You are here

Genitive: patient as modifier

Syntactical Level

ἀρχὴ παιδεύσεως τῶν ὀνομάτων ἐπίσκεψις

‘The study of words is the beginning of education.’ (Antisthenes Fr. 38)

The genitive signals the macrorole of patient (or experiencer) as a modifier with a deverbative noun.

Lexical usage

Words of ‘fear’ (e.g. δεινός, κίνδυνος), which usually take this type of genitive, can sometimes be used with a causative subordinate clause (μή + subjunctive).


This genitive is traditionally called an objective genitive because the content of these noun phrases can be converted into a sentence in which the original genitive becomes the subject: ἡ τοῦ τείχους ποίησις ‘the building of the wall’ - ποιοῦσι τὸ τεῖχος ‘they build the wall’. In reality the objective nominative and genitive share their semantic role, not their syntactic function. Like the objective accusative, the objective genitive usually signals the role of a patient or a result.

The difference between this genitive and the genitive of separation is not always clear: θανάτου λύσις ‘release from death’ (Homeros, Ilias 10.421).

Example Sentences: 

οὐδ᾽ ἐπιθυμία σε ἄλλης πόλεως οὐδὲ ἄλλων νόμων ἔλαβεν εἰδέναι

The desire to know a different city or different laws did not possess you. ֍

στέργει γὰρ οὐδεὶς ἄγγελον κακῶν ἐπῶν

For nobody loves a bringer of bad news. ֍

ἠθοποιοῦσι γὰρ αἱ φιλίαι, καὶ μεῖζον οὐθέν ἐστιν ἠθῶν διαφορᾶς σημεῖον ἢ φίλων αἱρέσεις διαφερόντων.

Friendships change your character, and there is no greater sign of a change in character than a choice for a different kind of friend.

διὸ τὰς παιδιὰς εἶναι δεῖ τὰς πολλὰς μιμήσεις τῶν ὕστερον σπουδαζομένων

This is why it is important that games should mostly be imitations of what children will strive for when they are older. ֍