English translation by Bruna Pogliano

Word combination in discourse may produce sound sequences which are either unpleasant to the ear or difficult to pronounce. One of these cases is known as hiatus, i.e.: the collision of a short final vowel (, ε, ο, ) with the initial vowel or diphthong of the next word. Greek authors devised various methods for avoiding hiatus, ranging from careful syntax changes to the insertion of a particle between words, so that vowel collision was prevented. However, hiatus was frequently avoided by means of elision, which consists in dropping the final vowel of the first word. In writing, elision is marked by an apostrophe, exactly as we do in our languages. E.g.: δι σθένειαν > δι' ἀσθένειαν, for weakness.

Keep in mind the following remarks about elision:

  1. monosyllables ending with α and ο;
  2. words ending with υ;
  3. prepositions περί, about, ἄχρι and μέχρι, until;
  4. ὅτι, both as a conjunction = that, because, and as a relative or interrogative pronoun, that, what. Consequently, remember that the forms ὅτ' and ὅθ' are always elisions of the time conjunction ὅτε, when.
  5. the dative plural of the third declension in -σι and the third person plural of some verb tenses and moods. In these cases, when the next word starts with a vowel, the hiatus is generally avoided by adding a movable . E.g.: πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις, to all men; οὐκ ἴσασιν ὅτι, they do not know that;