If we were to ask a hundred people to translate the last sentence into Armenian,
- They would probably agree that “the end of the day” is օրուան վերջը (orvan verche) (*), with verch meaning “end.”
- Most of them would probably come up with the words յետոյ (hedo)—or its synonym ապա (aba), in case they were talking in a slightly fancier style—to translate “then.” However, we would find quite a few that would replace the Classical Armenian (krapar) form hedo with the more vernacular (even if also krapar-based) ետքը (yedke)(**) or use the word verch as if it were another synonym of hedo.
- A few of them would use the word գործէն ետք (kordzen yedk) to say “after work,” with yedk as “after,” but an equal number would probably say kordzen hedo, and another equal number would say kordzen verch.
We know that:
- Վերջ (verch), the same as “end,” is a noun;
- Յետոյ (hedo), the same as “then,” is an adverb;
- Ետք (yedk), the same as “after,” is a postposition; unlike English, Armenian has both prepositions and postpositions, namely, words placed before and after their complement.
Can we turn these grey zones into black and white ones? Yes, we can.
It is wrong to use verch instead of hedo and equally wrong to use verch or hedo instead of yedk. Here are the reasons:
- The noun verch is only used together with a noun in genitive case of declension (սեռական հոլով, seragan holov). For instance: օրուան վերջը (orvan verche, “the end of the day”);
- The adverb hedo is only used accompanying a verb. For example: Յետոյ՝ տուն կ՚երթաք ընթրիք ուտելու (Hedo`doon g’ertak entrik oodeloo, “Then go home to have dinner”).
- The postposition yedk is used:
- After a noun in ablative case of declension (բացառական հոլով, patsaragan holov). For example: գործէն ետք (kordzen yedk, “after work”)
- After words that indicate time. For example: երկու ժամ ետք (yergoo jam yedk, “after two hours”).
(**) In Eastern Armenian it is standard to use hedo instead of yedk, as in քնելուց յետոյ (kneloots hedo, “after sleeping”).