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Notes On Koine Greek: Part 17

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1) Starting to put it together: So far, we’ve started to familiarize ourselves with


Greek verb and noun systems. Particularly, we’ve looked at inflection in these
two systems with a specific eye towards concentrating on morphemes. In the next
three installations of “Notes”, we shall look at a few additional topics that will
begin to help us put these things together: complements, articles and
conjunctions. Here, “complements” are in view.
2) Complements: As pointed out in Part 6 of my “Notes”, amalgamation and
copulation are two processes in Greek that have to do with “joining”. The Greek
verb eimi is a copulative verb because when it is used, it joins together the subject
and predicate of the sentence or more simply, it relates what precedes it to what
follows it. Here is an English example followed by a Greek example:
The man is a brother. o` a;nqrwpoj esti
vst
stin, avdelfo,j.

Complement Complement

3) Tips For Recognizing & Working With Complements:


a. Complements tend to give more information about the subject (though,
sometimes the object is in view)
b. The complement may consist of an adjective or noun phrase.
c. The use of the complement depends on the verb.
d. Verbs like eimi often denote complements.
e. Don’t confuse the complement with the object.
f. As Dave Black notes, equating eimi with the “=” sign is helpful for
understanding its use: eimi anqrwpoj : I = man : I am a man.
4) Another Example (from Dave Black):

English: The field is the world (Mt. 13.38)

Complement
[Linking Verb]

Greek: o` … avgro.j e`stin o` ko.smoj (Mt. 13.38)

Complement
[Linking Verb]