Learning Greek with Plato

A Beginner’s Course in Classical Greek


Frank Beetham, 2007


Adult learners of ancient Greek are often attracted to it by the prospect of being able to read in the original a particular author or genre. Greek philosophical writing and Plato in particular is often the target. This book’s material has been tried and tested by the author over the years with adult classes, and can be used as a course textbook, or as a handbook for self-teaching. Each of 25 sections is clearly laid out – with tabulation of Greek word-forms and grammar. Each includes ample exercises and practice in reading Greek sentences. Readings in later sections consist of passages of continuous Greek from Plato’s Meno, a typical Platonic dramatic dialogue.

(Text by the author)


Table of Contents:



Introduction: Background to Plato’s Meno


Section 1

The Alphabet, Punctuation and Accents


Section 2

The Verb « I am »

Asking Questions

Nouns and Declensions




Section 3

Subjects and Verbs – Verb Endings

Personal Pronouns

Neuter Plural Subjects


Section 4

The Object

Accusative of Respect or Manner

Note on Greek Dialects


Section 5

Verbs – Middle and Passive Endings « This »,


Section 6

The Present Infinitive


The Genitive Case


Section 7


The Dative Case

« Who? » and « What? »

« Someone » and « Something »

The Vocative Case

Third and Mixed Declension Adjectivess


Section 8


Verbs – Overview of Tenses

The Imperfect Tense


Translating Plato’s Meno 70a1-70c3


Section 9

The Perfect Tense

The Perfect Tense Middle and Passive

Translating Plato’s Meno 70c3-71c4


Section 10

Demonstrative Pronouns

Present Participles

The Perfect Active Participle

Middle and Passive Participles

Translating Plato’s Meno 71c5-72a5


Section 11

« Every »/ « All »

The Aorist Tense

The Weak Aorist Indicative Active

The Weak Aorist Indicative Middle

Kinds of Condition

Translating Plato’s Meno 72a6-72d3


Section 12

Multiple Questions

The Future Active

The Future Middle

The Subjunctive Mood

Infinitive as Subject and Object

Future and General Conditions

Translating Plato’s Meno 72d4-73c5


Section 13

Adjectives with Masculine for Feminine

The Optative Mood

Future Unlikely Conditions

Translating Plato’s Meno 73c6-74a6


Section 14

The Strong Aorist Active Tense

The Strong Aorist Middle Tense

Purpose Clauses

Translating Plato’s Meno 74a7-74e10


Section 15



Strong and Doubtful Denials

Translating Plato’s Meno 74e11-75d7


Section 16

Contraction (Verbs)

Translating Plato’s Meno 75d7-76c3


Section 17

Relative Pronouns: « Who », « What », « Which », « That »

Translating Plato’s Meno 76c4-77a2


Section 18

The Aorist Passive Tense

Translating Plato’s Meno 77a2-77e4


Section 19

The Genitive Absolute

The Future Passive Tense

Translating Plato’s Meno 77e5-78c3


Section 20

Temporal Clauses

The Pluperfect Tense

Translating Plato’s Meno 78c4-79a2


Section 21

Contracted Adjective Endings (Third Declension)

Reported Speech

Accusative and Infinitive used for Reported Statements

Participle Construction with « Know » or « See »

Relative Clauses, Direct and Indirect Questions

Translating Plato’s Meno 79a3-79c10


Section 22

(« Because »)

(« Although »)


Multiple Negatives

Translating Plato’s Meno 79d1-79e6


Section 23

Irregular Adjectives

Comparatives and Superlatives

Translating Plato’s Meno 79e7-80b7


Section 24

Translating Plato’s Meno 80b8-81a10


Section 25

Impersonal Verbs

Accusative Absolute

Verbal Adjectives

Reflexive Pronouns

Translating Plato’s Meno 81a10-81e6



Cases and Prepositions

Summary of Voice, Mood, Tense and Aspect in the Greek Verb

Word Order



Declension of Nouns, Adjectives and Pronouns

Reference List of Verb Endings and Irregular Verbs


Word List

Principal Tenses of Some of the More Difficult Verbs


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