"Ο άντρας της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο."

Translation:Her husband reads a book.

September 13, 2016

32 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/teopap2

This sentence is actually pretty tricky. It could mean two distinct things:

  1. (Ο άντρας) (της διαβάζει) (ένα βιβλίο) = (The man) (reads to her) (a book)
  2. (Ο άντρας της) (διαβάζει) (ένα βιβλίο) = (Her man/husband) (reads) (a book) !!not to her!!

Depending on the meaning, each parenthesis is pronounced as a whole. So in case (1) της is pronounced close to διαβάζει, with similar intensity, whereas in case (2) της is pronounced together with άντρας, as if the two were one single word with the accent in the third syllable from the end: *άντραστης.

So, to distinguish between the two cases in written, if the meaning is (1) an accent is put on της. We have then:

  1. Ο άντρας τής διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο = The man reads a book to her
  2. Ο άντρας της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο = Her man reads a book

and the ambiguity is dealt with. The same stands with other words that could be either possessive or object pronouns, i.e. μου, σου, του, μας, σας, τους.

Note that when there is no possibility of misunderstanding, no accent is put on these words, following the general rule that on (most) one-syllable words there is no accent:

Ο άντρας της της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο = Her man reads a book to her

Τα παιδιά μας τους διαβάζουν ένα γράμμα = Our children read a letter to them

September 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PhilipMarshall1

Thank you for writing this!

January 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jason997955

How would you say "Her man reads her a book"? Or if he's reading to their children, "Her man reads them a book"?

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/greekdude_

(It's already in the first comment) "Ο άντρας της, της διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο", "Ο άντρας της τους διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο"

September 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/uAGK7

Thank you for this useful and profound explanation!

November 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Flo591060

Exactly the question I was having! Thank you very much for this comment.

December 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/gnnguyen

This was super helpful. Thank you!

January 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/PhilSimmonds

so why not - 'her man reads a book ' ?

September 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/FrederickEason

Because when used with a possessive, "άντρας" means "husband". "Man" does not mean "husband" very often in (modern) English; it is usually only used that way informally or within certain phrases, such as "man and wife".

December 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AndyPyrope

Same in Bulgarian. Apparently the exact same thing applies to γυναίκα.

November 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexDaubri

well I already heard "He's my man" meaning "He is my husband"

July 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/nphx2

άνδρας please (strengthening).

October 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/dolce10

why not "the man reads her a book" ?

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Dimitra956826

It's been added. Thank you.

November 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/UralMasha

Why is this incorrect? "the husband reads her a book"

October 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/teopap2
  • άντρας = man
  • ο άντρας = the man
  • ο άντρας μου = my husband (informal)

  • γυναίκα = woman

  • η γυναίκα = the woman
  • η γυναίκα μου = my wife (informal)

  • σύζυγος = husband/wife

  • ο σύζυγος = the husband
  • η σύζυγος = the wife
  • ο σύζυγός μου = my husband (formal)
  • η σύζυγός μου = my wife (formal)

You can replace μου with any other possessive (σου, του, της, μας, σας, τους).
You can see that "the husband" corresponds only to "ο σύζυγος", but not to "ο άντρας".

October 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreaMich.

Thanks for that. But... I wonder why in case of word σύζυγος, "my husband/wife" in formal form is double-stressed - σύζυγός.

August 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Renardo_11

σύζυγός gets the second accent from the following possessive μου, which is not stressed.

August 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LyraTheGreat

I tried "Ο άντρας τις διαβάζει ένα βιβλίο", which was wrong. Couldn't what I have written meant "The man reads to them (f) a book" ?

February 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dimitra956826

No. That would be τους and not τις. Τις doesn't work for indirect objects. It's for direct objects. ^.^

Τις είδε και τους μίλησε. - He saw them and talked to them.

When it comes to indirect objects, τους is for all three genders in plural. Note that even when the direct and indirect object are the same person (like in the example above) you still have to use the correct form.

February 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Carcdrcons

I wonder if grammatical ambiguities were responsible for some wars in the ancient world.

April 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jaye16

There is this issue: "the whole discussion which split the Christian world was over one iota." See here http://wolf.mind.net/library/eastern/Christian/p225.html for how the single tiny letter "iota" (ι) was involved.

I don't know of any wars but anything is possible. I have heard of translation errors which caused huge problems.

April 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Hafizen

I'd heard this expression but had no idea of its origins. Thanks! On the other hand, there's also the expression: "I don't give one iota." = I don't care at all. Go figure.

June 14, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Hank_Williams_Sr

Why is "her man reads a book" marked as wrong?

June 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/greekdude_

Because 'άντρας της' means husband

August 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jcosham

Is there any way to say 'her man'? For a boyfriend or otherwise together but not married?

September 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/greekdude_

It's the same "ο άντρας της". But be prepared to hear "I didn't know they were married" next ;)

September 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Amit.erez

I have used a man instead of a husband, and it was rejected. I doubt that it was a mistake

March 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/jaye16

If you wrote..."a man" the problem would be with "a" not "man" because the sentence says "Ο άντρας" which is ''the man (or the husband)''. It's always best to send a screenshot when you're in doubt about why something was rejected.

March 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/a_morath

That's what I mean, there. At least "man" should be accepted. There is a σύζυγος for spouses in particular, isn't it?

March 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Hafizen

@ teopap2: such a clear explanation. I copied all your comments to my notes. Thanks so much!

June 14, 2019
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