NT Greek in a Nutshell

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“Greek in a Nutshell. An Outline of Greek Grammar With Brief Reading Lessons Designed for Beginners of the New Testament” by James Strong is a very small hand-out of only 30 pages.

It features very brief notes on construction and syntax.  The hand-out’s most noteworthy feature is its selections of New Testament Greek which comes complete with interlinear translation and very detailed line notes.

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Introduction to the Language and Verse of Homer

Download this helpful learning aid for students of Homeric Greek.  Seymour’s Introduction to the Language and Verse of Homer provides the learner with an advanced discussion of Homeric style and syntax.

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Homeric Greek – A Book for Beginners

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Download Clyde Pharr’s Homeric Greek – A Book For Beginners.  At 439 pages this Homeric Greek textbook is intended for the beginner with no Greek experience.

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First Greek Grammar Syntax

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For learners with beginning Ancient Greek experience, this book provides excellent discussion and examples of Greek Sytnax. See also the companion book – First Greek Grammar Accidence.

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First Greek Grammar Accidence

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This free and downloadable grammar outlines in tables Greek accidence, such as definite articles, declensions of nouns and adjectives, verb endings, irregular verbs and more.  It is designed to be used with First Greek Grammar Syntax and is intended for learners with some or no Greek experience.

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First Greek Book

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Download this free beginner’s Classical Greek textbook.   Just as the name says, First Greek Book is a beginning Greek textbook.  Historically, this book was intended for American students of the age of about 15 who had already had at least one year of Latin.  The book is intended for learners with no Greek experience and it prepares students to read Xenophon’s Anabasis. It contains 80 lessons and the appendix lists rules of syntax, paradigms, principal parts of important verbs and vocabulary. After this book, the publishers intended students to then move on to Goodwin’s Greek Grammar and First Four Books of Xenophon’s Anabasis.

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A Short Syntax of New Testament Greek

Learn New Testament Greek with Nunn’s discussion of Biblical Greek syntax. The book begins with a helpful overview of English grammar and a useful glossary of grammatical terms that prepares the student for the discussions in syntax to follow.  The appendix features several lengthy and well-known passages from the New Testament in Greek.

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Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb

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An excellent learning companion for the advanced Greek student, Goodwin’s Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb presents a detailed and well organized discussion of the use of the moods, tenses, infinitive, participles and verbal adjectives.  The book provides countless insightful examples in Greek with English translations.  These examples are taken from actual Greek text from many classical writers.  Found in the book’s appendix is a useful index of examples.  While the book is intended for advanced learners of ancient Greek, many portions can be appreciated by Greek learners at all levels.

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The Latin Noun by Dr. Biagio Vella

Note: This Textkit Tutorial was originally published on Textkit September 24, 2003.


This is a brief tutorial about the Latin Noun which seeks to accommodate those fortunate visitors who would like to experience the beauty of this immortal language. At first sight the “inflection” of Latin nouns may seem a bit “awesome” but I bet you that English nouns are more difficult. What about English plurals! With a little patience when you read and re-read this tutorial you will find that the Latin Noun is easy to understand and encourages you to learn and read more Latin. It will become enjoyable. Lastly, to read and understand Latin, you must think straight – this is an important “maxim” in our life.

About Latin Noun Endings

Noun” derives from Latin nomen – name of objects, ideas and people. Like all nouns of other languages they have a “gender” – either masculine or feminine but if “neither of these two applies” it would be neutrum (neuter). They are used in the singular and plural as other languages. The Latin noun is “declined”. Roman grammarians thought of the cases visually, with the nominative (subject) at the top and the other cases falling away “declining” from it. “Case” derives from the Latin casus (fall).

Since Latin word-order is not the same as English or other modern languages but ‘subject – object – verb’ or ‘subject – object – indirect object – verb’ – the Latin Noun changes its endings to indicate the grammatical job it is doing whether it is a Subject (Nominative) or an Object (Accusative) or an Indirect Object (Dative) etc. so it is “inflected”.

The Roman grammarians classified nouns into five categories which we usually call the five declensions. They classified them according to their stems – vowel or consonant stems – thus we find the:

– a (first declension) stem
– o (second declension) stem
– consonant/ i (third declension) stem
- u (fourth declension) stem
–e (fifth declension) stem.

Naturally the majority of Latin nouns are of the 3rd.declension, because this class comprises consonant and –i stems. We distinguish one class from another through the endings of the Genitive Singular. (genitive derives from gens (race)).

So Genitives end thus:

1st.decl. –ae
2nd.decl. –i
3rd.decl. –is
4th.decl. –us
5th. decl.-ei

Note that the endings of the Genitive Singulars of the five declensions are different from one another – so you can never confuse them.


mensa, – mensae;
discipulus – discipuli;
pater – patris,
gradus – gradus,
dies – diei.

But the genitive has also its particular meaning “possessive” meaning:

of, ‘s, s’
the doll of the girl, the girl’s doll = pupa puellae.

(N.B. these two vowels –ae- joined together are called diphthong – and are pronounced together– “ai” like the “i” of “hi” in the salutations of today’s e-mails or like “eye”)

Now if we find a noun ending in –m : 90% this will be doing the job of a singular direct object (accusative singular). puella pupam amat – the girl loves the doll. This “m” form is also found in English objects: them, him, whom. You have also noticed that the article is missing in Latin – lux may mean “a light, the light or light”. The Romans at times used the demonstrative adjective/pronoun: ille, illa, illud in front of a Proper Name to mean: the famous: Ille Caesar: – the famous Caesar, illa Cornelia, or illud Caesaris: the famous word of Caesar – (illud stands for “illud verbum”). For the indefinite article “a, an” the Romans used a compound pronoun: quidam, qaedam, quoddam – a certain……
puella qaedam – a girl, a certain girl.

But let us continue with the Noun. Again a noun ending in – s : 90% indicates a plural direct object (Accusative plural). Never learn declensions by heart, as I was taught. Try to understand the difference between the endings (tails) of one declension and another and you will note that most of these endings (which are very important, since they indicate the grammatical job of each noun) are NOT after all very different from one declension and another.

Nouns of 1st.Decl and 5th. Decl. are mostly feminine; those of the 2nd. Decl. and 4th.Decl. are masculine or neuter – the 3rd.Decl nouns could be masculine, feminine or neuter.

Don’t forget the roots :

1st = -a
2nd = -o
3rd = consonants/i
4th = -u
5th = -e

Singular Endings Overview

-us, -er, -um
-us – u
-e, -er, – um
-us – u
Root + em
- i, – ri, – i
Root + is
-us -us
-o , -ro, -o
Root + i
-ui -u
-o , -ro, -o
Root + e
- u, -u
- e

These are Singular endings – note the prevalence of “m” in the accusative. The “u” in the second declension nominative was an “o” in early Latin. The nominative, vocative and accusative neuters have the same ending in all declensions – um, um, um (2nd.); – u, u, u, (4th.) – also 3rd.decl.neuters:e.g. corpus, corpus, corpus (body), nomen,nomen, nomen (name).

You can see that in the 2nd.decl.there are three forms (rather four) – those ending in – us, those ending in –er (Nom/Voc) and then drop –e in declining the other cases – such as:

magister, magister, magistrum, magistri, magistro, magistro

others ending in –er, but retaining the –e – such as:

puer, puer, puerum, pueri, puero, puero

and finally the neuter nouns: -um, -um, um, -i ,-o, -o such as:

scutum, scutum, scutum, scuti, scuto, scuto.

In the 3rd.decl. note that in the Nom.and Voc. I have written (Word) – this means that you have to write the word as you find it in the dictionary


king = rex (Nom/Voc)

but then you have to find the root – how? either

a) you learn the genitive singular ending which always gives the root or
b) you get the root from an English or Romance language root – such as : regal (take off the final syllable and you find the root – reg- so the root of rex is reg-.

Why was it written rex in the nominative/ vocative? Because actually this was written regs – then with an euphonic change: (Latin g always pronounced like ‘g’ in got or girl (guttural sound) and ‘c’ pronounced k + s = x; Greek c) gs = x, cs = x.

Plural Endings Overview

-i, -ri, -a
Root + es,
Root + a
-us, -ua
-i, -ri, -a
Root + es,
Root + a
-us, -ua
-os,-ros, -a
Root + es,
Root + a
-us, -ua
- um/ -ium
-is, -ris –is
Root + ibus
-is, -ris –is
Root + ibus

These are the Plural endings; the roots remain the same as those of the Singular declension – note the prevalence of “s” in the accusative plural, the “um” in genitive plural, the dative and ablative of 1st. and 2nd. declensions are the same – “is”, and those of the 3rd. 4th and 5th. declensions are the same too – “ibus/ebus”, note the prevalence of “a” in all neuter nominative, vocative and accusative plurals.
1st. Declension:

mensae, mensae, mensarum, mensis, mensis – (Root – mensa-)

2nd. Declension:

amici, amici, amicos, amicorum, amicis, amicis – (Root – amico -) magistri, magistri, magistros, magistrorum, magistris, magistris
scuta, scuta, scuta, scutorum, scutis, scutis (neuter noun – root: scuto)

3rd. Declension:

reges, reges, reges, regum, regibus, regibus (Root – reg-)

4th. Declension:

gradus, gradus, gradus, graduum, gradibus, gradibus (Root – gradu-)

5th. Declension:

dies, dies, dies, dierum, diebus, diebus (Root – die- )

Important Points re: Declensions of Nouns

Second Declension Vocative Singular ends in – e, but Vocative of filius and Proper names in ending in –ius is – i. fili mi = My son!

Third Declension – note carefully euphonic changes of Roots when they meet the – s of the Nominative Singular: -c/-g + s = x, -t/-d + s = drop t/d – dent+s = dens (t dropped), -p/-b + s = ps,bs = princeps, urbs, stems in –i, -e + s = -is, civis, genitive singular = civis.

You have also noted above that in the 3rd. declension there are nouns which have genitive plural ending in – um, and others in – ium. You can distinguish these by following these two rules:

1. Those nouns with a syllable more in the Genitive Singular than in the Nominative Singular have Genitive Plural in – um, rex (1 syllable), regis (2 syllables) so Genitive Plural = regum. But mus, muris (mouse); nox, noctis; (night), mons, montis (mountain); urbs, urbis (city) have Genitive Plural in – ium, e.g. noctium.

2. Those nouns with the same number of syllables in the Nominative Singular and Genitive Singular have Genitive Plural in – ium, civis (2 syllables), civis (2 syllables) so Genitive Plural = civium. But pater, patris; mater, matris; frater, fratris; senex, senis; iuvenis, iuvenis; canis, canis have Genitive Plural in – um, e.g. matrum.

Meanings of Latin nouns can easily be traced from English, French, Italian nouns’ roots.

Not to confuse declensions, always find the Genitive Singular of the noun – which is given in all dictionaries.

You can confuse nouns ending in –us:
These could be Masculine Nouns of the 2nd.declension, e.g. amicus, gen.sing: amici, or Neuter Nouns of the 3rd. Declension: e.g. corpus, gen.sing.:corporis, or Masculine Nouns of the 4th.declension, e.g. gradus, gen. sing.: gradus – Look at the Genitive Singular and it solves your problem.

You can also confuse nouns ending in – a, which could be Singular Nouns of the First declension: e.g. amica, gen.sing. amicae, or Neuter Plural Nouns of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, declensions – scuta, corpora, genua. Here the verb will help you – if it is singular the noun will be of the First Declension Singular, if it is plural, the noun will be a plural neuter noun of the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th.

Check these two short sentences:

puella matrem amat: (amat – is 3rd.pers.sing. – so noun “puella” is singular of 1st.declension) – The girl loves her mother.

corpora sunt robusta: (sunt – is 3rd.pers. plural – so noun “corpora” is plural of 3rd.declension) – Bodies are strong.

Don’t confuse the endings in – um. These could be Neuter Nominative/Vocative/Accusative Singular Nouns of the 2nd.declension, or Masculine Accusative Singulars of the 2nd. declension/ 4th. declension or even Genitive Plurals of the 3rd.declension.

Well here you must analyse intelligently the sentence, i.e. find the VERB, its Subject and then its Object and you are safe.

Let’s tackle some examples:

monstrum in antrio intrat. The verb is “intrat” – 3rd.pers.sing. so the subject must be singular, find it! – monstrum – The monster enters the cave. (If you try to give it another meaning – it will be pure rubbish)

magister puerum castigat : The verb is “castigat” – 3rd.pers.sing. so the subject must be singular, find it! – magister – The teacher punishes the boy (puerum: Object – Accusative Singular).

servi canes regum non amant: – The verb is “amant” – 3rd. pers.plural so the subject must be plural – find it ! Is it “servi” or “canes”? I think it’s “servi” – Let’s try: The slaves……..do not love? What? “canes” – the dogs? Whose dogs? = “regum” is Gen.Pl. of “rex” – “of the kings” The slaves do not love the dogs of the kings/ the kings’ dogs.

Reading Latin

To test how much you can read Latin, take in hand about 10 lines of Latin prose and underline the nouns, then name their cases. Thus you train yourself in picking up the nouns, which job in a sentence are various – they could be subjects, objects, indirect objects, possessives, or ablatives, i.e. expressing place, agents (by), instruments (with), time, origin e.g. in aula = in the room, a puella = by the girl, gladio = with a sword, sexta hora = in the 6th. hour, natus Venere = son of Venus.

It is very important that when you read Latin, you check carefully the endings of nouns. These will tell you whether the noun is used as Subject, or Object of a sentence, of whether it means “of”, “to”, “by, with, in, from. etc.”


puella pupam habet – puella is the subject and pupam is the object =
The girl has a doll.

puella rosam puero dat – puella is the subject, rosam is the direct object and puero is dative case – indirect object “to” – The girl gives a rose to the boy.

pupa puellae est in mensa. – pupa is the subject, puellae is possessive “of”, mensa is ablative case – showing “place where”. – The doll of the girl is on the table.

Although the usual word order of a Latin sentence is: Subject, Object, Indirect Object, Verb, you can change the order how you like but the meaning would still be the same since, as we have said, the endings of the nouns will tell what the nouns are doing.

On a good Latin grammar you can check the declensions as stated above and some important peculiarities – don’t call them “exceptions”. (If a person is a 7 footer and another one is 5 foot tall or less – you cannot call these “exceptions” – they are both human and the same in grammar).
When reading Latin always have this in mind: Who Does/Did/What? The answer to this question will solve many of your difficulties.

I close this short tutorial by encouraging you to read some Latin lines daily. The more you read the more you learn. It’s useless to learn Grammar without reading the language. Yes! Grammar is an important tool, but the clue in learning a language is to read few lines daily and then begin to write in the language too.


Read the following and then answer the appended questions:
Marius in agro laborat. est agricola et duos filios habet. Horatia est Marii filia et in culina laborat, sed Paulus, filius Marii suum patrem in agris iuvat. Marius cum filio post cenam ad forum it (goes). Paulus ad ludum (school) non it, quod pater suus pecuniam non habet. amicus Pauli, filius senatoris, ad ludum it et Paulum rogat: “ Pauli, cur ad ludum non venis?”. Paulus respondit: “ tum quis (who) patrem meum in agris iuvat?” amicus non respondit et Paulum iterum non rogat. Horatia, soror Pauli, post cenam in horto cum fratre ludit.

a. Find the nouns and name their declensions.
b. Give the genitive singular of: agro, agricola, filios, filia, patrem, ludum, amicus.
c. Give English words derived from: agricola, filius, pater, pecunia, culina, frater.
d. Try to find Latin words from which the following English words are derived: puerile, labour, dual, forensic, amiable, response.
e. Translate into Latin: Marius is a farmer. Paulus is Marius’ son. Paulus goes to school. After dinner Marius, the father, Horatia, his daughter and Paulus, his son go (eunt) to the forum of Rome.

With reference to the “The Latin Noun” tutorial it is clear that to find the root of 3rd.declension nouns you have to look for an English word derived from that noun and delete the final syllable, e.g. rex – English: reg(al) – root is: reg- and then the Genitive Singular is – reg+is = regis

a) Try to find the root of the following 3rd.declension nouns:
dens (tooth), miles (soldier), caput (head), nomen (name), vox (voice), lex (law)
b) Now that you have found the root – decline the above nouns in the singular and plural.

Decline in the singular and plural these nouns – first name their declension:

amica, servus, bellum (neuter), arbor (gen.s.- arboris), nomen (neuter), gradus, res.

Select the correct word to complete the sentences:

a) ………in via stant (puer, puella, feminae)
b) Horatius ……….amat ( sororem, pater, ager)
c) pater ………. est in agro. (pueros, pueri, puerum)
d) ………… nos amamus. ( amicus, filiorum, familiam)
e) sunt arbores in………… ( forum, agros, horto)

Change to plural or singular form as required:

servus in agro; pupa puellae; libri magistrorum; pueri cum canis; pueri in via.

the end.
Copyright© Textkit.com 2003.

Additional Resources

Revised Latin Primer, B.H.Kennedy, Longmans – very good for references
Reading Latin – Grammar, Voc, & Exercises, Jones & Sidwell – J.A.C.T. (CUP)
Latin Grammar, Gildersleeve & Lodge
Wheelock’s Grammar, F.M.Wheelock
Beginner’s Latin – GDA. Sharpley – Teach Yourself Books
Oxford Latin Course – Balme & Morwood – Oxford University Press

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Greek Grammar

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Smyth’s Greek Grammar is an essential reference grammar for intermediate and advanced learners.  Smyth’s Greek Grammar for Colleges was first published in 1920 and it has been the default source of reference and citation ever since.

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