THE IMPERFECT TENSE

 

MEANING:
(1) action continuing in the past; e.g. "I was going".
(2) customary action in the past; e.g., "I used to go."
(3) action repeated in the past; e.g., "I kept on, continued going."
(4) action attempted in the past; e.g., "I tried to go."
(5) action begun in the past; e.g., "I began to go."

e)/bainon could be translated any one of these five ways; the context determines the appropriate translation.


FORMATION:
The imperfect is denoted by:
(1) secondary endings added to the present verb stem
(2) augmentation of the verb stem.

SECONDARY ENDINGS

ACTIVE
I
-on
we
-omen
you (s)
-ej
you (pl)
-ete
he, she
-e(n)
they
-on
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MIDDLE
I
-mhn
we
-meqa
you (s)
-ou
you (pl)
-sqe
he, she
-to
they
-nto

AUGMENTATION

  • Verbs beginning with a consonant prefix the vowel e0 to the verb steme.g., lamba/nw (present), e0la&mbanon (imperfect).
  • Verbs compounded with prepositions add e0 to the stem of the uncompounded form of the verb; e.g., a)pobai/nw (present), a)pe/bainon (imperfect).
  • Verbs beginning with a vowel lengthen the vowel; e.g., a)kou&w (present), h)/kouon (imperfect).
  • Note that a)pore/w is not a compound verb; thus, h)po&roun.
AUGMENTS
the vowel
becomes
e.g.
a
h
a#ptw, h#pton
e
h
e0rwta&w, h)rw&twn
o
w
o)fei/lw, w!feilon
text place holder

Some exceptions to the rules:

  •  o(ra&w and e)/xw augment by adding e0, since they formerly began with consonants; thus, e9wrwn and ei]xon. (e9wrwn appears to have a double augment.)
  • kaqeu&dw which is not used except in its compound form augments the prefix; thus e0ka&qeudon.