tips can be useful in sorting through a puzzling Greek sentence.
#1 - LOCATE THE SUBJECT:
for a definite article in the Nominative case.
there is no definite article, look for a noun or pronoun in the Nominative
case (or an adjective in the nominative case that is being used as a noun).
This will identify the subject of the sentence.
there is no noun or pronoun (or adjective used as a noun) in the Nominative
case, the subject will be contained in the ending of the verb.
#2 - LOCATE THE PREDICATE (VERB): If a noun or pronoun exists in the nominative
case, much information about the verb will already be provided:
the subject is singular, the verb will be singular. (Exception: plural neuter
nouns take a singular verb)
a noun is in the nominative case, the verb will be third person.
a pronoun is in the nominative case, the verb can be any person.
there is nothing in the nominative case, then find the subject in the ending
of the verb. In such cases, the subject will be translated as a pronoun.
#3 -TRANSLATE THE VERB:
the verb begins with e, the Tense is likely Past.
the verb begins with a long vowel (eta, omega), the Tense may be Past.
the verb ends in ai or o, the voice is Middle or Passive.
the verb ending has theta+ETA, the voice is Middle or Passive.
the letter that comes between the verb root (stem) and the verb ending.
s indicates Future
sa indicates Aorist
k indicates Perfect or Pluperfect
#4 - LOCATE THE DIRECT OBJECT:
for an article in the accusative case. The noun associated with that article
will be the direct object.
Look for a noun or pronoun in the accusative case.
That will be the direct object.
#5 - LOCATE THE INDIRECT OBJECT:
for an article in the dative case. The noun associated with that article
will be the indirect object.
for a noun or pronoun in the dative case. That will likely be the indirect
#6 - LOCATE PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES:
noun or pronoun (and article, if definite) following a preposition should
be translated with the preposition.
noun or pronoun associated with the preposition will never be in the nominative
#7 - Translate Predicative Participles:
participles will not have an article.
#8 - TRANSLATE MODIFIERS OF NOUNS:
all nouns and pronouns in the Genitive case.
all adjectives in any case.
all attributive participles.
items will not govern the whole sentence; they will define or limit a noun.
These items serve primarily to add "a spot of colour" on one of the other
items of the sentence rather than on the sentence as a whole. Almost all nouns
or pronouns in the genitive case must be associated with another noun or pronoun
(which could be in any case).
#9 - SPECIAL NOTE ON TRANSLATING NOUNS AND PRONOUNS:
nouns, only case and number are important elements for translating.
pronouns, gender is important too. [Note that gender, which is a minor feature
of English, is important, however, for English pronouns in the third person
singular (he, she, it)].
is never important in translating. Declension adds nothing to the meaning
of the word.