Language tools

On the following links you will find some highly qualified websites on English Grammar, including parsing sentences:

UCL-English Grammar
an image

Irene Droppert
English-Modern Greek
Vlaardingen -
The Netherlands


Modern Greek has a variety of small words called particles. These particles are very versatile in using them, but don't correspond to any word in English. The next set occurs:

  • θα» is used in the furture tenses. Combined with the perfective non-past we are dealing with the simple future and followed by the imperfective non-past we have the future continuous. The future perfect tense and the future pluperfect tense are formed with «θα» followed by the perfect verb construction.
  • «να» and «ας» are particles of the subjunctive.
  • «δεν», «μην» and «μη» are particles expressing negation.
  • «που» is used as a particle in additional parts of a sentence, in relative phrases and phrases with a result.
  • «ναι» en «όχι» are representing an positive and negative response.
  • «να» is written the same as the particle of the subjunctive, but this «να» can be compared with there and that in English, within the meaning of there she is or that is a possibility.
  • «για» as a particle, with the same spelling as the preposition «για», is used to emphasize something.
  • «μα» originates from Byzantine Greek, is used when we swear under oath or promise something.
  • «μακάρι», originates also from Byzantine Greek, is used to express a wish.
  • «είθε» originates from Ancient Greek, is also used to express a wish.
  • «ήτοι» is used when we claim something starting with the words namely or that is.
  • «ως» is used as a particle, within the meaning of if.
The usage of «θα»:

Each conjugated verb-form can be preceded by «θα», only a weak personal pronoun can separate a verb and «θα».

The main use of «θα» is to denote actions or events, which are taken place in the future.

  • The usage of «θα» is made among others when assumptions or facts to the contrary are expressed like assertions and intentions. This linguistic phenomenon is called the conditionel
  • In addition to the above functions, the use of «θα» expresses a probability. For this, any form of the verb can be used, but mostly it occurs in the aorist, the perfect and the pluperfect.
Examples of each of the above points:
ελληνικά αγγλικά
θα γράψω το γράμμα απόψε. I will write the letter tonight.
θα της γράψω το γράμμα απόψε. I will write her the letter tonight.
Αν είχα αυτοκίνητο, θα πήγαινα να τον δω. If I had a car, I would visit him.
Αν είχα αρκετά λεφτά, θα την είχα στειλεί στην Ελλάδα. If I had enough money I had sent her to Greece.
Θα είχε βρέχει, γιατί τα φύλλα ήταν βρεμένα. It must have been raining, because the leaves were wet.

Expressions with «θα are equivalent to English within the meaning of should be or would have been, if the intention is to express probability rather than an obligation.

The usage of «να» and «ας»:
  • Each conjugated from of a verb in the subjunctive is preceded by «να» or «ας», with the exception of the forms in the imperative.
  • These particles can only be separated from the verb by the negative particle which is always used in the subjunctive, and by a weak personal pronoun.
«να» is used:

in main sentences with all the individual forms of the verb to express wishes, requests, suggestions, prohibitions and some commands:

ελληνικά αγγλικά
Να σου τα δώσω. Let me give it to him. [request]
Να μου τα δώσεις. You should have to give them me. [suggestion, request, command]
Nα μη με ενοχλήσει κανείς. Let no one disturb me. [request, command]
Να μου γράφεις συχνά! Write me often! [command]
Να σε ζητήσω μια χάρη; May I ask you a favor? [request]
Αχ και να ήμουνα τώρα στη Νάξο. If I was only on Naxos now. [wish]

«να» is often used in the imperfect tense to express an unfulfilled wish

Αχ να σ'έβλεπα! - Oh, if I only could see you!

«να» is often used:

In sentences following interrogative pronouns, in interrogative sentences on which no response is expected:

Τι να κάνουμε; What can we do about it?
Πού να πήγε; Where could she/he go?
Πού να το ξέρω; How do I know?

«να» opens up a variety of subordinate sentences, mostly as subject or complement of a verb. In almost all cases a «να» clause is in a tense that depends on another tense or in the present tense. The usage of «να» is characterized by verbs that capture the next utterances in words:

  • Wish, hope, promise, suggestion, attempt
Θα ήθελα να διαβάσω αυτό το βιβλίο. I would like to read that book.
Ελπίζω να έρθω την επόμενη εβδομάδα. I hope to come next week.
Υποσχέθηκε να μη μου ενοχλήσει. He promised not to bother me.
Πρότεινε να πάμε στο σινεμά μαζί. He suggested to go to the cinema together.
Προσπαθούσε να βρει λύσεις το πρόβλημά της. She tried to find solutions for her problem.
«να» is used after the next verbs and tenses :
  • may/can - «μπορώ»

[in all tenses, except the perfect tenses]

Μπόρεσα να κάνω ό,τι ήθελα. I could do whatever I wanted.
Μπορούμε να πάμε στο σινεμά. We can go to the cinema.

[«πρέπει» is an impersonal verb, used in the present tense, past tense and conditionel]

Πρέπει να φύγω αμέσως. I have to leave immediatly.
Θα έπρεπε να φύγουμε αμέσως. We should have left immediately.

verbs perceiving something, like:

  • to hear - «ακούω»
  • to see - «βλέπω»
  • to watch / to assist /to join - «παρακολουθώ»
  • to feel - «αισθάνομαι»
  • to imagine - «φαντάζομαι»

[In almost all cases the verb in the «να»-clause is preceded by the present tense]

Τον ακούσαμε να λέει μια ωραία ιστορία. We heard him telling a beautiful story.
Είδαμε να συμβεί ένα ατύχημα. We saw an accident happening.
Παρακολούθησε να βοηθάει τους τραυματίες. He participated to help the injured.
Αισθάνθηκε να μειώνει τiς δυνάμεις του. He felt the weakening of his strength.
Φαντάζομαι να ακούω τον πατέρα μου ακόμα. I imagine yto hear my father still.
  • to begin - «αρχίζω»
  • to stop - «σταμμάτω/παύω»
  • to continue / to carry on / to resume - «συνεχίζω/εξακολουθώ»

[Behind these verbs the present tense is always used]

Αρχίσαμε να τον βοηθάμε. We started to help him.
Έπαψα να ακούω. I stopped listening.
Σταματήσαμε να γκρινιάζουμε. We stopped nagging.
Συνέχισαν να διαβάζουν. They continued reading.
Εξακολουθεί να παίζει κάθε μέρα μια ώρα πιάνο. He continues to play the piano one hour each day.
«να» is used in indirect interrogative utterances and as complement to a substantive and an adjective:
Δεν ξέραμε τι να κάμουμε. We didn't know what to do.
Είναι ανόητο να δρας έτσι. It's silly of you to act like this.
Είναι πιθανόν να μη με αναγνωρίζει. It's possible that he doesn't recognize me.

«να» can be used after certain prepositions like: «αντί», «για», «δίχως», «μέχρι», «σαν» and «χωρίς»:

Θα σας περιμένω μέχρι να νυχτώσει. I'll wait for you till dark.
Αντί να στείλει ένα γράμμα έστειλε ένα γραπτό μήνυμα. In stead of sending a letter, she sent a sms.
Το έκανε χωρίς να το θέλει He did it without wanted it.
  • As said «πρέπει» is an impersonal verb that is used with a «να»-clause to express an obligation (sentence 1 below).
  • «μπορεί» is the impersonal form of the verb «μπορώ» (the 3rd person singular). This form is used in a «να»-clause to utter a possibility (sentence 2) of something someone is capable to do or something that is going to happen. The negative «μπορεί να» construction can have different meanings, depending on the used negative particles (sentences 3 + 4). In sentence 5 «μπορεί» means misschien (within the meaning of: it could be).
  • We are dealing here more or less with the same function that the particle «θα» has in sentence 6, apart from the function of the future tense.
  • The same happens to the construction «πρέπει να», when it expresses a probability as in sentence 7, especially with the «να»-clause construction in the aorist, the perfect and the pluperfect. In fact any tense can be used.
  • With the appropriate particle a sentence can be made negative as in the
    sentences 8 + 9.
1Πρέπει να το διαβάζουμε πριν έρθουν. We have to read it befor they come.
2Μπορεί να συναντήσουμε το Γιάννη αύριο. It's possible that we will meet John tomorrow.
3Μπορεί να μην έχουν φτάσει σήμερα They wouldn't have been arrived today.
4Δεν μπορεί να έχουν φτάσει σήμερα. The couldn't have been arrived today.
5Μπορεί να βρέξει αύριο. Perhaps it will rain tomorrow.
6Θα είχε βρέχει, γιατί τα φύλλα ήταν βρεμένα. It should have been raining, because the leaves were wet.
7Πρέπει να έβρεξε, γιατί τα φύλλα ήταν βρεμένα. It must have rained, because the leaves were wet.
8Πρέπει να μην το κατάλαβες. You probably didn't understand it.
9Δεν πρέπει να το κατάλαβες. You must not have understood it.
The usage of «ας»:

The particle «ας» is used with each verb-form to capture commands, permissions, suggestions and wishes in words. Unlike «να» it is only used in main sentences.

ελληνικά αγγλικά
Ας μην τον ενοχλήσουμε τώρα. Let's not bother him now. [command]
Ας τον παίζει κιθάρα όσο θέλει. Leave him play guitar as much as he wants. [permission]
Ας την δω κι ας πάω. Let me see her and then go. [suggestion]
Ας τέλειωνε πια αυτό το ζήτημα. If only this case has been completed. [wish]

Compared with «να», «ας» seems less compelling because it combines a command with permission or even indifference :

Ας τον τα κρατήσει, εγώ δεν τa θέλω. Let him keep them, I don't want them.
Ας μην το συζητήσουμε άλλο. Let's not discuss this anymore.

The word «και/κι» often precedes «ας» in sentences with a compliant and flexible character:

Πρέπει να συνεχίσουμε, κι ας μην το θέλουμε. We must go on, even if we don't want it.
Δεν με νοιάζει, κι ας του δώσεις τα λεφτά. I don't mind, even if you gave him the money.

«ας» is used in the imperfect tense to denote a wish which took place in the past:

Ας μην του το έλεγες. You shouldn't had told him.
Ας μην τον άκουγες. If you had only not listened to him.
The negative particles «δεν» and «μη(ν)»
  • The particle «δεν» is used with the forms in the indicative mood. It precedes the verb as well as «θα», when used in the same sentence:
ελληνικά αγγλικά
Το καλοκαίρι φέτος δεν ήταν ωραίο. The summer isn't nice this year.
Ο ουρανός δεν έχει καθόλου σύννεφα σήμερα. Today there are no clouds in the sky.
*Δε θα έρθω αύριο. I won't come tomorrow.
Πιστεύω ότι δεν είναι μόνο φόβοι. I believe it's not only fear.
* Δε θέλει να μας δεχτεί σήμερα. He doesn't want to receive us today.
Όχι βέβαια, δεν είναι αλήθεια! No, really, it's not the truth!

An extensive usage of «δεν» is here to be found

* The final «-ν» is preceding the vowels, the consonants: κ, π, τ, ξ, ψ and the combination of consonants: μπ, ντ, γκ, τσ, τζ

  • The particles «να» and «ας» of the subjunctive are preceding the particle «μη(ν)»:
Προσπάθησε να μην σκέφτεσαι το χειρότερο συνάμα. Try not directly to think the worst.
Προσπαθώ να μην θυμάμαι τι έγινε ακριβώς. I try not to remember what happened
Μη βιαστείτε να απαντήσετε. Don't rush to answer.
Να μην πετάει τα ρούχα του στο πάτωμα. Don't throw your clothes on the floor.
Φοβάμαι να μην έρχεσαι. I'm afraid he doesn't come.
Περιποιήσου λίγο, μη βγαίνεις έτσι έξω! You look after yourself, don't go out like that!

In sentences expressing concern, fear and desire an additional sentence with «μήπως» or «μη(ν)» on the indicative mood is used:

Ο Γιάννης φοβάται μήπως δεν αποτύχαινε στις εξετάσεις του. John is afraid that he fails to pass his exams.
Ο Γιάννης φοβάται μη δεν αποτύχαινε στις εξετάσεις του. John is afraid that he fails to pass his exams.

Verbs expressing these feelings can be followed by a clause beginning with «μήπως» or «μη(ν)». The negative particle «δεν» of the indicative mood shows that «μη» is not the negative particle «μη(ν)». We are dealing here with «μη» used as «ότι» - that. This means that the subject of the main sentence hopes that the circumstance, described in the clause, will not take place.

After the construction with «μήπως» or «μη(ν)» the aorist forms of the perfective non-past future tense (simple future) in the indicative mood or the one of the subjunctive mood are often used (the concise verb forms):

Ο Γιάννης ανησυχούσε μήπως δεν περάσει τις εξετάσεις. John is worried that he doesn't pass the examinations.
Ο Γιάννης ανησυχούσε μη δε περάσει τις εξετάσεις. John is worried that he doesn't pass the examinations.

In the last two sentences the aorist of the subjunctive is used with «δεν» of the indicative.

For «μην» the same applies with regard to final «-ν» as for «δεν».

An extensive use of «μην».

Apart from its use in negative sentences after «να» or «ας» «μη(ν)» is also used in the subjunctive, to express negative commands. In such a case, it can not be separated from the verb, except by the weak personal pronoun:

Following a few examples of «μη(ν)»
ελληνικά αγγλικά
(Να) μην έρθεις! Don't come!
(Να) μην μιλάς έτσι! Don't talk like that!
Μην της το δώσεις! Don't give it to her!

One can choose whether the particle «να» of the subjunctive is used or not.

More examples of the negative imperative.

The final «-ν» of «μη(ν)» is not used in other usages (only with the verbs).

Tους κούρασε με τα πολλά μη. The many no's wearied him.
Αυτό το δωμάτιο είναι για τους μη καπνιστές. This room is for non-smokers.
Μη το ένα και μη το άλλο. It's either the one and nor the other.
Φίλοι και μη φίλοι ήρθαν στο πάρτι των γενεθλίων της. Friends and non friends came to her birthday party.
Οι μη ειλικρινές λένε ψέματα. The dishonests (not honest people) tell lies.
Οι μη συνηθισμένοι ενεργούν ασυνήθιστοι. The not ordinary people are acting unusually.

«μη» used as a substantive

«μη» in front of a substantive

«μη» in front of adjectives and substantively used participles

The negative particles «ναι» and «όχι»

We use «όχι» in conversations to react negatively on a question or request of our interlocutor.

«ναι» the opposite of «όχι», is an affirmation or an approval on something our interlocutor says. However, there could be another person involved in the conversation, who reaffirmed the denial of the first speaker:

Δε θα ήρθε ο αδελφός του Γιάννη; - Won't John's brother come?

Όχι, δεν θα ήρθε.* No he doesn't (come).
Ναι, δεν θα ήρθε.* No, he won't (come).
Όχι, θα ήρθε.** Yes, he will (come).
Yes, θα ήρθε.** Yes he will (come).

Να μη περιμείνει ο Γιάννης για τον αδελφό του; - Shouldn't John wait for his brother?

Όχι, να μην τον περιμείνει.* No he shouldn't (wait).
Ναι, να μην τον περιμείνει.* No he shouldn't (wait).
Όχι, να τον περιμείνει.** Yes, he should (wait).
Ναι, να τον περιμείνει.** Yes, he should (wait).

Να μη του δώσω ένα φιλάκι έπειτα; - Shouldn't I give him a kiss then?

Όχι, να μην του δώσεις.* No, you shouldn't (give).
Ναι, να μην του δώσεις.* No you shouldn't (give).
Όχι, να του δώσεις.** Yes, you should (give).
Ναι, να του δώσεις.** Yes, you should (give).

* these are answers with an agreement

** these are answers with a disagreement

On a negative demand in the subjunctive, we can expect a somewhat approvingly response, e.g.:
Να μη δημοσιεύσει ο εκδότης την ιστορία του; Should the editor not publish his story
Όχι, να μην τη δημοσιεύσει. or Ναι, να μην τη δημοσιεύσει. No, he should not publish it.
Όχι, να τη δημοσιεύσει. or Ναι, να τη δημοσιεύσει. Yes he should publish it.
We get a positive response on a rhetorical question* e.g.:
Να μη σ'αγκαλιάσω τώρα; Would I not have to embrace you now?
Όχι, να μην μ'αγκαλιάσεις.
ή: Ναι, να μην μ'αγκαλιάσεις.
No don't embrace me.
Όχι, να μ'αγκαλιάσεις.
ή: Ναι, να μ'αγκαλιάσεις.
Yes embrace me.

* A rhetorical question is a question, put to impress, with a self-evident response.

The particle «που»

As a particle «που» has an additional and relative function with three main functions: (sentence 1) the clause begins with «που», (sentence 2) the resultative clause begins with «που» (sentence 1) the relative clause begins with «που»:

ελληνικά αγγλικά
1Λυπάμαι που δεν μπορούσα να σε βοηθήσω I'm sorry I could not help you.
2Μίλησα τόσο πολύ που είμαι βραχνός τώρα I talked so much that I am hoarse now.
3Η γυναίκα, που είδα χθες, ήταν η θεία μου The woman I saw yesterday was my aunt

We use this particle when we strongly wish something (which probably does not happen). It is also used with joy, sadness, surprise, hope and regret.

που να μην σώσεις damn you!
Που να μην την είχα συναντήσει ποτέ. I wish I had never met her.
Ελπίζω που να σου έρθουν όλα όπως τα θες. I hope everything turns out for you the way you wanted.
Λυπήθηκε που της είπε ψέματα. He regretted to have told her lies
Χάρηκα που έλαβα την πρόσκληση. I was pleased that I received the invitation.
Με πειράζει που δεν το την αρέσει It bothers me that she does not like it.
Είναι λυπηρό που έχασε τη δουλειά του. It is regrettable that he has lost his job.
The demonstrative particle «να»

As a particle, «να» has a demonstrative function, because it captures concepts as wishes, commands and advices in words and draws the attention of the listener to what is said next:

ελληνικά αγγλικά
Να τη! Look at her!
Nα τος ο Γιάννης! There is John coming!
Nα τον το Γιάννη! There is John going!
Να, εδώ βάλε το κλειδί! Look, here is the key!
Να ήμουν πλούσιος τώρα! If I only was rich!
Nα φύγεις αμέσως! Go away immediately!
Να το πρόβλημά μου. Here is my problem.
Nα, ήμουν άρρωστος και δεν πήγα σχολείο. Because he was ill, he did not go to school.


«να» is also used after an indication of displeasure or anger, that may be accompanied by an obscene gesture of one or two hands with fingers outstretched and the hand palm facing towards the object of the gesture.

The particle «για»

«για», used as a particle, mostly precedes one of the forms of the imperative in everyday language to utter encouragement. Concepts such as threat, irritation, irony and surprise can be expressed with this particle:

ελληνικά αγγλικά
Για κάτσε! Do sit down!
Για έλα μια στιγμή. Come here for a minute.
Για στάσου. Wait a second.
Για να δουμε. Let's see (if...).
Για μάζεψε λίγο τα παιδιά σου! Do keep your kids a little bit together!
Για τόλμησε να το ξανακάνεις και θα δεις τι θα πάθεις. If you ever dare to do it again, you'll see what happens to you.
Examples of the particles «μα», «μακάρι», «είθε», «ήτοι»
and «ως»
ελληνικά αγγλικά
Μα την πίστη μου! I swear on my beliefs!
Μα την αλήθεια! Honestly! or fairly!
Μα τον Θέο! I swear by God! or my goodness!
Μακάρι να έρθει. Hopefully he will come.
Μακάρι να ήξερα να παίζω πιάνο! If only I could play the piano!
Είθε να ήταν διαφορετικά. If only it was different.
Είθε να είναι πάντα έτσι. If it could only be like this always.
Αυτό δεν είναι σωστό, ήτοι το αποτέλεσμα είναι καλύτερο. That is not correct, the result is better in fact.
Αυτός είναι προθύμος να δώσει τριάντα μία χιλιάδες ευρώ, ήτοι το μισό ποσό. He is willing to give 31,000 euros which is half the amount.
Η Ελένι εννοεί όλα ως πρόκληση. Helen considers everything as a challenge.
Σας μιλώ ως γιατρός. I speak to you as a doctor.