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πως και που - interrogation
by Victoria K - Friday, 6 March 2009, 10:28 AM

I am confused about the interrogative pronouns πως & που. I don't know how to determine when to use one or the other. Maybe this has already been explained somewhere in the course? I have forgotten! blush
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Re: πως και που - interrogation
by Greg Brush - Friday, 6 March 2009, 11:39 AM
  You use the interrogatives πώς (how?) and πού (where?) just as in English:
Πώς πηγαίνεις στο γραφείο; = How are you going to the office? -or- How do you go to the office (in general)?
Πηγαίνω με λεωφορείο. = I go by bus.
Πού μένεις; = Where do you live?
Μένω στο Τορόντο. = I live in Toronto.

See Lesson 3 for πού and Lesson 14 for πώς.

Greg Brush
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Απάντηση: Re: πως και που - interrogation
by pico pico - Saturday, 7 March 2009, 05:34 PM

Dear Greg and Victoria,

                                Same Question as Victoria but when do we use , που/ότι regarding the uses of "that"?    

Also when we are saying the man/men, girl/s   "who"   said /did ------must we always go through the declinations of   "ο οποιος " or can we bluff it by by using " που/οπου " or something similar?

                      Regards and thanks.


Picture of Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
Re: Απάντηση: Re: πως και που - interrogation
by Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets - Sunday, 8 March 2009, 07:30 PM

που means "that" only when introducing a relative subclause, i.e. a clause completing another noun. It means "that", "who", "which", etc... as in "the book that I bought...": το βιβλίο που αγόρασα... Ότι means "that" when introducing an completive subclause, i.e. a clause completing a verb (form instance for indirect speech: "I told him that...": του είπε ότι...) . An alternative to ότι is πως (note, no accent, it is different from the question word πώς meaning "how?"), which can be used wherever ότι is used. So the rule is simple: που after a noun, ότι/πως after a verb (in reality, there are a few other cases, but don't bother with that yet, and focus on this rule).

As for your second question, one point is that you don't "bluff" it. Που is a valid relative pronoun in Greek, just as valid as ο οποίος, η οποία, το οποίο. So it's not "bluffing", it's just using a normal structure of the language. But if your question is about when to use που and when to use ο οποίος, etc... the rule is relatively simple: use που as long as the result is unambiguous. The problem with που is that it is invariable, and can't be used with a preposition. So it can only be used unambiguously when the antecedent (the noun completed by the relative subclause) is the subject or object of the relative subclause:
  • the man who answers...: ο άνθρωπος που απαντάει...
  • the book that I bought...: το βιβλίο που αγόρασα...
In other cases, you can get by by adding a pronoun in the relative clause to refer to the antecedent: "the woman I spoke to...": "η γυναίκα που τις μίλησα...", but once you need a preposition (as in "the restaurant that I went to...", although in this case context would be enough to allow a sentence with που) or in complicated relative subclauses, this becomes unwieldly. In that case, you can use ο οποίος, which can simply take case endings and prepositions, and agrees in gender (and number?) with the antecedent: το εστιατόριο στο οποίο πήγα...

So the rule for use of που or ο οποίος, etc... is: use που whenever you can, and switch to ο οποίος to disambiguate complicated relative clauses, especially when you need to use a preposition with the relative pronoun.
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Απάντηση: Re: Απάντηση: Re: πως και που - interrogation
by pico pico - Monday, 9 March 2009, 06:35 PM


                  What can I say but thanks a lot ;

 Haven,t managed to inwardly digest fully as I,ve only just glanced  through and I wanted to write my appreciation of you taking the time out to write such a detailed and helpful reply , and after reading through again when you,ve a spare minute you may as well fix the global financial situation.

        Thanks again, Regards,


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Re: Απάντηση: Re: Απάντηση: Re: πως και που - interrogation
by Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets - Tuesday, 10 March 2009, 07:42 AM
  Well, my expertise is limited to language, so the global financial situation is a bit out of my league, but thanks for the kind words. If you don't understand some part of my explanation, just ask and I'll try to clarify things.