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ἔνιοι δὲ καὶ μισοῦσι τοὺς εὐεργέτας
‘Some people hate even their benefactors.’ (Men. Mon. 171)
The accusative signals the macrorole of patient as an object with transitive verbs.
Verbs which are intransitive in their simplex form often become transitive in compounds with a prefix:
- εἰσπλεῖν τὸν κόλπον 'to sail into the bay'
- οὗτος ὑπερβαίνει τὰς συνθήκας 'he breaks the treaty'
- εἰσῄει με ἔλεος 'pity took hold of me'
- ἐκβαίνειν τὰ τριάκοντα ἔτη 'to exceed thirty years'
Some of these examples can be interpreted as ‘prefix accusatives’ (e.g. 1 ~ πλεῖν εἰς τὸν κόλπον), but this is not possible for the final example.
The opposite phenomenon is also possible: sometimes the simplex is transitive, but the compound form becomes intransitive:
- εἰσβάλλω ‘to fall into’
In more than one case a verb is used both transitively and intransitively. This may affect the translation:
TBX ἄγω τινά/τι ‘to lead someone/something’ ἄγω ‘to march, to advance’
μένω τινά/τι ‘to expect, wait for someone/something’ μένω ‘to stay’
σπουδάζω τι ‘to hasten something’ σπουδάζω ‘to be diligent’
Many transitive verbs in Greek lack a transitive equivalent in English, and are generally translated with a prepositional object:
TBX Greek verb English, transitive English, intransitive
αἰσχύνομαί τινα/τι – ‘I am ashamed at…’
δακρύω τινά/τι 'I mourn…’ ‘I weep for…’
μένω τινά/τι ‘I expect…’ ‘I wait for…’
οἰμώζω, θρηνέω τινά/τι ‘I pity’ ‘I wail for…’
πενθέω τινά/τι ‘I bewail’ ‘I wail for…’
φυλάττομαί τινα/τι ‘I avoid’ ‘I am on my guard against…’
τὴν δυσγένειαν τὴν ἐμὴν αἰσχύνομαι
I am ashamed of my lowly descent.
μηδὲ γιγνώσκοισθέ μοι,
οἳ τοὺς φίλους βλάπτοντες οὐ φροντίζετε
καὶ τὴν πατρῴαν οἰκίαν ἀπολιπὼν ἢ τάφον οἰκήσεις ἢ πυργίον ἔρημον ἢ καὶ πίθον.
And after having left your father's house you will inhabit a tomb or a lonely tower or even a jug.