Dative: experiencer as object (with impersonal verbs)

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πενθοῦντί οὐ πρέπει πομπή

Een rouwende past geen luxe.

Chariton (van Aphrodisias), 2.3.4


The dative signals an experiencer as a first object with impersonal verbs expressing emotions, necessity or need.

Lexical usage

The dative of the experiencer is virtually always animate and is used with impersonal verbs such as δεῖ ‘it is necessary’, δοκεῖ ‘it seems’, ἔξεστι ‘it is possible, it is permitted’, μέλει ‘it is a care’, μεταμέλει ‘it is a regret’, μέτεστι ‘it is permitted, it is possible’, πρέπει or προσήκει ‘it is fitting, it is proper’ and φαίνεται ‘it seems’.
The dative with δοκέω ‘I give the impression’ and ἔοικα ‘I seem’ is also sometimes regarded as a dative of the experiencer.

Syntactic behaviour

The verbs δεῖ, μέτεστι, μέλει, μεταμέλει and προσήκει take an (inanimate) genitive of the source besides the (animate) dative of the experiencer.

Example Sentences: 


πῶς γὰρ οὐ μέλλει, ἔφη, ὁ τοιοῦτος ὢν καὶ ἐοικέναι τοῖς τοιούτοις, ὁ δὲ μὴ ἐοικέναι;

“Is het dan niet zo,” zei hij, “dat zo'n [= goede] man ook op zulke [= goede] mannen lijkt, en dat wie niet zo [= goed] is, niet op hen lijkt?”



καὶ οὐχ ὧν ἐβιᾱ́σατο μετέμελεν αὐτῷ, ἀλλ’ ὅτι κατέλιπε τὸ ἔργον ἠπείλει

En hij toonde geen berouw over zijn gewelddaden, maar bedreigde hem omdat hij zijn werk achtergelaten had.



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