You are here

Nominative: appellation (as extra-clausal constituent)

Syntactical Level

οὗτος ὁ Πυθαγορικὸς κατάβηθι

‘You, Pythagorean, step forward.’ (Luc. Vit. Auct. 2)

The nominative can be used instead of a vocative from the epic period onwards.


The nominative usually replaces the vocative in the following contexts:

  1. when a master addresses a slave;
  2. as apposition with a vocative (in this case always article + nominal in the nominative);
  3. with οὗτος ‘you there!’;
  4. with ὁ θεός ‘my God!’ [common in the Bible].

From the fifth century B.C. onwards names of cities may be used as an exclamation, usually in the nominative: ὦ πόλις πάτρια ‘my fatherland!’
When accompanied by an apposition (in the nominative) σύ and ὑμεῖς do not need to be expressed.
Moreover, when different appellations are coordinated (usually connected by τε), in general only the first appellation is put in the vocative. This is typical of Homer and in later authors has an archaic feel.

Example Sentences: 

ὁ παῖς ἀκολούθει δεῦρο τὰ σκεύη φέρων

Slave, come here and bring me my armor. [provisional translation]

ἴθι μὲν οὖν σύ, ὁ πρεσβύτατος

Go now, you who are the oldest.

εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι, κύριε, ὁ θεός, ὁ παντοκράτωρ, ὁ ὢν καὶ ἦν

We thank you, Lord, our God, the Almighty, who is and who was.

πόλις πόλις.

O city, city!