In the sentence οὗτος λέγει ὅτι αὕτη τὸ βιβλίον γράφει translated by "He says that she is writing the book." would the meaning change if οὗτος was substituted by αὐτός thus forming the sentence αὐτός λέγει ὅτι αὕτη τὸ βιβλίον γράφει?

In other words, what's the difference between αὐτός and οὗτος and in which cases one should be chosen over the other?

1 Answer 1


Yes, the meaning is different. αὐτός, when used in the nominative, is an emphatic pronoun meaning "he himself". So your second sentence would mean "He himself says...", with some implicit contrast such as "and not anyone else".

The oblique cases of αὐτός, however, are most often unemphatic and are the most common way of expressing the third-person pronoun "he, she, they" when this is not in the nominative. οὗτος / αὕτη are actually demonstratives, "this one"; when Greek wants to say an unemphatic "he, she", etc., in the nominative, it'll usually just leave out the pronoun altogether since the verb ending suffices to indicate the subject.

  • 1
    Okay so if I get it right, he/she/it like we would use in English is written with no pronouns, himself/herself/itself is written with αὐτός and this one or anything more "demonstrative" is written with οὗτος? (roughly) Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 20:14
  • @AlexandreDaubricourt Yes, that's right.
    – TKR
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 20:34

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