Expressing enough / too in Greek?

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.

Expressing enough / too in Greek?

Postby Stephen Hughes » July 15th, 2013, 5:57 am

I have a "hole" in my Greek.

Can someone help me with how to express thoughts such as these:

The room is big. The room is too big. The room is really too big. The room is not big enough. The room is really not big enough.

Is there are simple transformation with an antonym such as; the room is not big enough / the room is too small?
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attrib. to Albert Einstein)
"I think that that that that that boy used is wrong." (Intonate that to show that you understand English that)
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Re: Expressing enough / too in Greek?

Postby Louis L Sorenson » July 20th, 2013, 10:43 am

Stephen ἔγραψε·

Can someone help me with how to express thoughts such as these:

(1) The room is big.
(2) The room is too big.
(3) The room is really too big.
(4) The room is not big enough.
(5) The room is really not big enough.

Is there are simple transformation with an antonym such as; the room is not big enough / the room is too small?


This is a very good question. And in searching it out, I don't know that I can give you one single answer, and please forgive my rambling. I suggest you use the search engine at the University of Chicago's implementation of the LSJ lexicon to search for words like 'too' and 'very'.The UChicago LSJ implementation can be found at http://perseus.uchicago.edu/Reference/LSJ.html. And even then, this could be an English idiom that has difficulty translating between the two languages. Greek does not use the words 'very' and 'too' (= degree) in the same frequency as English. The word 'too' (= degree in English) is related to the word 'very', but 'too' includes a sort of speaker judgmental opinion that the speaker views the condition as being excessive/insufficient. In addition, Greek has more ways than English to add a speaker's opinion, having a plethora of particles to add the speaker's emotive content to a statement.

The positive of the sentence:
It is big. - statement
It is too big. - statement with judgement of excess
It is way too big. - statement with (decidal) judgement of extreme excess

The negative of the sentence:
It is not big. - statement
It is not big enough. -statement with judgement of insufficiency
It is really not big enough. -statement with (decided) judgement of insufficiency

The word 'really' is a little ambiguous in English. Also 'enough' adds a totally different concept, and most likely in Greek needs the word like ἀρκεῖ, δεῖ, κτλ.

Perhaps you wanted to state the negatives in a parallel fashion:
It is not big.
It is not too big.
It is not too big at all.

Another question would be: Is the comparative used as the the superlative. (Note: The superlative was falling into disuse in the Koine period, and the comparative began doing the function of the superlative. E.g.
It is the smaller = It is the smallest == It is too small.

One way of saying 'very, excessively' is to use a word like ἄγαν, δὴ, δὴ μάλα, λίαν, πανύ, μάλα, πολλα, σφόδρα. But perhaps more frequently, nouns and adjectives will have that sense as part of a compound with the following prefixes being the most productive. Search the UChicago LSJ implementation for words starting with the following prefixes:
Too: http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/search3torth?dbname=LSJ&ORTHMODE=unaccented&dgdivhead=&matchtype=sameold&word=too&CONJUNCT=PHRASE
Very: http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/search3torth?dbname=LSJ&ORTHMODE=unaccented&dgdivhead=&matchtype=sameold&word=very&CONJUNCT=PHRASE. You will find that in the examples in LSJ, the word 'too' is included in the gloss of many adjectives with no other adverb modifying the adjective.

ἀρι-
αὐτο-
βαρυ -
δια -
δυσ-
εν-
ἐξ-
ἐρι -
εὐ-
ζα -
κατα-, κατ- καθ-
μεγαλο-
παν-, παγ-, παμ-
περ
περι-
πολυ-
ὑπερ-


The converse of 'very', is often an adjective with the alpha privative. Depending on the lexeme (adjectival word being expounded), the negative structure may not be a simple οὐκ + adjective. In addition, other words may be used, depending upon the word (adjective) which is being elaborated upon:
οὐχ ἱκανός
μόλις
μέτριος
οὐκ ἀρκεῖ
μηδαμῶς
σχεδόν
οὔπως
παντελής
περ

So one way of expressing those above statements could be kept to the simplest of structures,
μέγα
μέγιστον
μέγιστον δή | πάμμεγα |ὑπέρμεγα
οὐ μέγα
[τῷ μήκει] οὐκ μέγιστον | ? ἀμεγέθες ?
οὔπως μέγα γε

I'm just trying to get some of the pieces together in one place here. What a person needs is good examples drawn from TLG.
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Re: Expressing enough / too in Greek?

Postby Stephen Hughes » July 22nd, 2013, 2:00 am

(The distinction between the two doesn't really exist in language, but using the terms anyway), This "enough/ too" is obviously one of those things that need to be worked around in syntax, rather than expressed directly in grammar.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attrib. to Albert Einstein)
"I think that that that that that boy used is wrong." (Intonate that to show that you understand English that)
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Re: Expressing enough / too in Greek?

Postby Ken M. Penner » July 22nd, 2013, 7:25 am

I would think "too" commonly is expressed in "biblical" Greek by a comparative adjective with the genitive of what it is too much for. Examples:
Μείζων τοῦ ἀφεθῆναί too great to be forgiven (Genesis 4:13)
ἠμβλύνθησαν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ τοῦ ὁρᾷν his eyes were becoming too blind to see (Genesis 27:1)
ἀσθενοῦμεν τοῦ ἡμᾶς συναχθῆναι we are too weak for us to be assembled (Isaiah 28:20)
στενοχωρήσει ἀπὸ τῶν κατοικούντων will now be too crowded because of (or for?) those who dwell there (Isaiah 49:19)
χαλεπώτερά σου μὴ ζήτει, Do not seek what is too difficult for you καὶ ἰσχυρότερά σου μὴ ἐξέταζε. and do not question that which is too strong for you (Sirach 3:21)
But also dative: Στενός μοι ὁ τόπος This place is too crowded for me! (Isaiah 49:20)
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Re: Expressing enough / too in Greek?

Postby Ken M. Penner » July 22nd, 2013, 8:27 am

In Greek beyond the Bible, the following from Smyth might be helpful:

§1063
The positive, used to imply that something is not suited or inadequate for the purpose in question, is especially common before an infinitive with or without ὥστε (ὡς): (τὸ ὕδωρ) ψῡχρόν ἐστιν ὥστε λούσασθαι the water is too cold for bathing X. M. 3. 13. 3, νῆες ὀλίγαι ἀμῡ́νειν ships too few to defend T. 1. 50, μακρὸν ἂν εἴη μοι λέγειν it would take too long for me to state And. 2. 15.

1073. Instead of the genitive or ἤ, the prepositions ἀντί, πρό (w. gen.) or πρός, παρά (w. accus.) are sometimes used with the comparative: κατεργάσασθαι αἱρετώτερον εἶναι τὸν καλὸν θάνατον ἀντὶ τοῦ αἰσχροῦ βίου to make a noble death more desirable than (instead of) a shameful life X. R. L. 9. 1, μὴ παῖδας περὶ πλείονος ποιοῦ πρὸ τοῦ δικαίου do not consider children of more account than (before) justice P. Cr. 54 b, χειμὼν μείζων παρὰ τὴν καθεστηκυῖαν ὥρᾱν a cold too severe for (in comparison with) the actual time of year T. 4. 6.


1079. Proportional Comparison.—After a comparative, ἢ κατά with the accusative (1690. 2 c), or ἢ ὥστε, ἢ ὡς, rarely ἤ alone, with the infinitive (not with the indicative), denote too high or too low a degree: ὅπλα ἔτι πλείω ἢ κατὰ τοὺς νεκροὺς ἐλήφθη more arms were taken than there were men slain T. 7. 45, φοβοῦμαι μή τι μεῖζον ἢ ὥστε φέρειν δύνασθαι κακὸν τῇ πόλει συμβῇ I fear lest there should befall the State an evil too great for it to be able to bear X. M. 3.5.17 (2264).

Smyth §1082.
d. The comparative is used to soften an expression (rather, somewhat): ἀγροικότερον somewhat boorishly P. G. 486 c, ἀμελέστερον ἐπορεύετο he proceeded rather carelessly X. H. 4. 8.36. Here the quality is compared with its absence or with its opposite.


1431. Comparison (1402).—Adjectives of the comparative degree or implying comparison take the genitive. The genitive denotes the standard or point of departure from which the comparison is made, and often expresses a condensed comparison when actions are compared. Thus, ἥττων ἀμαθὴς σοφοῦ, δειλὸς ἀνδρείου an ignorant man is inferior to a wise man, a coward to a brave man P. Phae. 239 a, κρεῖττόν ἐστι λόγου τὸ κάλλος τῆς γυναικός the beauty of the woman is too great for description X. M. 3. 11. 1, Ἐπύαξα προτέρᾱ Κῡ́ρου πέντε ἡμέραις ἀφῑ́κετο Epyaxa arrived five days before Cyrus X. A. 1. 2. 25, καταδεεστέρᾱν τὴν δόξαν τῆς ἐλπίδος ἔλαβεν the reputation he acquired fell short of his expectation I. 2. 7. So with δεύτερος, ὑστεραῖος, περιττός. Comparatives with ἤ, 1069.


2007. The infinitive, with or without ὥστε or ὡς, may be used with ἤ than after comparatives, depending on an (implied) idea of ability or inability. ἢ ὥστε is more common than ἤ or ἢ ὡς. Cp. 2264.
τὸ γὰρ νόσημα μεῖζον ἢ φέρειν for the disease is too great to be borne S. O. T. 1293, φοβοῦμαι μή τι μεῖζον ἢ ὥστε φέρειν δύνασθαι κακὸν τῇ πόλει συμβῇ I fear lest some calamity befall the State greater than it can bear X. M. 3. 5. 17, βραχύτερα ἢ ὡς ἐξικνεῖσθαι too short to reach X. A. 3. 3. 7.
a. The force of ἢ ὥστε may be expressed by the genitive; as, κρεῖσσον λόγου (T. 2. 50) = κρεῖσσον ἢ ὥστε λέγεσθαι. Cp. 1077.
b. Words implying a comparison may take the infinitive with ὥστε or ὡς (1063).


2264. (II) After a comparative with ἤ than.
ᾔσθοντο αὐτὸν ἐλᾱ́ττω ἔχοντα δύναμιν ἢ ὥστε τοὺς φίλους ὠφελεῖν they perceived that he possessed too little power to benefit his friends X. H. 4. 8. 23, οἱ ἀκοντισταὶ βραχύτερα ἠκόντιζον ἢ ὡς ἐξικνεῖσθαι τῶν σφενδονητῶν the javelin throwers hurled their javelins too short a distance to reach the stingers X. A. 3. 3. 7. After a comparative, ὡς is as common as ὥστε.
a. ὥστε may here be omitted: κρείσσονʼ ἢ φέρειν κακά evils too great to be endured E. Hec. 1107.
b. On positive adjectives with a comparative force, see 1063.


from 2375 (without an explicit comparator):
εἰ καί τῳ σμῑκρότερον δοκεῖ εἶναι although it seems too unimportant to some P. Lach. 182 c.

To express sufficiency, we have ἱκανος and ἱκανῶς.
From Smyth §2547.a
οὐ τοῦτο δέδοικα μὴ οὐκ ἔχω ὅ τι δῶ ἑκάστῳ τῶν φίλων …, ἀλλὰ μὴ οὐκ ἔχω ἱκανοὺς οἷς δῶ I do not fear that I shall not have something to give to each of my friends, but that I shall not have enough friends to give to X. A. 1. 7. 7,

From 2282:
ἐπεί γʼ ἀρκοῦνθʼ ἱκανὰ τοῖς γε σώφροσιν since indeed that which suffices their wants is enough for the wise E. Phoen. 545


but also:

from 2497:
ὅσον μόνον γεύσασθαι ἑαυτῷ καταλιπών leaving himself only enough to taste X. A. 7. 3. 22.


from 1350 (insufficiency): οἱ ἀκοντισταὶ βραχύτερα ἠκόντιζον ἢ ὡς ἐξικνεῖσθαι τῶν σφενδονητῶν the javelin-throwers did not hurl far enough to reach the slingers X. A. 3. 3. 7
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