Mastronarde, Unit 22, Sentences for Reading, number 2.

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hlawson38
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Mastronarde, Unit 22, Sentences for Reading, number 2.

Post by hlawson38 » Wed May 29, 2019 2:31 pm

My bafflement is caused by the verb ἐστιν. I believe I've overlooked a point of grammar or usage that would explain things.

2. πῶς ὑμῖν τὰ ἀληθῆ λέξω, ἐπεὶ δεινά ἐστιν ἅ με δεῖ ἀγγεῖλαι;

I want to translate thus:
How shall I tell you the true-facts, when there are terrible things (δεινὰ ἐστιν )that I must report.


But ἐστιν is singular, right? and δεινά . . . ἅ, are both plural, right?

The Mastronarde answer key translates thus:
How shall I tell you the true details, when what I must report is terrible?

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seneca2008
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Re: Mastronarde, Unit 22, Sentences for Reading, number 2.

Post by seneca2008 » Wed May 29, 2019 2:48 pm

Check out
neuter plural subject, with singular verb, 39, 48
Note an important peculiarity of concord in Greek: a neuter plural subject regularly takes a third person singular verb. τὰ παιδία δῶρα ταῖς θεαῖς φέρει.  The children bring gifts to the goddesses.
8.  Neuter Plural Subject. As one would expect, a Greek verb agrees with its subject in person and number. (See Unit 4, Prelim. B.) But, as mentioned in Unit 4.10, when the subject is a neuter plural noun or pronoun, the Greek verb is normally third person singular rather than plural, apparently because the neuter plural was originally felt to express a single collective concept.
The index is sometimes a useful place to look.

donhamiltontx
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Re: Mastronarde, Unit 22, Sentences for Reading, number 2.

Post by donhamiltontx » Wed May 29, 2019 2:49 pm

δεινὰ is neuter plural in the sentence, and neuter plurals can take a verb in the singular. I don't have Mastronarde, but the reference in Smyth is 958. See also Smyth 959.

Edit: Oops, seneca beat me to it.
ἐς Τροίαν πειρώμενοι ἦνθον ᾿Αχαιοί,
καλλίστα παίδων: πείρᾳ θην πάντα τελεῖται.
Theocritus, Idyll 15

hlawson38
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Re: Mastronarde, Unit 22, Sentences for Reading, number 2.

Post by hlawson38 » Wed May 29, 2019 3:51 pm

Many thanks to donhamiltonx and Seneca2008. I must have studied neuter plural subjects' taking singular verbs, and later forgotten it. I had no idea where I had gone wrong.

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