In ancient Greek grammar, movable nu, movable N or ephelcystic nu (Ancient Greek: νῦ ἐφελκυστικόν nû ephelkustikón, literally "nu dragged onto" or "attracted to") is a letter nu (written ν; the Greek equivalent of the letter n) placed on the end of some grammatical forms in Attic or Ionic Greek. It is used to avoid two vowels in a row (hiatus) and to create a long syllable in poetic meter.

Grammatical forms

Movable nu may appear at the end of certain forms of verbs, nouns, and adjectives. In grammatical paradigms, it is usually written with a parenthesis to indicate that it is optional.

third person plural present and future
λέγουσι(ν)
τιθέασι(ν)
"they say"
"they place"
present
λέξουσι(ν) "they will say" future
third person singular perfect and past
τέθνηκε(ν) "he has died", "is dead" perfect
ἔλεγε(ν) "he was saying" imperfect
εἶπε(ν) "he said" aorist
ἐτεθνήκει(ν) "he had died", "was dead" pluperfect
third person singular present
(athematic verbs)
τίθησι(ν) "he places"
ἐστί(ν) "it is"
third declension dative plural
Ἕλλησι(ν) "to Greeks"
πᾶσι(ν) "to all"

Usage

Movable nu is used before words starting in a vowel to prevent hiatus.

It is often omitted before consonants, but may be included there to produce a heavy syllable where the poetic meter requires one

It is often used at the end of clauses or verses.

See also

Sources