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Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by keithm, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. keithm New Member

    English USA
    I have a question about the verb είμαι. Theodore Papaloizos in his very useful book 333 Modern Greek Verbs (2nd edition, 2007) makes the following assertion: “The verb (είμαι) has no forms for past and perfect tenses. It borrows forms from the verb υπάρχω.” He lists ήμουν as meaning “I was” and calls it “Past Continuous.” First question: is the use of υπάρχω for the Past Simple tense a common practice in Demotic Greek? If so, my second question is: can you give me several very simple examples of such a use --- preferably for I, you, it, we, they... Thanks, keithm
  2. Perseas Senior Member

    "ήμουν" is "Παρατατικός", the "Past Continuous" as your book says.
    "ήμουν" is also used as "Past Simple" ("Αόριστος"), and this use is very common.
    Depending on context "υπήρξα" can be used as aorist of "είμαι" but that does not always work.
    For example: Ο Άρης Σταθάκης υπήρξε δάσκαλος για όλους (here "ήταν" is also ok)
    Δεν υπήρξα ποτέ μίζερος. ("ήμουν" is also ok)
    Τι ήταν η Φιλική Εταιρεία; (here "υπήρξε" does not fit)
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
  3. keithm New Member

    English USA
    Perseas, Thank you very much for your quick and helpful reply. I read your reply last Sunday. I have been waiting for time to try to understand your examples. Here are my translations. Any feedback would be very helpful.
    1) The Άρης Σταθάκης was teacher for everyone
    2) I was never miserly
    3) What was the Friend Company?
    Thanks again.
  4. Perseas Senior Member

    1) Aris Stathakis was teacher for everyone ("He was a journalist")
    2) rather "miserable"
    3) What was "Filiki Eteria"?
  5. keithm New Member

    English USA
    Thank you very much Perseas. I can see that I still have a long way to go... Keith

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