Koine Greek: Comparison

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Comparison in Koine Greek
RELATED TOPICS
SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS
CONTENTS

Lesson

Comparison is a grammatical term that describes adjectives or adverbs that give a comparative quality to a noun (usually by comparing it with another noun)

There are three degrees of comparison

  • Absolute degree (the usual use of an adjective such as αγαθος ανθρωπος - a good man)
  • Comparative (such as κρεισσων ανθρωπος - a better man)
  • Superlative (such as the best man).

Formation of Comparative Adjectives

Comparative adjectives (e.g. higher) are formed by taking the stem of the adjective and adding οτερος (if masculine) or οτερα (if feminine) or οτερον (if neuter). This is similar to English, where er is added to the adjective (for example: high becomes higher).

There are a number of irregular comparative adjectives such as αγαθος (good) which becomes κρεισσων (better). This is similar to English, where good becomes better.

Formation of Superlative Adjectives

Superlative adjectives (e.g. highest) are formed by taking the stem of the adjective and adding ατοτος (if masculine) or ατοτη (if feminine) or ατοτον (if neuter). This is similar to English, where est is added to the adjective (for example: high becomes highest).

There are a number of irregular superlative adjectives.

The noun being compared to

Comparatives are usually used to compare one noun with a second noun. In English, the word "than" is used in these sentences prior to the second noun (for example: "he is shorter than a tree"). In Greek, there are two ways to indicate the noun that is the object of comparison.

  1. Using the Genitive Case
  2. Using η (with a smooth breathing)

Genitive of Comparison

A noun in the genitive case directly following a comparative adjective means that this noun is the object of comparison.

Use of ή for Comparison

The word ή means "than" (it can also mean or). The noun directly following ή (note the smooth breathing) is the object of comparison.

Adverbial Comparatives

A comparative can be used adverbially by using the neuter singular form of the comparative adjective.

There are some exceptions to this rule.

Adverbial Superlatives

A superlative can be used adverbially by using the neuter plural form of the superlative adjective.

Quotes

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