greek grammar

Greek grammar rules – when to write the την or τη or δεν or δε ? It might be a bit complicated, without any reason.
In this article, we will explain to you when you should write the ” -ν
” at the end of the articles ,
 τ(ην), as well as with  δε) and μη)?

While learning Greek,  we suppose you have wondered what happens with the “-ν” at the end of the articles or in the words “δεν” and “μην”. Sometimes you see δεν, but you also see δε.. . etc.

Even if you have read the rules about when to write what, you still feel insecure or you can not remember what to write?

Well, in that case, do not worry! There is a solution ; Just put “-ν” everywhere!  So always write τον,  την, as well as  δεν and μην!
Easy!  😊

The specific Greek Grammar Rules

Below we do analyze the specific grammar rules about when you write the “the last -ν” or not.
However, in general, we believe those rules are a bit complicated and there is no reason to spend much time on this. Even Greeks often do not know those rules, and the rules were changed regularly!

The grammar rules at this moment, are as follows;

  • We always keep -ν if a masculine noun or name follows

Είδα τον Παύλο σήμερα.    (I saw Paul today.)

Μίλησα με τον Γιώργο.       (I talked with George.)

Πήγα στον Καναδά.            (I went to Canada.)


  • For feminine nouns, as well as for δεν and μην, we keep the ” -ν ” ONLY if the next word starts with;

A. -a vowel

Είμαι από την Ελλάδα.        (I am from Greece.)

Αγόρασα την ομπρέλα.       (I bought the umbrella.)

Τηλεφώνησα στην Ελένη.  (I called Eleni.)

Δεν ακούω τίποτα.              (I don’t hear anything.)

Μην ανοίξεις την πόρτα.    (Don’t open the door.)

B. -μπ, ντ, τσ, τζ, γκ,

Δεν μπορώ να έρθω.      (I cannot come.)

Μην ντρέπεσαι.              (Don’t be shy.)

Αγόρασα την τσάντα.    (I bought the bag.)

Είδα την Τζένη.               (I saw Jenny.)

Σήμερα πήγαμε στην γκαρσονιέρα.      (We went to the studio apartment today.)


C. -ξ, ψ

Δεν ξέρω.      (I don’t know.)

Μην ψωνίσεις. Πήγα ήδη στο σούπερ μάρκετ.      (Don’t shop. I already went to the supermarket.)

Μίλησα με την Ξένια.   (I talked with Xenia.)


D.   -κ,π,τ

Δεν καταλαβαίνω.             (I don’t understand.)

Είσαι από την Πολωνία;  (Are you from Poland?)

Μην τρως πολλά γλυκά!  (Don’t eat too many sweets!)


This means that, if you want to put “την”, “δεν” or “μην” into your sentence, and nothing of the above is the first letter of the word that follows, you drop the “-ν”.


For example;

Μίλησα με τη Γεωργία. (not την Γεωργία, γ is not on the list above)

I talked with Georgia.


Είμαι από τη Δανία. (not την Δανία, δ is not on the list above)

I am from Denmark.


Δε θέλω να πάω στο πάρτι. (not Δεν θέλω, θ is not on the list above)

I don’t want to go to the party.


Μη μιλάς. (not Μην μιλάς, μ is not on the list above)

Don’t speak.



Another and easy way to remember

We received an interesting email from a student learning Greek, informing about the following;

Just wanted to say that a way of knowing very fast whether to keep the ν in την is to apply the word KAPUT, the rule being;

keep it before κ, π, τ and all vowels PLUS all consonant digraphs, whether by spelling or sound (all the spelt digraphs such as μπ, along with the sound digraphs such as ξ).
 I have found it extremely effective, and satisfying, in use.
Best,  Valerie



Althoug there are rules and tricks to remember, again, we believe it is easier to write  -ν everywhere and do not lose too much time with this.
Also many Greeks  have no idea about these rules, so it is more important to learn other Greek grammar, like verbs, tenses, prepositions, etc…
If you want to know the most important rule, is the -ν in front of vowels.

Keep up, keep it simple,  and enjoy your Greek language journey



Interested to learn more about Greek Verbs?

Then take a look at those blog articles