Patterns for Feminine Modern Greek Nouns

Note: this page belongs to a set of pages on Modern Greek noun patterns

All existent patterns for feminine-gender nouns in Modern Greek are listed below. Each pattern includes as examples one noun stressed on the ultima (last syllable), one stressed on the penult (second syllable from the end), and one stressed on the antepenult (third syllable from the end). If one or more of these three cases is missing, then there is no such example of stressing within that pattern in the language.



Pattern for nouns ending in -α / -ες, -ών:

Singular   ultima penult antepenult
case article turn hour sea
Nominative η φορά ώρα θάλασσα
Genitive της φοράς ώρας θάλασσας
Accusative την φορά ώρα θάλασσα
Vocative   φορά ώρα θάλασσα
case article turns hours seas
Nominative οι φορές ώρες θάλασσες
Genitive των φορών ωρών θαλασσών
Accusative τις φορές ώρες θάλασσες
Vocative   φορές ώρες θάλασσες


Pattern for nouns ending in -α / -ες, -ων:

Singular   ultima penult antepenult
case article mom cow quantity
Nominative η μαμά αγελάδα ποσότητα
Genitive της μαμάς αγελάδας ποσότητας
Accusative την μαμά αγελάδα ποσότητα
Vocative   μαμά αγελάδα ποσότητα
case article moms cows quantities
Nominative οι μαμάδες αγελάδες ποσότητες
Genitive των μαμάδων αγελάδων ποσοτήτων
Accusative τις μαμάδες αγελάδες ποσότητες
Vocative   μαμάδες αγελάδες ποσότητες

Note: the only difference between this pattern and the previous one (see above), is in the genitive of the plural. In the previous pattern, the stress in the plural genitive descends on the ultima (e.g., των ωρών, των θαλασσών), whereas in this pattern the stress either remains on the penult (των αγελάδων), or descends at most up to the penult (των ποσοτήτων). The reason for the existence of this pattern is that these nouns used to have a shorter ending in -ς (i.e., η αγελάς, η ποσότης), belonging to the so-called “third declension” in older and ancient Greek. In modern Greek their ending changed, dropping the -ς and acquiring an extra -δα or -τα, thus making them appear very much like the nouns of the more common pattern -α / -ες (above), revealing their different origin only through the plural genitive. (This also explains why there can be no such noun stressed on the ultima.) The word for “Greece” in Greek is another such case (η Ελλάδα, from η Ελλάς — you can still see the latter form used occasionally).


Pattern for nouns ending in -η / -ες:

Singular   ultima penult antepenult-1 antepenult-2
case article soul love(1) cabin sugar
Nominative η ψυχή αγάπη κάμαρη(2) ζάχαρη(2)
Genitive της ψυχής αγάπης κάμαρης ζάχαρης
Accusative την ψυχή αγάπη κάμαρη ζάχαρη
Vocative   ψυχή αγάπη κάμαρη ζάχαρη
case article souls loves cabins sugars
Nominative οι ψυχές αγάπες κάμαρες ζάχαρες
Genitive των ψυχών αγαπών καμαρών ζαχάρεων
Accusative τις ψυχές αγάπες κάμαρες ζάχαρες
Vocative   ψυχές αγάπες κάμαρες ζάχαρες

(1) Not necessarily sexual love (the latter is έρωτας). Αγάπη is more general and may apply to any relation characterized by affection.

(2) A more common form of this noun is κάμαρα, following the pattern ending in -α. Actually, the author doubts there is any true noun of this pattern with the stress on the antepenult (third syllable from the end). Nouns like ζάχαρη (sugar), listed under “antepenult-2”, were added to the pattern “-η / -ες” to avoid making a new entry for them, because they differ only in the plural genitive, which ends in -εων and retains the stress on the antepenult. Other nouns like ζάχαρη are θύμηση (reminiscence) and σίκαλη (rye). These nouns (contrary to κάμαρη) come from corresponding ancient/obsolete forms ending in -ις: ζάχαρη < σάκχαρις, θύμηση < ενθύμησις, σίκαλη < σίκαλις. Their plural genitive retains their ancient/obsolete form because its usage is so rare that it was not regularized by “erosion”. (E.g., some native speakers might say των ζάχαρων, but they will do so only tongue-in-cheek, and will probably stumble, not knowing what form to use.) Nouns like ζάχαρη (σάκχαρις), etc., belonged to the so-called “third declension” in older and ancient Greek (see also the footnote of the previous pattern).


Pattern for nouns ending in -η / -εις:

Singular   penult antepenult
case article city television
Nominative η πόλη τηλεόραση
Genitive της πόλης τηλεόρασης
Accusative την πόλη τηλεόραση
Vocative   πόλη τηλεόραση
case article cities televisions
Nominative οι πόλεις τηλεοράσεις
Genitive των πόλεων τηλεοράσεων
Accusative τις πόλεις τηλεοράσεις
Vocative   πόλεις τηλεοράσεις


Pattern for nouns ending in -ος:

Singular   ultima penult antepenult
case article street avenue method
Nominative η οδός λεωφόρος μέθοδος
Genitive της οδού λεωφόρου μεθόδου
Accusative την οδό λεωφόρο μέθοδο
Vocative   οδέ λεωφόρε μέθοδε
case article streets avenues methods
Nominative οι οδοί λεωφόροι μέθοδοι(3)
Genitive των οδών λεωφόρων μεθόδων
Accusative τις οδούς λεωφόρους μεθόδους
Vocative   οδοί λεωφόροι μέθοδοι

(3) Some grammarians would insist the plural is μέθοδες. Actually very few people use this latter form. Specifically, only 0.22% for μέθοδες, as opposed to 99.78% for μέθοδοι (2006). Forms such as οδές and λεωφόρες are practically nonexistent (2006).


Pattern for nouns ending in -ου:

Singular   ultima
case article fox
Nominative η αλεπού
Genitive της αλεπούς
Accusative την αλεπού
Vocative   αλεπού
case article foxes
Nominative οι αλεπούδες
Genitive των αλεπούδων
Accusative τις αλεπούδες
Vocative   αλεπούδες


Pattern for nouns ending in -έας / είς: (4)

Singular   penult
case article secretary
Nominative η γραμματέας
Genitive της γραμματέως
Accusative την γραμματέα
Vocative   γραμματέα
case article secretaries
Nominative οι γραμματείς
Genitive των γραμματέων
Accusative τις γραμματείς
Vocative   γραμματείς

(4) Note: this is the feminized version of the masculine pattern in -έας / -είς (see also note under it on the ancient pattern in -ευς). This pattern is nearly identical to its masculine version, except that in genitive singular it has retained its ancient form. Such feminization has occurred in other masculine endings too, in cases where an originally 100% male occupation was turned to partly male/partly female, such as η δικαστής (judge, fem.), η ιατρός (medical doctor, fem.), etc., or even to mostly female, as is the case for η γραμματέας (see above), η ταμίας (cashier, fem.), etc.


Pattern for nouns ending in -ίας / ίες:

Singular   penult
case article cashier
Nominative η ταμίας
Genitive της ταμία
Accusative την ταμία
Vocative   ταμία
case article cashiers
Nominative οι ταμίες
Genitive των ταμιών
Accusative τις ταμίες
Vocative   ταμίες

Note 4, above, applies here as well.

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