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Hi, everybody! Stefania here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Greek questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is “Why does the word πολύ (polí) sometimes have different forms?”
This is something I get asked a lot. What you need to know about πολύ (polí) is that there are two types.
First, there's the adverb πολύ (polí) meaning "very", "very much," or "a lot."
And second, there's the declinable adjective ο πολύς, η πολλή, το πολύ (o polís, i polí, to polí) in the masculine, feminine, and neuter gender respectively, meaning "many" for measurable things or "much" for non-measurable things like the noun "knowledge", for example.
Let's go into more detail. First, let's see the first type, where πολύ (polí) is an adverb.
In this case, it is not declined and it can be used in combination with verbs, adverbs, adjectives and participles.
For example,
Χιονίζει πολύ. (Hionízi polí.) (verb + πολύ) "It's snowing a lot."
Τρώω πολύ γρήγορα. (Tróo polí grígora.) (πολύ + adverb) "I eat very fast."
Είναι πολύ καλός άνθρωπος. (Íne polí kalós ánthropos.) (πολύ + adjective) "He is a very good man."
Είναι πολύ εκνευρισμένος. (Íne polí eknevrizménos.) (πολύ + participle) "He is very irritated."
Many people, including native Greeks, misspell it, because they confuse the adverb with the adjective ο πολύς, η πολλή, το πολύ (o polís, i polí, to polí, meaning "many/much").
Here are some sample sentences.
Σ' αγαπώ πολύ. (S' agapó polí.)
"I love you very much."
Το ίντερνετ εδώ είναι πολύ αργό. (To ínternet edó íne polí argó.)
"The internet here is very slow."
Following up, the adjective is declined in all 3 genders and is always used to define a noun. Therefore, it always needs to "agree" with the noun's gender, number, and case.
Let's see some sample sentences.
Εδώ υπάρχει πολύς θόρυβος. (Edó ipárhi polís thórivos.) (masculine) "There is too much noise here."
Τρώω πολλή σοκολάτα. (Tróo polí sokoláta.) (feminine) "I eat a lot of chocolate."
Πέφτει πολύ χιόνι. (Péfti polí hióni.) (neuter) "It's snowing a lot."
Έχεις πολλούς μαρκαδόρους. (Éhis polús markadórus.) (masculine) "You have many markers."
Η Μαρία έχει πολλές τσάντες. (I María éhi polés tsándes.) (feminine) "Mary has many handbags."
Έχω πολλά παιδιά. (Ého polá pediá.) (neuter) "I have many children."
Keep in mind that in the plural, the adjective is spelled with double λάμδα (λλ).
For example,
Σου το είπα πολλές φορές. (Su to ípa polés forés.)
"I told you many times."
Πέρασαν πολλά χρόνια από τότε. (Pérasan polá hrónia apó tóte.)
"Many years passed by ever since."
If you are unsure of which type of πολύ (polí) to use, just think of the word that it will be defining. If it is a noun, then you need to use the adjective type in the correct form. If it will be used to define any other word, then you need to use the indeclinable adverb.


How was the lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
Γεια χαρά! (Ya hará!)

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