I drink and I am hungry! Greek Expressions with “πίνω” and “πεινώ”.

Greek tavern in Syros

Do you also love to enjoy a Greek drink in one of the nice cafes or taverns in Greece?
When you learn Greek, one of the very first words you learn is the verb ‘πίνω’ (= to drink). There are many good reasons for that: you need to drink something every day, it’s an easy verb to conjugate –at least in Present tense– and it helps to form full sentences in Greek even in the very early stages of learning;
e.g. Κάθε πρωί πίνω καφέ με γάλα = Every morning I drink coffee with milk.

The verb “πίνω” belongs to the category of verbs that you learn to conjugate from your first lessons in Greek. Also other very common verbs, as “έχω” (to have), “κάνω” (to do/make), ” παίρνω” (to take) and “θέλω” (to want) belong to the same group of verbs and are conjugated the same way in the present tense.
After some weeks of learning Greek, you normally will be also introduced to another group of verbs ending in Present in –άω/–ώ. For example, ‘μιλάω or μιλώ’ (= to speak) is a classic example of this group as students usually know from the beginning phrases such as ‘Μιλάς / Μιλάτε ελληνικά;’ (= Do you speak Greek?) or also  ‘Δε μιλάω ελληνικά!’ (= I don’t speak Greek).
When more examples of this verb-group are needed, the verb ‘πεινάω or πεινώ’ (= to be hungry) makes its appearance in class. And chaos is on its way!

There is no doubt that (‘πίνω’  to drink) and ‘πεινώ’ (to be hungry) are two of the most commonly confused words in Greek since they sound so similar.

You stress the wrong syllable and the person you are talking to might burst out laughing!
After introducing the students to these two verbs, teachers always expect phrases such as:

‘Δεν πεινώ κρασί’ (= I am not hungry wine) instead of ‘Δεν πίνω κρασί’ (= I don’t drink wine) or ‘Πίνω. Πάμε στην ταβέρνα;’ (= I drink. Shall we go to the tavern?) instead of the right ‘Πεινώ. Πάμε στην ταβέρνα;’ (= I am hungry. Shall we go to the tavern?)

So, let’s end this confusion and learn the grammar below.

Πίνω  = to drink

To make it easy for you, start watching this video and learn how you can conjugate the verb “πίνω” in the present and future tense.

 

Present

Future Simple

Past Simple

εγώ

πίνω

θα πιω

ήπια

εσύ

πίνεις

θα πιεις

ήπιες

αυτός, αυτή, αυτό

πίνει

θα πιει

ήπιε

εμείς

πίνουμε

θα πιούμε

ήπιαμε

εσείς

πίνετε

θα πιείτε

ήπιατε

αυτοί, αυτές, αυτά

πίνουν(ε)

θα πιουν / θα πιούνε

ήπιαν / ήπιανε

Example sentences:

Η μητέρα μου πάντα πίνει ένα φλιτζάνι τσάι το απόγευμα.

My mother always drinks a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Τι θα πιείτε, παρακαλώ; or Θα πιείτε κάτι;

What will you drink, please? / Will you drink something? (= this is what a waiter asks the customers in a restaurant)

Strangely enough, when used for clothes, ‘πίνω’ means ‘to shrink’!

Δεν το πιστεύω! Το αγαπημένο μου μάλλινο πουλόβερ ήπιε στο πλύσιμο!

I can’t believe it! My favorite wool sweater shrank in the wash!

Expressions with ‘πίνω’:

  1. ‘πίνω το αίμα κάποιου’ (= to suck somebody’s blood)
  2. ‘πίνω νερό στο όνομα (κάποιου)’ (= to trust somebody blindly and show them great respect, to think highly of somebody)
    Δεν μπορεί να πιστέψει ότι η Μαρία έκλεψε τα χρήματα. Μέχρι χθες έπινε νερό στο όνομά της.
    (He can’t believe Mary stole the money. He always held her in the highest regard.)
  3. ‘ήπια το αμίλητο νερό’ (= used for someone who in a given situation remains silent, they don’t say a word)
    Δεν έχεις πει κουβέντα σήμερα. Τι έγινε; Ήπιες το αμίλητο νερό;
    (You are so quiet today. What’s wrong? Did you drink the ‘unspoken water’*?)
    * this expression derives from a custom called ‘Κλήδονας’, during the first phase of which single women fill up their pitchers with water from a spring and then, on their way back to the village, they have to remain silent, even though men tease them to make them speak.
    Note: most students will use the verb mostly in the present and future tense, but for the more advanced students, also have a look at the other tenses.

    Present

    πίνω

    Past Continuous

    έπινα

    Past Simple

    ήπια

    Future Simple

    θα πιω

    Future Continuous

    θα πίνω

    Present Perfect

    έχω πιει

    Past Perfect

    είχα πιει

    Future Perfect

    θα έχω πιει

     

Πεινάω or Πεινώ = to be hungry

Now that you have learned the verb “to drink”, let’s have a look at the verb “to be hungry”, which is conjugated differently. First, have a look at this video, where teacher Eva explains how to conjugate this verb and how to use it in a sentence:

 

Present

Future Simple

Past Simple

εγώ

πεινάω / πεινώ

θα πεινάσω

πείνασα

εσύ

πεινάς

θα πεινάσεις

πείνασες

αυτός, αυτή, αυτό

πεινάει / πεινά

θα πεινάσει

πείνασε

εμείς

πεινάμε / πεινούμε

θα πεινάσουμε

πεινάσαμε

εσείς

πεινάτε

θα πεινάσετε

πεινάσατε

αυτοί, αυτές, αυτά

πεινάν(ε) / πεινούν(ε)

θα πεινάσουν(ε)

πείνασαν / πεινάσανε

Example sentences:

Τα παιδιά πεινάνε πολύ. Θα τους φτιάξω μία ομελέτα.

(The children are very hungry. I will make them an omelet.)

Keep in mind that the Past Simple form ‘πείνασα’ is very often used when referring to the present, e.g.

Πεινώ! = Πείνασα! Θα φάω γιαούρτι με μέλι και καρύδια!

(I am hungry! I will have yogurt with honey and walnuts!)

Expressions with ‘πεινάω or πεινώ’:

  1. πεινάω σαν λύκος [= I am (as) hungry as a wolf; the Greek equivalent of the English expression ‘(I am so hungry), I could eat a horse’]
    Πεινάω σαν λύκος! Δεν είναι έτοιμο ακόμη το φαγητό;
    (I am so hungry, I could eat a horse! The food is not ready yet?)

Note: most students will use the verb mostly in the present and future tense, but for the more advanced students, also have a look at the other tenses.

Present

πεινάω / πεινώ

Past Continuous

πεινούσα

Past Simple

πείνασα

Future Simple

θα πεινάσω

Future Continuous

θα πεινάω

Present Perfect

έχω πεινάσει

Past Perfect

είχα πεινάσει

Future Perfect

θα έχω πεινάσει

 

Was this a useful lesson? Are you confused about more verbs? Let us know!