In Ancient Greek
, the genitive case
is rivaled only by the dative
for pointless complexity
. Bear with me here, this is going to get a little tricky
Again, Latin crossover is uncertain, but assumed to be there.
- The most common use (not to mention the easiest to understand) is in possession.
EX: Scott's toaster was possessed by demons.
In Greek, "Scott" would be in the genitive case because he is the possessor, while "toaster," as the subject, would be nominative.
- The next use is known as partative, where a qualifying phrase follows a noun, classifying it.
EX: A flock of seagulls dive-bombed the Chinese embassy.
The partative is used in "group" situations, i.e- a fleet of ships, or the aforesaid flock of seagulls. Only the descriptor is placed into the genitive; the word it modifies remains in its original case.
- A somewhat easier use is time within which.
EX: I sleep during the day.
Unlike English, in Greek, a preposition representing "during" wouldn't be needed; if a genitive were used as a time within which, "during" would be implied.
- If you understood the last one, this next one shouldn't be a problem: place from which.
EX: People from France should be pitied but feared.
As with the above concept, no preposition is needed to designate "from," but there are times when the author will be kind enough to include one.
- Occasionally, a genitive will be used as an adjective of comparison.
EX: The Beatles are obviously bigger than Jesus.
Instead of the phrase "bigger than," "Beatles" would be placed in the genitive case. In the end, it would carry across the same meaning.
- Webster 1913 has (hopefully) taken care of genitive absolutes, so I'll leave that to the expert.
- There are verbs that take a genitive, as opposed to the more normal accusative, object. They're usually compound verbs- verbs formed by the combination of a regular verb and a preposition. Other than their case, however, there's no difference between a genitive object and an accusative one.
- Finally, the easiest use of the genitive is in apposition to another noun in the genitive.
EX: The archnemesis of Diablo, the Satanic Chicken, is Gregor Mendel.
If you can't get this one, please stop reading these writeups.