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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 “When do you use ο and ω?”
Like I mentioned in the previous video, spelling Greek words correctly requires memorization in combination with constant exposure to vocabulary and lots of practice. Since Greek has two different letters for the same /o/ sound, let's see in what words you are most likely to see each one. We will be focusing only on the endings of inflected words, though, since things there are easier if you have some basic knowledge of declension and conjugation.
Let's get into more detail. First, let's see which words have ο (o) in their ending.
The biggest category here are the -ος (-os) ending masculine pronouns and adjectives, and nouns of all genders. For example, αυτός (aftós, "he"), ο καθαρός (o katharós, "clean"), ο βράχος (o vráhos, "rock"), η οδός (i odós, "street"), and το χάος (to háos, "chaos"). Τhere are a few neuter nouns, though, that are spelled with ω (o) instead, such as το καθεστώς (to kathestós, "regime"), το φως (to fos, "light"), το ημίφως (to imífos, "semi darkness"), and το λυκόφως (to likófos, "twilight").
Here are some sample sentences.
Ο δάσκαλος ξενυχτάει διορθώνοντας γραπτά. (O dáskalos xenihtái diorthónondas graptá.)
"The teacher stays up late correcting tests."
Ο κρύος καιρός συνεχίζεται. (O kríos kerós sinehízete.)
"The cold weather continues."
Other words that have ο (o) in their ending are:
• -ο (-o) ending neuter pronouns, nouns, and adjectives like ποιο (pio, "which"), ποτό (potó, "drink"), and καλό (kaló, "good").
• -ον (-on) ending neuter nouns and adjectives, like παρόν (parón, "present") and ενδιαφέρον (endiaféron, "interesting").
• -ονας (-onas) ending masculine adjectives, like μετριόφρονας (metriófronas, "mediocre").
• -ιμο (-imo) ending neuter nouns, such as βάψιμο (vápsimo, "colouring/painting").
• All those -ος (-os) ending singular genitive forms of pronouns, nouns, and adjectives, such as του πράγματος (tu prágmatos, "of the thing"), του απόντος (tu apóndos, "of the absent"), and κανενός (kanenós, "of no one"). Exceptions are some of the -η (-i) ending feminine nouns that form the singular genitive in -εως (-eos) with ω (o), such as η γνώση (i gnósi, "knowledge"), that become της γνώσεως (tis gnóseos).
• All the verbs ending in a non-accented -ομαι (-ome) in the passive voice, such as σέβομαι (sévome, "to respect").
• All the gerunds ending in a non-accented -οντας (-ondas) such as τρέχοντας (tréhondas, "running").
• And the number δύο (dío, "two”).
Finally, the words that have ω (o) in their ending are...
• The pronoun εγώ (egó, "I").
• The number οκτώ/οχτώ (októ/ohtó, "eight").
• The -ω (o) ending feminine nouns, such as πειθώ (pithó, "persuasion"), ηχώ (ihó, "echo"), φειδώ (fidó, "thriftiness"), and names such as Κλειώ (Klió), Ερατώ (Erató), Ηρώ (Iró), Αργυρώ (Aryiró), Βασίλω (Vasílo), Δέσπω (Déspo), Μάρω (Máro), Βαγγελιώ (Vagelió), Κατερινιώ (Katerinió), Φρόσω (Fróso), etc.
• The -ων (-on) ending masculine and feminine adjectives, such as ο/η ευγνώμων (o/i evgnómon, "thankful").
• All the plural genitive forms of declinable words such as αυτών (aftón, "of them"), των παιδιών (ton pedión, "children's"), των όμορφων (ton ómorfon, "of the beautiful").
• The -ως (-os) ending adverbs, like ευτυχώς (eftihós, "luckily").
• All the verbs ending in an accented -ώμαι (-óme) in the passive voice, such as εγγυώμαι (engióme, "to guarantee").
• All the gerunds ending in an accented -ώντας (-óndas), such as ζητώντας (zitóndas, "asking").
• And finally, all the verbs that can be formed in the active voice will end in -ω (-o) in the first person of the present tense. For example, παίζω (pézo, "to play"), μετράω (metráo, "to count"), and κολυμπώ (kolimbó, "to swim").
Here are some sample sentences.
Δυστυχώς η Φρόσω κι εγώ μαλώνουμε συνέχεια. (Distihós i Fróso ki egó malónume sinéhia.) "Unfortunately, Froso and I fight all the time."
Μπορώ να μετράω ως το δέκα σε οχτώ γλώσσες. (Boró na metráo os to déka se ohtó glóses.)
"I can count to ten in eight languages."
The general rules I've mentioned refer mostly to the dictionary forms of words. The inflected forms have a variety of endings, so it will always be necessary for you to know the declension and conjugation groups and the patterns of their endings.


I hope this lesson was helpful and not too difficult or confusing! 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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