Case accusative


In Koiné Greek, the accusative case ending of a word indicates either the direct object of a verb (including participles) or the object of a preposition. It can also be used to indicate the subject of an infinitive verb.


In Koiné Greek, the accusative case ending indicates the direct object of a verb. This includes both infinitives and participles. Thus, when a participle requires a direct object, that term takes the accusative case ending. The accusative case ending can also indicate the object (or complement) of a preposition. Some infinitives in Koiné Greek take a subject. In these cases, the subject of an infinitive verb takes the accusative case ending. The accusative case ending can also indicate that that word is functioning as an adverb describing the verb.


The Accusative case is formed by adding the accusative case ending to the stem of a word (often with a connecting vowel).

Accusative Case Endings
First and Second declensions Third declension
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine/Feminine Neuter
Accusative ν ν ν α/ν -
Accusative υς ς α ας α

Note: The hyphen (-) indicates that there is no case ending for the third declension accusative singular neuter nouns and adjectives.

See NounParadigm for a complete listing of the noun paradigms and AdjectiveParadigm for the adjective paradigms.

Example Mark 1:3
ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου
hetoimasate tēn hodon Kyriou
prepare the way of the Lord

make ready the way of the Lord

Indicates the direct object

The accusative case most commonly indicates the direct object of a transitive verb. The direct object refers to the person(s) or thing(s) upon which the verb is acting.

John 3:16
οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν Θεὸς τὸν κόσμον
houtōs gar ēgapēsen ho Theos ton kosmon
thus/so for he loved the God the world
For God so loved the world            
Matthew 11:10
ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου
apostellō ton angelon mou
I am sending the messenger my
I am sending my messenger      
John 1:29
ἴδε Ἀμνὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου
ide ho Amnos tou Theou ho airōn tēn hamartian tou kosmou
Behold the Lamb of God who is taking away the sin of the world
*Look there is the Lamb of God who takes away the* sin of the world!                

Note: In this example, ἁμαρτίαν * is the dirct object of the participle *αἴρων.


There are some verbs that can take their direct object either in the genitive or in the dative case.

Double Accusative

Some verbs may require two or more objects to complete their meaning. These verbs will require two or more objects, a person (or persons) and/or a thing (or things)in the accusative case to complete their thought. In this case, the translator may wish to use an implied preposition in their translation in order to make a smoother translation.

Matthew 1:21
καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν
kai kaleseis to onoma autou Iēsoun
and you will call the name of him Jesus

and you will call his name Jesus

[In this instance the two objects are ὄνομα and Ἰησοῦν]

Example: John 14:26
ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα
ekeinos hymas didaxei panta
That one you he will teach all things

he will teach you everything

[This could be translated with the implied preposition; “ He will teach to you everything.”

Another example of a double accusative is the accusative that is used with an oath. The preposition “by” may be used to assist in the translation.

Example: Mark 5:7
ὁρκίζω σε τὸν Θεόν μή με βασανίσῃς
horkizō se ton Theon me basanisēs
I implore/beg you by God not me torment

I beg you by God, do not torment me

Note: In this example, σε and με are Accusative Direct Objects.

Object of Certain Prepositions

Certain prepositions take their object in the accusative case such as είς, δία, πρός, and ὑπό. Caution: Use the lexicon to determine the meaning of a preposition when it is followed by a word in a particular case.

Often the meaning of the preposition is specific first to the preposition itself and then to the case of the noun it is used with. Therefore, the basic meaning of the case cannot be trusted to arrive at a proper understanding of the meaning of the preposistion and a lexicon must be consulted. In some cases the meaning of the preposition will conform to the basic meaning of the case such as ἀπό with the Genitive case (from, out from) but in other cases such as when ὑπό is used with the accusative case it has the basic meaning of “below” or “under” and when used with the genitive case AND AN ACTIVE VERB ὑπό has the basic meaning of “with” or “by” .

Therefore, a lexicon must be consulted to arrive at the meaning of the preposition. [See - Preposition _.]

Subject of Infinitives

The subject of an infinitive may also be the subject of the sentence. If this is the case, the subject of the sentence (and of the infinitive) will be in the nominative case. If the subject of the infinitive is not the subject of the sentence, it will almost always be in the accusative case. Therefore, the accusative case is considered to be the case for the subject of an infinitive.

Infinitives can have both a subject and an object. If this is the case both will be in the accusative case. In this instance, usually word order and context will clarify which word is the subject and which is the object of the infinitive.

If there are two words in the accusative case, and context by itself does make clear (1) which word is the subject of the infinitive, and (2) which word is the object of the infinitive, then the reader may use the following rule as a helpful guideline.

If one of the two words is a pronoun, proper name, or has the definite article, then it will probably be the subject.

This same basic principle may also be used to help identify the subject from the predicate nominative. [see Nominative-Predicate ].

Example: John 1:12
ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα Θεοῦ γενέσθαι
edōken autois exousian tekna Theou genesthai
He gave to them authority children of God to be

he gave them the right to become children of God.

[Note: The subject of the infinitive γενέσθαι is τέκνα.]

In the following example a single word serves as the object of a participle and at the same time as the subject of the infinitive. με serves as the object of the participle clause ὁ πέμψας με , and at the same time serves as the subject of the infinitive βαπτίζειν.

Example: John 1:33
πέμψας με βαπτίζειν ἐν ὕδατι
ho pempsas me baptizein en hydati
he who sent me to baptize in water

he who sent me to baptize in water

Example: Luke 9:2
καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν τὴν Βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ
kai apesteilen autous kēryssein tēn Basileian tou Theou
and he sent them to preach the kingdom of God

he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God

[Note: αὐτοὺς is the subject of the infinitive (κηρύσσειν) and the accusative-direct object for the verb ἀπέστειλεν. Note also that τὴν Βασιλείαν is the object of the infinitive (κηρύσσειν).]

Example: John 5:18
μᾶλλον ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἀποκτεῖναι
mallon ezētoun auton hoi Ioudaioi apokteinai
even more they were seeking him the Jews to kill

the Jews sought even more to kill him

[Note: οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι is the subject of the sentence and serves at the subject of the infinitive. It is in the nominative case because it is the subject of the sentence.]

Adverbial Accusative

An Adverbial Accusative occurs when an adjective or number in the accusative case is used to quantify (or limit) the action of a verb. Some words such as μᾶλλον and σχεδόν have become adverbs because of their exclusive use in this manner. An adverbial accusative may be used to express a limitation by indicating:

  • the measure or distance of an action (How long? or How far?)
  • the time of an action
  • the manner of an action
  • to indicate a reference point for the action.
Example: Mark 12:34 Adverbial Accusative of Measure
εἶπεν αὐτῷ οὐ μακρὰν εἶ ἀπὸ τῆς Βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ
eipen autō ou makran ei apo tēs Basileias tou Theou
he said to him not far you are from the Kingdom of God

he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Example: Matthew 20:6 Adverbial Accusative of time
τί ὧδε ἑστήκατε ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν ἀργοί?
ti hōde hestēkate holēn tēn hēmeran argoi?
Why here are you standing whole the day idle?

‘Why do you stand here idle all the day long?’

Example: Matt 10:8 Adverbial Accusative of Manner
δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε δωρεὰν δότε
dōrean elabete dōrean dote
freely you received freely you give

Freely you have received, freely give.

Example: Romans 10:5 Adverbial Accusative of Reference
Μωϋσῆς γὰρ γράφει τὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου
Mōusēs gar graphei tēn dikaiosynēn tēn ek nomou
Moses for he writes the with reference to righteousness the from law

For Moses writes about the righteousness that comes from the law: