Our Everyday Greek: I Want Pente…


Souvlakia are so delicious that we seldom order only one. Το σουβλάκι is a noun of neuter gender. These are the numbers 1-5 of neuter gender declension.


Greek word    Pronunciation          Meaning

Ένα     Ena     one

Δύο     DIo      two

Τρία    TREEa           three

Τέσσερα         TEsera           four

Πέντε  PEnte five


Note that numbers 3 and 4 of neuter grammatical gender are different than the same numbers of feminine gender, which are τρεις (3) and τέσσερες (4).

All other numbers are exactly the same in all genders.

This is how the neuter gender nouns form the plural. Neuter gender words ending in –ι form the plural by keeping the whole word as it is and adding an –α in the end:

το σουβλάκ-ι / τα σουβλάκι-α

το τζατζίκ-ι / τα τζατζίκι-α

το κρεμμύδ-ι / τα κρεμμύδι-α

το μπιφτέκ-ι / τα μπιφτέκι-α

το ψωμ-ί / τα ψωμι-ά


In order to form the plural of words ending in –o we first need to separate the ending –o from the stem. In the word το κοτόπουλο the stem is κοτόπουλ- and the ending is -ο. In the plural we keep the stem and we put an –α instead of the –ο in the ending:

το κοτόπουλ-ο / τα κοτόπουλ-α

το λουκάνικ-ο / τα λουκάνικ-α

το χοιριν-ό / τα χοιριν-ά



Greek word                Pronunciation          Meaning

Τα σουβλάκι-α           TA souVLAkia          souvlakia

Τα τζατζίκι-α              TA tzaTZIkia              yogurt sauces

Τα κρεμμύδι-α           TA kreMEEdia          onions

Τα μπιφτέκι-α            TA bifTEkia               burgers

Τα κοτόπουλ-α          TA koTOpoola           chicken

Τα χοιριν-ά                 TA hiriNA                   pork

Τα λουκάνικ-α           TA looKAnika           sausages

Τα σάντουιτς             TA SAntooits             sandwiches

Τα χάμπουργκερ       TA HAmboorger       hamburgers


English words transliterated in Greek don’t change their form in the plural, by adding an –s in the ending.

Besides tzatziki, the delicious yogurt and garlic sauce, the most common sauces are of feminine gender and are not originally Greek words.

Greek word    Pronunciation          Meaning

Η σάλτσα ντομάτα    ΕΕ SAltsa domata    tomato sauce

Η κέτσαπ       EE KEtsup    ketchup

Η μουστάρδα                        EE mooSTArda        mustard

Η μαγιονέζα               EE mayioNEza         mayonnaise



This is a common dialogue at a street food truck. Can you understand it without reading the translation?

Greeks use the verb θέλω meaning both I want and I’d like.


-Καλημέρα. (=Good morning.)

-Καλημέρα. (=Good morning.)

-Τι θέλετε; (=What would you like?)

-Θέλω δύο σάντουιτς με δύο χοιρινά σουβλάκια. (=I want two sandwiches with pork souvlaki.)

-Θέλετε ντομάτα, κρεμμύδια και τζατζίκι; (=Do you want tomato, onions, and tzatziki?)

-Ναι, θέλω ντομάτα και τζατζίκι. Δεν θέλω κρεμμύδια. (=Yes, I want tomato and tzatziki. I don’t want onions.)

-Θέλω και τρεις μερίδες πατάτες τηγανητές. (=I want three portions of potatoes.)

-Θέλετε μουστάρδα ή μαγιονέζα; (=Do you want mustard or mayonnaise?)

-Ναι, θέλω. (=Yes, I want.)

-Εσείς, τι θέλετε; (=What would you like?)

-Εγώ θέλω τρία χάμπουργκερ με μπιφτέκια κοτόπουλο. (=I want three hamburgers with chicken burgers.)

-Θέλετε και κέτσαπ; (=Would you like ketchup?)

-Όχι, θέλω δύο με μαγιονέζα και ένα με μουστάρδα. (=No, I want two with mayonnaise and one with mustard.)

-Εσείς τι θέλετε; (=What do you want?)

-Εγώ θέλω τέσσερα σουβλάκια κοτόπουλο με ψωμί. (= I want five chicken souvlaki with bread.)



Write the numbers and the neuter nouns in the parenthesis in the plural.

Θέλω ……. (3) ……….. (σουβλάκι) κοτόπουλο και ………. (5) ……….. (χοιρινό) με ……… (πατάτα) τηγανητές.

Θέλω ……..(4) ……….. (λουκάνικο) με ……… (4) φέτες ψωμί.

Θέλω ……. (2) χάμπουργκερ με ………. (μπιφτέκι) και …… (κρεμμύδι).




i (idiom), ee (needle), e (energy), o (organism), oo (boot), y (yes), h (helium), th (theory), d (the). The capitalized syllables are accented.




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