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New Testament Greek
Course II
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  Lesson 6 3rd Declension, χάρις, ἄρχων, 3rd Declension Endings Overview, Indefinite & Interrogative Pronouns  
  3rd Declension  

We have already considered 2nd declension nouns and 1st declensions nouns. Now we will consider 3rd declension nouns.

The 3rd declension is more varied than the 1st and 2nd declensions. This is true in terms of form and also in terms of gender. In terms of gender, remember that 2nd declension nouns are usually masculine or neuter and 1st declension nouns are usually feminine. But in the 3rd declension, no particular gender is dominant. And in terms of form, at first glance it may seem that there is very little consistency to the case and number endings found in the 3rd declension. But closer examination will reveal two basic patterns (with variations) for 3rd declensions.

  χάρις Type Nouns of the 3rd Declension  

One variation often seen in 3rd declension nouns has some similarity to the 2nd and 1st declension endings you have already learned. Remember that in Course 1, lesson 3, we identified the true masculine 2nd declension endings as ς, ο, ι, ν, etc. The "endings" ος, ου, , ον, are actually the final stem vowel of the 2nd declension (the omicron declension) in combination with the true endings. Similarly, the 1st declension endings α, ας, , αν, etc. are actually the final stem vowel in combination with a similar set of true endings. Compare these true masculine 2nd declension endings and the true 1st declension endings with one pattern of endings frequently seen in 3rd declension nouns:

3rd declension case endings
compared with
1st & 2nd declension
case endings
color key
nom. none   ς   ς same case ending in 2nd & 3rd
gen. ς   ο   ος ς in 1st & 3rd; ο in 2nd & 3rd
dat. ι   ι   ι same case ending in all
acc. ν   ν   ν same case ending in all
voc. none   none   ς  
nom. ι   ι   ες  
gen. ων   ων   ων same case ending in all
dat. ις   ις   σι comb. of ι & σ in all
acc. νς   νς   ας final ς in all
voc. ι   ι   ες  

One noun that uses these particular 3rd declension endings is χάρις, -ιτος,, graciousness, attractiveness, grace, favor.

  singular   plural   The stem is actually χάριτ-, but
τ drops out in the nominative,
accusative, and vocative singular,
and in the dative plural. Note the
ν in the dative plural.

dental drops out before ς

nom. χάρις   χάριτες  
gen. χάριτος   χαρίτων  
dat. χάριτι   χάρισι(ν)  
acc. χάριν   χάριτας  
voc. χάρις   χάριτες  


Another word that follows this same pattern with some variation is ἄρχων, -οντος, ὁ, ruler. This word is especially important because its endings are exactly those that we will see in the present active participles of the masculine gender. Memorize the declension of this noun.

  singular   plural   The stem is actually ἄρχοντ-, but
in the nominative and vocative singular,
τ drops out and the ο lengthens

In the dative plural, dental τ drops out
σ, the ν also drops out,
and there is compensatory lengthening
of the exposed stem vowel,
ο, to ου.
Also note the moveable ν in the dative

nom. ἄρχων   ἄρχοντες  
gen. ἄρχοντος   ἀρχόντων  
dat. ἄρχοντι   ἄρχουσι(ν)  
acc. ἄρχοντα   ἄρχοντας  
voc. ἄρχων   ἄρχοντες  


  Overview of 3rd Declension Endings  

Chapters 13 and 14 in your text book show several 3rd declension nouns fully declined. Those in chapter 13 are either masculine or feminine and follow some variation of the pattern described above. Those in chapter 14 are neuter and follow another pattern. The table below shows the two basic patterns, including variations you can expect to see.

3rd Declension Endings

  masculine or feminine
ch. 13 in your text book
ch. 14 in your text book


nom. ς, none   none
gen. ος   ος
dat. ι   ι
acc. α, ν   none
voc. ς, none   none
nom. ες   α
gen. ων   ων
dat. σι(ν)   σι(ν)
acc. ας   α
voc. ες   α

Various contractions, omissions, and vowel lengthenings occur as these endings are attached to nouns with various stem endings. There is a good discussion of these things in chapters 13 and 14 of your text book, along with illustrations of the various patterns with which you need to become familiar. Study these chapters carefully.

  Indefinite and Interrogative Pronouns  


These are discussed on pp. 111-112 of your text book. For your convenience, tables showing the declension of these pronouns are given here.


τίς interrogative pronoun who? which?

  singular   plural
  masc fem neut   masc fem neut
N τίς τίς τί   τίνες τίνες τίνα
G τίνος τίνος τίνος   τίνων τίνων τίνων
D τίνι τίνι τίνι   τίσι(ν) τίσι(ν) τίσι(ν)
A τίνα τίνα τί   τίνας τίνας τίνα


τις indefinite pronoun a certain one, someone

  singular   plural
  masc fem neut   masc fem neut
N τις τις τι   τινες τινες τινα
G τινος τινος τινος   τινων τινων τινων
D τινι τινι τινι   τισι(ν) τισι(ν) τισι(ν)
A τινα τινα τι   τινας τινας τινα


  Assignment for Lesson 6