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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 “How do you use the verb αρέσω?”
The verb αρέσω (aréso, "to like") is not used the same way as in English. While in English we say "I like the ice cream," a typical SVO structure, subject-verb-object, in Greek we don't say εγώ αρέσω το παγωτό (egó aréso to pagotó), we say μου αρέσει το παγωτό (mu arési to pagotó). This is an OVS structure but there's more to know here than just reversing the order of the sentence's elements.
Let's go into more detail. First, let's see the basic things you need to know about the verb αρέσω (aréso).
In a previous video, I mentioned that while most Greek transitive verbs get a direct object in the accusative case, there are a few transitive verbs that get a direct object in genitive. The verb αρέσω (aréso), "to like" falls into this latter category. Its object is usually a weak personal pronoun in genitive, for example, μου (mu, "me"), σου (su, "you"), του (tu, "him"), της (tis, "her"), μας (mas, "us"), σας (sas, "you"), and τους (tus, "them"). Such a direct object in genitive can be replaced by a similar prepositional phrase, in the case of αρέσω (aréso) by σε (se) + a pronoun, a noun or a name in accusative. For example, στη Μαρία αρέσει το παγωτό (sti María arési to pagoto, "Mary likes ice cream"). For the negation in the indicative mood, we place the negation particle δεν (den), meaning "not," immediately before the verb, unless the object is a weak pronoun. In that case, the pronoun stands between the verb and δεν (den). Two examples are...
Δεν μας αρέσουν οι ταινίες τρόμου. (Den mas arésun i teníes trómu.)
"We don't like scary movies."
Σε εμάς δεν αρέσουν οι ταινίες τρόμου. (Se emás den arésun i teníes trómu.)
"We don't like scary movies."
Next, you need to know these two golden rules.
Unless the subject of a sentence is a whole phrase...
1. It needs to "agree" with the verb in person and number.
and 2. It is always in the nominative case.
Let's take a look at our first example. Although in English, it is I who likes ice cream, so "I" is the subject, in Greek that's not what happens. The verb αρέσει (arési) is in the 3rd person. Which means the subject is not "I." Surprised?! Actually the subject here is το παγωτό (to pagotó), which is in the nominative case. If this doesn't make sense to you, think of this sentence like this,
"The ice cream is of my liking." Here the subject is "ice cream" not "I."
So just remember, with αρέσω (aréso), the subject in English is the object in Greek and the English object is the Greek subject.
Here is another sample sentence.
Μας αρέσει αυτή η δασκάλα. (Mas arési aftí i daskála.)
"We like this teacher."
Some other things to remember are...
1. In the case of μου αρέσει (mu arési, "I like") and σου αρέσει (su arési, "you like"), the final vowels of the weak personal pronouns can be replaced by an apostrophe (μ' αρέσει - m' arési, σ' αρέσει - s' arési).
2. Word order is relatively flexible in Greek, but there can never be anything between the weak pronoun and the verb. For example, you can reverse the phrase and say το παγωτό μού αρέσει (to pagotó mú arési, "I like ice cream"), if you want to emphasize that it is ice cream that you like as opposed to something else, but you can't say μου το παγωτό αρέσει (mu to pagotó arési, "I ice cream like").
3. In addition to the weak pronoun, there might also be a nominal phrase or a strong personal pronoun in the genitive case within the phrase. This happens for emphasis reasons. For example...
Μ' αρέσει το παγωτό εμένα. (M' arési to pagotó eména.)
"I like ice cream."
Της Μαρίας της αρέσει το παγωτό. (Tis Marías tis arési to pagotó.)
"Mary likes ice cream."
4. The Greek subject might be a whole phrase. For example, it can be a phrase in subjunctive, μου αρέσει (το) να κοιμάμαι (mu arési (to) na kimáme, "I like to sleep/I like sleeping"). When reversing the word order in this sentence, you have to use the neuter article το (to) before the subject which it is usually omitted otherwise, like in Το να κοιμάμαι μου αρέσει (To na kimáme mu arési).
Here are some more sample sentences that use phrasal subjects.
Του αρέσει όταν βρέχει. (Tu arési ótan vréhi.)
"He likes it when it rains."
Της αρέσει που της διαβάζω παραμύθια κάθε βράδυ. (Tis arési pu tis diavázo paramíthia káthe vrádi.) "She likes it that I read to her fairytales every night."
Keep in mind that in this case, the phrase might refer to a different person that what the object denotes. For example, Μου αρέσει να κοιμάσαι (Mu arési na kimáse). A sentence like this is translated as "I like you to sleep."


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!)