Classical Greek Lesson 3- Verbs: Present Active Indicative



  1. Greek verbs have seven properties: person, number, voice, mood, tense, aspect, and time.
  2. Greek verbs have one of three persons: first (the subject is the speaker), second (the subject is the listener), or third (the subject is someone other than the speaker or listener).
  3. Greek verbs can have one of three numbers: singular (one subject), dual (a pair of subjects), or plural (multiple subjects).
  4. Greek verbs can have one of three voices: active (the subject performs the action), passive (the action is performed on the subject), or middle (the subject performs the action for itself).
  5. Greek verbs can have one of four moods: indicative (indicates an occurrence), imperative (gives a command), subjunctive or optative (both present a hypothetical situation).
  6. Greek verbs can have one of seven tenses: present (occurs at the moment), imperfect (occurs continuously in the past), future (will occur in the future), aorist (occurred in the past), perfect (occurred recently and is relevant to the present), pluperfect (occurred in the past and was relevant to a recent event), or future perfect (will occur in the future as a result of a finished action).
  7. Greek verbs can have one of three aspects: imperfective (perceived as a continuous process), aoristic (perceived as a one-time occurrence), perfective (perceived as a completed occurrence).
  8. Greek verbs have one of three times: past, present, future.


  1. Verbs are composed of two parts: a stem and an inflection.
  2. A Greek verb can have up to six stems. A stem is the base combination of letters that make up a verb. In other words, a stem defines the action.
  3. Each stem can be inflected to determine a verb’s properties. In other words, an inflection describes the action.
  4. An inflection is a change made to a verb stem, typically consisting of adding a prefix or a suffix. The process of inflecting a verb is called conjugating.
  5. There are two types of conjugations, and the type of verb determines the conjugation to be used.

Present Active Indicative

  1. Verbs will be identified by their tense, voice and mood. Therefore, present active indicative verbs have present tense, active voice, and indicative mood.
  2. Present Active Indicative verbs denote actions occurring in the present, and 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).
  3. Present Active Indicative verbs are inflected by adding a suffix to the end of a verb. These suffixes are usually called endings.
  4. Different combinations of person and number have different endings.

Present Active Indicative Endings

Person/Number Singular Dual Plural
1st ω ομεν
2nd εις ετον ετε
3rd ει ετον ουσι, ουσιν
  1. Note that there is no first person dual in Greek.
  2. The third person plural ending is ουσιν if the following word begins with a vowel, or if the verb itself is at the end of a sentence. Otherwise, it’s ουσι.


  1. The verb παιδεύω (teach) is conjugated in Present Active Indicative as follows:
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.
παιδεύουσι, παιδεύουσιν
They (p.) teach.
  1. Since there is no distinction between the second person singular and plural in English, the symbols (s.) and (p.) is used to distinguish between singular and plural nouns.
  2. Since there is no dual number in English, the symbols (d.) and (p.) are used to distinguish between dual and plural nouns.
  3. The third person singular verb is not gender-specific, and can refer to any of the following subjects: he, she, it, they, a noun, or a pronoun.


Verbs are presented in their first-person singular forms of the present active indicative.

  1. γρἀφω – write, draw
  2. θύω – sacrifice, slay
  3. κλέπτω – steal
  4. παιδεύω – teach, educate
  5. φυλάττω – guard, protect, preserve


Write all person/number combinations of the present active indicative verbs in the vocabulary and translate into English.

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