If you have studied another language, you may have learned that the nouns are not all the same, but have male or female gender that affects other words used with them. In Greek, nouns are either masculine, feminine, or neuter. (And it rarely has anything to do with the meaning of the word.) Here, we will look at the genders of the nouns from the previous pages, and the definite article (the word “the”) that goes with them.
The masculine form of the definite article is ὁ, the feminine is ἡ, and the neuter is τό. Notice that the first two have a breathing but no accent. (Little words like this are called proclitics.) ὁ ἥλιος thus means “the sun,” ἡ λύρη means “the lyre,” and τὸ ἆθλον means “the prize.”
Here are the words from before, arranged by gender and with their definite articles:
|ὁ Ἇιδης||ἡ ἀκρόπολις||τὸ ἆθλον|
|ὁ βίος||ἡ γῆ||τὸ πηεῦμα|
|ὁ ἥλιος||ἡ δύναμις||τὸ πῦρ|
|ὁ Νεῖλος||ἡ λύρη||τὸ ῥόδον|
|ὁ ταῦρος||ἡ νίκη|
|ὁ φόβος||ἡ πόλις|
|ὁ χρόνος||ἡ σοφία|
|ὁ ὠκεανός||ἡ φωνή|
Notice that many of the masculine nouns end with -ος, the feminine nouns with -η, -ις, or -ια, and the neuter ones with -ον or -μα. This can help identify the gender of an unknown noun, and it affects other forms that the nouns take which we will study next.
There is no indefinite article (“a” or ”an”) in Greek; using no article at all is the equivalent.