Mastering New Testament Greek Textbook Ted Hildebrandt Baker Academic

Chapter 2 Summary: Accents, Syllables, and English Grammar

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Chapter 2 Summary: Accents, Syllables, and English Grammar

Four Syllable Rules

1. A consonant or pronounceable consonant cluster (i.e., any consonant combination that can begin a Greek word) goes with the vowel that follows it.

2. Split two consonants if they are the same letter or if they create an unpronounceable combination (i.e., any consonant combination that cannot begin a Greek word).

3. Split two vowels (except for diphthongs), allowing only one vowel or diphthong per syllable.

4. Split compound words into their original parts before applying the rules of syllable division.

Syllable Names















Three Accents

1. Acute ( <) angles upward, originally indicating a rising pitch. le2. Grave ( >) angles downward, originally indicating a falling pitch. a]delfo>j

3. Circumflex ( ?) angles upward then downward, originally indicating a rising then falling pitch. au]tou?

Potential Accent Placement

1 Acute may occur on any of the last three syllables.

2. Circumflex may occur only on the last two syllables (but only if the vowel is long).

3. Grave may occur only on the last syllable.

Six Accent Rules

1. Nouns are retentive. They attempt to keep their accents on the syllable of the base form.

2. Verbs are recessive. Their accent recedes toward the first syllable as far as possible.

3. If the ultima is long, then the antepenult cannot be accented.

4. If the ultima is long and the penult is accented, then that accent must be an acute.

5. If the ultima is short and the penult is both long and accented, that accent must be a circumflex.

6. If an acute is on the ultima, it becomes a grave when followed by another word.

Words with No Accents

1. Proclitic comes before the word that carries the accent. o[ lo2. Enclitic comes after the word that carries the accent. prw?to

Breathing Marks

1. Smooth breathing ( ]) does not affect pronunciation: a]delfo2. Rough breathing ( [) adds an “h” sound before the sound of the initial vowel: ui[o

Punctuation Marks

1. Period ( . )


2. Comma ( , )


3. Colon ( : )


4. Question Mark ( ; )



Vowels that drop out are marked with an apostrophe (e.g., it’s).
dia< + au]tou? becomes di ] au]tou?


kai< + e]gw< becomes ka]gw< (Jn. 1:31, 33) (internal breathing mark)

Diaeresis ( * )

]H sa i~ aj Isaiah (Jn. 1:23) (shows a vowel is pronounced separately)

Quick Review of English Grammar
Parts of Speech

1. Noun names a person, place, thing or idea (e.g., book).

2. Adjective is a word used to qualify the meaning of the noun (e.g., good book).

3. Definite Article is a word that specifies a particular noun (e.g., the book). The indefinite article is “a.”

4. Pronoun is a word used instead of a noun (e.g., the book, it).

5. Preposition is a relational word that connects an object (often a noun) to its antecedent (e.g., in the book).

6. Verb is often an action or state-of-being word that makes a statement, asks a question, or gives a command (e.g., read).

7. Adverb qualifies the meaning of the verb (e.g., read quickly).

8. Particle is indeclinable and assists in expressing the meaning of the sentence.

Sentence Parts (Syntax)

The sentence is divided into two parts:
1. Subject, about which something is said. Terry went to the store.

2. Predicate, what is said about the subject. Joy walked home. Predicate Nominative: It is I.


A phrase is a group of words used as a single part of speech (e.g., Read in the morning).


A clause is a group of words that includes a subject and predicate. A clause has a verb; a phrase does not (e.g., The person who owns the store).

Vanquishing Verbs

Tense generally describes the time of action (present, future, past). However, Greek tenses are used to denote aspect, or type, of action, rather than time. Joy walks everyday (present tense).

Aspect denotes the type of action:

In progress, immediacy, foregrounded (the event as a process): I was studying.

Complete whole (the event simply happened): I studied.

Perfect (the event happened, with effects continuing into the present): I have studied.

Voice shows who does or receives the action of the verb.

Active: Subject does the action: Zachary shot the ball.

Middle: Subject does action on or for itself: Zachary was hit.

Passive: Subject is acted upon: Zachary hit himself.

Mood shows how something is said

Indicative: Statement of fact: He learned Greek well.

Subjunctive: Desire, prossible: He may learn Greek well.

Imperative: Command: Learn Greek!

Optative: Wish, remote possibility: Oh that you might learn Greek

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