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Common mistakes in Greek (part 2) Posted by on Jan 10, 2022 in Grammar

Γεια σας! Two years ago I wrote a post about the most  common mistakes foreigners make in Greek. Today, the topic of the post is the incorrect use of Greek, so it is the “sequel” of the previous post.

 

Photo by Jeremy Morris on Unsplash

 

#1. Είμαι αργά or είμαι αργός.

This phrase means “I am slow” and people use it when they want to say “I am late”.

Correct: άργησα

Τhe verb αργώ means “to be late”. Αόριστος: άργησα / Μέλλοντας: θα αργήσω.

Παραδείγματα:

1. Συγγνώμη που άργησα. Sorry I’m late.

2. Θα αργήσω γιατί έχει κίνηση. I will be late because there is traffic.

 

#2. έπρεπε να πήγα / ήθελα να έφαγα etc.

This is an incorrect use of the Subjunctive (να +verb).

Correct: έπρεπε να πάω / ήθελα να φάω

If you want to talk about something that happened in the past, you should put the main verb in the past (έπρεπε, ήθελα) and to use the Subjunctive, that is να + verb in the Future or the Present tense.

Παραδείγματα:

Χθες έπρεπε να πάω στη δουλειά νωρίς. Yesterday I had to go to work early.

Η Μαρία ήθελε να φάμε μαζί. Maria wanted to eat together.

 

#3. The pronunciation of – ζ.

It is never pronounced [s] or [ts]. The correct pronunciation is [z].

 

#4. Mind the words ο χρόνος (year), η χρονιά (year), τα χρόνια (years).

We say: του χρόνου (next year) or την επόμενη χρονιά (next year).

Παραδείγματα:

Θα σας δούμε του χρόνου! We will see you next year!

Την επόμενη χρονιά θα πάμε στο Περού. Next year we will go to Peru.

The word χρόνος means year and time.

Παράδειγμα:

Δεν έχω χρόνο να πάω για καφέ. I have no time to go for a coffee.

Ο επόμενος χρόνος θα είναι δύσκολος. The coming year will be difficult.

The plural is formed by the neuter  τα χρόνια.

Παράδειγμα:

Τα επόμενα χρόνια θα είναι δύσκολα. The coming years will be difficult.

 

#5. περιμένω για

This is a direct translation of “I am waiting for”.

Correct: περιμένω

Παραδείγματα:

1. Σε περιμένω. I am waiting for you.

2. Περιμένουμε τη δασκάλα μας. We are waiting for our teacher.

 

#6. είμαι κουράζομαι

Students use this phrase to mean “I am tired”.

Correct: Κουράζομαι. Αόριστος: κουράστηκα, Μέλλοντας: θα κουραστώ.

Παραδείγματα:

1. Ο Γιώργος κουράζεται όταν δεν κοιμάται αρκετά. George gets tired when he doesn’t have enough sleep.

2. Χθες κουράστηκα πάρα πολύ. Yesterday, I got very tired.

We also use the phrase: είμαι κουρασμένος-η-ο which literally means “I am tired”.

Παραδείγματα:

1. Τα παιδιά είναι κουρασμένα. The children are tired.

2. Είμαι κουρασμένη σήμερα. I am tired today.

If all this is too complicated, remember a simple rule: we never use είμαι with a verb.

 

#7. καλά (adjective) vs καλά (adverb)

Καλά is an adverb and it means “well”.

Παραδείγματα:

Γράφεις καλά. You write well.

“Τι κάνεις;” “Καλά, ευχαριστώ.” “How are you?” “I’m well, thank you.”

It is also the plural of the neuter adjective “καλό” and it means “good”.

Παραδείγματα:

Αυτά τα μήλα δεν είναι καλά. Μην τα αγοράζεις. These apples are not good. Don’t buy them.

Τα παιδιά της Σοφίας είναι τόσο καλά! Sophia’s children are so good!

You can read more about the common mistakes in Greek here.

 

Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.


Comments:

  1. Bernd:

    Thank you, Ourania, for this wonderful article: everything said without many words! It is a great help!
    Many greetings from Germany
    Bernd

  2. Bruce Robertson:

    Many thanks for your Greek Language Blog, especially the posts on common mistakes. Your blog is invaluable to lower intermediate students like myself.

  3. Alexandra:

    Καλημέρα, Ράνια!
    Έχει ένα μικρό λαθάκι σε παρένθεση.
    When you explain έπρεπε να πάω / ήθελα να φάω in 2nd case, it should be (έπρεπε, ήθελα), όχι (έπρεπε, έφαγα).
    Καλή ευδομάδα! 🙂

    • Ourania:

      @Alexandra Ευχαριστώ, Αλεξάνδρα! Το διόρθωσα 🙂


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