A Participle is a verbal adjective.

It is formed by combining a verb stem and an adjective ending.

Like a verb, it may have a direct object or prepositional phrase.

Like an adjective, it modifies a noun.  Therefore, the participle must agree with the noun it modifies in gender, number, and case.

Endings: 1st and 3rd declension (like πᾶς πᾶσα πᾶν)

Present Participle Active
Formation: Pres. stem +  -ων -ουσα –ον
Nom. φεύγων φεύγουσα φεύγον,
Gen. φεύγοντος φευγούσης φεύγοντος
Nom. φιλῶν φιλοῦσα φιλοῦν,
Gen. φιλοῦντος φιλούσης φιλοῦντος
Nom. τιμῶν τιμῶσα τιμῶν,
Gen. τιμῶντος τιμώσης τιμῶντος
Meaning: fleeing, loving, honoring (continuous action)

Future Participle Active
Formation: Pres. stem + σ + -ων -ουσα –ον
Nom. κελεύσων κελεύσουσα κελεῦσον,
Gen. κελεύσοντος κελευσούσης κελεύσοντος
Meaning: about to/going to order


2nd Aorist Participle Active (thematic)
Formation: Aor. stem +  -ων -ουσα –ον
Nom. φύγων φύγουσα φυγον,
Gen. φύγοντος φυγούσης φύγοντος
Meaning: having fled, fleeing (simple action)

1st Aorist Participle Active (sigmatic)
Formation: pres. stem + -σα- + – ων -ουσα –ον where the “o” vowels drop
Nom. θύσας θύσασα θῦσαν, Gen. θύσαντος θυσάσης θύσαντος
Meaning: having sacrificed, sacrificing (simple action)

Aorist Participle Passive
Formation: pres. stem + -(θ)είς –(θ)εῖσα –(θ)έν
Nom. κομισθείς κομισθεῖσα κομισθέν
Gen. κομισθέντος κομισθείσης κομισθέντος
Meaning: carried, brought (simple action)

Perfect Participle Active

Formation: redupl. + pres. stem + -κώς -κυῖα -κός
Nom. τεθνηκώς τεθνηκυῖα τεθνηκός Gen. τεθνηκότος τεθνηκυίας τεθνηκότος
Meaning: dead (completed action with continuing result)

Endings: 1st and 3rd declension (like πᾶς πᾶσα πᾶν)

Endings: 1st and 2nd declension (like καλός καλή καλόν)

Present Participle Middle
Formation: Pres. stem +  -όμενος -ομένη -όμενον
Nom. ἐργαζόμενος ἐργαζομένη ἐργαζόμενον,
Gen. ἐργαζομένου ἐργαζομένης ἐργαζομένου
Nom. φοβούμενος φοβουμένη φοβούμενον,
Nom. θεώμενος θεωμένη θεώμενον,
Meaning: working, fearing, watching (continuous action)


Future Participle Middle
Formation: Pres. stem + σ  -όμενος -ομένη -όμενον
Nom. δεξόμενος δεξομένη δεξόμενον,
Gen. δεξομένου δεξομένης δεξομένου
Meaning: about to/going to receive

2nd Aorist Participle Middle (thematic)

Formation: Aor. stem +  -όμενος -ομένη -όμενον
Nom. γενόμενος γενομένη γενόμενον, Gen. γενομένου γενομένης γενομένου
Meaning: having become (simple action)

1st Aorist Participle Middle (sigmatic)
Formation: pres. stem + -σα- + -μενος -μένη -μενον
Nom. δεξάμενος δεξαμένη δεξάμενον, Gen. δεξαμένου δεξαμένης δεξαμένου
Meaning: having received, receiving (simple action)

Future Participle Passive
Formation: pres. stem + θη + σ + -ομενος -ομενη -ομενον
Nom. κομισθησόμενος κομισθησομένη κομισθησόμενον
Meaning: about to be carried/brought

Perfect Participle Middle
Formation: redupl. + pres. stem + -μένος -μένη -μένον
Nom. εἰρημένος εἰρημένη εἰρημένον Gen. εἰρημένου εἰρημένης εἰρημένου
Meaning: said, spoken (completed action with continuing result)

Endings: 1st and 2nd declension (like καλός καλή καλόν)


ὁ Δικαιόπολις πάντα θεώμενος ἠπόρει ποῦ δεῖ ζητεῖν ναῦν τινα πρὸς τὴν Επίδαυρον πλευσομένην.  τέλος δὲ πάντες ἐν οἰνοπωλίῳ τινι καθισάμενοι οἶνον ᾔτησαν.

“Dikaiopolis, watching everything (over a period of time), was at a loss where (he) must look for a ship about to sail (future) to Epidauros.  Finally, everyone sat down/sitting down/having sat down (simple action) in some wineshop, asked for wine.”

The first participle describes Dikaiopolis and is nominative singular, the second is accusative because it describes the ship, and the third is nominative plural because it describes the subject “everyone.”  To get across the simple action involved in the last participle (which is aorist), it is sometimes better to translate it as a main verb parallel to the simple action involved in asking for wine.

Genitive Absolute

Greek sometimes uses a noun-participle phrase in the genitive case instead of a subordinate clause.  The noun that the participle modifies cannot be part of the structure of the rest of the sentence.  It may be translated by “with, as, when, since, or although.”


φασὶ δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ συμβάντος ποτὲ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν αὐχμοῦ [θύσαντος Αἰακοῦ κατά τι δὴ λόγιον τῷ Πανελληνίῳ Διὶ ἐν Αἰγίνῃ] σαντ τε ἀφεῖναι τὸν Δία.

They say that in the time of the drought affecting/happening to all the Greeks (simple occurence), since Aeacus in accord with an oracle made a sacrifice in Aegina to Panhellenic Zeus (genitive absolute), Zeus sent rain.

The first participle modifies αὐχμοῦ and is part of a prepositional phrase denoting time.  The genitive absolute, θύσαντος Αἰακοῦ, marks off the reason why Zeus sent rain.  The last participle is accusative describing the sky god Zeus literally raining.

Now practice identifying participles in Pausanias 2.1.1.