The Accusative Case

This document provides detailed information about the use of the Greek Accusative case. However, it does not discuss the accusative form, with its case endings or inflections. For information about the accusative case endings, see the document The Greek Article and Case Endings.

My own comments are added, but most of the following information came from Daniel B. Wallace's book, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics. For a more complete explanation of how the cases are used, and other detailed information regarding Greek New Testament grammar, his book is highly recommended.

General Considerations

There are approximately 23,105 accusative forms in the GNT (8,815 nouns; 5,009 pronouns; 5,889 articles; 957 participles; 2,435 adjectives), making up about 29% of all the declined words in the GNT. Nominative forms make up 31%, genitives 25%, datives 15%, and vocatives less than 1%. Most often, an accusative form is used as a direct object, where the person or thing referred to by an accusative substantive (i.e., noun or word functioning as a noun) receives the action of a transitive verb directly upon it. It is also frequently used as the object of a preposition, and has a number of other uses as well.

In English, a direct object functions in much the same way: "He preached a sermon." "She walked a mile." "The ship headed south." "They sought salvation." It answers the question "what?" after the verb: "He preached what?" "She walked what distance?" "The ship headed what direction?" "They sought what goal or objective?"

The term "unaffected meaning," when applied to a case, refers to implications of the case itself, those common to most words using that case, apart from the specific meanings of lexical definitions of words, and without taking into account particular contexts or other factors. And the unaffected meaning of the accusative case is more general than any other case. Where a nominative indicates a "main subject" and draws attention to itself, where the genitive suggests movement or action "from" or "of" itself, where a dative implies accrual "to" or "for" itself (without any motion involved), the accusative connotes little more than a general movement or general action towards or upon itself, which is why it mostly functions as a direct object.

So the accusative is the first of the three oblique cases (accusative, genitive, dative), and the most common, because it is the most general in its unaffected meaning. In classical Greek, it was the "default" oblique case, "the routine case used unless there was some reason for using the genitive or dative" (Wallace). However, in koine Greek, an accusative form was not used as often, nor in as many diverse ways, as it was in classical Greek. One writing in koine could choose to employ the classical syntax, if desired, and use accusative forms in the wide variety of ways they were used previously. Yet the koine trend towards "greater explicitness" normally meant an increase in the use of nominatives, and of the other oblique cases, as well as prepositions with objects in the other oblique cases. So this caused a somewhat noticeable decline in the use of the more "general" and "default" accusative case.

Wallace gave three reasons for the decline in the percentage of accusatives used in koine (Hellenistic Greek), as compared to the higher percentage of usage in classical Greek:

  1. Koine became less subtle as it was used by a broader range of people, as their second language and as a language of commerce. The use by an educated elite, for veiled and reserved expressions of thought with political nuance, was primarily set aside for more practical purposes of communication. Wallace points out that the "accusative of address, pendent accusative, accusative of exclamation, accusative as a heading in introductions, accusative in apposition to a sentence, and accusative absolute" were all "frequent enough" in classical Greek, but "rare or nonexistent" in the GNT.

  2. Koine tended towards "greater explicitness" where prepositions took "a decidedly more prominent role in the New Testament in places where a simple case (in particular the accusative) would have been used in earlier times" (Wallace).

  3. More genitives were used in the GNT "apparently due, in part, to the Semitic influence (e.g., the 'Hebrew' or attributive genitive)" (Wallace).

Wallace explains that an accusative was the "case of extent or limitation" and "primarily used to limit the action of a verb as to extent, direction, or goal." As a designation of "extent," "direction" and "goal," the accusative substantive implies a general movement towards it, or action upon it. An accusative suggests the object of a verb's action, in terms of answering questions like: "Act upon what?" "Move what distance?" "Move what direction?" and "Seek what goal?" It is mostly about "what" and "quantity." But the dative, although it is also an object of the verb's action, it is more "indirect," mostly about "to what" or "for what." A dative is more about the "quality" or "result" of the verb's action, after the fact, what a dative receives as the result or effect of the verb's already completed action, which had acted directly upon an accusative. Since a dative is more about results and effects after a completed action, it does not imply any movement or action of a verb, just an object at rest, passively accruing or receiving.

Each of the blue main headings below will indicate a general "Grammatical Role" of the accusative case. Under each main heading, related subtopics and more specific semantic categories will be explained under green subtitles. These may be regarding usages of the accusative case which convey particular meanings and implications, more specific than the general grammatical role itself suggests.

Grammatical Role 1:
Accusatives as Substantives

A substantive is a noun, or a word which functions as a noun, and refers to a person or thing. An accusative substantive most often functions as a direct object of a finite verb (i.e., in Greek, a finite verb is a verb form which has a pronoun suffix, indicating person). It can also be used as a complement (to complete the thought of the verb, like an infinitive), as a direct object or "subject" of a verbal (i.e., of a participle or infinitive, in order to build a phrase), and so on.

Of course, an accusative substantive also can be used as the object of a preposition, or adverbially, to describe the action of the verb. But these are classified under different categories, since prepositional phrases and adverbial roles basically modify other words. What is meant by a substantival role here is a grammatical function which is primarily to act as a referent to a person or thing, but not function as a modifier of another word or words.

(1.a) Accusative Direct Objects

This is by far the most common role of an accusative substantive. Because a Greek direct object is often placed before the verb, or just about anywhere else in the sentence, an accusative case ending is often the only indication that the substantive is the direct object. For a Greek finite verb in the active voice, the accusative substantive receives the action of the verb directly upon it. In the sentence, "He loved the disciples," the noun "disciples" functions as the direct object, and directly receives the action of being loved.

A verb that has a direct object which receives its action is called a "transitive" verb. A verb without a direct object, without specifying anything or anyone to receive its action, is called an "intransitive" verb. Since an accusative direct object indicates a specific object receiving the action, it is said to "limit" the action of a transitive verb, that is, the action of a transitive verb is less general and more limited in scope than an intransitive verb. For example, the transitive, "He loved the disciples," is more limited in scope than the intransitive, "He loved," where no direct object is specified, and where it indicates how a man generally performed an action of loving.

In Greek, many verbs are "deponent," in that they basically have an "active-voice" meaning, but a middle or passive inflected form. If a Greek verb is a deponent, it can take a direct object, just like a verb in the active voice. However, if a verb is is passive, and it is not a deponent, then the subject (in the nominative case) will receive the action of the verb, and the passive verb cannot have a direct object (e.g., "He was loved"). A middle-voice verb may indicate an action which bears some kind of reference back to the subject, but can have a direct object (in the accusative case), just like a verb in the active voice, even if it is not deponent. For example, although there is no middle voice in English, a Greek verb in the middle voice, which is not deponent, may mean, "He loved the disciples for himself," possibly because it benefited him, thus the middle verb's action partially reflects back on the subject at the same time.

Also, it should be mentioned that the direct object, especially of certain kinds of verbs, may not be in the accusative case. If the direct object is an accusative substantive, there is generally no additional implication. The accusative case is the default, and its meaning is straight-forward. But if the direct object is in another oblique case (i.e., dative or genitive), there may be additional implications because the default accusative case was not used. A dative may imply accrual by the direct object, or other things. A genitive may imply an action of the direct object in response to the verb's action, or something else. But the default accusative substantive is just a plain direct object, without any additional nuances of meaning.

Examples of accusative direct objects are found below, where each accusative substantive is displayed in bluish green text. The same examples are found in Wallace's book, but my own comments were added.

(1.b) Double Accusatives

Wallace delineates "two types of double accusative constructions," the "person-thing" construction and the "object-complement" construction. There are also other instances of double accusatives too, such as where one accusative is used in apposition to another, or where an infinitive has two accusatives with it. These are discussed under separate headings, however. The semantics or implied meanings of the two double accusative constructions Wallace specified is discussed below, and compared with accusatives used in apposition.

The Semantics of Double Accusative Constructions

Correctly understanding the semantics of double accusatives can be important to us in some instances. That is, the way we interpret how the GNT used double accusatives can imply very different meanings. If we correctly understand the implications, we can gain some important and useful knowledge, which can positively affect how we relate to our God, how we conduct our lives, and so on. But a misunderstanding can cause harmful errors in some ways.

Of course, to interpret double accusatives properly, one must first identify them as being of one kind of construction or another. Those who spoke Greek fluently "just knew" what was meant when they saw it written in a particular way. The meaning came naturally to them, since they experienced the use of the language all their lives. But this is not so easy for us. To understand the GNT, we need to consciously recognize the grammatical indicators for each construction. More about this is discussed below, along with more examples of each kind of construction. A few double accusative constructions are debatable, and might belong in either of two categories. But most are fairly clear, and have distinct implications in context.

This section compares the semantics of three kinds of double accusatives: (1.) If the two accusatives are a person-thing construction, the accusative of "person" is affected by the action of the verb upon the accusative of "thing." (2.) If an accusative is used in apposition to another accusative, the second one describes or explains something further about the first. (3.) If the two are an object-complement construction, the "complement" accusative asserts something about the other, in much the same way as using a linking verb between the two, where one functions something like a subject and the other something like a subject complement, but both on the predicate side of the action verb.

The clause, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα ("that One will teach you all things," John 14:26) is a person-thing construction. The construction has double accusatives, where it might have used a dative and an accusative instead. The accusative of "person" is in green, and we might expect it to be a dative. The accusative of "thing" is in bluish green, which functions as a direct object, so we normally expect it to be an accusative. This use of double accusatives may add the implication that those taught "all things" will be "affected" by the things they are taught, and respond to those things. But if a dative indirect object is used instead, such as in ὃς ἐδίδασκεν τῷ Βαλὰκ βαλεῖν σκάνδαλον ("who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block," Rev. 2:14), it may simply indicate that an act of teaching took place, but the affect upon the one taught is conditional, that the one receiving the teaching may or may not accept or respond. Yet, both in the GNT and in secular writings, forms of the verb διδάσκω usually take an accusative indirect object, not a dative, likely to indicate an affect of the teaching upon the one(s) being taught.

Still, such a use of double accusatives is simply stating a something about an event. It is implying that a person is affected in response to whatever "thing" the subject of the verb used in acting upon the "person." But exactly how is one affected? From this kind of construction, we cannot squeeze out very much additional information concerning how one accusative affects the other, since it is simply a description of an event. Most of the information we can obtain about the relationship between the two accusatives must come from observing or reading about this actual event itself. We might study how this event occurred elsewhere in Scriptures, or perhaps we have experienced the same event ourselves. In the above example, basically the only things relevant to understanding how the teachings of the Holy Spirit affect those being taught are facts observed from an event of someone actually being taught by the Holy Spirit.

Next, we can look at two accusatives used in apposition, like: ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν διὰ τοῦ αἵματος Αὐτοῦ, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων, κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος Αὐτοῦ ("in Whom we have the redemption payment through His blood, the release from offenses, according to the riches of His grace," Eph. 1:7). Here the two accusatives both have the accusative article τήν in front of them, and both have phrases with them. The second accusative phrase immediately follows the other, and is used to describe or explain the first.

Sometimes this kind of construction can be exegeted to a much greater extent, since this is no longer just an objective statement of an event. Here the author puts the two accusative terms together solely because he saw a direct relationship between them, where he thought the second term described or further explained the first. So, if we know the author's views about each term, as we might discover from his other writings, and from other Scriptures in general (since the ultimate Author of all Scripture is God Himself), then we can find out more about why he put these two accusatives together. We ask ourselves, exactly what did the author mean by each term, and precisely how does the second term further describe or explain the first? Perhaps many principles and teachings are involved, and we can explore their relationships.

Lastly, the two accusatives might stand in an "object-complement" relationship, such as in the sentence: Πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν Θεόν ("He reasoned God [to be] His Own Father," John 5:18). Here the relationship between the two accusatives might be more direct at times. This quote makes the term "His Own Father" predicate something about the word "God." That is, the two accusatives function as though a linking verb were implied between them, as in: "God is His Own Father." The phrase "to be His Own Father" also completes the thought of the verb, like an infinitive complement, while it asserts something about the object "God."

In context, Jesus previously stated that He is currently doing the very same work as God, while calling God His Father. So Jesus had just claimed to be causing all things to happen in the universe, just as God was currently doing. Because Jesus claimed that He was doing the same things as God, and called God His Father in this particular kind of relationship with God, Jesus claimed to be One in substance with almighty Spirit of the Father who creates and causes all things. So Jesus was not merely claiming to be a child of the Father in the general sense, like all created human beings. Rather, Jesus claimed that God is His Own Father in a very unique way, and that God is not anyone else's Father in that same way. In fact, the ones who said Jesus "reasoned God to be His Own Father," defined this statement as meaning that He was "making Himself equal to God," and they wanted to stone Him to death for blasphemy.

The exegesis of an object-complement construction can be more complex and deeper than either of the other two double-accusative constructions. Of course, here again the author has deliberately established the relationship of the accusative complement in predicating something about the accusative object, and completing the thought of the verb. So we might need to ask ourselves exactly what is meant by each accusative term he chose, and what the complement term is asserting about the object term. Again, we can use other things the author said about each term, and all of God's Word, to further and more clearly define the terms, and to determine how they relate to each other. But there are other considerations as well. Especially word order, but also context and other factors, affect the meaning.

(1.b.i) Double Accusatives in a Person-Thing Construction

After translation, this Greek construction often looks something like our English construction with an indirect object, such as the clause: "that One will teach you  all things" (John 14:26). But the Greek construction here used two accusatives, and implies a little bit more. In our English example, the "person" is "you," which we would call an indirect object, and which we would normally expect to be a dative form in Greek, because it usually is a dative form in Greek. Then the "thing" in the example clause is the phrase "all things," which we would call the direct object and expect to be an accusative form in Greek, as it actually is in this construction. But here, as is the case with several kinds of Greek verbs, two accusatives are used instead of a dative and an accusative. And using the two accusatives seems to indicate that the accusative "indirect object" ("person") is more affected in some way by receiving the "thing."

The sematics of this kind of construction indicates that the "thing" receives the direct action of the verb upon it, as a direct object, like a normal accusative in Greek. But the action upon the "thing" will be received by the "person" in a way that affects the "person." So the "thing" is the "nearer object," that is, what is directly "effected" or "acted upon" by the action of the verb. Then the "person" is the "more remote object," that is, somewhat like an indirect object, yet it is "affected" by the whole transaction (of the verb's action upon the "thing"). Since, in this construction, the accusative "indirect object" is a little more directly affected than a normal indirect object, this seems to be why the Greeks used an accusative instead of a dative.

For example, if we said, "He gave the disciples a copy of the prayer," then there is nothing really "affecting" the disciples -- other than the fact that they passively received a material item. They physically obtained a copy of a prayer. It does not imply much more. In Greek, a dative form indicates accrual, but not action or movement as a result of accruing or receiving something. However, there is an implication of movement or action from an accusative. When it said, the Holy Spirit "will teach you  all things" (where two accusatives were used, instead of a dative and an accusative) it implies that there will be some additional action among those being taught, that is, in response to being taught. It suggests that those being taught will learn something, that they will be affected by the action of being taught. It does not say how, but they will be.

This construction, using two accusatives (instead of a dative and an accusative) is "fairly common" in the GNT. But it only occurs with certain kinds of verbs, those which perform an action with or upon a "thing" to more directly affect a "person" in some way. Basically, Wallace classifies these kinds of verbs into four categories. Each of these are listed below, each with two examples selected by Wallace. In the examples, the accusatives of "person" is highlighted in green, and the accusative of "thing" is highlighted in bluish green.

  1. Verbs Expressing Actions of Teaching, Reminding

  2. Verbs Expressing Actions of Clothing, Anointing (putting on / taking off)

  3. Verbs Expressing Actions of Inquiring, Asking

  4. Verbs Expressing Actions of Other Causitive Ideas

(1.b.ii) Double Accusatives in an Object-Complement Construction

The Definition and Semantics of a Subject-Complement Construction

Now you likely have already seen how a nominative can be in a "predicate position," in relation to another nominative, where a linking verb is implied. These two nominatives are translated into clause with a linking verb. For example, ὁ Θεός Πατήρ implies a linking verb, and can be translated as, "God is the Father." Something similar is true of some double accusatives. One accusative may be in a sort of "predicate position" to the other. An example can be:

Πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν Θεόν.

The translation of this can be, "He called God His Own Father" (John 5:18). It also can be translated as, "He reasoned God to be His Own Father," or, "He claimed God is His Own Father," or, "He claimed God as His Own Father." Here the first accusative term is separated from the other accusative. But this first anarthrous accusative (in bluish green, without an article) is in a sort of "predicate position" to the articular accusative (in green, with an article). Remember, the anarthrous term is in a predicate position to the articular term (if both are the same case).

In other words, the accusative without the article in front of it (the first, in bluish green) predicates something about the other, that is, the object-complement construction with double accusatives implies that a linking verb, or something like it, should be placed between the two accusatives. So this construction might be translated as, "Jesus called God His Father." But, in the Greek, the words "His Own Father" actually predicate and assert something about "God." So, in the Greek, it really says something more like, "Jesus claimed God is His Own Father."

Of course, when we translate this construction into English, we may translate the "subject" accusative term as an indirect object, and the "subject complement" accusative term as the direct object, as was done above ("Jesus called God His Father"). Here "God" is translated as an indirect object, and "the Father" is translated as the direct object. Of course, this may not be quite as strong as saying "God is His Father."

On the other hand, we could also translate the accusative term "God" as the direct "object," and the accusative term "His Own Father" as a verb "complement," as in: "He claimed God [object] to be His Own Father [complement]." Remember, a verb's complement "completes" the thought of the verb, and is usually an infinitive (like "to be") or infinitive phrase (like "to be His Own Father"). So this translation more accurately conveys what this construction implies, since "to be" is a form of the linking verb, and this implies a linking verb. This is why this construction is called a "object-complement" construction. An object-complement construction has an accusative direct object which another accusative predicates something about, and that other accusative may function as a complement of the verb.

But, as you will see from the examples below, the subject-complement constructions with double accusatives can be translated in a variety of ways. Some translate the object as an indirect object, and the complement as the direct object. But most translate the object as the direct object, then use key words like "to be" or "as" or other similar terms to join the complement accusative to the object. Sometimes the Greek will actually include a key word like εἶναι ("to be"), ὡς ("as"), or εἰς ("into, unto, for, as") before the complement accusative. To give the idea that something is being asserted about the "object" accusative, by the "complement" accusative, it may be best to use a key word, even if none exists in the Greek text.

As mentioned previously, the interpretation of the double accusatives in an object-complement construction is especially affected by word order. The context, lexical definitions of words, and other factors are also considerations, but word order is a major consideration. In particular, the position of the complement accusative affects whether it is definite (like it has the definite article "the," clearly defined in terms of who or what it refers to, and specific in its limits or dimensions or scope, etc.), qualitative (describing the quality or attributes, defining, specifying, telling something more about the object, providing additional information), or indefinite (like it has the indefinite article "a," not specific, general). The object accusative is usually definite, no matter where it is found in the sentence. But, basically, the closer that the complement object is to the beginning of the clause or sentence, the more "specific" and definite it is.

Basically, Wallace divides the order of double accusatives in an object-complement construction into two semantic categories:

The Structure of a Subject-Complement Construction

In an object-complement construction with two accusatives, we must be able to determine which of the two accusatives is the "object" (the term which functions and is often translated as the direct object), and which accusative is the "complement" (which asserts something about the object accusative, and may be translated after the key words "to be" in the English translation). For the most part, basically the same rules apply as when we find two nominatives, where one of them is in the "predicate position" to the other. That is:

Examples of Object-Complement Constructions

The object-complement construction with double accusatives is "common" in the GNT. Wallace categorized six different kinds of verbs which take this kind of construction and gave examples for each kind. For these examples, the object accusative is highlighted in green, and the complement accusative is highlighted in bluish green.

  1. Verbs Expressing Actions of Calling, Designating, Confessing

  2. Verbs Expressing Actions of Making, Appointing

  3. Verbs Expressing Actions of Sending, Expelling

  4. Verbs Expressing Actions of Considering, Regarding

  5. Verbs Expressing Actions of Having, Taking

  6. Verbs Expressing Actions of Declaring, Presenting

  7. Passages for Debate and Discussion

Wallace also provided a list of other verses in which double accusatives are used as object-complement constructions: Mark 1:3; Luke 6:22; John 7:23; 10:35; 14:18; Acts 10:28; 26:29; I Cor. 4:9; 7:26; Eph. 5:2; Phil. 2:20; I Tim. 2:6; 6:14; I John 4:10.

(1.c) Cognate Accusatives
or "The Accusative of the Inner Object"

A cognate of a word is another word that belongs to the same family of words, most often another word which derived from the same original word, and likely has the same root or stem as the other word. For example, the verb πειθώ basically means "persuade, convince or influence by persuation." From this one word, a whole family of words was derived, and they are all cognates of each other. So the cognates in this family of words would include this original verb πειθώ as well as the adjective πειθός ("persuasive"), the noun πεισμονή ("assent, a yielding to persuasion"), the noun πεποίθησις ("trust, confidence"), the noun πίστις ("faith, belief, confidence, trust, the conviction of being fully persuaded"), the verb πιστεύω ("believe, be fully persuaded, trust, have faith and confidence"), the adjective πιστός ("faithful, trustworthy, believing, being of faith and confidence"), and the verb πιστόω ("prove oneself faithful and trustworthy," passive: "be assured, be confident or convinced").

All the above cognates are called lexical cognates, in that they all are derived from the same lexal of the same original verb. They are all related to each other because they were all derived from the one word πειθώ. But there are also conceptual cognates, words which are not derived from the same lexal of an original word, but all belong in the same family of words that have similar meanings, almost as synonyms.

Now a cognate accusative is just a direct object which is a cognate of the verb. It can be a lexical cognate of the verb, or it can be a conceptual cognate of the verb. And a cognate accusative also can be found in a double accusative construction; as the thing in a person-thing construction, or as the complement in an object-complement construction. The cognate accusative seems to be a literary device used to strengthen the force of the verb's action, to express the action of the verb in a more powerful way, to emphasize or place focus on the verb's action. If the cognate accusative is modified with an adjective, participle, genitive or something else, it is usually even more emphatic. But the cognate accusative is not often used in an adverbial way (emphasizing the verb's action, while also defining or limiting the scope of the verb's action, like a cognate dative, which can sometimes even be translated as an adverb). A cognate accusative simply adds general emphasis or force to the verb's action.

Examples of Cognate Accusatives

The cognate accusative is relatively "rare" in the GNT. But Wallace gave a number of examples, some with lexical cognates and some with conceptual cognates. They are repeated below. Regarding these examples, the verb is highlighted in green, and the cognate accusative is highlighted in bluish green. In some passages, there may even be another cognate (nominative or accusative) used with a verb. It seems, if a construction of verb-noun cognates was used once, another was sometimes used in close proximity, to turn a passage into "poetry."

  1. Lexical Cognate Accusatives Wallace also listed other verses with lexical cognate accusatives: Mat. 22:3; Mark 4:41; Luke 2:8-9; John 7:24; Acts 2:17; Col. 2:19; II Tim. 4:7; I Pet. 5:2; and I John 5:16.

  2. Conceptual Cognate Accusatives

(1.d) Pedicate Accusatives
An accusative joined to another accusative with a participle or infinitive form of a linking verb.

In the GNT, particularly in the writings of Luke and Paul, a verbal (participle or infinitive) form of a linking verb was sometimes used together with two accusatives. One of the two accusatives was normally a direct object of another verb, or else an object of a preposition. This same accusative then functioned as the "subject" of the verbal. Then the other accusative functioned as the direct object of the verbal (to form a participle phrase or infinitive clause). Now, since the verbal was a form of a linking verb, this construction often acted very much like any other clause with a linking verb. That is, the accusative direct object of the verbal would assert or predicate something about the other accusative "subject" of the verbal. Depending on whether a participle or infinitive was involved, the implications would be a little different:

Examples of Predicate Accusatives

The predicate accusative is relatively "rare" in the GNT, and the examples Wallace gave mostly come from the works of Luke and Paul, with a few exceptions. The first set illustrates the use of predicate accusatives with participles, and the second with infinitives. For these examples, the infinitive or participle is highlighted in blue, the subject of the participle or infinitive is highlighted in green, and the predicate accusative is highlighted in bluish green.

  1. Predicate Accusatives with Participles
  2. Wallace also provided a list with other predicate accusatives with participles: Mat. 4:18; 9:9; Luke 21:37; 23:33; Acts 3:2; 15:37; 17:16; 27:8,16; Rom. 16:1; Col. 1:21; 2:13; Rev. 16:16.

  3. Predicate Accusatives with Infinitives
  4. Wallace also provided a list of other examples of predicate accusatives with infinitives: Luke 11:8; 20:6,41; 23:2; Acts 17:7; 18:5,28; 27:4; Rom. 2:19; 3:26; 4:11,16; 7:3; 15:16; II Cor. 9:5; Philp. 1:13; I Tim. 3:2; Titus 2:2; I Pet. 5:12.

(1.e) Accusative Subjects of Infinitives

Because an infinitive is frequently used as a complement of the main verb, in a verb phrase (e.g., "able to do"), the "subject" of an infinitive is most often also the subject of the main verb. For example, in the clause, "he is able to do it," the subject of the verb "is able" and the subject of the infinitive "to do" is the same pronoun "he." Thus, in Greek, the subject of the infinitive is most often the nominative subject of the verb.

A Greek example of how the subject of the verb also serves as the subject of the infinitive can be found in the following question posed by Jesus: δοκεῖτε ὅτι εἰρήνην παρεγενόμην δοῦναι ἐν τῇ γῇ; ("Do you think that I came to grant peace on the earth?" Luke 12:51). In this example, the infinitive δοῦναι ("to give, to grant") functions as a complement to the deponent aorist verb παρεγενόμην ("I came, arrived"). So the whole verb phrase παρεγενόμην δοῦναι takes one subject, the pronoun "I" embedded in the verb's pronoun suffix: "I came to grant."

Then an infinitive may not even have a subject or direct object, and can even be the subject (e.g., "To die is gain"). After all, an infinitive can function as a noun. It is not a finite verb, with someone performing an action in real time. However, if a Greek infinitive clause does need a subject (other than the subject of the verb), an accusative substantive is almost always used, usually an accusative form of a pronoun.

Infinitive clauses, where the subjects of the infinitives will be either a direct object of a verb or else an object of a preposition, can be found above, in the examples of predicate accusatives with infinitives. One example was: ᾔδεισαν τὸν Χριστὸν Αὐτὸν εἶναι ("they knew Him to be the Christ [i.e., Messiah]," Luke 4:41). Here the subject of the infinitive εἶναι is the accusative form of the pronoun Αὐτόν ("Him"), which is also the direct object of the verb ᾔδεισαν.

In English, the above translation still sounds a little awkward. But the Greek text itself apparently did not sound awkward to the Greeks. An accusative subject of an infinitive was common in Greek. Nevertheless, since translating the Greek so literally into English may not sound as smooth and idiomatic as some would like, the previous Greek clause could be translated as, "they knew He was the Messiah," or, "they knew that He was the Messiah." Often the infinitive is translated into a finite verb form, and its subject into an English subjective (nominative) form.

Note: Some grammars do not like to use the term "subject" when referring to the subject of an infinitive clause. They prefer to call it an "accusative of reference" or an "accusative of respect." So, for example, they might think a more grammatically correct translation of ᾔδεισαν τὸν Χριστὸν Αὐτὸν εἶναι would be: "they knew to be, with reference to Him, the Messiah." But the translation "they knew Him to be the Messiah" is much more clear than that "more grammatically correct" translation. Wallace says, "from a descriptive and functional perspective, it is better to treat it as a subject." The accusative subject of an infinitive is truly a "subject," since it bears the main focus of the infinitive's action. Interpreting it as a subject makes a translation clearer and more understandable.

How to Determine When an Accusative is the Subject of an Infinitive

When the infinitive is a form of a linking verb, in order to determine which accusative is the infinitive's subject, and which accusative is its predicate, we apply the rules discussed above. That is, the priorities for determining the subject accusative will be: (1) a pronoun; (2) a proper name or an articular substantive; then (3) the first of two equal substantives. And, if one accusative term is an adjective, unless it is used substantively, it will be the predicate, translated after the infinitive. But the rules for determining the subject of an infinitive form of a transitive verb, when there are two accusatives with it, or even one, are different.

In the following example, there are two infinitives with subjects. The first infinitive is a form of a transitive verb, where its subject is the direct object of another transitive verb. The second infinitive is a form of a linking verb, and it has two accusatives with it. Here the subject of each infinitive is displayed in green and each infinitive is shown in blue:

γινώσκειν δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι τὰ κατ᾽ ἐμὲ μᾶλλον εἰς προκοπὴν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἐλήλυθεν, ὥστε τοὺς δεσμούς μου φανεροὺς ἐν Χριστῷ γενέσθαι ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ πραιτωρίῳ καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς πᾶσιν ...

A more literal translation: "But I want you to know, brothers, that the things happening down through me came [and now continue] rather for the advance of the Gospel, so [as a result] my bonds [were] to become well-known [as being] in Christ throughout the whole palace and to all the rest ..." (Philp. 1:12-13).

A more idiomatic translation: "I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ" (Philp. 1:12-13, English Standard Version).

Here the infinitive γενέσθαι is a form of a linking verb used in a "result clause," after the particle ὥστε. The subject of this infinitive is the first plural accusative, τοὺς δεσμούς ("bonds, chains"), which is also articular. The second plural accusative, φανερούς ("manifest, clear, well-known") functions as the predicate, and it is also anarthrous and an adjective. In the more idiomatic translation, the infinitive is transformed into a finite verb, "has become." Then its subject is "it," which is an expletive representing the delayed subject, "my imprisonment." So, either way, τοὺς δεσμούς is translated as the subject of the infinitive form of a linking verb.

As usual, the rules for determining the subject of an infinitive form of a linking verb apply here in a regular manner. But the first infinitive, γινώσκειν ("to know"), is not as easy. It is an infinitive form of a transitive verb and has only one accusative in its clause. It is also with a finite verb, which is a transitive verb too. Very literally, the Greek clause can be translated: "to know but you I want." So one's first instinct might be to translate the infinitive as a complement of the finite verb: "But I want to know you." However, that clearly does not make any sense in context. The only way it makes any sense is to translate the accusative as the direct object of the finite verb, then use that as the subject of the infinitive: "but I want you to know."

There does not seem to be any real set of rules for determining if and when an accusative should be interpreted as the subject of an infinitive form of a transitive verb. About the best that one can say is that one needs to look at the context, then use common sense. Most often, if there are two accusatives with an infinitive form of a transitive verb, the first accusative will be the subject. But 14 out of 81 of such constructions (17% of those involving two accusatives with an infinitive form of a transitive verb) actually place the accusative direct object before the accusative subject. Still, only four such constructions are "potentially ambiguous passages" according to Wallace (Luke 18:5; II Cor. 2:13; 8:6; Philp. 1:7).

In conclusion, not word order, but only common sense can determine which of two accusatives will be the subject of an infinitive form of a transitive verb, and which will be the direct object. Also, like the example above, even with one accusative, only common sense can determine whether it will be the subject or direct object of an infinitive form of a transitive verb.

Examples of Accusative Subjects of Infinitives

The accusative used as a subject of an infinitive is common in the GNT. Wallace provided examples under four different headings. For all the following examples, the infinitive is highlighted in blue, the subject of the infinitive is highlighted in green, and, if there is one, the accusative direct object of the infinitive, or predicate accusative, is highlighted in bluish green.

  1. Unambiguous Constructions
  2. Other unambiguous examples listed by Wallace are Mat. 5:32; John 6:10; Acts 7:19; 8:31; Rom. 1:13; Gal. 2:14; I Thes. 5:27; II Tim. 2:18; Heb. 9:26; Rev. 19:19; 22:16.

  3. More Complex Constructions, Each With Two Accusatives, and
    Infinitive Forms of Linking Verbs, Subject / Predicate Accusatives

  4. More Complex Constructions, Each With Two Accusatives, and
    Infinitive Forms of Transitive Verbs, Subject / Direct Object Accusatives
  5. Wallace also provided a list of other verses with infinitive forms of transitive verbs, which one may examine: Mark 8:31; Acts 16:30; Rom. 12:2; I Cor. 7:11; Phil. 1:10; II Tim. 3:15.

  6. Problematic Texts
  7. Wallace also indicated that II Cor. 8:6 and Acts 18:5,28 are problematic texts. In II Cor 8:6, the context strongly suggests that εἰς τὸ παρακαλέσαι ἡμᾶς Τίτον means, "so we counseled Titus." In both texts of Acts 18, Paul is said to be testifying and proving from Scripture that εἶναι τὸν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν. Since Paul was speaking to Jews in both instances, τὸν Χριστὸν is referring to thee Messiah, which they were waiting to receive. So this can mean either that Paul was testifying and proving "the Messiah to be Jesus," or, "Jesus to be the Messiah." Either way, it means basically the same thing. With most problematic texts, doctrine is not affected. It seems that, where a doctrinal inference might be involved, just as we do in writing today, the text was worded more carefully.

(1.f) Accusative Retained Objects

A retained object is a passive verb's object. Basically, this construction has an accusative direct object of a verb in the passive voice, most often an accusative direct object of a passive causitive verb (i.e., a causative verb expresses a cause of an effect). It is like a person-thing construction, only the verb is passive and the "person" term becomes a nominative instead of an accusative. Yet the "thing" still retains its accusative form and serves as a direct object.

In a person-thing construction with double accusatives, the "person" accusative is often translated as the indirect object, almost as though it were a dative. The "person" accusative term is affected by the action of the verb, while the "thing" accusative term is directly effected. The person-thing construction also uses certain kinds of verbs, often causative verbs, but in the active voice. For example, γάλα ὑμᾶς ἐπότισα (I Cor. 3:2) has an accusative thing, followed by an accusative pronoun representing persons, and uses an active causative verb. So it means, "I, for drink, gave you milk." Here the "person" term ("you") received the action of being given the "thing." But the action of giving was done by directly handling the "thing" ("milk").

If a person-thing construction has a passive verb, the "person" term becomes the subject of the passive verb, and is written in the nominative case. For example, a passive form of the causative verb in the above example can be found in this construction: πάντες ἓν πνεῦμα ἐποτίσθημεν (I Cor. 12:13). This still has an accusative "thing" (ἓν πνεῦμα, "one spirit"). But a nominative adjective represents persons (πάντες, "all"). So this can be translated as: "all, for drink, were given one spirit." Here the "person" term still receives the action of being given the "thing." And the action of giving is still done by directly handling the "thing" ("one spirit").

Examples of Accusative Retained Objects

The accusative retained object is rare in the GNT, but Wallace provided the following examples. Here, the passive verb is highlighted in blue and the accusative retained object is highlighted in green.

Wallace also provided references to three other examples of retained objects: Gal. 2:7; Phil. 1:11; and Heb. 6:9.

(1.g) Pendent Accusatives
Accusativum Pendens

The pendent accusative is a little like the pendent nominative. It is an accusative term which:

Wallace says this is subset of the "accusative of reference" or "accusative of respect," which simply provides additional information. It is a reference to other relevant facts. It provides some data which is regarding or concerning or with respect to something else. However, Wallace also made the comment that a clause or sentence with the pendent accusative is more of a "poorly constructed sentence, syntactically speaking."

Since there are only a few examples of pendent accusatives in the GNT, only two were provided by Wallace. Here, the pendent accusative is highlighted in green, and the pronoun referring to it is highlighted in bluish green.

(1.h) Accusatives Used in Simple Apposition

A substantive, in any case, may have another substantive, in the same case, placed immediately behind it, where the second substantive provides additional information about the first, and is used to explain or describe the first. The second substantive is said to be in apposition to the first. In order to determine whether the second substantive is used in apposition to the first (and is not in a predicate position or otherwise), the following guidelines may help:

This use of accusatives (or substantives in just about any other case, except vocatives) is common in the GNT. Very often you will see a substantive used in apposition to another of the same case. Wallace provided the four examples below, where the first accusative will be highlighted in blue, and the accusative used in apposition to it will be highlighted in green.

Grammatical Role 2:
Accusatives Used in Adverbial Functions

Of course, an adverb is used to qualify the action of a verb, or else to modify another modifier (like an adjective or adverb). In English, we might use an adverb in phrases like "freely give" or "firstly seek." But we never use an adjective as an adverb, unless we first alter its form, as we did in these two examples, where we added an "ly" suffix to "free" and "first."

However, in Greek, neuter accusative singular forms of some adjectives were used, unaltered, as adverbs in the comparative degree (then in the positive degree as well). Also, unaltered neuter accusative plural forms of some adjectives were used as adverbs in the superlative degree. Even accusative forms of a few nouns were used as adverbs too. But the positive degree often used a modified genitive plural form of an adjective, with the ων ending converted to ως. Thus, an adverb in the positive degree was often a separate form, an adverb cognate of the adjective, and easily distinguishable from all the adjective or noun case forms.

Still, not all adjective accusative forms, and certainly not all noun accusative forms, could be used as adverbs. Then the overall use of accusatives as adverbs further declined in koine Greek. The practice was actually more common in more ancient forms of Greek. As Wallace says, "The accusative in classical Greek was the workhorse of the oblique cases, functioning in many different capacities," including its use as an adverb. But, when many foreigners began to speak koine Greek as a second language, the use of adjectives as adverbs seemed strange to them. So they mostly preferred to use datives or prepositional phrases to modify a verb.

(2.a) Adverbial Accusatives
Accusative of Manner

This is the use of an accusative form as a real adverb, where it "functions semantically as an adverb" (Wallace). In other words, its meaning is interpreted just like a regular adverb, and it functions in the same way. Even an accusative noun, used in this way, does not function as a substantive which describes something about the verbs action. Rather, it acts as an adverb which modifies or qualifies the verb, which directly defines or describes the verb's action.

However, Wallace says that, although an accusative in this category may qualify or describe the action of the verb, it most often does so as an "adverb of manner." That is, it indicates how the action of the verb is performed, the way it is done. This is differentiated from an "accusative of measure," which is an accusative used substantively (as a noun direct object), to indicate the quantity or extent of the verb's action (see the next category below).

As previously mentioned, during the koine period, only the accusative forms of a few nouns and adjectives (mostly the neuter forms) were still used as adverbs. The accusative forms of nouns used as adverbs are called nominal adverbs, and the accusative forms of adjectives are called adjectival adverbs. Of course, the number of nouns used as adverbs was quite small, and the most frequent example is δωρεάν ("freely, without price / cost / value"), the accusative singular form of the feminine noun ἡ δωρεά ("a gift, a free gift"). But examples of accusative forms of adjectives used as adverbs are far more numerous (although definitely not all adjectives can have their accusative forms used as adverbs, only a certain adjectives are used adverbially).

Examples of Adverbial Accusatives

The use of adverbial accusatives is not very common in the GNT. But Wallace gave the examples below, listed under two categories, "nominal adverbs" (accusative forms of nouns) and "adjectival adverbs" (accusative forms of adjectives). Here, the adverbial accusative will be highlighted in green, and the verb it modifies will be highlighted in blue.

  1. Nominal Adverbs

  2. Adjectival Adverbs

    Wallace also suggests that the adjective μακράν ("far, far away, far off") can be classified as either an adverbial accusative (accusative of manner) or as an accusative of measure (of extent of space). An example of its use adverbially is found in Mat. 8:30 ("was far off"). Other adjectives used adverbially include πολλά in Mat. 9:14 (in some manuscripts), ἀκμὴν in Mat. 15:16, πρῶτον in Luke 17:25 and John 1:41, and λοιπόν in Acts 27:20 and II Cor. 13:11.

(2.b) Accusatives of Measure
(Indicating Extent of Time or Space)

This is an accusative which modifies or qualifies a verb by indicating the extent of its action -- telling how long the action took to complete (i.e., "accusative of time"), or how far an action went in terms of physical distance (i.e., "accusative of space"). And it usually functions as a substantive (i.e., noun) rather than an adverb, as in "days," "hours," or "miles."

Wallace says that, if it makes good sense when you translate the verb, then add the key words for the duration of or for the extent of in front of the accusative, the accusative can likely be classified as an "accusative of measure." However, especially with the word ὥρα ("hour"), the accusative may sometimes indicate "when" the action took place, the hour of the day. In this instance, Wallace says it should be called simply an "accusative of time," not "extent of time."

Examples of Accusatives of Measure

In the GNT, accusatives of measure were not very common, and the accusative of time was more common than the accusative of space. Wallace provided the following examples, under the two categories "Accusatives of Space" and "Accusatives of Time." Here, the accusative of measure will be highlighted in green, and the verb it modifies will be highlighted in blue.

  1. Accusatives of Space

    Wallace also gave the following Scriptures as examples: Mat. 4:15; Mark 12:34 and Luke 22:41.

  2. Accusatives of Time

Time References in Oblique Cases

When a time is indicated by a substantive after a verb, often by the nouns ἡμέρα or ὥρα, Wallace advises one "to remember the root idea of each case." That is, an accusative is general, a genitive modifies, and a dative is locative in this instance. Regarding references to time in the oblique cases, these "root ideas" are:

A few examples, along the lines of what Wallace gave in his book, might be:

It should be noted that, in the GNT, Jews expressed the counting of time from a different perspective. We tend to view time as theoretical units. So a day is any 24-hour period of time, starting and ending at any hour. And, to an employer, a full 8-hour block of time is one work day, but anything less is not a work day. Yet the Jews viewed time in terms of real calendar days. So a day is what it is, with a distinct beginning and end, which is from sundown to sundown for their calendar days. Then the actual daylight hours available for work are a work day.

Therefore, when we say the rain lasted three days, we generally mean about 72 hours. Or, if we say a job took three days, we mean three full work days, perhaps about 24 hours of labor. But if a Jew spoke of rain lasting three days, it meant the rain began sometime before the first day ended, and lasted until sometime after the third day began. Thus, it could mean anything from just over 24 hours to almost 72 hours. Or, if they said a job took three days, it could mean an hour on the first day, then a full day's work, then an hour on the third day.

An example would be the accusatives in the following: ὥσπερ γὰρ ἦν Ἰωνᾶς ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας, οὕτως ἔσται ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας ("For just as Jonah was in the belly of the sea monster three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, Mat. 12:40).

In the quote from the previous paragraph, the accusatives indicate Jonah's continuous stay in the belly of the "sea monster" or giant fish. In the same way, the accusatives indicate that Jesus' body stayed continuously in the "heart of the earth" or tomb. However, this expression means that the continuous stay could have begun at any point in time during daylight or nighttime hours of the first 24-hour day, then ended at any point in time during the third 24-hour day.

Thus, Jesus was put into the tomb just before sunset, during the last hour or so of the first day. The next day, according to Jewish reckoning, began at sunset. Then Jesus rose at sunrise on the third day, which is about 12 hours after the third day began (it began at sunset the night before). Therefore, Jesus was in the tomb for a little more than about 36 hours. Yet that continuous lapse of time occurred over a period of three separate calendar days. Jonah could have been in the belly of the giant fish for a similar amount of time (and it is proven scientifically, he could have actually survived on the air sack in the fish for that length of time).

Another example, this time with a dative, could be: ἀπὸ τότε ἤρξατο Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς δεικνύειν τοῖς μαθηταῖς Αὐτοῦ ὅτι δεῖ Αὐτὸν εἰς Ἰεροσόλυμα ἀπελθεῖν καὶ πολλὰ παθεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ ἀρχιερέων καὶ γραμματέων, καὶ ἀποκτανθῆναι καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθῆναι ("From that time, Jesus Christ began to reveal to His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go into Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, also to be killed and to be raised on the third day," Mat 16:21, cf. Mat. 17:23; 20:19). Here the dative indicates that, at some point of time on the third day, Jesus said He would be raised from the dead. That point in time was just before sunrise.

When a reference to time in an oblique case serves as the object of a preposition, the meaning of the preposition must be taken into account, of course. But the same Jewish reckoning of time by calendar days must be considered, where the beginning of a time period could be during any part of the first day, and/or the end could be during any part of the third. The following could be examples:

(2.c) Accusatives of (General) Reference
Accusatives of Respect

This kind of accusative is used to indicate any grammatically independent reference to something or someone. In an adverbial role, it might limit or define the scope of a verb or adjective. But it is not always used adverbially. An accusative of reference can even modify a noun, or nothing at all. It is simply used to provide a reference, and thus can be generally called a "frame of reference accusative" or a "limiting accusative." And it is a substantive (in the role of a noun). It does not function directly as an adverb. Often, you can supply the key words "with reference to" or "regarding" or "concerning" in front of its translation as well.

An accusative of reference is not very common in the GNT. Although classical Greek most often used an accusative to indicate a reference, koine Greek most often used a dative, "no doubt, because the dative more naturally connotes reference to nonnative speakers" (Wallace). The same holds true for Greek genitives and nominatives of reference as well.

So this category is a last resort. Basically, to identify an accusative of reference: (1) exclude all other grammatical categories; (2) ensure it is a grammatically independent element, not part of the sentence structure; and (3) ensure it makes a reference to something.

As mentioned, the use of accusatives of reference is not very common in the GNT. Wallace provided the four examples below, where the word it refers to will be highlighted in blue, and the accusative of reference will be highlighted in green.

(2.d) Accusatives in Oaths

When using certain verbs, related to oaths, those verbs might take two or more accusatives. One accusative may be the person or persons to whom the subject is swearing the oath. The other accusative or accusatives would indicate "by whom" or "by what" the oath was sworn. That is, when one swore an oath, one might say, "I swear to you by the Lord's name ..." The accusative which indicates "by whom" or "by what" the oath was sworn is added to make the oath or statement sound sincere, in that one swearing it is basically saying that he expects to be punished by whomever or whatever he swears "by," if he should break his oath.

In those days, and also in our day, swearing an oath presumed two basic ideas: (1) A person remains in complete control over his own situation in life; and (2) Whoever or whatever one swears by is held dear or sacred by the person who swears by it, so that one will be punished by not fulfilling the oath according to one's own will and power. So, if a man swore "by my mother's grave," it meant that he would put a curse on his beloved mother's grave if he did not fulfill his oath. If he swore by something sacred, like God's name, it meant that he would slander God's name by not fulfilling the oath, and thus incur God's wrath and punishment.

Of course, both these concepts were foreign to biblical Christians, and blasphemous, against the teachings of God's Word, and against Jesus the Lord. The Bible taught that one could not control one's own situation in life. Only God could. One could not even make oneself grow one inch by one's own will, and one had to admit that nothing could be done if God did not allow it or desire it to be done. We always pray before we decide, then do the best we know to do, and even then say, "God willing, I will do this or that." Furthermore, we cannot presume to bring blessings or curses on anything or anyone, nor manipulate God or nature or anything else into doing so. We do not exert any control over the will and purposes of God. To try to manipulate or cause God to do anything is the sin of "testing God," trying to force God to act according to our own will and according to our own words or deeds. Thus, swearing oaths was generally considered to be arrogant and presumptuous in the eyes of believing biblical Christians. Swearing oaths was mostly practiced by either humanists, humanistic false "Christians," or ritually driven religious people, that is, by those whose focus is on man's ability and man's control over his own destiny. But such things were rare among biblical believers in the GNT.

Therefore, in the GNT, there are not many examples of swearing oaths, or adjuring and imploring people to do what they were bound by an oath to do. But where oaths were mentioned in the GNT, cognates and forms of two verbs in particular were used. One verb is ὀμνύω, which is more often found in the older form ὄμνυμι in the GNT. This verb means, "affirm the veracity of one's statement by invoking a transcendent entity, frequently with implied invitation of punishment if one is untruthful; swear; take an oath" (BDAG3). The other verb is ὁρκίζω, and means, "give a command to someone under oath; adjure, implore" (BDAG3).

After one of these verbs, one might find one or two accusatives. If only one accusative existed, it could either represent the person "to whom" the oath was sworn, or it could represent the person or thing "by whom" or "by what" the oath was sworn. Context would make this clear, but it often was not the person or thing "by whom" or "by what" the oath was sworn. In koine Greek, this accusative may have been replaced with a dative form (e.g., Acts 2:30), or with the prepositional phrase ἐν + a dative ("by ...," Mat. 5:34,36; 23:16; Rev. 10:6), or with the prepositional phrase κατά + a genitive ("through ...," Mat. 26:63; Heb. 6:13).

If there were two accusatives with the verb, the semantics or meanings of those two verbs must not be interpreted like the person-thing or object-complement constructions with double accusatives. Concerning the actions of making oaths or adjuring others by oaths made, one of the two accusatives receives the action of the verb ("to whom"), but the other functions adverbially, describing "by whom" or "by what" the action is confirmed or made firm. Although the other accusative is not functioning directly as an adverb, and cannot be translated as one, it does serve an adverbial function. So the following semantic differences exist:

As mentioned, the use of an accusative or accusatives with an "oath" verb is not very common in the GNT. Wallace gave the three examples below, where the verb is highlighted in blue, the accusative "to whom" the oath was made, or "to whom" the adjuring or appeal is made, is highlighted in green, and the accusative or accusatives which represent "by whom" or "by what" the oath is made will be highlighted in bluish green.

Accusatives Objects of Prepositions

The grammatical characteristics and semantics of objects of prepositions are governed by the preposition. Each accusative used with a preposition will take whatever meaning that preposition implies when used with an accusative object, plus it lexical meaning, of course. See the document Prepositions for a more lengthy discussion on the implications of the cases with prepositions.