun τις, τι can also serve as an interrogative pronoun, meaning who? what? If this is the case, there are two changes that distinguish it from the indefinite pronoun of the same form.
Change 1: Accent
The interrogative pronoun ALWAYS has an ACUTE ACCENT (S 334; GPH 52). If the form has two syllables, the accent is on the penult, e.g. τίνος, τίνι… Since the penult of a two syllable enclitic can never receive the accent, encountering a form such as τίνος indicates that it must be an interrogative pronoun.
If the accent is on a monosyllabic form, the acute NEVER changes to a grave, even if another word follows. Note the following examples:
- τί οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασιν;
- What are the rulers giving?
- τίς ταῦτα δίδωσιν;
- Who is giving these (things)?
Change 2: Position
The interrogative pronoun is NOT postpositive. In fact, it usually is the first word of a sentence or clause that asks the question Who…? or What…?
Consider the accents and position of τις, τι in the following sentences. Note also that each sentence ends in a Greek question mark.
- τίς δίδωσιν τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισίν;
- Who is giving hope to the children?
- τίσιν οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα;
- To whom are the rulers giving hope?
NOTE: The neuter accusative singular τί is sometimes used to ask the question “why?” instead of “what?” Context helps determine which meaning is intended. For example, “why?” is the likely meaning if another noun is the direct object (accusative) of the verb.
- τί οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τοῖς παισίν;
- What are the rulers giving to the children?
- τί οἱ ἄρχοντες διδόασι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισίν;
- Why are the rulers giving hope to the children?
When τις, τι has an acute accent, and modifies a noun with which it agrees in gender, number, and case, it serves as an INTERROGATIVE ADJECTIVE. Even if used as an adjective, note that the acute still never changes to a grave.
- τίς ἀνὴρ δίδωσι τὴν ἐλπίδα τοῖς παισίν;
- What man is giving hope to the children?
- τίνες ἄρχοντες διδόασιν ἐκεῖνα τοῖς παισίν;
- Which rulers are giving those things to the children?
– τὸ τέλος –
Key Terms and Concepts
- RELATIVE PRONOUN
- ATTRACTED RELATIVE PRONOUN
- INTENSIVE RELATIVE PRONOUN
- INDEFINITE PRONOUN
- INDEFINITE RELATIVE PRONOUN
- INTERROGATIVE PRONOUN
- ὅς, ἥ, ὅ who, which, that
- ὅσπερ, ἥπερ, ὅπερ the same/very one(s) who, which, that
- ὅστις, ἥτις, ὅ τι anyone who, anything which, whoever, whatever
- τις, τι (enclitic) someone, something, anyone, anything
- τίς, τί who? what? which?
Ι. Practice declining in full (all cases, genders, numbers) the five pronouns in this lesson.
ΙΙ. Note the following sentence: οἱ δαίμονες εἴτε τὸ φῶς εἴτε τὴν ἐλπίδα δεικνύασιν. Rewrite the sentence in Greek, using the appropriate pronouns/adjectives in the appropriate gender, number, and case, so that it translates as follows. (Note: the words in parentheses need not be translated into Greek).
- Who (which gods) are showing either some light or any hope?
- The very gods who are showing either that or this…
III. Note the following sentence: ὁ ἄρχων οὖν τὸ ὕδωρ ἢ τὰ χρήματα τῷ ἡγεμόνι παραδίδωσι. Rewrite the sentence in Greek, using the appropriate pronouns/adjectives in the appropriate gender, number, and case, so that it translates as follows. (Note: the words in parentheses need not be translated into Greek).
- Which ruler, therefore, is handing back some water or the same money to this (commander)?
- This ruler, therefore, is (the one) who is handing back that water or this money to him.