Biblical Greek (Beginners): 11. Contract verbs

Contract Verbs

Any form of verbs ending with the vowels -α, -ε a -ο changes the form of the resulting endings according to the following table:

α   ε   ο
α + ε, η α   ε + ε ει   ο + ο, ε, ου ου
α + ει, ῃ   ε + ο ου   ο + οι, ει, ῃ  οι
α + ο, ω, ου ω   ε + ω, η -   ο + ω, η ω
α + οι   ε + ου, ει            

In the case of ε + long consonant or compound consonant, the effect of annihilation (dropping out) is taking place.

In dictionaries, the word of the contract verbs is always presented in the first person, including the given vowel, although it would not be the case in the actual text. So the word ἀγαπαω (we would not find it in the dictionary in this form), we would not find it in the actual text, but we would find it in the form of ἀγαπω. Therefore It is not always possible to determine this type of irregularity from the resulting form of a verb.


  • ἀγαπαωἀγαπα ει → ἀγαπᾳ (pres. act. ind. 3. sg.)
  • φιλεωφιλε ομεν → ἀγαπουμεν (pres. act. ind. 1. pl.)
  • πληροωπληρο ει → ἀγαποι (pres. act. ind. 3. sg.)

Tenses with discerning letters

In the case of tenses:

  • future (σ)
  • aorist (σ),
  • perfect (κ),
  • aorist passive (θ),

having discerning vowels, the situation is easier. No morphology of endings according to the above table is occurring, however, there is an extension of the vowel  -α, -ε or -ο before the discerning letters as follows:

  • α, εη + σ, κ, θ + ending
  • οω + σ, κ, θ + ending

For example ἀγαπαω + σ + εν ἀγαπησεν (aor. act. ind. 3. sg.)


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