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Τα φαντάσματα είναι νεκροί - agreement?

While strengthening the "Spiritual" skill, I got a multiple-choice sentence asking me to translate "The ghosts" are dead. The choices were

  1. Τα φαντάσματα είναι νεκρά.
  2. Τα φαντάσματα είναι νεκροί.
  3. Είσαστε φαντάσματα είναι νεκρά.

I picked number 1 but was told that both 1+2 were supposed to be correct.

How does number 2 work? Doesn't the adjective have to agree in gender (neuter) with the subject?

Or is semantic agreement allowed? For example, could I say Το κορίτσι είναι όμορφη because the girl's natural gender is female, and that's why Τα φαντάσματα είναι νεκροί is possible because the ghosts are considered as being male even though the word is neuter?

(I couldn't post a sentence discussion, sorry.)

November 2, 2016



In general, the gender and the number of the subject have to agree with the gender and the number of the predicate.

However, this does not apply to particular cases, like this.

The adjective "νεκρός" means "dead" but, like many other adjectives, it can be used as a noun too. In the sentence "τα φαντάσματα είναι νεκροί" (= the ghosts are dead people), the word "άνθρωποι" (= people) is omitted.

"Τα φαντάσματα είναι νεκρά" has a slightly different meaning. It means that the ghosts are dead (they -the ghosts- have died/ been killed -> they were not dead before).

Other adjectives that can be used as nouns are:

τα μαύρα (ρούχα), το δημοτικό (σχολείο), η δημοτική (γλώσσα), etc.

You can find more information here. I hope that this helps. :-)


Hm, I see.

That sounds to me as if Τα φαντάσματα είναι νεκροί is a grammatical sentence... but it's still not a good translation of the English "The ghosts are dead."


Because I think that its translation would have to be "The ghosts are dead people." in English.


Yes, your translation is right. I hope that a moderator will see it and will edit the sentence. :-)


So, where do we go from here? If we leave the "Τα φαντάσματα είναι νεκροί" and can add "άνθρωποι" it would be a viable sentence. No? Then we translate: "The ghosts are dead people." Let's me try.


1 + 2 are good :) the one is saying ghosts are dead for neutrals somehow the second can continue like the ghosts are dead people, persons etc so both are good

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