Lesson 31.2 — Noun Declensions

Pulling it all together

"One paradigm to rule them all.   Eight rules to find them...."

Decl. 2 1 2 3 3
Gender M F N M-F N
Nom. S. ς ν ς
Gen. S. υ ς υ ος ος
Dat. S. ι ι ι ι ι
Acc. S. ν ν ν α/ν
Nom. P. ι ι α ες α
Gen. P. ων ων ων ων ων
Dat. P. ις ις ις σι(ν) σι(ν)
Acc. P. υς ς α ας α


  1.  Stems ending in alpha α or eta η are in the first declension. 

    First declension nouns typically feminine (although there are masculine ones as well).

    Stems ending in omicron ο are in the second declension, and consonantal stems are in the third declension.
  2. Every neuter word has the same form in the nominative and accusative.
  3. Almost all neuter words end in alpha in the nominative and accusative plural.

    In the second declension, the alpha is the changed stem vowel.  In the third declension it is the case ending.
  1. In the dative singular, the iota subscripts if possible.

    Because the iota can only subscript under a vowel (in which case the vowel lengthens), it subscripts only in the first and second declensions.
  2. Vowels often change their length.

    Contraction occurs when two vowels meet and form a different vowel or diphthong.

    λογο    + ι     = λόγῳ               (dative singular)
    λογο    + ο    = λόγου              (genitive singular)
    γραφη + ων = γραφῶν           (genitive plural →
                                               the omega of the genitive
                                               plural will absorb
                                               any preceding vowel)

    Compensatory lengthening occurs when a vowel is lengthened to compensate for the loss of another letter.

    λογο    + νς     = λόγος >> λόγους  (accusative plural)
  3. In the genitive and dative, the masculine and neuter will always be the same.
  1. The seventh rule is "the stops chart".
    Labial π β φ
    Velar κ γ χ
    Dental τ δ θ

    Labial   + σ = ψ
    Velar    + σ = ξ
    Dental  + σ = σ 

    The ντ combination drops out when followed by a sigma (παντ + ς = πᾶς).

    Whatever happens in the nominative singular third declension also happens in the dative plural. 
    σαρκ + ς  = σάρξ.
    σαρκ + σι = σαρξί

  2. A tau τ cannot stand at the end of a word, and will drop off.  For example, with *ὀνοματ, no case ending is used in the nominative singular, and the final τ drops off.

    When no case ending is used in stems ending in —ματ, the τ drops out. 
    Hence, *ὀνοματ  + — = ὄνομα  


While http://goethe.ca/acts/Noun_Reference_Sheet.htm is not much good as a primary way to learn nouns, it is a useful comparison sheet to use as you review how the paradigm chart and these eight rules work.

You can download a PDF of this paradigm and the 8 rules to stick in your Greek New Testament.

You can also go below to the section titled "Analyzing Nouns on Your Own".



πᾶς (each, every, all) is 3-1-3 type of adjective.  That is, the masculine and neuter follow the third declension, while the feminine follows the second declension.  The root of the word, in masculine and neuter, is *παντ.  In the feminine, this is altered to *πασα.

Armed with this knowledge, plus the 8 rules, you should be able to write out the whole paradigm for this word on your own. 

After you try this, click on the heading for "Case Endings for πᾶς" just below, and see how well you did.

Click on any of the headings below to expand the contents of that section.


Case Endings for πᾶς

Decl. 3 1 3
Gender M F N
Nom. S. πᾶς πᾶσα πᾶν
Gen. S. παντός πάσης παντός
Dat. S. παντί πάσῃ παντί
Acc. S. πάντα πᾶσαν πᾶν
Nom. P. πάντες πᾶσαι πάντα
Gen. P. πάντων πασῶν πά́ντων
Dat. P. πᾶσι(ν) πά́σαις πᾶσι(ν)
Acc. P. πάντας πάσας πάντα

The Definite Article

As stated before, if there is any doubt about the form of a particular noun, the definite article that is paired with it is a give-away as to its gender and case.

Declension 2 1 2
Gender masculine feminine neuter
Nominative Singular τό
Genitive Singular τοῦ τῆς τοῦ
Dative Singular τῷ τῇ τῷ
Accusative Singular τόν τήν τό
Nominative Plural οἱ αἱ τά
Genitive Plural τῶν τῶν τῶν
Dative Plural τοῖς ταῖς τοῖς
Accusative Plural τούς τάς τά


Now that you have all of the paradigms and rules for nouns, click on the heading below to look at practice pages from my workbook.


Bob's Practice Pages

Throughout both my university bachelor's and seminary master's level programs in the 1970s, I was taught that I needed to memorize 52 different paradigms to learn the Greek noun.

Bill Mounce's approach of memorizing one paradigm plus 8 rules is a huge innovation.

Ok, ok.  It is a big table with lots of columns...but still only one table.

Bill has been on the translation committees for both the ESV and the NIV versions, and is an accomplished teacher as well as translator.  I think he has introduced improvement in Greek instruction the likes of which we have not seen in the past four centuries.

I am going to join you in doing the basic memory work to master Bill Mounce's technique for understanding Greek nouns. I have a notebook, and I will write down everything, then check my work for errors. Once I do that, I go to a fresh page and start all over again.

We probably all memorize things like this in more or less the same way.  Still, you can  to see how I am approaching memorizing the one paradigm and the eight rules.

Analyzing Nouns on Your Own

Click here to download an app to analyze a word in Greek.  (This app works only in Windows.)

Pasting the root form of any Greek word here will take you to an analysis page at Wiktionary.

Once you get the Zip file, unzip the contents, and double click on Wiktionary.bat.  If you need help, please contact me.  It will only take us a couple of minutes by Zoom to set this up.

What If I Have a Mac?

Highlight the root form of a Greek word from www.StepBible.org...
...then copy it by hitting Command C...

Then go to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Main_Page and paste the word into the search box using Command V.