Ancient Greek #3: Verbs- Present Active Indicative


Present Active Indicative verbs denote actions occurring in the present. These verbs can refer to an action occurring at the moment of the sentence (e.g. I am teaching.), a continuous action that occurs before, during, and after the sentence (e.g. I teach for a living.), or an affirmation of an action (e.g. Yes, I do teach.).

The following table shows the corresponding endings for present active indicative verbs:

Person/Number Singular Dual Plural
1st ω -* ομεν
2nd εις ετον ετε
3rd ει ετον ουσι, ουσιν**

* Note that there is no first person dual in Greek.

** The last letter ν in the third person plural is only written if the following word begins with a vowel or if the verb itself is at the end of a sentence.

As an example of how these verb endings are applied, we’ll conjugate the verb παιδεύω (teach). In order to conjugate the verb, we first separate the stem: παιδεύ- and then add the appropriate verb ending:

Person Singular Dual Plural
1st παιδεύω
I teach.
We teach.
2nd παιδεύεις 
You (s.) teach.
You (d.) teach.
You (p.) teach.
3rd παιδεύει 
He teaches.
They (d.) teach.
They (p.) teach.

For the second person, the symbols (s.), (d.), and (p.) are used to denote a singular, dual, or plural “you”. The third person singular can use either he, she, it, or a noun as a subject. The third person plurals use the symbols (d.) and (p.) to denote a dual or plural “they”.

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