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13.85 Forms of the First Aorist Active Indicative

Make sure you read Croy section 85. The third principal part of the verb gives you the aorist past tense, complete with augment. All you have to do is change the endings. These are the secondary endings, similar to the endings you learned for the imperfect past tense, although the dominant vowel is an alpha rather than an omicron.

Here is a chart showing the imperfect past and the aorist past side by side, plus some very important points to keep in mind:

English translation. I have provided the same translation for both the imperfect past and the aorist past. This is because the difference between these two past tense forms is a difference of aspect. Because aspect is not a fundamental part of the English verb system, there is no easy way to convey the difference between the aorist past and the imperfect past in English. It is a mistake - a big mistake - to automatically translate the imperfect with the English continuous past ("was loosening"). In general, you should translate the aorist past and the imperfect past with the English simple past tense, but be willing to make adjustments based on the specific English-language context of your translation.

Know your stem! Although the endings of the aorist and the imperfect are different, they are the same in the most important verb form - third person singular. The only way you can tell the difference between the imperfect ἔλυε and the aorist ἔλυσε is because of the difference in the stem. You must be very aware of the stem of every verb you see, recognizing it as a present system stem or an aorist system stem.

  Imperfect Past Active Aorist Past Active
Aorist Active Ending
I loosened ἔλυον ἔλυσα
you loosened ἔλυες ἔλυσας
she loosened ἔλυε(ν) ἔλυσε(ν)
we loosened ἐλύομεν ἐλύσαμεν
you loosened ἐλύετε ἐλύσατε
they loosened ἔλυον ἔλυσαν




Biblical Greek Online. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. Page last updated: April 9, 2005 8:06 PM

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