Greek Language Blog

Use of Greek: the Genitive Case Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Grammar, Quizzes

By DeeJayTee23 under a CC license on Flickr

By DeeJayTee23 under a CC license on Flickr

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the accusative case (αιτιατική). In this post there are examples on the use of the genitive case (γενική). The genitive case can be used to show:

Possession: Αυτό είναι το βιβλίο του Νικου.  This is Nikos’ book.

The subject of an action (subjective genitive): Όλοι μιλούσαν για το σκορ του Πέτρου. Everybody was talking about Petros’ score. ( Who scored? Petros. =>  Petros is the subject.)

The object of an action (objective genitive):  Η αγάπη του Πέτρου την έκανε να ξεχάσει τα πάντα.  The love for Petros (Petros’ love) made her forget everything. (Whom does she love? Petros. => Petros is the object.)

Purpose, use: Χρειαζόμαστε ποτήρια του κρασιού και του νερού. We need wine glasses and water glasses.

Property, quality: Η Ουρανία ήταν η Μούσα της αστρονομίας.  Urania was the Muse of Astronomy.

Place: Έκανα βόλτα στους δρόμους του χωριού. I strolled through the village. (Lit: I walked through the roads of the village)

Time: Θα έρθουν στις Ελλάδα στις 17 Ιουνίου.They will come to Greece on the 17th of July.

Duration: Έκανε ένα ταξίδι τεσσάρων ημερών. He had a four-day trip.

Dimensions: Μένουν σε ένα διαμέρισμα διακοσίων τετραγωνικών μέτρων. They live in a 200 sm apartment.

A part of the whole: Τα παιδιά της γειτονιάς πηγαίνουν στο δημόσιο σχολείο. The children of the neighborhood go to the public school.

Comparison: Έχουμε την πιο καλή μαμά του κόσμου! We have the best mom in the world! (Lit: of the world)

Origin: Γύρισε ο γιος της Μαργαρίτας; Has Margarita’s son come back?

The creator (writer, painter etc.): Τα παιδιά μελετούν την Ιθάκη του Καβάφη. The children are studying Cavafis’ Ithaca.


By xamad under a CC license on Flickr

By xamad under a CC license on Flickr


If you need practice, feel  free to do the following exercise:

Replace the underlined phrases by words in the genitive case.

Χρειάζομαι ένα ποτήρι για τη μπίρα.

Τον ξύπνησαν τα τραγούδια που έλεγαν τα παιδιά.

Μήπως είδες τα κλειδιά για το αυτοκίνητο;

Έχεις μία σακούλα για σκουπίδια;

Η Αθηνά είναι η πιο έξυπνη μαθήτρια στην τάξη.

Την απασχολεί μόνο η φροντίδα για τα παιδιά της.

Check your answers here: genitive case

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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.


  1. dan heimowitz:

    Good explanation.

  2. Tom:

    Thanks for this very helpful and interesting piece, Ourania. But I am confused by the example involving Petros and the “objective genitive.” You translate “η αγάπη του Πετρου” as “The love for Petros (Petros’s love) but these two phrases in English mean very different things. The first means that she loves Petros; the second means that Petros loves her. (A pretty important distinction in real life!) I would read “η αγάπη του Πετρου” as Petros’s love–a love that Petros feels. Is it possible that it could mean either one or the other depending on the context?

    • Ourania:

      @Tom Hi Tom,
      Thank you for your comment. Actually, the phrase “η αγάπη του Πέτρου” can take two different meanings depending on the context:
      a) Petros’s love => Petros loves someone.
      b) The love for Petros => Someone loves Petros.
      In the phrase on the post, I mean that the woman loves Petros. I put in brackets (Petros’s love) in order to show that in Greek we use the same structure but maybe it was not a good idea because it is confusing.
      In any case, you are right, the sentence “η αγάπη του Πέτρου” can have two meanings.