Thrasymachus CHAPTER III

 a/)nqrwpoj fu/sei politiko\n zw~|on*

 Man is by nature a political animal.

The Concept of “Regular” versus “Not Regular” Forms.

If Greek and English were ideal languages, there would be no irregularities. Already you have seen some in Greek (such as the verb "to be"), and you deal with them in English every day ("ran" instead of "runned'). Because a language always changes over time when it is spoken, it will not be "ideal". You will find, however, that there are familiar patterns even in verb forms which at first may seem to be "irregular."


Three groups of verbs are called "contracted verbs" (or "contract verbs"). The stem of such a verb ends in a vowel (a, e, or o) which contracts with the personal ending in the present and imperfect forms. The three groups are sometimes called the aw, ew, and ow contract verbs. Below are examples of common verbs from each of the three groups. Although the vowels in their endings may look different from those you have seen thus far, they follow a consistent pattern within each group, and they are not "irregular."

o(rw~ or o(ra/w, see

oi)kw~ or oi)ke/w, live in, dwell

dhlw~ or dhlo/w, make clear, reveal


What happened when a Greek said “o(ra/w” or “dhlo/omen”? What happens when you say “I would not”? Because we often speak quickly, sounds become contracted, or joined. The final two syllables of o(ra/w ( -a and -w) blend into one syllable. You will see that when this occurs, the accent over the contracted syllable becomes a circumflex, which reflects the way that the contracted vowel sound must have differed from the uncontracted sounds. See the paradigms Thrasymachus, p. 12, for the patterns of contraction for the three groups, aw, ew, and ow. Notice that the vocabulary lists in Thrasymachus identify these verbs by printing the vowel before the w in parentheses: o(rw~ (a). Most dictionaries and glossaries spell these verbs in their uncontracted forms o(ra/w, oi)ke/w, dhlo/w, so you will have to take note of the vowel before the w to know what group the verb belongs to.



III, A. Identify each of the verb forms and change it to the opposite number.

 1. timw~men  4. dhloi~
 2. o(ra~|j  5. dhlou~te
 3. o(ra~|  6. oi)kw~

III, B. Translate the following sentences and identify the underlined words.

1. dhlou~te to\n ku/na toi\j paidi/oij.

2. o(rw~men tou~j tw~n a0ndrw~n a!naktaj.

3. ti/j tima~| tou\j a)gaqou\j qeou/j;

4. ti/nej oi)kou~si e)n th~| nh/sw|;

Answer Key


Red figure Athena by the Berlin Painter, Ciba Collection

o( (/Ektwr

 o( Axilleu/j

h( (Ele/nh

Forward to Chapter IV

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