[B-Greek] Beginner's question about infinitives

Mike Noel mike at vnoel.com
Wed May 20 09:41:57 EDT 2009

I am working through Machen in an attempt to learn Greek.  So far so
good.  However, I am confused by one of the composition sentences that
I'm working on.  The task is to translate from English to Greek.

"They said that it was lawful for them to take these garments."

My answer was:

εἴπον ὅτι ἔξεστιν λάμβανειν αὐτοὺς τὰ ἱμάρτια ταύτα.

The answer key indicated that this was wrong for two main reasons.
First, wrong form of λαμβανω (LAMBANW) for the infinitive and wrong
case of αυτους (AUTOUS) for the pronoun.  I think I understand the
problem with the pronoun but I'm confused about the infinitive verb.

The solution indicated that the correct form of λαμβανω (LAMBANW) was
λαβειν (LABEIV).  The difficulty here is that it seems to be using the
present tense infinitive form on the aorist principle part.  I could
understand λαβσαι (LABSAI) since that would use the aorist infinitive
with the aorist stem.  The question on whether to use the present or
aorist tense for that verb is a different question (and I'm not
entirely sure what the answer is there but that's not my main
confusion).  So why is the present infinitive being used on the aorist
stem?  Or am I seeing it wrong?

Any help would be appreciated.  I hope this question isn't too basic
for this forum.


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