Greek Basics: Lesson 1

Hello and welcome to the Greek Basics course! In this course you will be learning to speak and use the Modern Greek language in a fun and exciting way. You will be on your way to enjoying the pleasures of the Greek language in no time. Please make sure that you can read and write Greek (including typing) before you start this course, as all texts will use the Greek alphabet, which really is not too difficult. You can go to this site ( to learn the Greek alphabet.

The word for he in Greek is αυτός.
The word for has in Greek is έχει.

Try to say "He has" in Greek.

1 translation: He has.

Did you get it right? Great job! Now let’s learn the word for it.

It in Greek is αυτό.

The only difference between he and it is that the former has an ‘s’ sound at the end. Try saying “it has.”

2 translation: It has.

If he (or anyone else) is doing something to it, αυτό gets scared and tries to hide between the subject and the verb (between he and has). Only its end is showing, so it changes to το.

3 translation: He has it.

See? It’s simple.

Wants is θέλει.

Think of someone with a lisp trying to say “It is silly (thilly) that he wants it.

4 translation: He wants it.

Or more simply:

5 translation: He wants.

Can, as in he can is μπορεί.

Say that it can.

6 translation: It can.

And in Greek is και.

Imagine eating cake and ice cream.

7 translation: He wants and he can.

That sounds a little repetitive, so just try shortening it:

8 translation: He wants and can.

Another little thing with και. When it comes before a sound like ‘e’ in bed, it changes to κι because it sounds much better that way.

9 translation: He wants and has.

One more verb you might like to know…

Hears in Greek is ακούει.

10 translation: He hears it.

To make a sentence negative, just add δεν before the verb you want to make negative. If το appears in that sentence, it comes in between δεν and the verb.

(Before certain consonant sounds, the ν is dropped, but don’t worry too much about this. You’ll probably get the feel for it as you learn, but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter too much because many Greeks get this wrong too.)

11 translation: He doesn’t have it.

12 translation: He doesn’t want it and he doesn’t have it.

One last very simple word before the end of the lesson.

But is αλλά.

Think of a Christian missionary trying to convert a Muslim. The Muslim might say, “But I worship Allah!”

13 translation: He wants it but he does not have it.

Let’s try something really long and confusing.

14 translation: He doesn’t have it and he doesn’t hear it, but he wants it.

Remember to drop αυτός so that you don’t sound repetitive.

That’s all for the first lesson. Wasn’t that fun? I hope you enjoyed it enough to continue learning Greek.

Answers to Lesson 1

1 answer: Αυτός έχει.
2 answer: Αυτό έχει.
3 answer: Αυτός το έχει.
4 answer: Αυτός το θέλει.
5 answer: Αυτός θέλει.
6 answer: Αυτό μπορεί.
7 answer: Αυτός θέλει και αυτός μπορεί.
8 answer: Αυτός θέλει και μπορεί.
9 answer: Αυτός θέλει κι έχει.
10 answer: Αυτός το ακούει.
11 answer: Αυτός δεν το έχει.
12 answer: Αυτός δεν το έχει και δεν το θέλει.
13 answer: Αυτός το θέλει αλλά δεν το έχει.
14 answer: Αυτός δεν το έχει και δεν το ακούει, αλλά το θέλει.