Tenses - moods Passive voice
Indicative Mood Singular Plural
Present είμαι είμαστε
είσαι είστε, είσαστε
είναι είναι
Imperfect ήμουν(α) ήμαστε, ήμασταν
ήσουν(α) ήσαστε, ήσασταν
ήταν(ε) ήταν(ε), ήσαν(ε)
Aorist (simple past)
Future (continuous) θα είμαι θα είμαστε
θα είσαι θα είστε, θα είσαστε
θα είναι θα είναι
Future (simple)
Future Perfect
Subjunctive Mood
Present να είμαι να είμαστε
να είσαι να είστε, να είσαστε
να είναι να είναι
Imperative Mood
Present να είσαι (καλά) να είστε (καλά)
Present όντας

The verb «είμαι» is the most characteristic link verb. It is frequently used to connect the subject of the sentence and an adjectival and nominal predicate, with an adverbial complement in form of an adverbial or with a prepositional sentence.

The link verb «είμαι» has only two groups of tenses i.e. the present and the imperfect. By combining the forms of these tenses with the particles «θα» and «να» respectively the future (continuous) and the present of the subjunctive mood are formed.

  • This verb has no perfect tenses.
  • Abovementioned present participle «όντας» is rarely used.

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ελληνικά αγγλικά
Η Μαρία είναι η πιο καλή μου μαθήτρια. Maria is my best pupil.
Ο Γιώργος είναι συμπαθητικός. George is sympathetic.
Αυτή δεν είναι πάντα τίμια. She is not always honest.
Ο Γιάννης είναι κουρασμένος. John is tired.
Η Ελένη είναι έξυπνη. Helen is intelligent.
Εμείς οι Αγγλοι δεν είμαστε πάντα φιλικόι We English are not always friendly.

When there is no subject in the sentence, or the subject is a singular personal pronoun, where no name is indicated, it is assumed that the person of which is understood being he, she or it is the subject by forming a sentence with an adjectival or nominal predicate, such as in the next sentences:

ελληνικά αγγλικά
aΕίναι πολύ κουρασμένο. He is very tired.
bΕσύ, και είσαι κουρασμένη; And you, are you tired too?
cΕίμαι μια συνάδελφη της Άννας. I'm a colleague of Ann.
  • In sentence a. it is understood that the verb, in the 3rd person, is the subject, because the adjective is denoted in the masculine gender.
  • In sentence b. the verb expresses the 2nd person without a name, but here the adjective is denoted in the feminine gender singular.
  • In sentence c. the feminine gender is quite clear, because the substantive (noun) «a colleague» is preceded by a feminine article.

When the subject of the verb «είμαι» is in the plural, represented a group of people, masculine and feminine, or even neuter, the adjective or predicate is conjugated in the masculine gender.

ελληνικά αγγλικά
Άνδρες και γυναίκες είναι συχνά παντρεμένοι. Men and women are often married.
Τα παιδιά και οι γηναίκες δεν είναι έτοιμοι ακόμα. The children and women are not ready yet.
Αυτοί οι πατέρες και τα παιδιά τους είναι όλοι καλοί κολυμβητές. The fathers and their children are all good swimmers.

When the subject is related to a group of objects of different genders the predicate is conjugated either in the neuter plural or in the gender of the substantive (noun) which is the nearest to the verb.

ελληνικά αγγλικά
Οι νεαροί και τα κορίτσια ήταν πολύ χαρούμενα. The boys and girls were very cheerful.
Τα ντουλάπια και οι καρέκλες ήταν βαμμένες μπλε. The cupboards and the chairs were painted blue.
Οι τσέπες και τα χέρια του παιδιού ήταν γεμάτα ζαχαρωτά. The pockets and the hands of the children were full of candy.
«είμαι» as an auxiliary verb:

The perfect tenses don't occur that often in Modern Greek as in English. They are formed with the assistence of the auxiliary verb «έχω» - to have, only if the situation, indicated by the verb, is happening in the present, but the action or event has taken place in the past. We are dealing here with an aspect expressing a result of a situation.

When a passive participle has an adjectival function the verb is combined with the auxiliary verb «είμαι» - to be:

ελληνικά αγγλικά
Το γράμμα είναι γραμμένο. The letter has been written (is ready).
Το τραπεζάκι ήταν πιασμένο από μένα. The table has been reserved by me.
Ο τοίχος ήταν βαμμένος μπλε. The wall has been painted blue.

When Greek is not your mother tongue, it is perhaps better not to use the perfect tense very often. Then the aorist is a good alternative.

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