In Greek a word changes its form, especially its ending, to denote distinctions which, in English, are made by the use of added words. Just as we have abbreviated "John his book" to "John's book", so they add to or vary the end of a word to express number, gender, and case in nouns, comparison in adjectives, and condition, voice, tense, mood, person, and number in verbs. This is called inflection. When used of nouns and adjectives it is called declension; of verb conjugation.
The term "indefinite" is used of so-called neuter nouns and the state and tense of certain verbs.


It is customary, in declining Greek nouns, to refer them to three "Declensions". As this is so firmly established we will use these divisions. But, as there are many varieties of declension in each of the three, we will subdivide them still further.

Nouns and Adjectives number

As in English, the Greek of the sacred Scriptures has two numbers, singular and plural. Classic Greek also has the dual, denoting a pair.
In English we usually add -s or -es to form the plural. So in Greek, the ending of a word usually tells us whether it is singular or plural. The plural endings are far more uniform and less numerous than those for the singular. As it is often inconvenient to distinguish gender when speaking of a number of persons, the plural forms seldom tell us what the gender is. The genitive plural (corresponding somewhat to our possessive) always ends in -, in all genders and all declensions.


Nouns in Greek which do not distinguish gender we will call indefinite. But most words which are indefinite in English are masculine or feminine in Greek, according as their characteristics seem to suggest either sex. This is seldom of vital interest and cannot easily be transferred into English, hence is not noted in the sublinear (CGTS/CGES_id).


In English we show the relation of one word to another by means of connectives and the order of occurrence, except the possessive case, where we modify the endings by adding 's. The accompanying scheme graphically illustrates the cases and their appropriate connectives.

The NOMINATIVE case, as in English, is the subject of the sentence. It answers the question Who? or What? It needs no connective. All is in the nominative in "All is of God" and in "All are aware" (1Jn.2:20).

The GENITIVE includes the English possessive case. It denotes derivation or possession. It answers the question Whence? and suggests motion from. Its characteristic connectives are OUT and FROM. It is indicated in the sublinear by OF- when no connective is present. All is out of God.

The DATIVE case has no English equivalent. It answers the question Where? and suggests rest in. Its characteristic connectives are IN and TOGETHER. It is indicated in the sublinear by prefixing to- when no connective is present. As to- is not ideal, it is not put in capitals. We are in Christ.

The ACCUSATIVE case corresponds to the English objective case. It answers the question Whither? and suggests motion toward. Its characteristic connectives are INTO and TOWARD. All is into God.



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