The definite article specifies
a particular item from the larger set represented by the noun. For example,
in the sentence, "The boy went home," one particular boy (who can be identified)
is intended. The noun "boy" itself includes a billion boys; the definite article
restricts that to one particular identifiable boy. But the definite article
can be used only if some other feature of the sentence, or the context itself,
clearly identifies the noun being spoken about. For example, in the sentence
above, something else in the sentence must identify which boy it was who went
home. If a particular boy cannot be identified, the noun is said to be indefinite.
Altogether, there are
17 different ways to spell "the" in Greek.
- Twelve of the forms
are simply the regular noun case endings with the prefix "T".
- Three of the forms
are simply the regular case endings with the prefix "H" (i.e., the rough
The Greek definite article begins either with the letter t or the "h" sound,
which happen to be the first two letters of the English definite article:
"the." The first letter (t) occurs considerably more often. There are three
exceptions, listed below. They break the pattern by dropping the final letter
of the case endings.
- masculine singular
- neuter singular nominative
- neuter singular accusative.