Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

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R. Perkins
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Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

Post by R. Perkins » March 13th, 2018, 4:12 am

Πέτρος δὲ ⸂πρὸς αὐτούς· μετανοήσατε, [φησίν⸃,] καὶ βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος ὑμῶν ⸀ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι ⸆ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἄφεσιν ⸄τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν⸅ καὶ λήμψεσθε τὴν δωρεὰν τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος. (NA28)

Probably looking pretty ignorant w. this question, but I read the following assertion about this verse tonight & wanted to inquire from the experts :P:

1. The verb “repent” (metanoēsate) is second person plural and is in the active voice.
2. And “be baptized” (baptisthētō) is third person singular and is in the passive voice.
3. The Greek pronoun translated “your” (humōn) is in a second person plural.

Therefore, the grammatical connection is: “repent” (active plural) with “your” (active plural) as in “for the remission of your [humōn] sins” and not “be baptized” (passive singular) with “for the remission of your sins.


**I then read the following response (hence my question):

Significantly, the use of humon in "the forgiveness of your sins" is not the first appearance of humon in this passage. It is the second appearance. The first appears in let "each one of you be baptized." The antecedent to the first instance of the plural humon is clearly the singular verb, "baptized." Pronouns must agree in number and person with the antecedent they modify. And yet here we have a plural pronoun modifying a singular verb.

While an explanation for this anomaly is in order, it should not distract us from the larger point to be made: If the first instance of humon has a singular antecedent, why think the second instance of humon cannot have a singular antecedent? Indeed, the antecedent of a pronoun is usually the closest antecedent, and in this case, the closest antecedent of the second humon is the singular "baptized." It is without controversy that the first instance of humon modifies a singular verb, so why should there be any controversy over the claim that the second instance of humon also modifies the same singular verb?


My apologies for recent multiple threads :oops: - not trying to dominate boards, just come here when I read something contrary to what I recall from Greek I ;). My initial instinct is to modify the claim that "Pronouns MUST agree in number and person with the antecedent they modify." to "Pronouns GENERALLY agree in number and person with the antecedent they modify."

If there is error in any of the above assertions I would greatly appreciate anyone pointing it out (neither quote is mine). Absolutely love the spirit & info. on this forum!
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 13th, 2018, 5:53 am

Well, first of all the person who wrote this is an idiot who doesn't have a clue about how Greek actually works. He, she or it has taken one factoid about the language and completely misapplied it (the antecedent agreement). No, pronouns do not modify verbs. They can be part of a prepositional phrase or a relative clause or a participial phrase (such as a genitive absolute) which may be used adverbially, but they do not in themselves modify verbs. The reason that βαπτσθήτω is singular is because the grammatical subject is ἕκαστος, "each." Since this is a nominative singular third person reference it throws the verb of which it's the subject into the 3rd person singular. What the first ὑμῶν modifies is ἕκαστος as a partitive genitive, "each one of you. It's a stronger way of stating the imperative. Instead of βαπτίσθητε, "be baptized" he particularizes the subject and emphasizes the "you" individually.

What does modify the verbs is the prepositional phrase εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν, "for the forgiveness of your sins." I won't say anymore, lest we wander off into theology, but both the interlocutors above seem to be answering theological questions, don't understand the Greek, and so write what is essentially nonsense.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 13th, 2018, 6:59 pm

Pronouns are used as verbal arguments:

Gen 1:28

ויאמר להם אלהים פרו ורבו ומלאו את־הארץ וכבשׁה

ΣΥΜΜΑΧΟΣ
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς ὁ θεός· αὐξάνεσθε καὶ πληθύνεσθε καὶ
πληρώσατε τὴν γῆν καὶ ὑποτάξατε αὐτὴν ...

Where αὐτὴν renders the pronominal suffix on וכבשׁה.
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R. Perkins
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Re: Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

Post by R. Perkins » March 14th, 2018, 3:50 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
March 13th, 2018, 5:53 am
Well, first of all the person who wrote this is an idiot who doesn't have a clue about how Greek actually works. He, she or it has taken one factoid about the language and completely misapplied it (the antecedent agreement). No, pronouns do not modify verbs. They can be part of a prepositional phrase or a relative clause or a participial phrase (such as a genitive absolute) which may be used adverbially, but they do not in themselves modify verbs. The reason that βαπτσθήτω is singular is because the grammatical subject is ἕκαστος, "each." Since this is a nominative singular third person reference it throws the verb of which it's the subject into the 3rd person singular. What the first ὑμῶν modifies is ἕκαστος as a partitive genitive, "each one of you. It's a stronger way of stating the imperative. Instead of βαπτίσθητε, "be baptized" he particularizes the subject and emphasizes the "you" individually.

What does modify the verbs is the prepositional phrase εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν, "for the forgiveness of your sins." I won't say anymore, lest we wander off into theology, but both the interlocutors above seem to be answering theological questions, don't understand the Greek, and so write what is essentially nonsense.
Thank you Barry. I am familiar w. the "eis" debate in this passage.

Quick follow-up question: You said, "The reason that βαπτσθήτω is singular is because the grammatical subject is ἕκαστος, "each." Since this is a nominative singular third person reference it throws the verb of which it's the subject into the 3rd person singular."

I am having trouble locating why ἕκαστος is a nominative singular third person reference. I see the nom. case in parsing, but am unclear on where you're deriving the third person reference? Not at all disputing your assertion at all (I'm in no place to do that)...just seeking a clearer understanding. I'm surmising that you're deriving this conclusion from the whole tenor of Peter's instructions to "them" (obviously 3rd person) (?).

Otherwise, again, this is just as I suspected! The moment I read "the pronoun modifies the verb" I thought..."Huh" :??? Thank you again!
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R. Perkins
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Re: Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

Post by R. Perkins » March 14th, 2018, 3:51 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
March 13th, 2018, 6:59 pm
Pronouns are used as verbal arguments:

Gen 1:28

ויאמר להם אלהים פרו ורבו ומלאו את־הארץ וכבשׁה

ΣΥΜΜΑΧΟΣ
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς ὁ θεός· αὐξάνεσθε καὶ πληθύνεσθε καὶ
πληρώσατε τὴν γῆν καὶ ὑποτάξατε αὐτὴν ...

Where αὐτὴν renders the pronominal suffix on וכבשׁה.
Interesting. Will try to dig a little deeper into this (i.e., what would be the take away?). Thank you!
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » March 14th, 2018, 5:24 am

R. Perkins wrote:
March 14th, 2018, 3:50 am

I am having trouble locating why ἕκαστος is a nominative singular third person reference. I see the nom. case in parsing, but am unclear on where you're deriving the third person reference?
Compare with English:

"You do" (second person plural or singlular)
"I do" (first person singular)
"They do" (third person plural)
"He does" (third person singular)
"Each one does" (fill_in_here)
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 14th, 2018, 5:43 am

R. Perkins wrote:
March 14th, 2018, 3:50 am

Quick follow-up question: You said, "The reason that βαπτσθήτω is singular is because the grammatical subject is ἕκαστος, "each." Since this is a nominative singular third person reference it throws the verb of which it's the subject into the 3rd person singular."

I am having trouble locating why ἕκαστος is a nominative singular third person reference. I see the nom. case in parsing, but am unclear on where you're deriving the third person reference? Not at all disputing your assertion at all (I'm in no place to do that)...just seeking a clearer understanding. I'm surmising that you're deriving this conclusion from the whole tenor of Peter's instructions to "them" (obviously 3rd person) (?).

Otherwise, again, this is just as I suspected! The moment I read "the pronoun modifies the verb" I thought..."Huh" :??? Thank you again!
ἕκαστος, η, ον (Hom.+) one of an aggregate in a distributive sense, each, every, distributive pronoun...

ⓑ As subst. each one, every one...

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 298). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

In other words, ἕκαστος refers to something that it is not "I," "we," or "you" (singular or plural). That's the definition of what makes it third person. The verb it takes therefore must be third person.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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R. Perkins
Posts: 74
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Re: Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

Post by R. Perkins » March 15th, 2018, 12:14 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
March 14th, 2018, 5:24 am
R. Perkins wrote:
March 14th, 2018, 3:50 am

I am having trouble locating why ἕκαστος is a nominative singular third person reference. I see the nom. case in parsing, but am unclear on where you're deriving the third person reference?
Compare with English:

"You do" (second person plural or singlular)
"I do" (first person singular)
"They do" (third person plural)
"He does" (third person singular)
"Each one does" (fill_in_here)
Ok, I got it!
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R. Perkins
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Re: Can Pronouns "Modify" Verbs?

Post by R. Perkins » March 15th, 2018, 12:17 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
March 14th, 2018, 5:43 am
R. Perkins wrote:
March 14th, 2018, 3:50 am

Quick follow-up question: You said, "The reason that βαπτσθήτω is singular is because the grammatical subject is ἕκαστος, "each." Since this is a nominative singular third person reference it throws the verb of which it's the subject into the 3rd person singular."

I am having trouble locating why ἕκαστος is a nominative singular third person reference. I see the nom. case in parsing, but am unclear on where you're deriving the third person reference? Not at all disputing your assertion at all (I'm in no place to do that)...just seeking a clearer understanding. I'm surmising that you're deriving this conclusion from the whole tenor of Peter's instructions to "them" (obviously 3rd person) (?).

Otherwise, again, this is just as I suspected! The moment I read "the pronoun modifies the verb" I thought..."Huh" :??? Thank you again!
ἕκαστος, η, ον (Hom.+) one of an aggregate in a distributive sense, each, every, distributive pronoun...

ⓑ As subst. each one, every one...

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 298). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

In other words, ἕκαστος refers to something that it is not "I," "we," or "you" (singular or plural). That's the definition of what makes it third person. The verb it takes therefore must be third person.
Oh, okay - simple (man do I ever feel elementary about right now :oops:!).

Thanks much.
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