15B: Formation of the Subjunctive

This lesson introduces the formation of the subjunctive. In Modern Greek, the subjunctive is found in three tenses, the present, the aorist, and the perfect; there is no subjunctive in the imperfect or in the future tense. Because you have not learned the perfect tense yet, this lesson concentrates only on the subjunctive in the present and aorist tenses. Although the subjunctive in Modern Greek is easy to form, it is not very similar at all to the subjunctive in Ancient Greek.

The present subjunctive maintains the same stem as the future continuous, that is, the present stem. It indicates something that happens continuously or repetitively. Meanwhile, the aorist subjunctive takes the same stem as the simple future, that is, the aorist stem. It indicates something that happens just once, or at a specific point in time. Compare the two examples below:

  • Θέλω να σε βλέπω να γελάς. (“I want to see you laugh.”)
  • Θέλω να σε δω σήμερα το απόγευμα από κοντά. (“I want to see you in person this afternoon.”)

The subjunctive is often, though not always, accompanied by the particle να; this particle comes from the Ancient Greek ἵνα

Conjugation: Present Subjunctive

To form the the present subjunctive, keep both the present stem and the endings of the present indicative. In fact, the present subjunctive looks identical to the present indicative. Context and the presence or absence of the particle να will help tell you tell them apart.

λύν-ω λύν-ουμε
Conjugation: Aorist Subjunctive

To form the aorist subjunctive, add the endings of the present indicative to the aorist stem. Therefore, λύνω → έ-λυσ-α → λύσ-ω. Because of the way in which it is formed, the aorist subjunctive ends up looking exactly the same as the future indicative, only without the particle θα.  

λύσ-ω λύσ-ουμε
Present and Aorist Subjunctive of Groups B1, B2, and AB

The other conjugation groups in Modern Greek follow the same patterns as verbs in group A like λύνω. You can see one verb from each group in the tables below.

Present Subjunctive: B1Aorist Subjunctive: B1
(να) αγαπάω/-ώ(να) αγαπήσω
Present Subjunctive: B2Aorist Subjunctive: B2
(να) θεωρώ(να) θεωρήσω
Present Subjunctive: ABAorist Subjunctive: AB
(να) πηγαίνω
(να) λέω
(να) ακούω
(να) τρώω
(να) κλαίω
(να) καίω
(να) φταίω
(να) πάω
(να) πω
(να) ακούσω
(να) φάω
(να) κλάψω
(να) κάψω
(να) φταίξω