Genitive: standard of comparison as adjective complement or object

studieniveau: 
1


ἕτερον τὸ ἡδὺ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ

Het aangename is iets anders dan het goede.


The genitive signals a standard of comparison as a complement with an adjective denoting a difference.

Lexical usage

This usually involves:

  • comparatives, as long as a comparison is not being made with a constituent in the genitive or dative;
  • adjectives of difference (ἄλλος, ἕτερος, διαφέρων);
  • superlatives, if a comparison is being made ('the most ... compared to ...);
  • multiplicative adjectives in -πλοῦς or -πλάσιος.

Note also the following expressions:

  • ἡ προτεραία [sc. ἡμέρα] τῆς δίκης ‘the day before the trial’;
  • ἡ ὑστεραία [sc. ἡμέρα] τῆς ἑορτῆς ‘the day after the feast’.

 

Historical background

Originally this was a type of genitive of separation, and therefore an ablative in Proto-Indo-European. Traces of this ablative can be found in Latin. The following Bible passage illustrates this (Gen. 3.1):

ὁ δὲ ὄφις ἦν φρονιμώτατος πάντων τῶν θηρίων τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (Septuagint)
Sed et serpens erat callidior cunctis animantibus terrae. (Vulgata Clementina)
‘'Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field.' (King James Version)’

Example Sentences: 


διπλάσια ἀπέδωκεν ὧν ἔλαβεν

Zij gaven het dubbele af van wat ze kregen.



διάφορος τῶν ἄλλων

verschillend van de rest



δεινότερον οὐδὲν ἄλλο μητρυιᾶς κακόν

Geen vreselijker onheil dan een stiefmoeder.

Menandros, Spreuken 127



σύμβουλος οὐδείς ἐστι βελτίων χρόνου

Er is geen betere raadgever dan de tijd.

Menandros, Spreuken 479



ὁ πόλεμος ἀξιολογώτατος τῶν προγεγενημένων

De meest vermeldenswaardige oorlog, vergeleken bij de voorgaande.