1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

συνηθίζω

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by alfie1888, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. alfie1888

    alfie1888 Senior Member

    Kent, England
    English - England
    Hi all,

    I've recently come across this word being used to translate sentences with "used to" in the 1962 edition of Teach Yourself Modern Greek. I use it for its concise grammar explanations and exercises and I am well aware of most of the differences between what Greek was like back then and what the standards are now. But this use of συνηθίζω strikes me as an odd way to translate what could easily be translated just using the Imperfect, wouldn't you agree?

    Here are what I found in the book's exercises:

    He went to the café where his friends used to go = Πήγε στο καφενείο όπου συνήθιζαν να πηγαίνουν οι φίλοι του
    He used to tell us not to smoke, but he smoked a lot = Συνήθιζε να μας λέει να μη καπνίζουμε αλλά εκείνος κάπνιζε πολύ.

    [...όπου πήγαιναν οι φίλοι του]
    [Μας έλεγε να μην καπνίζουμε...]

    I have a sneaky feeling that there were a couple more but I can't seem to find them right now.

    So, does this mean they are both interchangeable? Or is this something else that's fallen out of use?
     
  2. Andrious Senior Member

    In Greek, you can use Imperfect instead of "used to..." but, as long as Imperfect has many uses, you can't always do the opposite. For example, you say "Πήγαινε στην Ελένη όταν συνάντησε τη Μαρία" but you can't say "Συνήθιζε να πηγαίνει στην Ελένη όταν συνάντησε τη Μαρία".
     
  3. alfie1888

    alfie1888 Senior Member

    Kent, England
    English - England
    So what the book suggests as Greek translations of the English using συνηθίζω are wrong then?
     
  4. Andrious Senior Member

    No, they are correct.
    He went to the café where his friends used to go = Πήγε στο καφενείο όπου πήγαιναν/ συνήθιζαν να πηγαίνουν οι φίλοι του
    He used to tell us not to smoke, but he smoked a lot = Μας έλεγε/ Συνήθιζε να μας λέει να μη καπνίζουμε αλλά εκείνος κάπνιζε πολύ.
     
  5. Perseas Senior Member

    Athen
    Griechisch
    When in my youth I was learning English, I was told that "used to" is translated "συνήθιζα να". This I can also see in the WR dictionary. However, I think that "συνήθιζα να" is not as common expression in Greek as "used to" is in English.
     
  6. Eltheza

    Eltheza Senior Member

    Worcestershire, UK
    English - England (Midlands)
    Perhaps "συνήθιζα να" could be more closely translated in English as 'was in the habit of + ing' or 'was accustomed to + ing':confused:?

    Quote - Perseas: "However, I think that "συνήθιζα να" is not such a (;)) common expression in Greek as "used to" is in English."

    Yes, Perseas, this is my impression too
    :)!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  7. Perseas Senior Member

    Athen
    Griechisch
    Eltheza, thanks for the correction! :)
     
  8. alfie1888

    alfie1888 Senior Member

    Kent, England
    English - England
    Perseas, when you say "when in my youth" you give me the impression you might be a dinosaur! Eltheza, I think your translations there may just be spot on with regards to an equivalent. Thank you everyone for your contributions. I learn so much here about my favourite language!
     

Share This Page