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τόσος και όσος. What do they mean?
by Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets - Thursday, 14 August 2008, 07:28 AM
  Hi everyone,

I'd like to understand how to use the words τόσος, -η, -ο and όσος, -η, -ο (as well as the adverbs τόσο and όσο). The lessons here haven't introduced them (except for the expression κάθε τόσο: every now and then), but I've seen them and heard them used quite a lot and am not sure how they are used.

I've looked in my dictionary, but all I can find is that both words are related to the idea of "so, so much, so many" or something like that. I don't know what they mean exactly, nor when to use one or the other.

Can anyone give me an introduction on what those words mean and how to use them? Thanks in advance.
Picture of Guest User
Re: τόσος και όσος. What do they mean?
by Guest User - Thursday, 14 August 2008, 11:23 AM
  ADVERBS indicating QUANTITY (measuring, volume, time etc)
όσο (as much as) Πιες όσο κρασί θέλεις (Drink as much wine as like)
τόσο (so) Είναι τόσο ψηλός (He is so tall)

τόσο/όσο (as/as) Είμαι τόσο καλός όσο εσύ (I'm as good as you)
όσο/τόσο (the more*/the better*) Όσο πιο πολύ προσπαθείς τόσο πιο καλός γίνεσαι The more you try the better you get

*depends on what goes after όσο/τόσο
eg. όσο/τόσο λιγότερο (the less)
όσο/τόσο ψηλότερα (the higher)
όσο/τόσο χειρότερα (the worse)

IT'S EASY TO GET CONFUSED WITH THE PRONOUN. The difference is that pronouns can be declined - changing form within a sentence (singular/plural, case, gender).

PRONOUNS (demonstrative)
singular (m,f,n) τόσος, τόση, τόσο --- όσος, όση, όσο
plural (m,f,n) τόσοι, τόσες, τόσα --- όσοι, όσες, όσα

Hope that helps...
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Re: τόσος και όσος. What do they mean?
by Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets - Friday, 15 August 2008, 05:09 AM
  Thanks, it helps a lot, and I finally understand the difference between τόσο (which indicates a high value or quantity: "so (much)"), and όσο (which indicates a quantity compared to some standard: "as much as", and can be followed by a verb).

As for τόσο/όσο, is it any different from a construction with σαν? Is "είμαι τόσο καλός όσο εσύ" the same as "είμαι καλός σαν εσύ"?

As for the pronouns, you say one mustn't get them confused with the adverbs, but does that mean that they are used in different ways? To take again your example of "πιες όσο κρασί θέλεις", can we use a pronoun instead, for instance: "φάε όσα μήλα θέλεις" to mean "eat as many apples as you like"?

Thanks again for your help!
Picture of Guest User
Re: τόσος και όσος. What do they mean?
by Guest User - Friday, 15 August 2008, 11:56 AM
  If you can count it (eg. one, two, three, apples) it's a pronoun.

If you can't count it (eg. you can't say one wine, two wines) it's an adverb.
However, you can count glasses of wine... then it's a pronoun (refers to glasses).

hope that clarifies it.
Picture of Mike West
Re: τόσος και όσος. What do they mean?
by Mike West - Monday, 12 December 2011, 07:45 AM

Please could you explain the use of the pronouns in the plural (όσοι, όσεσ, όσα etc) as the meaning seems to change from in the single.  In the plural they seem to mean "those who" or "those which".

For example, "όσοι τον ξέρουν καλά, τον φοβούνται", I think translates as "Those who know him are afraid of him".

"όσεσ φορέσ πήγα, είχε δοθλειά", which I think means "Those times which I went, he had work".

Thanks in advance for any clarification.

Picture of Mike West
Re: τόσος και όσος. What do they mean?
by Mike West - Tuesday, 13 December 2011, 06:43 AM

I'm afraid I'm still confused between the use of the pronoun and adverb for the word όσο.  I'm working through the textbook "Επικοινωνήστε ελληνικα 2" and on p.173 it has the following examples:

Example 1 - Pronoun: Πάρε όση τυρόπιτα θέλεισ.

Example 2 - Adverb: Φάε όσο θέλεισ ή όσο μπορείσ.

Example 1 appears to me to be an adverb (Take as much cheese pie as you want).  It isn't referring to a number of cheese pies.  If it is a pronoun (can count it) then wouldn't it translate as "Take as many cheese pies as you want".  If this is the case then shoudn't it be όσεσ τυρόπιτεσ for the feminine plural?

Example 2 seems similar to example 1, translating as "Eat as much as you want or as much as you can" (not referring to a specific quantity).

I'd very much appreciate any help on this.

Picture of Greg Brush
Re: τόσος και όσος. What do they mean?
by Greg Brush - Tuesday, 13 December 2011, 01:36 PM
  Your English language analysis of όσος is getting in the way here. όσος is a relative adjective/pronoun, inflected for number and case (much like the adjective/pronouns ποιος and πόσος), and equivalent to English "as much" or "as many", as appropriate. When used as a pronoun, there will always be some implied noun that it stands for:

Όσοι τον ξέρουν καλά, τον φοβούνται. = As many as know him well, fear him. (All those who know him well, fear him.)
where masculine όσοι agrees with the implied masculine noun άνθρωποι: όσοι [άνθρωποι] = as many [people].

Όσες φορές πήγα, είχε δουλειά. = As many times as I went, he had work (All the times I went, he was busy.)

Πάρε όση τυρόπιτα θέλεις. = Take as much cheese pita as you want.
where feminine όση (not an adverb!) agrees with the feminine noun τυρόπιτα: όση τυρόπιτα = as much cheese pita

Φάε όσο θέλεις ή όσο μπορείς. = Eat as much as you wish or as much as you can.
where neuter όσο (again not an adverb!) agrees with the implied neuter noun φαγητό: όσο [φαγητό] = as much [food].

Όσος is often coupled with the inflected demonstrative adjective/pronoun τόσος "that much, that many". Here are some additional examples from Triantafyllidis:
Όσοι τον άκουσαν συμφώνησαν. = As many as listened to him agreed [with him].
Πήρε όσα χρειάστηκε. = He took as many as he needed.
Όσα δίνεις, τόσα παίρνεις. = As many as you give, that many you get. (You get only as much as you put out.)
Όσους ζητήσεις, τόσους και θα έχεις. = As many as you ask for, that many you will have.
Aπό όσους το άκουσαν κανένας δε βοήθησε = From as many as heard it no one helped. (Of all those who heard it, no one helped.)

Hope this helps,
Greg Brush