Biblical Greek (Advanced): 02. The μι Verbs

The μι verbs

A group of verbs ending with letters µι, for the first person singular, are called mi verbs (athematic conjugation). This group is irregular, meaning that the endings for conjugating the verbs are different and must be learned by heart (or seen in a dictionary).

Some very common words belong to this group like εἰμί (to be), δίδωμι (give), ἵστημι (set, stand), ἀφίημι (let go; forgive), τίθημι (set; lay, put), δείκνυμι (show). All these words are part of the minimum 300 words vocabulary (except δείκνυμι), so you need to know them. There are also derivates for these words having a particular prefix and differing in meaning (e.g., δίδωμι: διαδίδωμι, παραδίδωμι). These words are further divided into four classes of similar formation: δίδωμι ο-class, ἵστημι α-class, τίθημι ε-class and δείκνυμι υ-class.  

These words could have very exotic forms in certain cases not easy to be parsed. However, there are some clues to make things easier.

Clues for discernment

Present and Imperfect

The present or imperfect tense of these verbs can be identified by ​​​iota reduplication. This means that the stem consonant is reduplicated and the letter iota is further added: δίδωμι, τίθημι, στημι, ἀφίημι. In the case of some forms, it is not obvious what is the reduplicating consonant. We must remember that the original stem is not always identical with its present tense form.

The imperfect tense is discerned by the augment. In all other tenses, the iota is not present.

Conjugation here is not regular for present active. Other forms are regular. You will need to learn these endings:

  A M/P
Sg. δίδω μι δίδο μαι
  δίδω ς δίδο σαι
  δίδω σι(ν) δίδο ται
Pl. δίδο μεν δίδο μεθα
  δίδο τε δίδο σθε
  διδό ασι(ν) δίδο νται

The endings of active singular 1-3. person are completely different. In middle/passive, there is a minor change of singular 2. ending.

Aorist and Perfect

Aorist is usually discerned by discerning letters σα between stem and ending. However, in the case of the aorist, these verbs have slightly modified discerning letters from σα to κα which are discerning letters of perfect. The difference between the two is that perfect has reduplication. The aorist of the word δίδωμι would be δωκα and the perfect δεδωκα. Conjugation here is regular (same regular endings).


The verb εἰμί "to be" is very various in its forms and must be learned separately (see exercises). However, this brief paradigm illustrates general features of the four classes mentioned above:

Class Present Future Aorist Perfect
      A P A M/P
ο δίδωμι δώσω ἔδωκα ἐδόθην δέδωκα δέδομαι
α ἳστημι στήσω ἓστησα ἑστάθην ἓστηκα  
ε τίθημι θήσω ἔθηκα ἐτέθην τέθεικα τέθειμαι
υ δείκνυμι  δείξω ἔδειξα   δέδειχα