Appendix:Ancient Greek enclitics

Some Ancient Greek words, most importantly many personal pronouns, particles, and forms of athematic verbs, have special properties regarding accentuation.

List of enclitics


The following words are enclitics:

Effects of enclitics


A word preceding an enclitic, depending on its accentuation, will receive an additional acute accent (never a grave or circumflex) upon its final syllable.

  • Words with an acute upon the final syllable do not receive an additional acute, but always have an acute and not a grave: δός μοι, not **δὸς μοι.
  • Words with a circumflex upon the final syllable, or an acute upon the penultimate syllable, are not changed: φιλῶ σε, not **φιλώ σε; τιμῶν τινων, not **τιμών τινων.
  • Any other word will receive an additional acute accent: ἄνθρωπός τις; σῶσόν με.

The enclitic itself normally takes no accent, however:

  • Enclitics preceding other enclitics take an acute in the normal fashion: εἴ πού τίς τινα.
  • Enclitics at the beginning of a sentence or clause retain their accent. Enclitics used emphatically also retain their accent.
  • Enclitics retain their accent following an elided word: δ’ εἰσίν; ταῦτ’ ἐστί.
  • Disyllabic enclitics retain their accent following a paroxytone word: χώρα τις, but χώρας τινός.
  • ἐστί is written ἔστι at the beginning of a sentence, if it follows οὐκ (ouk), μή (mḗ), εἰ (ei), ὡς (hōs), ἀλλ’ (all’), τοῦτ’ (toût’), and in the phrase ἔστιν ὅτε (éstin hóte, sometimes).
  • ποτέ (poté) and τινές (tinés) retain their accent when accompanied with μέν... δέ (e.g. ποτὲ μὲν Γαλάταις, ποτὲ δὲ πλείονα Θρᾳξίν).

Many of these rules are due to the enclitic effectively (for the purposes of accent) forming a single word with the word preceding it: because a word must have accent on one of its last three syllables, enclitics cause the final syllable of a word that would otherwise violate this rule to gain accent, and disyllabic enclitics retain accent in the case of paroxytones (which cannot gain additional accent).

Enclitic suffixes


Many enclitics can be used in the form of a suffix, most prominently τέ (), πέρ (pér), forms of τίς (tís), and the inseparable -δε (-de), -θε (-the), -χι (-khi). These suffixes act like enclitics for the purposes of accent, and may defy the normal rules thereof: εἴθε (eíthe) (not **εἶθε), ᾧτινι (hôitini) (not **ᾥτινι).



Ten words, which usually have no accent, are similar to enclitics, but are connected rather to the following word. They are: the articles (ho), (), οἱ (hoi), αἱ (hai); the prepositions ἐν (en), εἰς (eis), ἐξ (ex); the conjunctions εἰ (ei), ὡς (hōs), and the adverb οὐ (ou). Unlike enclitics, they do not modify other words; like enclitics, they take accent in certain situations:

  • οὐ (ou), when it stands alone, or at the end of a sentence.
  • Prepositions (including ὡς (hōs), when used as a preposition meaning "as") receive an acute in poetry, when they stand at the end of a verse and follow their object.
  • Before an enclitic: ἔν τισι.
  • Forms of the article, when used as relative pronouns, and sometimes demonstratives.


  • Herbert Weir Smyth & Gordon M. Messing, Greek Grammar, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1956, pp.41-43.