Question about Deponent verbs

Erik Westwig ewestwig at
Fri Sep 7 10:38:20 EDT 2001

In William Mounce's book, Basics of Biblical Greek, he says (Ch 18.9 1st

(QUOTE #1) "Deponent Verb:  This is a verb that is middle or passive in form
but active in meaning."

In the next paragraph, he continues:
(QUOTE #2) "You can tell in a verb is deponent by its lexical form...  If
the lexical form ends in an omega, it is not deponent (e.g. AGAPAW).  If the
lexical form ends in -OMAI, the verb is deponent (e.g. ERXOMAI)."

Now, here is my question:
The verb DUNAMAI - "I am able" has a lexical form ending in -OMAI, and thus
is a deponent verb, according to QUOTE #2.  But "I am able" would seem to be
passive in meaning, it doesn't have me doing any sort of active action.
Thus it should not be a deponent according to QUOTE #1, since it is not
"active in meaning."  Am I incorrectly assuming it is passive in meaning,
because of the English usage?

Any help would be appreciated.


Erik Westwig
Software Engineer
Palisade Corporation
westwig at

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