More Grammatical Terms Related to Greek and English

Some Terms Related to 'Grammar'

Morphology is the study of word formations. As words change form, they convey different meanings, such as a certain verb tense, person, or noun case. When a first year Greek student memorizes a noun declension or a verb paradigm, he/she is learning the morphology of Greek words. A 'morpheme' is considered the smallest part of a word that conveys meaning, such as the 's' in English that makes a word plural.

Terms Related to Clauses and Phrases

A clause is a group of words including a subject and a verb that form a thought. It may stand alone as a complete sentence (an independent clause) or may be subordinate to the main sentence and be incapable of standing alone as a complete sentence (a subordinate clause). If the clause starts with a subordinating conjunction (such as 'although', 'because', 'if', 'that', etc.), an adverb (such as 'when', 'while', 'where', etc.), or a relative pronoun (such as 'who', 'whose', 'which', etc.), then it will be a subordinate clause.
    An example of a subordinate clause would be, "while he talked with us". Note that this subordinate clause cannot form an independent, complete sentence by itself. It needs to be connected to an independent clause in order to form a complete sentence: "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us".
    When analyzing a sentence, it is important to identify which words make up an dependent (subordinate) clause and which are a part of the main sentence (the independent clause).

A phrase is a group of words that does not include both a subject and a verb, such as a prepositional phrase. It cannot stand alone as a sentence but is dependent upon the sentence to which it is attached.

Relative Clause
A relative clause is a subordinate clause that begins with a relative pronoun (such as 'who', 'whose', or 'which' in English). The relative clause includes both the relative pronoun and all the words that modify it. In analyzing a sentence, it is important to identify which words belong to the relative clause.

Periphrasis (or Periphrastic Construction)
The English word 'periphrasis' comes from the Greek words 'peri' (which means 'round about') and 'phrasis' (which means 'to say'). A periphrastic construction of a verb form is a 'round about way of saying something'. In Greek, normally verb forms are made by inflection (the form of the word changing to indicate the person, number, tense, voice, and mood of the verb). However, another way of forming some verb occurrences is by adding a form of a linking verb (usually the verb 'to be') to a nominative form of the verbal participle.

 Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

Created by Corey Keating at: