TOV Research

Reconsidering the so-called vav consecutive

by John A Cook


The term vav consecutive and its alternatives (e.g., vav conversive, vav reversive, vav inversive, vav relative, and vav inductive) are long-established traditional labels for Biblical Hebrew verb forms, and they remain prevalent in the literature of the field despite growing recognition that they are inaccurate descriptions of the verb forms to which they refer. I contend that these terms share some common descriptive errors about the Hebrew verbal system that make their continued use not only confusing and misleading but counterproductive to the study of Hebrew grammar. In this paper I point out the problems engendered by the use of these terms and propose more satisfactory descriptions of the phenomena to which they refer as well as alternative labels for these forms.

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