Get 35% off with the power up sale. Ends 7/26/2021
Get 35% off with the power up sale. Ends 7/26/2021
GreekPod101.com Blog
Learn Greek with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Basic Greek Sentence Patterns: A Comprehensive Guide


Thumbnail

Okay, we should admit it. 

How about sentence patterns, though?

Yes, I mean versatile Greek sentence patterns, which can be adapted for anything you want to say. That’s exciting, right?

In this article, we’ll focus on practical examples, demonstrating all the basic sentence patterns in Greek. After reading this, you’ll be able to construct simple sentences in Greek, which will certainly be useful whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced learner.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Greek Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe a Noun: A is {Adjective}
  3. Expressing Desire: I Want (to)…
  4. Expressing Need: I Need (to)… / I Have to…
  5. Saying What You Like: I Like (to)…
  6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something: Please…
  7. Asking for Permission: May I…? / Can I…?
  8. Asking for Information About Something: What is…?
  9. Asking About How Something Is: How is…?
  10. Asking About the Time: When is…?
  11. Asking About Location or Position: Where is…?
  12. Conclusion

1. Linking Two Nouns: A is B

Handwritten Sentences in a Notebook

Linking two nouns is pretty easy in Greek. Actually, this sentence pattern resembles its English equivalent. The only difference is the use of articles, which is a standard thing in Greek. 

The key concept here is the verb είμαι (íme), meaning to be, which is used to link two nouns. In most cases, the second noun describes the first one. Be careful, though. All verbs in Greek get conjugated according to the person they refer to. 

Let’s have a look at some Greek sentence examples below: 

  • Greek: Ο Γιάννης είναι κτηνίατρος.
  • Romanization: O Yánis íne ktiníatros.
  • Translation: “John is a veterinarian.”
  • Greek: Η γυναίκα είναι δασκάλα.
  • Romanization: I yinéka íne daskála.
  • Translation: “The woman is a teacher.”
  • Greek: Το ρολόι είναι δώρο.
  • Romanization: To rolói íne dóro.
  • Translation: “The watch is a gift.”

2. Using Adjectives to Describe a Noun: A is {Adjective}


Sentence Patterns

Another alternative that might come in handy is trying to describe a noun with an adjective. This can also be done easily, by simply placing the adjective after the verb είμαι (íme).

Here are some examples:

  • Greek: Το βιβλίο είναι ενδιαφέρον.
  • Romanization: To vivlío íne endiaféron.
  • Translation: “The book is interesting.”
  • Greek: Το φαγητό είναι νόστιμο.
  • Romanization: To fayitó íne nóstimo.
  • Translation: “The food is delicious.”
  • Greek: Η ταινία ήταν τρομακτική.
  • Romanization: I tenía ítan tromaktikí.
  • Translation: “The movie was scary.”

3. Expressing Desire: I Want (to)…


Sentences Written on a Blackboard

The verb θέλω (thélo), meaning “to want,” can be accompanied by a noun as it represents a desire. In addition,  it’s often accompanied by a verb in the subjunctive mood (i.e. by the conjunction να followed by a verb), in order to express the desire to do a certain action. Alternatively, it can be accompanied by a demonstrative pronoun. 

Let’s take a look at some examples of this Greek sentence structure:

  • Greek: Θέλω κοτόπουλο.
  • Romanization: Thélo kotópulo.
  • Translation: “I want chicken.”
  • Greek: Θέλω να κοιμηθώ.
  • Romanization: Thélo na kimithó.
  • Translation: “I want to sleep.”
  • Greek: Θέλω να κάνω μια ερώτηση.
  • Romanization: Thélo na káno mia erótisi.
  • Translation: “I want to ask a question.”
  • Greek: Θέλω αυτό.
  • Romanization: Thélo aftó.
  • Translation: “I want this.”

4. Expressing Need: I Need (to)… / I Have to…


Sentence Components

Unlike in English, the phrase “need to” in Greek is not a synonym for “must.” Instead, it’s used as its literal translation, expressing a necessity. 

Again, in this case, these phrases are often accompanied by a noun or a verb in the subjunctive mood.

Here are some examples of Greek sentences expressing need: 

  • Greek: Χρειάζομαι ένα στυλό.
  • Romanization: Hriázome éna stiló.
  • Translation: “I need a pen.”
  • Greek: Πρέπει να φύγω.
  • Romanization: Prépi na fígo.
  • Translation: “I have to go.”
  • Greek: Πρέπει να πάω στην τουαλέτα.
  • Romanization: Prépi na páo stin tualéta.
  • Translation: “I have to go to the bathroom.”
  • Greek: Πρέπει να εξασκηθώ περισσότερο.
  • Romanization: Prépi na exaskithó perisótero.
  • Translation: “I have to practice more.”

5. Saying What You Like: I Like (to)…


Little Pieces of Paper with Words on Them

Below, you can find some practical Greek sentences for beginners that you can use to describe something that you like. 

Again, when describing an action that you like, the second verb should be in the subjunctive mood.

  • Greek: Μου αρέσεις.
  • Romanization: Mu arésis.
  • Translation: “I like you.”
  • Greek: Μου αρέσει αυτό το βιβλίο.
  • Romanization: Mu arési aftó to vivlío.
  • Translation: “I like this book.”
  • Greek: Μου αρέσει να μαγειρεύω.
  • Romanization: Mu arési na mayirévo.
  • Translation: “I like to cook.”
  • Greek: Μου αρέσει να βλέπω το ηλιοβασίλεμα στην παραλία.
  • Romanization: Mu arési na vlépo to iliovasílema stin paralía.
  • Translation: “I like to watch the sunset at the beach.”

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something: Please…

Let’s take a look at some examples of how to form Greek sentences this way: 

  • Greek: Παρακαλώ, καθίστε.
  • Romanization: Parakaló,kathíste.
  • Translation: “Please, sit down.”
  • Greek: Παρακαλώ, περιμένετε στην ουρά.
  • Romanization: Parakaló, periménete stin urá.
  • Translation: “Please, wait in the line.”
  • Greek: Σε παρακαλώ, άκουσέ με.
  • Romanization: Se parakaló, ákusé me.
  • Translation: “Please, listen to me / hear me out.” (informal)

7. Asking for Permission: May I…? / Can I…?


A Woman Studying Greek

Knowing how to ask something politely will surely be useful, whether you’re visiting Greece or talking with your Greek friends. 

Below, you can find some of the most common polite questions. 

  • Greek: Μπορώ να περάσω;
  • Romanization: Boró na peráso?
  • Translation: “May I come in?”
  • Greek: Μπορώ να έχω λίγο νερό;
  • Romanization: Boró na ého lígo neró?
  • Translation: “Can I have some water?”
  • Greek: Μπορώ να έχω τηλέφωνό σου;
  • Romanization: Boró na ého to tiléfonó su?
  • Translation: “Can I have your phone number?”

8. Asking for Information About Something: What is…?

Another important type of question is that used to ask for information about something. The protagonist here is the interrogative pronoun Τι….; (Ti…?), meaning “What…?”

  • Greek: Τι είναι αυτό;
  • Romanization: Ti íne aftó?
  • Translation: “What is this?”
  • Greek: Τι χρώμα είναι το παντελόνι που ήθελες;
  • Romanization: Ti hróma íne to pandelóni pu ítheles?
  • Translation: “What color are the trousers you wanted?”

9. Asking About How Something Is: How is…?

You might be wondering “How do I say this?” Wonder no more – here’s how to ask questions beginning with “How.”

  • Greek: Πώς μπορώ να το πω αυτό;
  • Romanization: Pós boró na to po aftó?
  • Translation: “How can I say this?”
  • Greek: Πώς σε λένε;
  • Romanization: Pos se léne?
  • Translation: “How do they call you?”
  • Meaning: This is the most common way to ask someone for their name. It’s equivalent to “What’s your name?”
  • Greek: Πώς μπορώ να πάω στο ξενοδοχείο;
  • Romanization: Pós boró na páo sto xenodohío?
  • Translation: “How can I get to the hotel?”

10. Asking About the Time: When is…?


A Person Writing Sentences in a Notebook

Being on time is highly appreciated by Greeks. In addition, remembering someone’s birthday is considered a proof of friendship. 

In order to ask questions about when something is, you can follow a general rule: Πότε είναι (Póte íne) + article + noun.

Here are some of the most common relevant questions:

  • Greek: Πότε είναι τα γενέθλιά σου;
  • Romanization: Póte íne ta yenéthliá su?
  • Translation: “When is your birthday?”
  • Greek: Πότε είναι το ραντεβού;
  • Romanization: Póte íne to randevú?
  • Translation: “When is the appointment?”
  • Greek: Πότε είναι η ώρα αναχώρησης της πτήσης μας;
  • Romanization: Póte íne i óra anahórisi tis ptísis mas?
  • Translation: “When is the departure time of our flight?”
  • Greek: Πότε είναι η ώρα άφιξης της πτήσης μας;
  • Romanization: Póte íne i óra áfixis tis ptísis mas?
  • Translation: “When is the arrival time of our flight?”

11. Asking About Location or Position: Where is…?

Last but not least, another useful question is that used to ask where something is. If you’re visiting Greece for the first time, feel free to use the basic questions demonstrated below.

A general rule is: Πού είναι (Pu íne) + article + noun.

  • Greek: Πού είναι η τουαλέτα;
  • Romanization: Pu íne i tualéta?
  • Translation: “Where is the restroom?”
  • Greek: Πού είναι το ασανσέρ;
  • Romanization: Pu íne to asansér?
  • Translation: “Where is the elevator?”

12. Conclusion

Simple Greek language sentences, like those we demonstrated above, can be useful in a wide variety of situations. That’s our goal: To provide you with practical knowledge, which can be learned in an easy and fun way. 

Start learning Greek today in a consistent and organized manner by creating a free lifetime account on GreekPod101.com. Tons of free vocabulary lists, YouTube videos, and grammar tips are waiting to be discovered. 

In the meantime, is there a sentence structure that troubles you? Check out our Must-Know Greek Sentence Structures series. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments, and we’d be happy to help!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Greek