I see on quite a few resources tenses referred as θη-future or θη-aorist and I don't understand what it exactly means.

Are θη-future and θη-aorist another way to say future passive and aorist passive, so as to not confuse with the middle-passive, or are they something different ?

2 Answers 2


These terms are presumably intended to refer either to all aorist passives and future passives, or possibly to just the ones with a theta, a.k.a. "first aorist passives" and "first future passives".

Most verbs form their aorist passive and future passive with -θη-, e.g. ἐλύθην, λυθήσομαι. But some form them with just -η-, e.g. ἐφάνην, φανήσομαι. The thetaful forms are sometimes called "first" and the thetaless ones "second" aorist/future passives. Without seeing the context, it's hard to guess whether "θη-future"/"θη-aorist" are supposed to refer to both these sets of forms or just the former.

  • Hm okay and I guess the thetaful form conveys an even more passive meaning than the second, or the two forms are pretty much interchangeable and have developed due to the sporadic usage of Greek? May 27, 2020 at 7:55
  • @AlexandreDaubricourt No, it just depends on the specific verb. Some have the forms with theta, others have the forms without theta, but there's no difference in meaning.
    – TKR
    May 27, 2020 at 17:55

Yes, that is correct. The only tenses/stems that can get θη are the aorist passive and the future passive: the others have passive meaning expressed by the middle voice (this being Greek, there will always be exceptions and idiosyncrasies, but the above is standard).

  • You mean that if a stem cannot form a θη, its passive meaning will be carried through the middle voice, so that it will only have active and medio-passive ? May 27, 2020 at 7:49
  • @AlexandreDaubricourt: Yes, exactly (note that there is no different between passive θη and passive η: those are the exact same suffix with the exact same meaning and usage; it's just that the θ is dropped after certain roots, notably after m, n, l, r, analogous to sigmatic and pseudo-sigmatic aorist).
    – Cerberus
    May 27, 2020 at 13:06
  • @AlexandreDaubricourt Just to clarify, it's not about stems but tenses. The aorist and future tenses distinguish passive from middle, so verbs whose meaning allows it have all three voices in those tenses. The other tenses don't, so in those tenses verbs can only have active and medio-passive forms.
    – TKR
    May 27, 2020 at 17:58
  • @TKR: You're right, I should have said roots.
    – Cerberus
    May 27, 2020 at 20:34

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