Koine Greek: Verbs - Infinitive

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Infinitive Verbs in Koine Greek


The infinitive mood is a form of the verb. In English, an infinitive verb is expressed using the word "to" before the verb (e.g. "to destroy" = λυειν).

Forms - Tense

Using λυω, the different forms of the infinitive are

  • Present Active - λυειν
  • Present Middle / Passive - λυεσθαι
  • Aorist Active - λυσαι
  • Aorist Middle - λυσασθαι
  • Aorist Passive - λυθηναι

The Present indicatives an unfolding action whereas the Aorist indicatives a summary action. In practice, they are translated into English the same.

Uses of the Infinitive

The infinitive verb has the following uses

  • Complementary
  • Purpose
  • Articular
  • In place of a noun

Complementary Infinitives

An infinitive is complementary if it completes the idea of another verb.

Purpose Infinitives

An infinitive is purpose if it stands alone in expressing an idea of purpose. Sometimes it will be preceded by the genitive article του. See Koine Greek: Purpose

To Express Result

An infinitive preceded by the word `ωστε communicates that a result has been achieved. `ωστε can thus be translated as "with the result that" or "consequently".

In place of a noun

An infinitive verb may be used in place of a noun. An example of this is found in Philippians 1:21, where "το ζην χριστος" = "to live (is) Christ" and "το αποθανειν κερδος" = "to die (is) gain".

εμοι γαρ το ζην χριστος και το αποθανειν κερδος
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Articular Infinitives

An articular infinitive is an infinitive which stands with a preposition and its neuter definite article giving it a special meaning.

Specific uses include

  • Purpose: Formed with εις το + infinitive or προς το + infinitive and is translated as: in order to
  • Because: Formed with δια το + infinitive and is translated as: because
  • Time during: Formed with εν τω + infinitive and is translated as: when or while
  • Time before: Formed with προ του + infinitive and is translated as: before
  • Time after: Formed with μετα το + infinitive and is translated as: after

Accusative of Reference

The subject on an infinitive verb is placed directly after the verb, in the accusative case (not the nominative). It is known as the accusative of respect or the accusative of reference.


Infinitive verbs are negated by μη, and not ου.



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