Pi'el vs Hiphil


Both Pi'el and Hiphil are used to make a verb transitive. So what is the difference? Like לקטל and להקטיל?
  • Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Creason's Semantic Classes of Hebrew Verbs: A Study of Aktionsart in the Hebrew Verbal System discusses this at length. Let me try to summarize what he says. I have included page numbers for easy reference.

    What Piel and Hiphil have in common is that both are used to refer to complex situations. Now, a complex situation is a situation that comprises two subsituations that have a very specific relationship to each other, namely that one was caused by the other. (pg. 168) Each subsituation has its own subject, and the subject of the caused situation is the object of the causing situation.

    So, how do Piel and Hiphil differ from each other? One difference is that the subject of the caused situation in the Piel is never volitional. By contrast, in the Hiphil the same participant may or may not be volitional. (pg. 232)


    Senior Member
    Creason's ...
    I find it difficult to understand any of this.

    For example, what's "complex" or what two situations or what two subjects are in:
    גנן גידל דגן בגן
    אבא סיפר לי סיפור
    חיברתי את מכשיר הטלוויזיה לחשמל
    הסכמתי להצעה

    What's more or less "volitional" (done willingly) about:
    גידלתי ירק בגינה vs. הגדלתי את כמות המים
    הספקתי להגיע בזמן vs. אני מספק את הסחורה

    And what's wrong with the straightforward explanation by Gesenius, linked above, which is of course for biblical Hebrew but applies as well to modern Hebrew:
    * Pi`el is mainly "to busy oneself eagerly with the action", or simply: intensive
    * Hiph`il is mainly causative

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Well, לקדש, which is Piel, means "to treat someone as holy". This is an instance of the "declarative" or "treatative" Piel. You don't have this function in the Hiphil.


    Senior Member
    We can look for it in a dictionary. For example Strong's:

    1. to set apart as sacred, consecrate, dedicate
    2. to observe as holy, keep sacred
    3. to honour as sacred, hallow
    4. to consecrate
    1. to set apart, devote, consecrate
    2. to regard or treat as sacred or hallow
    3. to consecrate