23A: The Object (I)

This lesson introduces an important concept in Modern Greek: the object. How does it function, compared to Ancient Greek? How is it different, and how is it similar? Similarly to in Ancient Greek, objects are people or things, and they appear to take the action of transitive verbs. Not all verbs are transitive; those that are not are called intransitive. Compare the two examples below:

  • Ο ήλιος λάμπει. (“The sun is shining.”)
  • Ο ήλιος φωτίζει τη Γη. (“The sun lights up the earth.”)

In the first sentence, the sun is shining without any object needing to receive that action; the verb λάμπει is intransitive. In the second sentence, the verb φωτίζει is transitive, because it acts on its object, the earth. It is worth noting that deponent verbs can also take an object, such as “Σκέφτομαι το μέλλον,” (“I think about the future,”).

Look at some of the following examples below:

  • Ο Στέφανος κοιτάζει τα αστέρια. (“Stephanos looks at the stars.”)
  • Ο Στέφανος κοιτάζει τα αστέρια και το φεγγάρι. (“Stephanos looks at the stars and the moon.”)
  • Ο Στέφανος δείχνει τα αστέρια στη Μαρία.  (“Stephanos shows the stars to Maria.”)

What do you notice? In the first example, you have one object. In the second example, I have two objects in the same case and of the same kind. In the third example, I have two objects, but of different kinds: the one is direct, and the other is indirect. All of this is probably familiar to you from Ancient Greek; what changes here, though, are the cases that you use for the object, but we will examine this a bit later. 

What parts of speech can become objects in Modern Greek? There are some similarities here between Ancient Greek and Modern Greek, so each of the examples below shows a sentence in both for you to compare:


  • Ancient Greek: Οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι ἐφρούρουν τὰ τείχη. (“The Athenians were keeping guard over the walls.”)
  • Modern Greek: O Στέφανος κοιτάζει τα αστέρια.  (“Stephanos looks at the stars.”)


  • Ancient Greek: Τοὺς ξένους ἀδικεῖ σφόδρα. (“He is doing a great wrong to the guests.”)
  • Modern Greek: Κοίτα τον απρόσεκτο πώς οδηγάει! (“Look how careless he is driving!”)


  • Ancient Greek: Ἐκάλεσε τοὺς ἐργαζομένους.
  • Modern Greek: Φώναξε τους καλεσμένους! Ήρθε η ώρα να φάμε. 


  • Ancient Greek: Εὐμενῶς ἐδέξατο ἡμᾶς.
  • Modern Greek: Πάρε μας μαζί σου.

Subordinate Clause

  • Ancient Greek: Λέγουσιν ὅτι δεκαταῖος ἀφίκετο ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος. (“They say that on the tenth day he arrived to the mountain.”)
  • Modern Greek: Θέλω να ταξιδέψω σε πολλές χώρες. (“I want to travel to many countries.”)
  • Modern Greek: Νομίζω ότι έχω αργήσει. (“I think that I’m late.”)

Any word preceded by an article

  • Ancient Greek: Τοὺς μὲν ἀπέκτεινε, τοὺς δὲ ἠνδραπόδισε. (“Some he killed, others he enslaved.”)
  • Modern Greek: Έχουν τα πάνω τους και τα κάτω τους. (“They have their ups and downs.”)
  • Modern Greek: Απάντησαν όλοι, και οι μεν και οι δε. (“Everyone responded, both the one group and the others.”)

Any word that can function as a noun

  • Modern Greek: Είπε καλημέρα όταν μπήκε στην τάξη. (“He said hello when he entered the classroom.”)
  • Modern Greek: Είπε ευχαριστώ όταν του έδωσα το δώρο. (“He said thank you when I gave him the gift.”)

Remember: in Modern Greek, the infinitive does not exist anymore! In Ancient Greek, the infinitive often functioned as an object. In Modern Greek, instead of the infinitive, you can use either declarative clauses or να clauses to express the same thing.

  • Ancient Greek: Λέγουσί τινες Θεμιστοκλέα φαρμάκῳ ἀποθανεῖν. → Λένε μερικοί ότι ο Θεμιστοκλής πέθανε από δηλητήριο. (“Some people say that Themistocles died by poison.”)
  • Συμβουλεύω ὑμῖν μὴ παραδιδόναι τὰ ὅπλα. → Συμβουλεύω εσάς να μην παραδώσετε τα όπλα. (“I advise you to to not give up your arms.”)
Cases of the Object in Modern Greek

In Ancient Greek, either the accusative, genitive, or dative could be used for objects. In Modern Greek, most objects are instead found in just the accusative or in the genitive. What about the dative? Since the dative case no longer exists in Modern Greek, you will find it replaced by prepositional phrases. Consider the examples below:

  • Χτύπησε την πόρτα. (“She knocked at the door.”)
  • Μου μίλησε πολύ ευγενικά. (“He spoke very politely to me.”)
  • Μοιάζει πολύ στον πατέρα της. (“She looks a lot like her father.”)

In the first example, την πόρτα is in the accusative because it receives the action of the verb χτύπησε (“she knocked”). In the second example, the pronoun μου is in the genitive because it is the indirect object for the verb μίλησε. In the third example, the verb μοιάζει takes the preposition σε to make στον πατέρα; in Ancient Greek, this idea would have been expressed with the dative case, as in ὁμοιάζω τινί.