In Koiné Greek, the
nominative case ending usually indicates the subject of the sentence.
However, the nominative case ending can also indicate a predicate nominative or predicate adjective.
In Koiné Greek, the nominative case ending indicates the subject of a sentence. Any adjectives or participles that describe the subject of the sentence also take the nominative case ending. In a sentence with a linking verb, the nominative case ending can indicate the predicate nominative or predicate adjective.
The nominative case ending is the standard form used for dictionary entries in a Greek lexicon.
The nominative case is formed by adding the nominative case ending to the stem of a word (often with a connecting vowel).
|Nominative Case Ending|
|First and Second Declension||Third Declencion|
- The hyphen (-) indicates there is no case ending for feminine singular first and second declension nouns.
- There is no case ending for third declension neuter singular nouns, but the final stem letter may undergo changes.
Indicates the subject of a sentence¶
The primary use of the nominative case ending is to identify the subject of the sentence. When the subject is paired with the definite article, the definite article will also take the nominative case ending.
|The Father loves the Son.|
When an adjective or participle functions as the subject of the sentence, it will take the nominative case ending.
|the||indeed||righteous||by||faith||he will live.|
|*But||the* righteous will live by faith.|
Any adjectives or participles that describe the subject of a sentence will also take the nominative case ending. This is because adjectives and participles must agree with the term that they describe in case as well as gender and number. In the example below, the adjective (καλός) and the noun (ποιμὴν) both take the nominative case ending.
|the||shepherd||the||good||the||life||of him||he lays down||in behalf of||the||sheep|
|The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.|
In the example below, the participle (βλέπων) and the noun (Πατήρ) both take the nominative case ending.
|the||Father||of you||who||is seeing||in||the||secret||he will reward||to you|
|your Father who sees in secret will reward you|
Sometimes a writer may not intend to form a complete sentence. This may occur in titles, headings, the greeting of a letter, or when a writer wishes to express strong emotion. In cases like these, there is often a subject to the sentence fragment but no predicate and no verb. The subject of these kinds of sentence fragments will take the nominative case ending.
|Jude||of Jesus||of Christ||a slave||brother||and||of James|
|Jude||*a servant of Jesus Christ||and brother of James*|
|Oh||depth||of riches||both||of wisdom||and||of knowledge||of God.|
|Oh||the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!|
Indicates a predicate nominative or predicate adjective¶
Sentences with linking verbs (such as εἰμί, γίνομαι, and ὑπάρχω) do not take a typical predicate containing an active verb with a direct object, etc. When a linking verb requires a predicate, that predicate will contain some kind of predicate nominative (either a noun or a participle functioning as a noun) or predicate adjective (either an adjective or a participle functioning as an adjective). In these cases, the predicate nominative or predicate adjective will take the nominative case ending.
Unlike in English, a linking verb in Koiné Greek can be implied and not explicitly stated.
are completed with an object in nominative case. The Nominative-Predicate (also referred to as Predicate Nominative) construction can take different forms but consists of a subject + a linking verb + an object in the nominative case. [The linking verb may be implied and not actually present in the text.]
Use caution when translating sentences with predicate nominatives. It is often difficult to tell which term is the subject and which term is the predicate nominative, but they are not the same thing. They must be distinguished from one another.Care must be used in the translation of a Nominative-Predicate because the object may not be in the last position and is often not an exact equivalent of the subject. Koiné Greek does not use position to distinguish between the subject and the predicate nominative. The predicate nominative may appear either before or after the subject. The predicate nNominative is generally the larger class of objects, while the subject is the smaller class.
In Koiné Greek, the nominative case ending can be used to indicate a term that is in apposition to another word (usually a noun). It functions very much like an adjective, except it is usually not an adjective, but a noun instead. “Apposition” is the term used when a noun describes (or gives more information about) another noun. Appositions can be translated into English a variety of different ways, depending on the specific context. Some common ways of translating an apposition into English include “who is,” “which is,” “namely,” a simple comma, or sometimes not translated at all. In the example below, the terms ὁ μάρτυς and ὁ προτότοκος both take the nominative case ending and are in apposition to Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ (even though Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ takes the genitive case ending). The apposition indicates that Jesus Christ is the person whom the writer indicates is the faithful witness and the firstborn from the dead.
|*and from Jesus Christ||the faithful* witness||the firstborn from the dead…|
- Consider the sentence, “Paul is a man.”
- “Paul” is the subject and “man” is the Nominative-Predicate. The translator must be careful to first understand the passage and then take equal care in the translation to make sure the reader understands that Paul is the subject and man is the Nominative-Predicate. English uses word order to indicate which word is the subject and which word is the Predicate Nominative. Therefore reversing the word order in English to say “a man is Paul” would lead the reader to think that all men are “Paul” which is not true. The more definite of the two words (or clauses) in the nominative case will be the subject of the sentence.
The following basic rules will help to clarify which word (or clause) is the subject of the sentence and which word (or clause) is the predicate nominative for the sentence in Koine Greek.
NOTE: In Koine Greek, the linking verb may be omitted entirely, and may have to be supplied by the reader (or translator) to complete the sentence. (an example of this will be given below.)
As stated above, the more definite of the two nominatives will be the subject of the sentence. Therefore…
- if only one of the words in the nominative case is a pronoun, then the pronoun will be the subject. The pronoun may be included as a part of the verb.
|you||you are||the||light||of the||world.|
You are the light of the world.
When Jesus spoke to the crowd and said “you”, they had a clear understanding of who the “you” was referring to. It was referring to them. “You” is the subject. “The light” is the predicate nominative.
|truly||of God||Son||you are|
Truly you are the Son of God.
In this sentence, the subject “you” is included in the verb εἶ. Υἱὸς is the predicate nominative.
- If only one of the words in the nominative case is preceded with the article, the word with the article is the subject.
and the Word was God
The Word became flesh
- If only one of the words in the nominative case is a proper name, the proper name will be the subject.
|Elijah||a man||he was||like/or with a nature like||us|
Elijah was a man just like us.
Notice that in this example both the subject (Ἠλείας) and the predicate nominative (ἂνθρςπος) come before the verb.
4) If one of the nouns in the nominative case is a pronoun and one is a proper name, the pronoun will be the subject and the proper name will be the predicate nominative.
He is the Christ.
He is Elijah
- both have the article or
- both are proper names or
- one has the article and the other is a proper name,…then the one that comes first is the subject.
My Father is the gardener
6) Some times εις + accusative is used for the predicate nominative. This may occur with γίνομαι, εἰμί, or λογίζομαι. This portrays a process of something “changing into” something else. In English, it is translated with a predicate nominative and the εἰς is not translated. [D R A F T]
|and||they will become||the||two||flesh||one|
and the two will become one flesh