Use of the conjunction “na”

Posted on 21. Apr, 2014 by in Grammar

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The right use of the conjunctions ότι, πως, να (oti, pos, na) which mean “that” and “to”)  is not always clear and  Greek learners often misuse them (ελπίζω που instead of ελπίζω να etc.).
Verbs that express desire, wish, necessity, exhortation, possibility and prohibition are followed by the conjunction να (na, to) and a verb in the Subjunctive Mood.

Some examples:

1. Θέλω (thelo): Ι want
Θέλω να ταξιδέψω με αεροπλάνο (thelo na taxidepso me aeroplano).
I want to travel by plane.

2. Ελπίζω (elpizo): I hope
Ελπίζουμε να σας δούμε το καλοκαίρι (elpizoume na sas doume to kalokairi).
We hope to see you in the summer.

3. Σκοπεύω (skopevo): I intend
Ο αδερφός μου δε σκοπεύει να γυρίσει σύντομα (O aderfos mou de skopevee na girisee sintoma).
My brother doesn’t intend to come back soon.

4. Πρέπει (prepee): I must
Πρέπει να τελειώσω το μαγείρεμα πριν να γυρίσουν οι γονείς μου (prepee na teleeoso to magirema prin na girisoun ee gonis mou).
I must finish cooking before my parents come back.

5. Είναι ανάγκη (eene anagkee): I, you etc need to
Είναι ανάγκη να σε δω (eene anagkee na se do).
I need to see you.

6. Είναι απαραίτητο (eene aparetito): It’s necessary
Δεν είναι απαραίτητο να χρησιμοποιήσεις τόση ζάχαρη (den eene aparetito na hrisimopoiisis tosee zaharee)
It’s not necessary to use so much sugar.

7. Χρειάζεται (hreeazete): I, you  etc. have to
Δε χρειάζεται να του τηλεφωνήσεις απόψε (de hreeazete na tou tilefonisees apospe).
You don’t have to call him tonight.

BE CAREFUL: χρειάζομαι (hreeazome) means “I need” and is followed by a noun.
Χρειάζομαι καινούριο υπολογιστή (Hreeazome kainourgio ipologistee).
I need a new pc.

8. Μπορώ (boro): I can
Με συγχωρείτε, μπορώ να κάνω ένα τηλεφώνημα; (Me sighorite boron a kano ena tilefonima)
Excuse me, can I make a phone call?

9. Μπορεί  (boree): I, you etc. might
Μπορεί να δουλέψει και η Στέλλα μαζί μας. (Boree na doulepsee kai ee Stella maze mas)
Stella might work with us too.

10. Είναι δυνατόν / αδύνατον (eene dinaton, adinaton): It’s possible, it’s impossible
Είναι αδύνατον να μεταφράσω το βιβλίο πριν την Πέμπτη (eene adinaton na metafraso to vivlio prin tin Pempti).
It’s impossible to translate this book before Thursday.

11. Απαγορεύεται (apagorevete) : it is forbidden
Απαγορεύεται να ταΐζετε τα ζώα (apagorevete na taeezete ta zoa).
It is forbidden to feed the animals.

12. Έχω χρόνο / δεν έχω χρόνο (eho hrono, den eho hrono): I have the time, I don’t have the time
Δεν έχω χρόνο να πάω σινεμά (den eho hrono na pao sinema).
I have no time to go to the movies.

Έχεις  χρόνο να πάμε στο γιατρό; (Ehees hrono na pame sto giatro)
Do you have time to go with me to the doctor?

A touch of Greek Easter

Posted on 15. Apr, 2014 by in Culture, Customs, Videos, Vocabulary



The  countdown to Easter (Πάσχα, Pasha) , the most important Greek holiday, has already started.  The Easter traditions have been preserved  and are still followed by most Greeks, religious or not.  Some people, relate Easter to a big open air celebration with music, dance, and of course a meal that is composed of lamb and wine.  It is an opportunity to meet friends and relatives, to be joyful and careless and to enjoy the spring. Some others, relate it to the church service during the Holly Week and the devout Byzantine hymns of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. It is a period of love and forgiveness and the right moment to connect spiritually and emotionally with the others.


  • Some Easter Customs

Every Greek region has its own way and customs of celebrating Easter but some traditions are common.
Μεγάλη Πέμπτη (megali Pempti Holy Thursday) is a day full of colors and smells. People prepare  κουλούρια (koulouriα, Greek cookies) and τσουρέκι (tsoureki, Easter bread) and they dye and decorate  eggs, in a festive ambiance.  The tradition of decorated eggs is common in the Balkan countries.

If you want to go Greek this Easter, watch these recipes and make your own tsoureki and koulouria!

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Μεγάλη Παρασκευή (Megali Paraskevi, Good Friday) is a day of mourning. The Bier of Christ (Επιτάφιος, Epitafios)  which has been decorated with flowers, is transported in the streets and is followed by the believers.
Μεγάλο Σάββατο (Megalo Savato, Holy Saturday) people celebrate the Resurrection.  They go to church and at midnight they get  the Holy Light (Άγιο Φως, agio fos) by the priest, and they exchange greetings. They have decorated candles (λαμπάδα, lambada) and carry the light home.  It is the end of the forty days Lent.
Κυριακή του Πάσχα (Kiriaki tou Pasha, Easter Sunday) is a day of joy and happiness. Traditionally, people spend Easter with their family, they eat lamb, crack boiled red eggs,  and take a break from their everyday life.


  • Easter greetings and expressions

Καλό Πάσχα (Kalo Pasha, have a nice Easter)
Καλή Ανάσταση (Kali Anastasi, Anastasi= Resurrection)
Χρόνια Πολλά (Hronia polla)
Χριστός Aνέστη, Αληθώς (Hristos Anesti, Alithos Anesti): When the priest announces the resurrection of Christ, people spread the word by saying  “Χριστός Ανέστη” (Hristos Anesti) which means “Christ has risen”. The other person must respond by “Αληθώς” (Alithos) which could be translated as “indeed”.


Say the colors in Greek

Posted on 06. Apr, 2014 by in Music, Vocabulary

by Rania

by Rania

Ήρθε η άνοιξη! (Irthe i anixi, spring is in the air) Spring is the season of colors and the Greek vocabulary is rich in adjectives and idioms related to colors (χρώματα, hromata).

The colors grammatically are adjectives, so they  have genders, singular and plural and cases, i.e. they are not invariable.

1. Form of colors

  • Some colors are invariable because they are non-Greek words:

Μπλε (ble, blue), ροζ (roz, pink), μωβ (mauve), μπεζ (beige), εκρού (ekrou, ecru), γκρι (gri, gery), τιρκουάζ  (turquoise), χακί (haki, khaki), καφέ (kafe, brown)

E.x. Η Σοφία φοράει μία μπλε φούστα (I Sophia foraei mi able fousta): Sophia is wearing a blue skirt.


  • In some standard expressions we use the colors in their older form:

Ερυθρός Σταυρός (eritrhos stavros): Red Cross

Κυανούς Σταυρός (kianous stavros): Blue Cross

Λευκός οίκος (lefkos oikos): White House

  • The other adjectives  end in:

 ος (masc.) –η (fem.) –ο (neuter)

Κόκκινος, κόκκινη, κόκκινο (kokkinos, kokkini, kokkino): red

Μαύρος, μαύρη, μαύρο (mavros, mavri, mavro): black

Άσπρος, άσπρη, άσπρο (aspros, aspri, aspro): white

Πράσινος, πράσινη, πράσινο (prasinos, prasini, prasino): green

Κίτρινος, κίτρινη, κίτρινο (kitrinos, kitrini, kitrino): yellow

-ος (masc.) –α (fem.) –ο (neuter)

Γκρίζος, γκρίζα, γκρίζο (grizos, griza, grizo): grey

-ος (masc.) –ια (fem.) –ο (neuter)

Γαλάζιος, γαλάζια, γαλάζιο (galazios, galazia, galazio): light blue

-ής (masc.) –ιά (fem.) –ί (neuter)

Note that some cases are not commonly used.

Βυσσινής, βυσσινιά, βυσσινί (vissinis, vissinia, vissini): the color of the sour cherry

Σταχτής, σταχτιά, σταχτί (stahtis, stahtia, stahti): the color of the ash

Πορτοκαλής, πορτοκαλιά, πορτοκαλί (portokalis, portokalia, portokalia): orange

Καφετής, καφετιά, καφετί (kafetis, kagetia, kafeti): brown

Θαλασσής, θαλασσιά, θαλασσί (thalassis, thalassia, thalassi): ocean/sea  blue


2. Use of colors

Colors have the same gender, case and number as the noun they define. Usually, they are placed before it:

Έχω μία μαύρη γάτα. (Eho mia mavri gata):  I have a black cat.

Sometimes, they can be put after the moun:

Έχεις γάτα άσπρη ή μαύρη; (Eheis gata aspri i mavri): Do you have a black cat or a white cat?

If they define a specific noun they are always placed before it:

Βλέπεις τη μαύρη γάτα; (Vlepeis ti mavri gata): Do you see the black cat?

3. And some “colorful” expressions:

Κοκκινίζω από το θυμό μου (kokkinizo apo to thimo mou) : (literally) I turn red from (because of) anger

Κοκκινίζω από ντροπή (kokkinizo apo dropi) I turn red from shyness / embarassement

Μαυρίζωαπό το κακό μου (mavrizo apo to kako mou) I turn black from rage

Πρασινίζω από τη ζήλεια μου (prasinizo apo ti zilia mou) I turn green from jealousy

Ασπρίζω από το φόβο μου (asprizo apo to fovo mou) I turn white from fear

Κιτρινίζω από το φόβο μου (kitrinizo apo to bovo mou) I turn yellow from fear

And a song: Rosa Rosalia (the pink color) by Lena Platonos

Ρόζα Ροζαλία (το ροζ χρώμα) [Roza Rozalia to roz hroma]

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