The St. Eutychus Guide to First Year Greek – Part Ten

Nouns of the Third Declension

Greek nouns, like the verbs, have a stem, a connecting vowel and an ending. The ending indicates case (and declension).

Third declension nouns have no stem vowel. They just whack the ending onto the noun’s root. The stem is easies to identify by removing the “ος” from the genitive. Third declension genitives receive an ος in every singular genitive and an ων in every plural genitive (regardless of gender).

Nominatives mostly either have just an ς or nothing, datives always end in ι (singular) or σι(ν) (plural), and accusative plurals always end in ς (either ας or ες).

Third declension nouns are categorised on the basis of whether the stem ends with a consonant or a vowel. Consonantal stems are split into categories based on the last phoneme of the stem.

The gender of third declension nouns is not readily apparent – in order to spot them in the wild we need to learn the nominative and genitive singular versions, and the article, as always, will be our greatest ally in figuring out what the noun is doing.

Because there is no stem vowel the dative plural σι(ν) often comes across letters that σ hates. So:

  • ξ, κ, γ, χ + σι(ν) = ψι(ν)
  • ψ, π, β, φ + σι(ν)  = ξι(ν)
  • ζ, τ, δ, θ + σι(ν)  = σι(ν)

If the stem ends in αντ, εντ, or  οντ in the dative case the ντ drops out and the leftover vowel lengthens.

eg: αντ + σι(ν) = ασι(ν)

εντ + σι(ν) = εισι(ν)

Adjectives, pronouns and numerals of the First and Third Declension

πας (meaning all) has a sibilant stem, so it follows δοξα, the stem of the third declension is παντ (from παντος).

πας has four uses:

  1. In the predicate it means “all”
  2. In the attributive it means “whole”
  3. With a noun without an article it means “every”
  4. When it stands by itself it’s substantive.

πας can have many different meanings (sometimes full or pure).

εις, ουδεις, and μηδεις

εις (“heis” not eis (which is into)) is the nominative masculine form of one. μια is the feminine nominative, while εν (“hen”, not en (which is in)) is the neuter.

The declension of εις, ουδεις, and μηνδεις is as follows

  • N: εις
  • G: ενος
  • D: ενι
  • A: ενα
  • N: μια
  • G: μιας
  • D: μιᾳ
  • A: μιαν
  • N: εν
  • G: ενος
  • D: ενι
  • A: εν

εκαστος εισ means “each one” and occurs commonly.

Greek double negatives don’t cancel each other out. So ουδεις and μηνδεις (no-one, no-thing) can reinforce a negative .

ουδεις is used in the indicative mood. μηνδεις in the others.

πολυς, μεγας and αληθης

  • πολυς = much, many
  • μεγας = great
  • αληθης = true, and is declined using third declension end.

Comparison of Adjectives

Adjectives in Greek have three degrees – positive (normal) (beautiful, hard, good), comparitive (harder, more beautiful, better), and superlative (hardest, most beautiful, best).

Comparative adjectives take the forms: -τερος, -τατα, -τατον

Superlative adjectives take the forms: -τατος, -τατη, -τατον


δικαιος (positive), δικαιοτερος (comparitive), δικαιοτατος (superlative)

There are a bunch of irregular comparatives:

  • αγαθος (good) -> κρεισσων (better)
  • κακοσ (bad) -> χειρων (worse)
  • μεγας (great) -> μειζων (greater)
  • πολυς (much) -> πλειων (more)

Adjectives may be used to express a comparison. This happens in two ways:

  1. By placing the noun (or pronoun) to be compared in the genitive. This is called the genitive of comparison.
  2. By using the particle η (than) and nouns in the same case.

The comparative form is often used with a superlative function “but the greatest of these” or the elative sense “very great”…