1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Greek
  4. >
  5. "Σήμερα γράφω το γράμμα."

"Σήμερα γράφω το γράμμα."

Translation:Today I write the letter.

September 11, 2016



So, does γράμμα also mean "letter" in the sense of epistle?


Ευχαριστώ πολύ.


When I was answering there was a spelling mistake in the answer card, it was written as "IToday"


I've seen those buggy tiles before as well. I believe that should be reported to the Duolingo staff. The report "flag" button should be on the question itself. Here's a link from the help page that explains it.

Some posts on the forum state that a new Greek language tree is in the works. Hopefully, they'll catch those buggy tiles in the next one.


It says "IToday" in the word selection


So, in Greek, which is the emphatic position for TODAY? Σήμερα at the beginning or at the end? I ask because the neutral and emphatic positions vary from one language to the next. Thanks.


The emphatic position for today is at the beginning.


If I haven't written the letter yet I'd have to say "I will write the letter today" in English. Even if it's going to happen in a few seconds English still requires the future tense. It sounds stilted to say "I write the letter today." My question is: Is Greek like that too? Or is it perhaps like German which allows you to use the present tense for future events? Thank you.


Your question is deep and your intuition about how German uses present for future works for English sometimes, too (after all, English is a Germanic language). Present tense in English is complicated. There are at least four ways to express present in English. Here's an online overview: https://www.ef.com/wwen/english-resources/english-grammar/present/ English, for instance, has progressive or continuous present, "I'm writing the letter today," and simple present (to express general truths or habits), "I write the letter today." The latter is not particularly good English; we would probably say "I write a letter daily," instead; or, as you note, we would use the future in the latter case: "I will write the letter today." Some languages do not distinguish between types of present, while some languages reside almost entirely in the present, while heavily tonal languages that have been historically solely oral (e.g., Hmong) will determine tense differently. Precisely when to use the future and when to use one of the types of present tense is sometimes idiomatic. I can confirm that it's debated how the future functioned in the history of the Greek language, specifically, the extent to which the future form in ancient Gk was a tense and how tense relates to aspect in Greek (a very thorny topic: See Mackridge, Modern Greek Language, 102-34). Speakers of languages that have a heavy temporal focus in verb choice will have a hard time getting a handle on a language that uses tense and mood differently or in which aspect is an integral part of the verbal choice. Mackridge discusses future in relation to subjunctive on p. 280-81. He writes (281): "With the perfective non-past, it is impossible (and unnecessary) to distinguish the future from the epistemic [inferential] meanings, since in either case the speaker is making a prediction, which by its very nature is a statement that cannot be verified at the time of speaking." He notes that although θα marks the future in modern Gk, sometimes statements can be uttered without θα. Sorry for rambling here. I've been trying to understand aspect in the history of the Greek language for years and am hoping that learning modern Greek will help.


Thank you for this. Even if I'm not sure I understand this it is very interesting to hear about characteristics we tend to take for granted in modern English, which are not necessarily part of other languages (eg. in Chinese the tense is indicated by words such as 'today', 'yesterday' or 'tomorrow'.)


I had a similar question to yours and received a similar answer that only things in the immediate future would use present tense. In English idiom, I would ask "what are you doing today" instead of "what will you be doing today".


Or even "what are you doing this summer?" inquiring about upcoming plans.


I was wondering if the word for "today" (σήμερα) can go last instead of at the beginning of the sentence. Would that sound natural to the Greek ear?


Yes, it is a matter of emphasis.


Thanks AniOhevYayin. Und vielen Dank für die Blumen. Since I know no Ancient Greek, though, the info you've provided is way above my head. As a beginner in modern Greek, I'm wondering whether you can say the equivalent of "I write the letter today" (I believe any circumstance/context in which this would be correct in English would have to be pretty contrived.) and actually mean "I am going to / will write the letter today". (It seems like your quote from Mackridge indicates that - right?) If that's true it would be an important new tidbit to add to my fledgling knowledge of Greek. Thanks again.


"You used the wrong word. ΙToday I am writing the letter." I wonder what does "IToday" mean? (My answer was: "Today I'm writing the letter.")


The word you quoted started with a Greek capital iota, not a Latin capital i.

At any rate, this seems to have been corrected about five days ago in the backend. I'm not sure how quickly that fix will be visible in the public site.

If you are using a mobile app, you may need to wait for the app to be updated or to re-download downloaded lessons.


Today I am writing the letter was marked as wrong, why?

Learn Greek in just 5 minutes a day. For free.