As suggested by cmw, I'm spinning off this resource request from an earlier question that was long and unwieldy.

Can anyone suggest resources that do a good job of giving a complete presentation of the formation of the Greek infinitive, including the Homeric dialect?

Pharr and Smythe seem to have very little to say about the formation of the infinitive. (Pharr's discussion, such as it is, is in sec. 828, unless there's more elsewhere. I'm finding it hard to locate information in Smythe through the Project Perseus version.) White has a brief discussion on p. 119.

As examples of forms that I don't understand, there are πολεμιζέμεν and λελυκέναι (with additional epsilons coming in) or even λύειν (separate question).

  • 1
    a good place to start would be Chapitre XLII Les infinifs (pp. 469-476) in Grammaire homérique. Tome I: Phonétique et morphologie by Pierre Chantraine klincksieck.com/livre/…
    – Alex B.
    Sep 17, 2021 at 15:39

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure if this is actually the best answer to my own question, but a reference that has the advantage of being free and in English is Monro, A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect (1891). It sounds like Monro has been obsoleted by Chantraine among experts, but he does have a treatment of the formation of the infinitive on pp. 74 (sec. 84) and 77 (sec. 89, accentuation). Monro doesn't discuss Attic, for which maybe White (linked in the question) works. Monro does provide a little more detail on how -ειν occurs as a contraction, an issue that I found obscure in Pharr and White.

Also, Smyth has a good discussion of this in sec. 469, including an explanation of how Homer differs from Attic. The following is a summary of Homeric infinitives based on Smyth:

-εν, -μεναι, -μεν .... present, thematic 2nd aor active, future active, e.g., λύε-εν -> λύειν

-αι ......................... 1st aor active, e.g., λύσαι

-ναι, -μεναι, -μεν ... present and 2nd perfect of athematic verbs; passive aor; perfect active; e.g., τιθέναι

-μεναι .................... athematic 2nd aor; Attic -εναι, e.g., δίδωμι -> δό-εναι -> δοῦναι

-σθαι ..................... all others

In the above, -μεναι is Aeolic, -μεν Doric, both frequent in Homer.

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