Aristotle's Metaphysics, 994a,26-7:

ἀεὶ γάρ ἐστι μεταξύ, ὥσπερ τοῦ εἶναι καὶ μὴ εἶναι γένεσις, οὕτω καὶ τὸ γιγνόμενον τοῦ ὄντος καὶ μὴ ὄντος

Reeve's translation:

for there is always an intermediate, so that as between being and not being there is coming to be, so too the thing that is coming to be is between the thing that is and the thing that is not

How can an adverb function as a noun? I have seen this function in some other instances, too.

1 Answer 1


I don't think μεταξύ is functioning as a noun here, but normally as a preposition. Here's a paraphrase to make the syntax clearer:

ἀεὶ γάρ, ὥσπερ γένεσίς ἐστι μεταξύ τοῦ εἶναι καὶ μὴ εἶναι, οὕτω καὶ τὸ γιγνόμενόν ἐστι μεταξύ τοῦ ὄντος καὶ μὴ ὄντος.

Tredennick's translation:

For just as "becoming" is always intermediate between being and not-being, so is that which is becoming between what is and what is not.

  • LSJ: 3. of Qualities, τὰ μεταξὺ intermediate, i.e. neither good nor bad, Pl.Grg.468a. Here, it is not functioning as a noun, too? In Metaphysics, however, it does not have an article.
    – Ali Nikzad
    Mar 22, 2022 at 21:18
  • @AliNikzad The article is required for it to function as a noun. Or put otherwise, with a phrase like τὰ μεταξὺ there's an implied generic noun, "the (things) between", but that's not the case when the article is absent.
    – TKR
    Mar 23, 2022 at 6:41
  • I think "ἐπὶ τὸ κάτω" follows the same rule. Could you please mention an entry in grammar books about the composition of article and adverb?
    – Ali Nikzad
    Mar 23, 2022 at 9:51
  • @AliNikzad Sure, see Smyth 1153 on the substantival use of the article: perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/…
    – TKR
    Mar 23, 2022 at 10:27
  • 1
    @Michael16 That's worth a separate question as it's not really related to this one, but the TLG is a good resource: stephanus.tlg.uci.edu
    – TKR
    Jul 17, 2022 at 17:45

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