Overview of the Different Verb Tenses in Greek

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When it comes to learning how to speak Greek, verbs are essential. When first starting out, we always learn the present verb tense, but there are other forms that a verb can take. This article will give an overview of the different tenses you can encounter in the Greek language. Learn what these tenses are so that you can become more comfortable in the language in general:

Present Tense in Greek

In a general sense, the present tense in Greek functions in much the same way as it does in English. According to Webster’s Dictionary the present tense is:

the tense of a verb that expresses action or state in the present time and is used of what occurs or is true at the time of speaking and of what is habitual or characteristic or is always or necessarily true, that is sometimes used to refer to action in the past, and that is sometimes used for future events

When we are speaking, this is the most common form of the verb. We tend to learn the present tense first. Here is an example of some sentences in Greek in the present tense:

  • Καθίζω στην καρέκλα – kathizo stin karekla – I sit on the chair.
  • Βγαίνω από το κτίριο – vyeno apo to ktirio – I am leaving the building.

Past Tense in Greek

The past tense of a verb expresses something that already happened and it functions similar to the past tense in English. According to Webster’s Dictionary the past tense is defined as, “a verb tense expressing action or state in or as if in the past.” It goes on to say that there are two different ways of expressing things in the past:

a : a verb tense expressive of elapsed time (such as wrote in “on arriving I wrote a letter”)

b : a verb tense expressing action or state in progress or continuance or habitually done or customarily occurring at a past time (such as was writing in “I was writing while he dictated” or loved in “their sons loved fishing”)

Here are some examples of the past tense:

  • Κάθισα στην καρέκλα. – kathisa stin karekla – I sat on the chair.
  • Έφυγα από το κτίριο – efiga apo to ktiro – I was leaving the building.

Future Tense in Greek

The future tense indicates an action that will be occurring in the future, and the Greek and English understanding of this is very similar. Webster’s Dictionary says that the future tense is, “a verb tense that is used to refer to the future.” Here are some examples in Greek:

  • Θα καθίσω στην καρέκλα. – tha kathiso stin karekla – I will be sitting on the chair.
  • Θα φύγω από το κτίριο – tha figo apo to ktirio – I will be leaving the building.

It’s important to have an overview of this grammatical concept. However, it is important to note that this is just an overview. The verb tenses can get a little bit more complicated. if you have any questions about this, you should consult with a qualified Greek teacher.


The Learn Greek section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand the conversational basics of the Greek language. This article is not a substitute for a professional Greek learning program, but a helpful resource for people wanting to learn simple communication in Greek.

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