Ancient Greek #5: Verbs- Present Active Imperative


Present Active Imperative verbs give commands. These commands have an imperfective aspect. In other words, they command for an action to happen continuously or repeatedly.

In English, there are imperative verbs in second person singular and plural, but they are identical (e.g. Go to your room.) There is no 3rd person imperative in English, so in order to provide a translation, some Greek books use either “Let them…” or “May they…” followed by the verb (e.g. Let him go to his room.) What’s important to know is that the 3rd person imperative verb gives a command to a person who is not the listener.

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

Person/Number Singular Dual Plural
2nd ε ετον ετε
3rd ετω ετων οντων

* Note that there are no first person imperative verbs.

The following table shows the present active imperative conjugations for the verb παιδεύω (teach).

Person Singular Dual Plural
2nd παίδευε
Teach (s.)!
Teach (d.)!
Teach (p.)!
3rd παιδεύετε
Let him teach!
Let them (d.) teach!
Let them (p.) teach!

For English translations, commands will be emphasized with an exclamation mark “!”.

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