Here’s a bit of discussion taken from various composition books:
The article gives a good deal of trouble to the learner before its use is fully mastered, and it is best therefore to explain the main points about it at the very first. There is no word in Greek for a, an: it is simply omitted: or the Indefinite Pronoun [face=SPIonic]tij[/face] “a certain one,” is used. The Greek article means the, and it is used broadly speaking where we use the, but also on some places where we do not. It is these latter which constitute the difficulty to the beginner.
In English we say ‘the bad man;’ and if we wish to translate this into Greek, the point to observe is that the adjective must have the article.
The order of the Adjectives and Substantives may be inverted if we please. Thus we may say either [face=SPIonic]o( kako/j a)nh/r[/face] or [face=SPIonic]o( a)nh\r o( kako/j[/face]; but in either case the Adjective must have the Article.
If this rule is broken and it is often by beginners, and if we write [face=SPIonic]o( a(nh\r kako/j[/face] or [face=SPIonic]kako\j o( a)nh/r[/face], the phrase is still good Greek, but the meaning is quite altered; it is no longer ‘the bad man’, but ‘the man is bad.’ The adjective, by being deprived of the article, had ceased to be an attribute, and has become a predicate.
[face=SPIonic]o( sofo/j a)nh/r[/face] - ‘The wise man.’
[face=SPIonic]o( a)nh/r o( sofo\j[/face] - ‘The wise man.’
[face=SPIonic]a)nh\r o( sofo/j[/face] – ‘The wise man’
[face=SPIonic]o( a)nh\r sofo/j[/face] – ‘The man is wise.’
[face=SPIonic]sofo\j o( a)nh/r[/face] – ‘The man is wise.’
The order of the three attributive positions reveals their frequency. Often the second attributive position shown above is more natural with an explanatory phrase.
[face=SPIonic]oi( o)pli=tai oi( e)/ndoqen[/face] - ‘The ones who are within.’
[face=SPIonic]Oi( e)/ndoqen o(pli=tai[/face] – ‘The hoplites within.’
The article is sometimes used in English with only an Adjective, the Substantive being understood. This is also a Greek idiom, but is a great deal more frequent than in English, especially in the neuter:
[face=SPIonic]to\ a)sta/qmhton[/face] – uncertainty
[face=SPIonic]o( du/skoloj[/face] – the bad-tempered person.
[face=SPIonic]ta\ a)niara/[/face] – Troublesome things.
[face=SPIonic]h( a)llotpri/a[/face] - Other people’s country
And here are the answers:
1.1 The man is bad. [face=SPIonic]o( a(nh\r kako/j[/face] or [face=SPIonic]kako\j o( a)nh/r[/face]
1.2 Beautiful things. [face=SPIonic]ta\ kala/[/face]
1.3 The beautiful. [face=SPIonic]to\ kalo/n[/face]
1.4 The wise (men). [face=SPIonic]oi( sw/fronej[/face] or [face=SPIonic]oi( sofoi/[/face]
1.5 The good men. [face=SPIonic]oi( a)gaqoi\ a)/ndrej[/face]