The accusative of Greek personal pronouns, has two forms: a short form and a full form. They both replace direct objects.
Accusative (full form)
Accusative (short form)
τις / τες
The short form always depends on a verb and it cannot stand alone in a sentence. It is more common than the full form, and in Standard Greek it can be used in the following cases:
i. Before verbs in the indicative and the negative imperative (with μην)
Σε αγαπάω. – I love you.
Θα τα φάω. – I’ll eat them.
Το έχω διαβάσει. – I’ve read it.
Μη μας πειράζεις. – Don’t pester us.
ii. After verbs in the imperative (unless it is a negative imperative, with μην)
Άσε με ήσυχο. – Leave me alone.
Πες το. – Say it.
Μην το λες. – Don’t say it
iii. After active participles
Κοιτάζοντάς το πάλι, πια δεν το θέλω. – Looking at it again, I don’t want it anymore.
Τη μαθαίνουμε μόνο μιλώντας την. – We learn it only by speaking it.
- The form τες
The feminine gender of the third-person plural in the short form, has two variants: τις and τες.
The latter is rarer, and it is used only when the pronoun comes after the word it depends on. Τhis means that you use τες instead of τις when you have an imperative or an active participle, because these are the only cases when the short form comes after the word.
Φέρ’ τες εδώ. – Bring them here.
Κοιτάζοντάς τες μόνο, δεν κάνεις τίποτα. – By just looking at them, you can't achieve anything.
Μην τις φέρνεις. – Don't bring them.
Αν μόνο τις κοιτάς, δεν κάνεις τίποτα. – If you only look at them, you can't achieve anything.
- When not to use the short form
An essential condition for the short form to be used, is that the speaker does not wish to emphasise the object represented by the personal pronoun.
That being said, the main uses of the full form are:
i. As an emphatic personal pronoun
* Notice the semantic differences between the two sentences in each pair.
Σε κοιτάω. – I’m looking at you.
Εσένα κοιτάω. – I’m looking at you / It’s you who I’m looking at.
Παντρέψου με. – Marry me.
Παντρέψου εμένα. – Marry me [and not someone else].
Πάρε με μαζί σου. – Take me with you.
Πάρε εμένα μαζί σου. – Take me [and not someone else] with you.
Μη με ρωτάς. – Don't ask me.
Μη ρωτάς εμένα. – Don't ask me. (Ask someone else, not me)
Βγήκε βρίζοντάς σε. – She came out swearing at you.
Βγήκε βρίζοντας εσένα. – She came out swearing at you [in particular].
* Sometimes, the difference can go deeper than simply emphasising.
Με ρωτάς; – Are you asking me?
"I don't understand if what you said was a question or a statement", or
"I'm surprised that you're asking this question"
Εμένα ρωτάς; – Are you asking me?
"You should know yourself / You're the one who should know", or
"How do you expect me to know?"
ii. As an independent personal pronoun (not depending on any verb or participle)
Εμένα ψάχνεις; – Are you looking for me? / Is it me that you're looking for?
- Ποιον προτιμάς; -Whom do you prefer?
- Εσένα. -You.
- Εμένα με λένε Ελισάβετ, εσένα; - My name, is Elisabeth, and yours?
- Εμένα, με λένε Μαρίνα. - My name, is Marina.
* The last example can be analysed as follows:
- As for me, they call me Elisabeth, and [what do they call] you?
- As for me, they call me Marina.
Essentially, the full forms here are used to draw attention to oneself or to the other speaker, and also distinguish oneself from the other speaker.
- Use of the full form with prepositions and conjunctions
Because it can stand alone in a sentence, the full form can also be used after prepositions and conjunctions, in patterns like the following:
- Μ’ αρέσει. - I like it. lit: It appeals to me
- Κι εμένα. - Me too. lit: [It appeals] to me too
Θέλει εμένα ή εσένα; – Does he want me or you?
Είμαι καλύτερος από εσένα. – I'm better than you.
Μόνο με εσάς θέλω να παίξω. – I only want to play with you
Μιλάνε για εμένα. – They're talking about me.
Το δέμα είναι για εσένα – The parcel is for you.
Mίλησε μόνο σε εμάς. – He only spoke to us.