Greek Language Blog

The Active Participle in Greek Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in Grammar

Γεια σας! Τoday we will see the different uses of the active participle (ενεργητική μετοχή). It is formed by the stem of the verb and the endings –οντας (for verbs ending in-ω) or ώντας (for verbs ending in –ώ): τρέχοντας (running) / μιλώντας (speaking).

Photo via Pixabay

The active participle can be used to express:

1. The way the action described by the verb happened: Ο Πέτρος ήρθε τρέχοντας. Petros came running.

2. The cause: Πίνοντας συνεχώς αλκοόλ, κατέστρεψε το συκώτι του. => Κατέστρεψε το συκώτι του γιατί έπινε συνεχώς αλκοόλ. He damaged his liver by drinking alcohol constantly.

3. The time: Διαβάζοντας πολλές ώρες, έμαθαν την ιστορία απέξω. => Αφού διάβασαν πολλές ώρες, έμαθαν την ιστορία απέξω. After hours of reading, they memorized the story.

4. Hypothesis: Ρωτώντας τη Μαρία, ίσως μάθαινες την αλήθεια. => Αν ρωτούσες την Μαρία, ίσως μάθαινες την αλήθεια. You would find out the truth if you asked Maria.

5. Opposition: Μην έχοντας ακόμα το πτυχίο της, έψαχνε δουλειά ως δασκάλα. => Αν και δεν είχε ακόμα το πτυχίο της, έψαχνε δουλειά ως δασκάλα. Even though she hadn’t graduated yet, she was looking for a job as a teacher.

Note that the negative particle μη(ν) is used to make the negative form.

Standard expressions:

1. Ρωτώντας πας στην πόλη: better to ask the way than go astray.

Θα βρω την διεύθυνση της Ελένης. Ρωτώντας πας στην πόλη. / Ι will find Eleni’s address. Better to ask the way than go astray.

2. Βλέποντας και κάνοντας: waiting to see how things turn out.

Θα πάτε διακοπές φέτος;” “Δεν ξέρω πότε θα έχω άδεια ακόμη. Θα δούμε. Βλέποντας και κάνοντας…” / “Will you go on holiday this year?” “I don’t know when I will take a vacation yet. We’ll see. I will be waiting to see how things turn ou..t.”

3. Τρώγοντας έρχεται η όρεξη: translated directly: appetite comes by eating.

“Αν και δεν πεινούσα, έφαγα πολύ.” “Ε, βέβαια. Τρώγοντας έρχεται η όρεξη.” / “Even though I wasn’t hungry, I ate a lot.” “Of course. Appetite comes by eating.”

Common mistake:

I saw the children running” translated as “είδα τα παιδιά τρέχοντας”. Είδα τα παιδιά τρέχοντας means I saw the children as I was running. The right translation would be είδα τα παιδιά να τρέχουν. The active participle is not used the same way in Greek as in English and sometimes the participle in English is analyzed in a sentence, in order to be translated.


1. Τα παιδιά άκουσαν την Σοφία να γελάει. The children heard Sophia laughing.

2. Βλέπαμε τα αστέρια να λάμπουν στον ουρανό. We watched the stars shining in the sky.

3. Από το ανοιχτό παράθυρο, είδαν την γυναίκα να μαγειρεύει. Through the open window, they saw the woman cooking.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions. Να είστε καλά!


Photo via Pixabay

Tags: ,
Keep learning Greek with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

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.


  1. Stella Lambrou:

    Thank you Ourania, This great, very helpful.
    Regards from Down Under

    • Ourania:

      @Stella Lambrou Γεια σου Στέλλα! I’m glad this post is useful!
      Best regards from Greece 🙂