Greek Language Blog

Greek grammar: Personal Pronouns Posted by on Jun 17, 2020 in Vocabulary

Γεια σας! It’s time to review some grammar and syntax.

Many students of the Greek language find it quite difficult to put the objects of a verb in the correct case. Why? Because there are a lot of different options. Today we are going to focus on what happens with the double object verbs.

Φωτογραφία από Michael Schwarzenberger από το Pixabay

Most verbs take only one object. This object can be either in the accusative or the genitive case. They are called μονόπτωτα ρήματα (single object verbs). Examples:

  • Θα αγοράσω εφημερίδα.

  • Τρώω παγωτό.

  • Η Σοφία μίλησε του πατέρα.

  • Ο Χρήστος μοιάζει του παππού.

We can often replace an object in the genitive case with a preposition and the accusative.

  • Η Σοφία μίλησε του πατέρα: Η Σοφία μίλησε στον πατέρα.

  • Ο Χρήστος μοιάζει του παππού: Ο Χρήστος μοιάζει στον παππού.

We also have a lot of verbs that can take two objects. For example:

  • Η δασκάλα διάβασε την ιστορία στους μαθητές.

  • Η μητέρα έδωσε την εφημερίδα στον γιό της.

  • Αγόρασα της κόρης μου ένα βιβλίο.

  • Θα στείλω κάρτα στους γονείς μου.

These double object verbs have one direct object and one indirect object. In Greek, we call them δίπτωτα ρήματα (double object verbs) and their objects are the άμεσο αντικείμενο (direct object) and the έμμεσο αντικείμενο (indirect object). The indirect object usually refers to a person and we can easily identify it if we ask “whom?” or “to whom?” while the direct object usually refers to a thing and it answers to the question “what?”

But what is important is the case in which each object is presented. We have two major categories:

One object in the genitive and one in the accusative:

    • Έδωσα της Μαρίας το βιβλίο.

    • Του ζήτησα χρήματα.

The object in the genitive case is the indirect one, while the direct object is in the accusative.

Both objects in the accusative:

    • Πήρα τον Στέφανο τηλέφωνο.

    • Θα στείλω στον αδερφό μου ένα δώρο.

When both objects are in the accusative, we can easily distinguish the indirect object if it has a preposition.

Sometimes one of the objects can be a pronoun in the reduced form. In this occasion, the pronoun has to appear before the verb. For instance:

  • Πήρα τον Στέφανο τηλέφωνο: Τον πήρα τηλέφωνο.

  • Θα στείλω στον αδερφό μου ένα δώρο Θα του στείλω ένα δώρο.

An added difficulty arises when we want to replace both objects with pronouns, especially when they are in their reduced forms. For example:

  • Ο Γιάννης λέει στον φίλο του τα νέα: Του τα λέει.

  • Η δασκάλα έδωσε στα παιδιά το βιβλίο :Τους το έδωσε.

  • Η Ελένη θα αγοράσει στην κόρη της ένα ποδήλατο: Θα της το αγοράσει.

  • Ο Κώστας έστειλε τα λουλούδια στην Αφροδίτη: Της τα έστειλε.

Now, try the following exercise to see if you have grasped the concept:

personal pronouns_object

You can check your answers here: personal pronouns_object_answer key

Φωτογραφία από aliceabc0 από το Pixabay

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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.