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Ancient Languages/regular vs. irregular verbs



I have noticed that regular verbs in Classical Greek have all the six principal parts, whereas their irregular counterparts seldom have all the six principal parts.
I was wondering why is that; and how can one express something that is in a tense absent from the paradigm of an irregular verb?

Thank you in advance,


First of all I have to point out that regular verbs in Classical Greek have often more than   six principal parts, as you can see for example in ἀγγέλλω (stem ἀγγελ-), active future  ἀγγελῶ, aorist active ἤγγειλα, perfect active ἤγγελκα, perfect passive ἤγγελμαι, aorist passive, ἠγγέλθην, future passive ἀγγελθήσομαι, Verbal adjective ἀγγελτός. 2 aor. pass. ἠγγέλην .

As for  irregular verbs,  they can  have all the six principal parts or can be lacking some of them, just because they are irregular verbs.

Moreover, as for  how we can express something that is in a tense absent from the paradigm of an irregular verb, it is easy to use a regular synonym of the irregular verb.

Finally, please note that in order to learn the ancient Greek verbs and especially to find out their stem you must know that in Ancient Greek there were:

1)Stems with the addition of nasal consonants,i.e.-an/-ne/-n

2)Stems with the addition of -j (jod in Greek) which determines a series of changes in the verb.

3)Stems with the addition of -sk-

There are also many verbs that have no addition and then  their stem can end in:


Lastly, please note that a Greek verb has two kinds of stems:

(1) the tense-stem, to which the endings are attached


(2) a common verb-stem (also called 'theme') from which all the tense-stems are derived.

The tense-stem is usually made from the verb-stem by prefixing a reduplication-syllable, and by affixing signs for mood and tense.
A tense-stem may also  be identical with a verb-stem.
Lastly, note that we must use the VERB-STEM to build the FUTURE, the AORIST, the PERFECT, while the PRESENT/TENSE-STEM is used to build other forms.

As you can see, the  matter can be very difficult and needs a very accurate study.
Best regards,


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I am an expert in Latin & Ancient Greek Language and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.


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