Handout #2: Rules and Memory Aids for Greek Pronouns

This handout is a list of everything to remember from lessons 11-14 of the New Testament Greek textbook (Balfour, A Step-by-Step Introduction to New Testament Greek).  Some of what follows might not make sense without having been through these lessons in the book.  This is intended as a revision tool, and to help when doing one’s exercises.  Also, because it is based on Balfour’s textbook, it does not make use of accents.

  1. ε → ο       a → i              ἐκεινος = ‘that’       οὑτος = ‘this’
  2. The demonstrative adjectives are always used with the definite article.
  3. The attributive and predicative positions are flipped for the demonstrative adjectives and ὁλος (‘whole’).
  4. If αὐτος does not use a definite article, then it is probably the third-person singular personal pronoun, ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘it’ (depending on its gender and the noun it replaces).

4.1. It can be used when the subject of the verb was inferred within the verb itself, and sometimes this is for emphases. For example, in αὐτος λεγει, it might be used for emphasis.

  1. If αὐτος uses the definite article in the Predicative position, then it is the Emphasising Pronoun, ‘himself’, ‘herself’, or ‘itself’.

5.1. In this use, the third person pronoun is also used as first and second person pronouns. So ἐγω αὐτος λεγω must mean ‘I myself say’, because it mixes first and third person pronouns.

  1. If αὐτος uses the definite article in the Attributive position, then it is the Identical Adjective, ‘same’. So, ὁ αὐτος κυριος is ‘The same Lord’.
  2. The third person reflexive pronoun, ἑαυτον, covers first and second person in the plural. So ἀκουετε ἑαυτοις; means ‘Do you hear yourselves?’ (not ‘Do you hear themselves?’)

7.1. The first and second person singular reflexive pronouns simply take the prefix of the first and second person personal pronouns (ἐμ and σ) to become ἐμαυτον and σεαυτον.

  1. The Greek possessive pronoun (ἐμου/μου/σου/αὐτου, etc.) can be translated as a possessive pronoun or adjective in English (my, mine, of me, your, yours, his, of him, etc.), but it is never used for emphasis. The possessive adjective is always used for emphasis (imagine if in English we always put ‘my’ in italics).

8.1. If the possessive adjective is in the attributive position, translate it as a possessive adjective in English (‘her_______’). If it is not in the attributive position, translate it as a possessive pronoun in English (‘hers’).

  1. The relative pronoun takes the number and gender of its antecedent, but the case that is dictated by its context within the relative clause.

9.1. Sometimes NT authors do this incorrectly, and it takes the number, gender, and case of its antecedent.

  1. Note that the relative pronoun usually has a grave accent, and the definite article does not. Also, observe its rough breathing in order to distinguish the masculine and neuter singular genitives from the negativing particle, οὐ, and to distinguish the feminine singular accusative relative pronoun ἣν from the third person singular past tense for ‘to be’, ἠν.

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