In this article, I will focus on the correct use of Greek definite articles, pronouns, and on the many grammatical mistakes people often make when speaking the language.


Like all languages that have genders, Greek also causes problems to foreigners who are learning it. Sometimes things get so difficult that even the Greeks mess it up. So don’t stop putting in the effort, just concentrate and be persistent, because yes you can do it!


In no way is my introduction aimed at discouraging you from learning the language. On the contrary, my wish and mission is to explain to you in detail how to distinguish what is correct and incorrect, and how you can learn to avoid making a mistake.

Part 1: The accusative case of the feminine (την) and masculine (τον) articles (η αιτιατική πτώση θηλυκού και αρσενικού οριστικού άρθρου) before nouns


For further reference on articles and cases, check out this link and this one.


I have decided to highlight the accusative case only, since this one is the easiest to make a mistake in. In particular, problems occur because of the ν (n) at the end of the articles την and τον. Here I would like to point out that while mistakes mainly occur in written speech, nonetheless, they can be made orally as well.


Correct Examples



Τον Πέτρο: Peter (Don’t forget that Greek proper nouns take an article)

Την Ελένη: Helen

Τον Άγιο: Saint

Την μπάλα: the ball

Τον μουντό: the dreary

Την ψαρόβαρκα: the fishing boat

Τον τρόπο: the way

Την ξέρα: the shoal

Τον πίσω (δρόμο): the back street

Την κότα: the hen/chicken

Τον ξένο: the stranger/foreigner

Την γκέισσα: the geisha

Τον κίνδυνο: the danger

Την πρωτoβουλία: the initiative

Τον παλιό: the old

Την τσέπη: the pocket

Wrong examples



Το κύριο: the gentleman/master

Τη Κυριακή: Sunday

Το ξένο: the stranger/foreigner

Τη πρώτη: the first

Το κόσμο: the people/world

Τη κρίση: the crisis

Το πρώτο: the first

Τη πιατέλα: the platter

Το νταή: the bully

Τη ξεχασμένη: the forgotten

Το κιθαρίστα: the guitarist

Τη καινούρια: the new

Το μπροστινό: the front/forward. For example: seat/door/movement.

Τη ντυμένη: the dressed

In all of the examples mentioned above, the rule of τελικό ‘ν’ (the n at the end of the article) applies, and it is something that has to be memorised. The words mentioned in the columns with the wrong examples should have a ν at the end of the articles. As you may have noticed, its absence in the masculine form makes the noun look neutral, and that could cause misunderstandings. For further reference, check out this link.


One of the most important reasons why attention should be paid when using the ν is because Greek is all about euphony. If your level is advanced enough, you might even know the common expression used in Greek, χάριν ευφωνίας (for the sake of euphony).


Note: The previously mentioned articles should in no way be confused with the same form of the personal pronouns αυτόν (τον), αυτήν (την) in the accusative case.


Part 2: Use of pronouns (αντωνυμιών) and their place within a sentence


To begin with, Greek pronouns are declinable, and have genders. The most common forms are:


  • the genitive and accusative cases of the personal pronouns. Unless we wish to highlight who does something, we do not use the εγώ, εσύ, αυτός, αυτή, κτλ (I, you, he, she, etc.).
  • the possessive pronouns.
  • the interrogative pronoun ποιος, ποια, ποιο. Be careful, they are not stressed.
  • most of the indefinite pronouns. Examples can be viewed here.


Lastly, there is the relative pronoun ο οποίος, η οποία, το οποίο, which is commonly replaced by the word που (that). The reason why I’ve left this one last is because I want to explain something to you. In recent years, for reasons I do not understand, Greeks are incorrectly using όπου (where/who etc.). For example: ο άνθρωπος όπου ήρθε… They should instead be using ο άνθρωπος ο οποίος/που. (the man/person who/that…). This is a serious mistake, unfortunately I am sure you will hear it a lot. At the very least, make sure you know that it’s wrong, and remember not to imitate this ‘trend’. More information on Greek pronouns can be found here and here.


Examples of positioning the pronoun:


  1. Του το είπα αλλά δεν το κατάλαβε: I told him so / I explained it to him, but he did not grasp it.
  2. Τη ρώτησα και μου εξήγησε: I asked her, and she explained.
  3. Πες της να έρθει. Θα περάσουμε καλά: Tell her to come. We’ll have a good time.
  4. Πρέπει να θυμηθώ να το κάνω μπάνιο: I must remember to give it a bath.
  5. Ας πάρουμε το δικό μου αυτοκίνητο: Let’s take my car.
  6. Θέλω να σου δείξω την παραλία που σου έλεγα: I want to show you the beach I told you about.
  7. Όποιος κι αν είναι, πρέπει να αποκαλυφθεί: No matter who he is, he must reveal his identity.
  8. Εκείνη η κοπέλα η οποία κέρδισε τον διαγωνισμό: That girl who won the competition.
  9. Ποιο ποτό εννοούσες: Which is the drink you meant?
  10. Για ποια ιδανικά μιλάει: What ideals is he talking about?
  11. Για άλλο πράγμα έλεγα εγώ και γι’άλλο εκείνος: I was talking about one thing, he was talking about another.
  12. Δεν μπορώ να σκέφτομαι την κάθε μου λέξη πριν μιλήσω: I cannot think of/weigh my every word before I speak.


The use of pronouns will help you immensely in not being repetitive, as well as avoiding grammatically correct, but really long sentences.




  1. Του ζήτησα να το αναφέρει σ’εμένα / Tου ζήτησα να μου το αναφέρει: I asked him to report it to me.
  2. Θα το έδειχνα σ’εκείνη / Θα της το έδειχνα: I would show it to her.


The only reason for sticking to the long form is emphasis. If that’s the case, then you’d be right in going for it.



  1. Σ’εμένα θα το δείξεις και σε κανέναν άλλο! Κατάλαβες;!: You will show it to me and to me only! Understood?!
  2. Θέλει να παντρευτεί εκείνον και εκείνον μόνο!: She wants to marry him, and him only!


Part 3: Mistakes


Following our discussion from above, here are some correct and incorrect examples of the use of όπου (where, who, with whom) in Greek:


The girl who got here, knew me

  • Incorrect: Η κοπέλα όπου έφτασε εδώ, με ήξερε
  • Correct: Η κοπέλα που/η οποία έφτασε εδώ, με ήξερ


The source where we are getting the information is reliable.

  • Incorrect: Η πηγή όπου αντλούμε πηροφορίες είναι αξιόπιστη
  • Correct: H πηγή από την οποία αντλούμε πηροφορίες είναι αξιόπιστη


I am together with the guy who you saw.

  • Incorrect: Είμαι με το παιδί όπου είδες
  • Correct: Είμαι με το παιδί που/το οποίο είδες


The couple with whom we left the children, is a couple we’ve known for years.

  • Incorrect: Το ζευγάρι όπου αφήσαμε τα παιδιά, το γνωρίζουμε χρόνια
  • Correct: Το ζευγάρι στο οποίο/με το οποίο αφήσαμε τα παιδιά, το γνωρίζουμε χρόνια

More examples of typical mistakes made in Greek:




Θέτω ερώτημα: Put/pose a question

Θέτω ερώτηση

Κάνω ερώτηση: Ask a question

Κάνω ερώτημα

Ποτέ (πριν) στο παρελθόν: Never (before) in past

Ποτέ ξανά στο παρελθόν

Με βάση + αιτιατική πτώση (με βάση τον άνθρωπο): On the basis of, plus accusative

Με βάση του ανθρώπου

Φτιάχνω: To make (with a τ)


Των Φώτων (εορτή), των φώτων: The Epiphany Day, of the lights (in both cases watch where the stress mark should be)

Των φωτών

Των χρόνων: Of the years (again, a stress mark example)

Των χρονών

(Η) Μία περίοδος: (A) One period (with an ς at the end)

(Η) Μία περίοδο

Η Χίος, η Ίος, η Κως (ονομαστική πτώση): Chios, Ios, Kos (nominative always ends with an ς)

Η Χίο, η Ίο, η Κω (ονομαστική πτώση)

Οι είσοδοι: The entrances

Οι εισόδοι

Ένθεν κακείθεν: On/From both sides

Ένθεν και ένθεν

Αυτό ακουγόταν: This was heard

Αυτό ακούγονταν

Αυτοί ακούγονταν: They were heard

Αυτοί ακουγόταν

Η Θέμις/Θέτις/Άρτεμις (ον. πτ.) / Της Θέμιδας/ Θέτιδας/Αρτέμιδας (γεν. πτ.) / Την Θέμιδα/Θέτιδα/Αρτέμιδα (αιτ. πτ.): Themis/Thetis/Artemis (be careful of the accusative)

Την Θέμις/Θέτις/Άρτεμις (αιτ.πτ.)

Η κύστις ή κύστη (ον. πτ.) / Της κύστεως/κύστης (γεν. πτ.) / Την κύστη (αιτ. πτ.) - The cyst/bladder (be careful of the accusative)

Την κύστις (αιτ.πτ.)

Βάσει + γενική πτώση (Βάσει νόμου) - By/Based on (in this form, always with the genitive)

Βάσει τους ανθρώπους

At this point, I would like to stress the importance of the proper use of two Greek particles ως and σαν. They might look the same but they are not. Ως mainly denotes capacity, whereas σαν signifies comparison or equation.




  • Άφησε εξαιρετικό έργο ως υπουργός Παιδείας: What he left behind as an Education Minister was excellent.
  • Σαν τρελός την αγαπάει: He loves her like crazy.


For more information, please consult your grammar books or a book of your choice specifically about the subject in question. If your Greek is good, open this link created by myself.



Two expressions which may be troublesome for many to learn are: Κατ’ αρχάς and Κατ’ αρχήν. κατ’ αρχάς is an expression that means “at the beginning, initially” (στην αρχή, αρχικά), but κατ’ αρχήν ή καταρχήν is an adverb meaning “in principle”.

For more information, please go to this website.



  • Make sure the dictionaries you choose to work with have relevant sign-explanations beside each word (about the gender, the genitive case and the plural form as well as examples).
  • Read a lot (books, blogs, newspapers, web articles, even advertisements), and things will come naturally to you. Try to stick to quality though, so don’t go for the yellow press as the language used there is pretty simplistic and very often full of grammatical mistakes. Also, watch web TV and listen to Greek songs. This will help you increase your understanding of the language, and expand your vocabulary.
  • Be open to rote learning and cheat sheets. As a beginner, it’s a good way to practice when commuting to the office/gym/parents. In case you fail to remember meanings and stuff, simply use your cheat sheet and refresh your memory (I am not talking about during exams, guys!). Something I did which helped me a lot with my German was to record lessons, and listen to it again using my mp3. Believe me, it worked wonders!


Bibliography in English


  • Holton, David, and Peter Mackridge. Greek: A Comprehensive Grammar of the Modern Language. London: Routledge, 1997. Print.
  • Holton, David, and Peter Mackridge. Greek: An Essential Grammar of the Modern Language. London: Routledge, 2004. Print.
  • Farmakides, Anna. A Manual of Modern Greek, I: For University Students: Elementary to Intermediate. N.p.: Yale University Press, 1983. Print.
  • Mackridge, Peter. The Modern Greek Language: A Descriptive Analysis of Standard Modern Greek. N.p.: Oxford University Press, 1987. Print.


Bibliography in Greek


  • Γ. Μπαμπινιώτης, Λεξικό των Δυσκολιών και των Λαθών στη χρήση τής Ελληνικής, Α' έκδοση, 2014, έγχρωμη, Εκδόσεις: ΚΕΝΤΡΟ ΛΕΞΙΚΟΛΟΓΙΑΣ
  • Ειρήνη Μπρισίμη-Μαράκη, Νεοελληνική γραμματική για Έλληνες και ξένους, 2004, Εκδόσεις Καστανιώτη
  • Ίνα Αναγνωστοπούλου, Λία Μπουσούνη Γκέσουρα, Το λέμε σωστά; Το γράφουμε σωστά; Λάθη που γίνονται συχνά στο γραπτό και στον προφορικό λόγο, 2006, Εκδόσεις Μεταίχμιο
  • Δ. Ν. Μαρωνίτης, Εγχειρίδιο της ορθής γραφής, Τα πιο συχνά ορθρογραφικά, γραμματικά και συντακτικά λάθη, 2013, Δημοσιογραφικός Οργανισμός Λαμπράκη
  • Γιάννης Η. Χάρης, Η γλώσσα, τα λάθη και τα πάθη, 2003, Εκδόσεις ΠΟΛΙΣ


Image Sources


Hero Image by Atli Harðarson (CC BY-ND 2.0)