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23.162 Introduction to the Subjunctive Mood

Please make sure you read Croy section 162 carefully.

So far you have learned "indicative" verbs, which are used to make statements of fact. You have learned how to make statements of fact about the past (imperfect past and aorist past), about the present (present tense) and about the future (future tense). This week you are going to learn about the "subjunctive" mood, which is used to make statements about possibilities, rather than facts. Because the future is not yet a matter of fact, you are going to see a lot of overlap between the Greek subjunctive and the way we use the future tense in English.

Please ignore what Croy says about the tenses of the subjunctive. There is no tense (past or non-past) in the subjunctive. This is because the subjunctive expresses verbal action that is potential action or possible action. It is not action that is actually taking place, and since it is not taking place, it has no specific time.

Instead of tense, the subjunctive has aspect. There is the present subjunctive and the aorist subjunctive, expressing the present and aorist aspects of the Greek verb. Review these notes about Greek verb aspect to make sure you are clear about what this means.

Just as you might expect, there is no easy way to translate the difference between the present subjunctive and the aorist subjunctive into English. The difference between the present subjunctive and aorist subjunctive is purely a difference in aspect, which is very difficult to reflect in an English translation.

As you have learned so far, the word οὐ is used to negative indicative verbs, but other forms of the verbs that you have learned - infinitives and participles - are negated with μή. This also includes subjunctive verbs. Like infinitives and participles, subjunctives are negated with μή.

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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