4. gain more practice in translating and working with Greek;
5. master ten more high-frequency vocabulary words; and
6. memorize the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer in Mat. 6:9 in Greek.
In English we have one simple past tense (Tanya drove the car). This refers to time in the past. If we want to refer to a continuous or repetitive act in the past, we may add a helping verb to a participle: “Tanya was driving the car.” Other past tenses are also formed with helping verbs.
In Greek, the aorist tense refers to action of the verb that is complete/whole as a background form, without regard to the exact time involved. The imperfect is used for showing progressive, continuity or dwelled upon action in the past. Porter says a narrator will use the imperfect “when an action is selected to be dwelt upon” (aspect: how a writer uses it to portray the action; Porter, Idioms, 34). Mathewson uses terms like “progressive” and “continuity” to describe its aspectual nuance. He goes on to admit that the imperfect often is used for past (time/tense) events although not exclusively.
The Greek imperfect tense is used of continuous, repeated or dwelt on action. In English, it will usually be translated with the helping verb was/were + the participle form of the verb (e.g., was singing). If a verb lacks an active form in the present it will also lack an active form in the imperfect which is built off the stem.
To get a sense of the freqeuncy usage, the present indicative is used 5,534 times, the aorist about 5,877; the imperfect only 1,682 times and the future only 1,608 times with the perfect following with only 837 and the pluperfect only 83 times (Stevens, 44). So the present and especially the aorist are the most frequent and the imperfect and future are used about the same.
The imperfect is built from the present verb stem. It is prefixed by an e augment and followed by secondary active personal endings.
Learn the endings: n, j, e, men, te, n (n s e men te n)
Secondary Tense endings are used by: Imperfect, Aorist, Pluperfect
Primary Tense ending are used by: Present, Future and Perfect.
Imperfect Middle/Passive Indicative of lu
I was being
We were being loosed
You were being loosed
You were being loosed
He/she/it was being loosed
They were being loosed
Secondary Middle/Passive Endings
Learn: mhn, ou, to, meqa, esqe, onto
The above paradigm is translated for the passive voice. The middle uses exactly the same forms, which would be translated as follows: I was loosing (for myself), you were loosing (for yourself), he was loosing (for himself), etc. The context will determine whether the form should be translated middle or passive.