You are here

Genitive: adjective complement


ὁ γὰρ τὸ σπέρμα παρασχών, οὗτος τών φύντων αἴτιος

‘For he who supplies the seed is responsible for the harvest.’ (Dem. 18.159)

The genitive signals a complement with an adjective in a large number of semantic roles (and often virtually independent of semantic roles).

Lexical usage

The following are some common semantic roles:

With adjectives of:

  • partaking: μέτοχος ‘partaking’;
  • touching or desiring: δύσερως ‘in love’;
  • remembering: ἀμελής ‘careless’, ἐπιλήσμων ‘forgetful’, μνήμων 'remembering’;
  • perception: compounds of -ήκοος (e.g. κατήκοος ‘obedient’, συνήκοος ‘hearing together’);
  • ability or suitability: ἱκανός ‘suitable’, δυνατός ‘capable’, οἷός τ’ (εἰμί) ‘(I am) capable’, compounds in -ικός of active verbs (διδασκαλικός ‘capable of teaching’, πρᾱκτικός ‘capable of doing’).
  • With adjectives of motion or separation
    (to remove, to rob, to give way, to originate from etc.) ἁγνός ‘pure’, γυμνός ‘naked’, ἐλεύθερος ‘free’, ἐνδεής, ἐλλιπής, ἐπιδεής ‘needy’, ἔρημος ‘desolate’, κενός ‘empty’, μόνος ‘only’, ὀρφανός ‘bereft’ etc.
  • With Compounds with a privative alpha, such as ἄπαστος ‘fasting’, ἄπειρος ‘inexperienced’, ἄψαυστος ‘untouched’ etc.
Material, contents

With adjectives meaning full of.
ἔμπλεως, μεστός, πλέως, πλήρης (also + dat.), σύμπλεως ‘full (of)’, etc.

Reference (~ accusative, dative)

In expressions of perception, emotion or mental activity: ἀγύμναστος ‘untrained (in)’, ἀήθης ‘not used (to)’, ἀπαίδευτος ‘uninstructed (in)’, ἄπειρος ‘inexperienced (in)’, ἔμπειρος ‘experienced (in)’, ὀψιμαθής ‘late in learning’, τρίβων ‘practised (in)’, τυφλός ‘blind (to)’, φιλομαθής ‘curious (about)’ etc.


In expressions of possession and rule: ἀκρατής ‘not having power (over)’, ἴδιος ‘peculiar (to)’, κύριος ‘having power (over)’ etc.

Place (~ dative)

Especially in poetry with ἐναντίος ‘opposite’ and a few expressions of proximity or approach.

Cause (~ dative)

This involves adjectives expressing a (positive or negative) emotion or responsibility (αἴτιος, ὑπεύθῡνος). E.g. εὐδαίμων τοῦ τρόπου καὶ τῶν λόγων 'a happy man, with respect to both his way of life and his words'.

Value or price

ἄξιος ‘worthy’, ἀντάξιος ‘worth as much’, ἀνάξιος ‘unworthy’, ἀξιόχρεως ‘sufficient’ etc.

Example Sentences: 

ὁ δίκαιος ἀταρακτότατος, ὁ δ’ ἄδικος πλείστης ταραχῆς γέμων

A just person stays wholly undisturbed, an unjust person is filled with great confusion. ֍

πρῶτον μέν, ὦ Σώκρατες, τοὺς οἴνου ἀκρατεῖς οὐκ ἂν δύναιο ἐπιμελεῖς ποιῆσαι· τὸ γὰρ μεθύειν λήθην ἐμποιεῖ πάντων τῶν πράττειν δεομένων.

Firstly, Socrates, you cannot make drunks pay attention: drunkenness causes oblivion towards what should be done.

αὐτὸς δὲ οὐ μόνον τῶν ὅπλων γυμνὸς εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ἦλθεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀχίτων ἐν ἱματίῳ προσελθὼν ἀπελογίσατο μὲν περὶ παντὸς τοῦ βίου καὶ τῶν πεπραγμένων αὐτῷ πρὸς τοὺς Συρακοσίους

He did not only come to the assembly without weapons, but even without his tunic, dressed only in his garment. When he had stepped forward, he gave account of his whole life and of the favours which he had done the Syracusans.

ἐγὼ δ' ὅδ' ἐνθάδε ἄψαυστος ἔγχους

And so here I am, without touching a spear.

πάντως δὲ ὁ τόπος ἡδὺς καὶ μύθων ἄξιος ἐρωτικῶν.

The surroundings are pleasant and very suitable for love stories. ֍

καὶ ἀναβλέψει γυναικὸς οὔρῳ νιψάμενος τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς, ἥτις παρὰ τὸν ἑωυτῆς ἄνδρα μοῦνον πεφοίτηκε, ἄλλων ἀνδρῶν ἐοῦσα ἄπειρος

And he will be able to see again when he has washed his eyes with the urine of a woman who has only slept with her own husband, and has no experience with other men.

καὶ ἐξαπατᾶν δὲ καὶ πλεονεκτεῖν οὐκ ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἐπαιδεύομεν ὑμᾶς, ἀλλ' ἐν θηρίοις, ἵνα μηδ' ἐν τούτοις τοὺς φίλους βλάπτοιτε, εἰ δέ ποτε πόλεμος γένοιτο , μηδὲ τούτων ἀγύμναστοι εἴητε.

NO DUTCH TRANSLATION [provisional translation]