Koine Greek:Verbs - Perfect Tense

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The Perfect Tense in Koine Greek
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The Perfect Tense is a tense of verbs in Koine Greek.

It is usually used to show that a past event has occurred with present ongoing consequences. For example:

  • λελυκεν is translated as "he has destroyed
  • In John 11:27, πεπιστευκα could be translated as I have believed, and still continue to believe
λεγει αυτω ναι κυριε εγω πεπιστευκα οτι συ ει ο χριστος ο υιος του θεου ο εις τον κοσμον ερχομενος
She said to him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God's Son, he who comes into the world."

As a general rule Perfect verbs should be translated using past tense English verbs preceded using the word "have" or "had" (for example: λελυκα = I have destroyed). This is in contrast to Aorist verbs, which should usually be translated using the simple past tense (for example: ελυσα = I destroyed) and Imperfect verbs, which should usually be translated using the past tense of "to be" plus a participle (for example: ελυον = I was destroying).

In most cases, the perfect form of a verb is created by adding a reduplication prefix (as shown below) added to the verbal stem, followed by a specific ending.

Forming the Perfect Active Indicative

Using the verb λυω (I destroy), the forms are

  • λελυκαν - First Person Singular Perfect Active Indicative - I have destroyed
  • λελυκας - Second Person Singular Perfect Active Indicative - You have destroyed
  • λελυκε(ν) - Third Person Singular Perfect Active Indicative - He has destroyed
  • λελυκαμεν - First Person Plural Perfect Active Indicative - We have destroyed
  • λελυκατε - Second Person Plural Perfect Active Indicative - You have destroyed
  • λελυκασι(ν) - Third Person Plural Perfect Active Indicative - They have destroyed


A verb in the perfect tense begins with a prefix that is formed by taking the first letter of the verb (for example: λ in λυω, and adding an ε). Hence the reduplication prefix for λυω is λε and the reduplication prefix for γραφω is γε.

There are numerous exceptions to this rule.

For certain starting letters of the verb, the reduplication prefix changes from what would be expected.

  • θ -> τε
  • χ -> κε
  • φ -> πε

For many (but not all) verbs starting with σ, the reduplication is a single ε. This is not called an augment.

For verbs starting with a vowel, the vowel lengthens, rather than reduplication occurring.

  • α -> η
  • ε -> η
  • ο -> ω
  • αι -> η
  • ει -> η
  • οι -> ω
  • αυ -> ηυ
  • ευ -> ηυ

Some verbs are irregular.

Ending with a κ

Following the stem of the vowel is a κ which is then followed by the specific ending. Hence, a perfect active verb can be recognized by the presence of reduplication and a κ.

For contract verbs (εω, αω and οω verbs) the final vowel undergoes a lengthening prior to the κ+ending being added - α becomes η, ε becomes η and ο becomes ω

Verbs ending with τ or θ or δ or ζ drop the last letter before adding the κ

Other Active Forms

Perfect Active Infinitive

Present Active Participle

Passive Forms

Perfect Passive (Or Middle) Indicative

Perfect Passive Infinitive

Present Passive (Or Middle) Participle



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