Nouns - Ουσιαστικά

The Greek nouns are divided in main (κύρια, ‘kiria) and common (κοινά, ‘kina).

Main nouns are always capitalized and have no plural. Common nouns aren’t capitalized and have a plural.

The following table explains when a noun is common or main:

thingsτραπέζι (table)
peopleμαμά (mom)names of peopleΜαρία (Maria)
animalsγάτα (cat)names of animalsΧιονούλα (Snowie)
placesπαραλία (beach)names of placesΑθήνα (Athens)
abstract ideasαγάπη (love)names of days and monthsΔευτέρα (Monday)
activities or statesύπνος (sleep)names of holidaysΧριστούγεννα (Christmas)

Nouns have different suffixes depending on the gender, case and number.

The Greek nouns have three genders: masculine (αρσενικά, arseni’ka), feminine (θηλυκά, thili’ka) and neuter (ουδέτερα, u’δetera). The cases are: the nominative (ονομαστική, onomasti’ki), the genitive (γενική, γeni’ki), the accusative (αιτιατική, etiati’ki) and the vocative (κλητική, kliti’ki). Number is either singular (ενικός, eni’kos) or plural (πληθυντικός, plithinti’kos).

Nouns can either have equal syllables on all cases and numbers, called ισοσύλλαβα (ιso’silava) or have a different number of syllables, usually more but sometimes less, when they change form. Those are called ανισοσύλλαβα (aniso’silava), meaning “those with unequal syllables”.

Genders - Γένη

Masculine nouns have one of the following suffixes: -ας, -άς, -ης, -ής, -ος, -ός, -ες, -ές, -ούς, -έας.

Feminine nouns can have either of the following suffixes: -α, -ά, -η, -ή, -ος, -ού.

Neuter nouns can have one of the following suffixes: -ι, -ί, -ο, -ό, -ος, -μα, -μο, -ς, -ν.

Genders in Greek are mostly arbitrary. When talking about people, their actual gender corresponds to the gender of the noun (but even then, the neuter can be used as a diminutive (υποκοριστικό, ipokoristi’ko), i.e. an affectionate form).

Cases - Πτώσεις

Modern Greek has four cases, in contrast to ancient Greek that has five (also δοτική, doti’ki). The cases show the function of the noun within the sentence.

The nominative is the case used for a noun when it’s the subject of a verb. It is formed with the following articles, depending on the gender and number.

Greek NominativeEnglish Translation
Ο ταχυδρόμος έφερε ένα γράμμα.The postman brought a letter.
Η γυναίκα τρέχει στο γήπεδο.The woman runs on the field.
Το αγόρι παίζει με τη μπάλα.The boy plays with the ball.

The genitive is used to show possession. The noun may be placed after another noun or it might be combined with a verb.

Greek GenitiveEnglish Translation
Το γραφείο του διευθυντή.The principal’s office.
Ο καφές της Χριστίνας.Christina’s coffee.
Η κιθάρα του ωδείου.The conservatory’s guitar.

The accusative is the case used for the object of a verb. It’s also used to show when or how often something is done and after prepositions.

Greek AccusativeEnglish Translation
Η κυρία πέρασε τον δρόμο.The lady crossed the road.
Ο επισκέπτης έκλεισε την πόρτα.The visitor closed the door.
O μάγειρας φτιάχνει το φαγητό.The cook is making the food.

The vocative is used to call someone or draw attention.

Greek VocativeEnglish Translation
Καλημέρα Γιώργο!Good morning George!
Χρόνια πολλά Τατιάνα!Happy birthday Tatiana!
Σκυλάκι, κάτσε!Doggie, sit!