Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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The particle ἄν (Hom. κέν, κέ) limits the meaning of the moods. It has two distinct uses:

a. In independent clauses: with the past tenses of the indicative and with the optative; also with the infinitive and participle representing the indicative or optative.

b. In dependent clauses: with the subjunctive.

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No separate word can be used to translate ἄν by itself; its force varies as it modifies the meaning of the moods. In general ἄν limits the force of the verb to particular conditions or circumstances (‘under the circumstances,’ ‘in that case,’ ‘then’).


In Homer ἄν is preferred in negative, κέν, κέ in relative, sentences.


Position of ἄν.—ἄν does not begin a sentence or a clause, except after a weak mark of punctuation, as τί οὖν, ἄν τις εἴποι, ταῦτα λέγεις ἡμῖν νῦν; why then (some one might say) do you tell us this now? D. 1.14. In independent sentences with ἄν (indic. and opt.) the particle is often separated from its verb for emphasis, and is attached to negatives (οὐκ ἄν), interrogatives (τίς ἄν, πῶς ἄν), or to any emphatic modifier. It is commonly attached to verbs of saying or thinking: σὺν ὑ_μῖν μὲν ἂν οἶμαι εἶναι τί_μιος if I should remain with you, I think I should be esteemed X. A. 1.3.6.

a. So with οὐκ οἶδ' ἂν εἰ (or οὐκ ἂν οἶδα εἰ) followed by a verb to which ἄν belongs: οὐκ οἶδ' ἂν εἰ πείσαιμι I do not know whether I could persuade E. Med. 941 (for πείσαιμι ἄν).


Repetition of ἄν.—ἄν may be repeated once or twice in the same sentence.

a. ἄν is placed early in a sentence which contains a subordinate clause, in order to direct attention to the character of the construction: δοκοῦμεν δ' ἄν μοι ταύτῃ προσποιούμενοι προσβαλεῖν ἐρημοτέρῳ ἂν τῷ ὄρει χρῆσθαι if we should make a feint attack here it seems to me we should find the mountain to have fewer defenders X. A. 4.6.13.

b. For rhetorical emphasis ἄν is added to give prominence to particular words: τίς γὰρ τοιαῦτ' ἂν οὐκ ἂν ὀργίζοιτ' ἔπη κλύων; and who would not be angered upon hearing such words? S. O. T. 339, πῶς ἂν οὐκ ἂν ἐν δίκῃ θάνοιμ' ἄν; how should I not justly die? S. fr. 673.


ἄν without a Verb.—ἄν sometimes stands without a verb, which is to be supplied from the context. So in the second member of a sentence with coördinate clauses: οἶδα ὅτι πολλοὺς μὲν ἡγεμόνας ἂν δοίη, πολλοὺς δ' ἂν (δοίη) ὁμήρους I know that he would give many guides and many hostages X. A. 3.2.24. Often with πῶς ἄν (εἴη); how can (could) it be? P. R. 353c, τάχ' ἄν perhaps P. Soph. 255c.

a. So with ὡς ἄν, ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ ( cross2480): παρῆν ὁ Γαδά_τα_ς δῶρα πολλὰ φέρων, ὡς ἂν (scil. φέροι τις) ἐξ οἴκου μεγάλου Gadatas came with many gifts, such as one might offer from large means X. C. 5.4.29, φοβούμενος ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ παῖς fearing like a child (ὥσπερ ἂν ἐφοβεῖτο, εἰ παῖς ἦν) P. G. 479a.

b. κἂ_ν εἰ is often used for the simple καὶ εἰ ( cross2372) and without regard to the mood of the following verb; sometimes there is no verb in the apodosis to which the ἄν may be referred, as ἔστιν ἄρα τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, κἂ_ν εἰ μή τῳ δοκεῖ, ὁ τῷ ὄντι τύραννος τῷ ὄντι δοῦλος the very tyrant is then in truth a very slave even if he does not seem so to any one P. R. 579d (here καὶ εἰ μὴ δοκεῖ, εἴη ἄν is implied). κἂ_ν εἰ may be also so used that ἄν belongs to the apodosis, while καί, though going with εἰ in translation (even if), affects the whole conditional sentence. Thus, νῦν δέ μοι δοκεῖ, κἂν ὰσέβειαν εἰ (τις) καταγιγνώσκοι, τὰ προσήκοντα ποιεῖν but as it is, it seems to me that, even if any one should condemn his wanton assault, he would be acting properly

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D. 21.51 (here ἄν goes with ποιεῖν, i.e. ποιοίη ἄν). κἄ_ν if only, followed by a limiting expression, may generally be regarded as καὶ ἄ_ν ( = ἐά_ν) with a subjunctive understood; as ἀλλά μοι πάρες κἂ_ν σμι_κρὸν εἰπεῖν yet permit me to say but a word ( = καὶ ἐὰ_ν παρῇς) S. El. 1482.


Omission of ἄν.—ἄν is sometimes omitted when it may be supplied from the preceding sentence or clause. So often with the second of two verbs that are connected or opposed: τί ἐποίησεν ἄν; ἢ δῆλον ὅτι ὤμοσε (ἄν); what would he have done? is it not clear that he would have taken an oath? D. 31.9, οὔτ' ἂν οὗτος ἔχοι λέγειν οὔθ' ὑ_μεῖς πεισθείητε neither can he assert nor can you be made to believe D. 22.17. By retention of earlier usage the subjunctive is sometimes used without ἄν where it is commonly employed in the later language ( cross2327, cross2339, 2565 b, 2567 b). Here the difference is scarcely appreciable except that the omission gives an archaic tone.


Subjunctive with ἄν.—Conditional, relative, and temporal clauses requiring the subjunctive must have ἄν, which is more closely attached to the conditional, relative, and temporal words than it is to the subjunctive.

a. Hence the combinations ἐά_ν (ἤν, ἄ_ν) on which cp. cross2283; ὅταν, ὁπόταν, ἐπήν (ἐπά_ν), ἐπειδάν from εἰ, ὅτε, ὁπότε, ἐπεί, ἐπειδή ἄν. When the particle does not thus coalesce, it is usually separated only by such words as μέν, δέ, τέ, γάρ.

b. The force of ἄν with the subjunctive cannot usually be expressed in English. For ἄν in final clauses with ὡς, ὅπως, and ὄφρα, see cross2201. In Hom. ἄν (κέν) is found in dependent clauses, 2334 c.

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Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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