Aristotle, On Interpretation

LCL 325: 118-119

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Τὸ δὲ Φίλωνος ἢ Φίλωνι καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα, οὐκ ὀνόματα ἀλλὰ πτώσεις ὀνόματος. λόγος δέ ἐστιν αὐτοῦ τὰ μὲν ἄλλα κατὰ τὰ αὐτά· ὅτι δὲ μετὰ τοῦ ἔστιν ἢ ἦν ἢ ἔσται οὐκ ἀληθεύει ἢ ψεύδεται, τὸ δὲ ὄνομα ἀεί· οἷον Φίλωνός ἐστιν ἢ οὐκ ἔστιν· 5οὐδὲν γάρ πω οὔτε ἀληθεύει οὔτε ψεύδεται.

III. Ῥῆμα δέ ἐστι τὸ προσσημαῖνον χρόνον, οὗ μέρος οὐδὲν σημαίνει χωρίς, καὶ ἔστιν ἀεὶ τῶν καθ᾿ ἑτέρου λεγομένων σημεῖον. λέγω δ᾿ ὅτι προσσημαίνει χρόνον, οἷον ὑγίεια μὲν ὄνομα, τὸ δὲ ὑγιαίνει ῥῆμα· προσσημαίνει γὰρ τὸ νῦν ὑπάρχειν. 10καὶ ἀεὶ τῶν καθ᾿ ἑτέρου λεγομένων σημεῖόν ἐστιν, οἷον τῶν καθ᾿ ὑποκειμένου ἢ ἐν ὑποκειμένῳ.

Τὸ δὲ οὐχ ὑγιαίνει καὶ τὸ οὐ κάμνει οὐ ῥῆμα λέγω· προσσημαίνει μὲν γὰρ χρόνον καὶ ἀεὶ κατά τινος ὑπάρχει, τῇ δὲ διαφορᾷ ὄνομα οὐ κεῖται· ἀλλ᾿ 15ἔστω ἀόριστον ῥῆμα, ὅτι ὁμοίως ἐφ᾿ ὁτουοῦν ὑπάρχει, καὶ ὄντος καὶ μὴ ὄντος.

Ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὸ ὑγίανεν ἢ τὸ ὑγιανεῖ οὐ ῥῆμα, ἀλλὰ πτῶσις ῥήματος· διαφέρει δὲ τοῦ ῥήματος, ὅτι τὸ μὲν τὸν παρόντα προσσημαίνει χρόνον, τὰ δὲ τὸ πέριξ.


Αὐτὰ μὲν οὖν καθ᾿ ἑαυτὰ λεγόμενα τὰ ῥήματα ὀνόματά ἐστι καὶ σημαίνει τι (ἵστησι γὰρ ὁ λέγων


On Interpretation, III

‘Of Philo,’ ‘to Philo,’ and so on are cases of nouns and not nouns. Otherwise we define all these cases as the noun in itself is defined; but when ‘is,’ ‘was’ or ‘will be’ is added, they do not then form propositions, which either are true or are false, as the noun itself always does then. For ‘of Philo is’ cannot by itself constitute a true or false proposition. Nor yet can ‘of Philo is not.’

III. A verb is a sound which not only conveys a particular meaning but has a time-reference also. No part by itself has a meaning. It indicates always that something is said or asserted of something. Let me explain what I mean by’ it has a time-reference also.’ Now, ‘health’ is a noun, for example, ‘is healthy’ is a verb, not a noun. For the latter conveys its own meaning but also conveys that the state signified (namely, health) now exists. Then, a verb was an indication of something asserted of something; I mean, of a something predicated of a subject or found present in it.

‘Is not-ill,’ ‘is not-well’ and so on I should not, for my own part, call verbs. Though they certainly have the time-reference and function at all times as predicates, I know of no recognized name. Let us call them (for want of a better) by the name of indefinite verbs, since we use them of all kinds of things, non-existent as well as existent.

‘He was healthy or’ ‘he will be healthy’ I likewise should not call a verb. I should call it the tense of a verb. Verb and tenses in this respect differ: the verb indicates present time but the tenses all times save the present.

Verbs by themselves, then, are nouns, and they stand for or signify something, for the speaker stops

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-interpretation.1938