Koine Greek: Verbs - Subjunctive

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Subjunctive Verbs in Koine Greek


The subjunctive mood of a verb in Koine Greek is the form generally used to express potential or possibility.


The subjunctive in English is typically translated using the qualifying word "might". For example, "they might destroy" (λυωσιν) is in the subjunctive mood.

More commonly than subjunctives standing on their own, are subjunctives standing in special-case scenarios. These include

  • Purpose Clause
  • Indefinite Clause
  • Emphatic Negative Future
  • Hortatory
  • Deliberative
  • Future Condition
  • Prohibition

Purpose Clause

A purpose clause begins with either the word `ινα or `οπως and communicates an idea of purpose.

  • `ινα + subjunctive = so that + subjunctive (e.g. `ινα λυωσιν = so that they might destroy)
  • `οπως + subjunctive = so that + subjunctive

Indefinite Clause

An indefinite clause expresses a sense of an unspecified nature. It is formed generally using the indefinite particle αν with the subjunctive.

Emphatic Negative Future

The emphatic negative future subjunctive is a form of the subjunctive that conveys a definite sense of impossibility. For example:

  • ου μη λυης = you certainly will not destroy


When the subjunctive stands alone in the first person plural form, it is likely that it is being used in its hortatory sense and is translated as "Let us...". For example:



Future Condition

The Future Condition is the form that communicates the idea "if" a certain event occurs, "then" a certain outcome will occur. This is technically known as a "third class condition" (see: Koine Greek: Conditions). The form is as follows:

  • εαν + subjunctive + outcome = if + subjunctive then outcome




Subjunctives may be in the Present or Aorist tense. The Present and the Aorist forms of the subjunctive are often translated identically into English.

Present Active

The forms for the Present Active Subjunctive are as follows:

  • λυω - I might destroy
  • λυης - you might destroy
  • λυη - he / she / it might destroy
  • λυωμεν - we might destroy
  • λυητε - you might destroy (plural)
  • λυωσιν - they might destroy

This paradigm is similar to the Present Active Indicative form, except that the vowel sounds have generally been lengthened

  • ει becomes η (with a ι subscript)
  • ε becomes η
  • ο becomes ω

Present Passive (and Middle)


Aorist Active

The forms for the Aorist Active Subjunctive are as follows:

  • λυσω - I might destroy
  • λυσης - you might destroy
  • λυση - he / she / it might destroy
  • λυσωμεν - we might destroy
  • λυσητε - you might destroy
  • λυσωσιν - they might destroy

There is no augment for the Aorist Subjunctive form.

This paradigm has the same endings as the Present Active form, except the ending is preceded by the characteristic σ of the Aorist tense.

Aorist Middle


Aorist Passive

The forms for the Aorist Passive Subjunctive are as follows:

  • λυθω - I might be destroyed
  • λυθης - you might be destroyed
  • λυθη - he / she / it might be destroyed
  • λυθωμεν - we might be destroyed
  • λυθητε - you might be destroyed
  • λυθωσιν - they might be destroyed

Like the other Aorist Subjunctive forms, there is no augment for Aorist Passive Subjunctive verbs.

This paradigm has the same endings as the Present Active form, except the ending is preceded by the characteristic θ of Aorist Passive verbs.

Negating subjunctives

Subjunctives are negated by μη, and not by ου.



Return to Koine Greek


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