A School Grammar of Attic Greek

Thomas Dwight Goodell


675. The order of words in Greek is much freer than in English, because Greek has fuller inflections. Thus the boy saw a man means one thing, a man saw the boy means another, saw a man the boy means nothing; but the Greek could say ὁ παῖς εἶδεν ἄνδρα, ἄνδρα εἶδεν ὁ παῖς, εἶδεν ἄνδρα ὁ παῖς, or ἄνδρα ὁ παῖς εἶδεν, all with equal clearness, with no change in syntax or essential meaning, but merely with different emphasis. In English the word-order is the most important means of indicating syntax; in Greek it serves this purpose to a far less extent, but is the chief means, along with particles, of indicating what we call rhetorical effects.

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