When is 'εξ used?

AVGVSTA

Member
I'm starting Greek with From Alpha to Omega. It mentioned that the preposition"out of" is 'εκ when the following word starts with a consonant and 'εξ when the following word starts with a vowel. As all accusative forms of the definite article starts with "τ", I don't see how this preposition could be followed by a word that starts with a vowel. Nor did any of the practices I've found so far show "'εξ " being used.

Are there indefinite articles in Greek that starts with a vowel in the accusative? Are there times when the definite article can be omitted? What constructions would create a scenario where 'εξ would be used?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
εξ takes the genitive, not the accusative.

You seem to be under the misapprehension that the definite article is used all the time. It isn't. Notably, when the meaning is indefinite (i.e. when you would use "a(n)" in English rather than "the"), you won't use a definite article.

Greek doesn't really have an indefinite article. While τις, much like quidam in Latin, will sometimes best translate as "a(n)", its basic meaning is more like "some", "a certain", and, in most cases where an indefinite article would be used in English, in Greek you'll just find the noun phrase alone.
 

AVGVSTA

Member
Thank you so much!! I guess I thought the definite article should always be there because I used to forget it all the time.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I guess I thought the definite article should always be there because I used to forget it all the time.
It's used slightly more often than in English, I believe. Notably, it can be used before general concepts that in English wouldn't take any article at all like, say, "love" or "courage". It generally won't, however, be used where the English indefinite article is used. Simply, the Greek definite article is strictly definite, not both definite and indefinite. ;)
 
And important to remember that the article in Greek doesn't always map to the use of the definite article in English, and it's lack doesn't alway mean that the noun is necessarily indefinite.
 

AVGVSTA

Member
Oh? So it also depends on context? I just got to the point where the book introduced the idea of indefinite nouns and they didn't say anything about that.
 

Serenus

legātus armisonus
Oh? So it also depends on context? I just got to the point where the book introduced the idea of indefinite nouns and they didn't say anything about that.
Pacifica and Gryllus Minor are just saying that the Greek article is not a straightforward equivalent of English "the". It's not exactly about context, but about different types of nouns behaving differently with the definite article. Pacifica said something specific about abstract nouns like "love" and "courage" for example.

Your textbook has short mentions of these things there and there by the way. Like, lesson 4 mentions the thing about abstract nouns, and also that using article before personal names is normal ("the Socrates"), and lesson 5 has a comment about the article for possessed nouns owned by the subject ("Do you love the father?" meaning 'Do you love your father?'). The discussion you mentioned introducing indefinite nouns in lesson 8 mostly applies to "common nouns" like "child" (common nouns are basically the most typical nouns, referring to visible objects).
 

AVGVSTA

Member
Pacifica and Gryllus Minor are just saying that the Greek article is not a straightforward equivalent of English "the". It's not exactly about context, but about different types of nouns behaving differently with the definite article. Pacifica said something specific about abstract nouns like "love" and "courage" for example.

Your textbook has short mentions of these things there and there by the way. Like, lesson 4 mentions the thing about abstract nouns, and also that using article before personal names is normal ("the Socrates"), and lesson 5 has a comment about the article for possessed nouns owned by the subject ("Do you love the father?" meaning 'Do you love your father?'). The discussion you mentioned introducing indefinite nouns in lesson 8 mostly applies to "common nouns" like "child" (common nouns are basically the most typical nouns, referring to visible objects).
Thank you so much for the clarification!
 
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