Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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The indicative mood makes a simple, direct assertion of fact; or asks a question anticipating such an assertion: ἦλθε he came, οὐκ ἦλθε he did not come, ἐλεύσεται he will come, πότε ταῦτα ποιήσει; when will he do this?


The indicative states particular or general suppositions, makes affirmative or negative assertions, which may or may not be absolutely true. Thus, in assumptions, ἐξήμαρτέ τις ἄ_κων· συγγνώμη ἀντὶ τι_μωρία_ς τούτῳ suppose some one involuntarily committed an offence; for him there is pardon rather than punish-

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ment D. 18.274, and often after καὶ δή, as καὶ δὴ τεθνᾶσι and suppose they are dead E. Med. 386.


The indicative may be used to express a doubtful assertion about a present or past action (negative μή or μὴ οὐ): ἀλλ' ἄρα . . . μὴ ὁ Κτήσιππος ἦν ὁ ταῦτ' εἰπών but I suspect (i.e. perhaps) after all it was Ctesippus who said this P. Eu. 290e, ἀλλὰ μὴ τοῦτο οὐ καλῶς ὡμολογήσαμεν but perhaps we did not do well in agreeing to this P. Men. 89c. Such sentences are often regarded as questions with the effect of doubtful affirmation.


The indicative may be used alone where in English we employ an auxiliary verb: πιστεύων δὲ θεοῖς πῶς οὐκ εἶναι θεοὺς ἐνόμιζεν; since he trusted in the gods how could (or should) he believe there were no gods? X. M. 1.1.5, ὀλίγου εἷλον τὴν πόλιν a little more and they would have taken the city T. 8.35, ἀπωλλύμεθα we might have perished (we were in danger of perishing) X. A. 5.8.2. Cp. cross2319.


Unfulfilled Obligation (Propriety, Possibility).—With the imperfect indicative of impersonal expressions denoting obligation, propriety, necessity, or possibility, the action of a dependent infinitive is usually not realized. (Examples 1775-1776.)

Such expressions are ἔδει, χρῆν (or ἐχρῆν), προσῆκε, καιρὸς ἦν, ἄξιον ἦν, εἰκὸς ἦν, δίκαιον ἦν, αἰσχρὸν ἦν, ἐξῆν, καλῶς εἶχεν, verbals in -τόν or -τέον with ἦν, etc.

a. For the use of these expressions (also with ἄν) in the apodosis of unreal conditions, see cross2313, cross2315.


Present.—Thus, ἔδει σε ταῦτα ποιεῖν you ought to be doing this (but are not doing it), τούσδε μὴ ζῆν ἔδει these men ought not to be alive S. Ph. 418, τί σι_γᾷς; οὐκ ἐχρῆν σι_γᾶν why art thou silent? Thou shouldst not be silent E. Hipp. 297, εἰκὸς ἦν ὑ_μᾶς . . . μὴ μαλακῶς, ὥσπερ νῦν, ξυμμαχεῖν you should not be slack in your alliance, as you are at present T. 6.78.


Past.—ἔδει σε ταῦτα ποιῆσαι (or ποιεῖν) you ought to have done this (but did not do it), ἐξῆν σοι ἐλθεῖν you might have gone (but did not go), ἐνῆν αὐτῷ ταῦτα ποιῆσαι he could have done this (almost equivalent to the potential indicative ταῦτα ἐποίησεν ἄν, cross1784), ἔδει τὰ ἐνέχυρα τότε λαβεῖν I ought to have taken the pledges then X. A. 7.6.23, ἄξιον ἦν ἀκοῦσαι it would have been worth hearing P. Eu. 304d, μένειν ἐξῆν he might have remained D. 3.17.


The Greek usage simply states the obligation (propriety, possibility) as a fact which existed in the past (and may continue to exist in the present). In English we usually express the non-fulfilment of the action.


Present or past time is denoted when the present infinitive is used. When the reference is to present time, the action of the present infinitive is always denied. Past time is denoted when the aorist infinitive is used.


The expressions in 1774 may also refer to simple past obligation (propriety, possibility) and have the ordinary force of past indicatives: ἔδει μένειν he had to remain (and did remain) D. 19.124. The context determines the meaning; thus τί τὸν σύμβουλον ἐχρῆν ποιεῖν; (D. 18.190) by itself might mean either what was it the duty of the statesman to do or what was it the duty of the statesman to have done?

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Unattainable Wish.—A wish, referring to the present or past, which cannot be realized, is expressed by a past tense of the indicative with εἴθε or with εἰ γάρ (negative μή). The imperfect refers to present time, the aorist to past time (cp. cross2304, cross2305).

εἴθ' εἶχες βελτἱ_ους φρένας would that thou hadst (now) a better heart E. El. 1061, εἴθε σοι τότε συνεγενόμην would that I had then been with thee X. M. 1.2.46.


An unattainable wish may also be expressed by ὤφελον (ought) with the present or aorist infinitive: ὤφελε Κῦρος ζῆν would that Cyrus were (now) alive (Cyrus ought to be alive) X. A. 2.1.4 ( cross1775). The negative is μή: μήποτ' ὤφελον λιπεῖν τὴν Σκῦρον would that I had never left Scyros S. Ph. 969. εἴθε or εἰ γάρ (poet. αἴθε, ὡς) may be used before ὤφελον: εἰ γὰρ ὤφελον οἷοί τε εἶναι οἱ πολλοὶ κακὰ ἐργάζεσθαι would that the multitude were able to do evil Pl. Cr. 44 d.


ἐβουλόμην followed by an infinitive may express an unattainable wish: ἐβουλόμην μὲν οὐκ ἐρίζειν ἐνθάδε I would that I were not contending here (as I am) Ar. Ran. 866. (ἐβουλόμην ἄν vellem, 1789.)


The indicative is also used in other than simple sentences: in final sentences ( cross2203); in object sentences after verbs of effort ( cross2211), of caution ( cross2220 a), of fearing ( cross2231, cross2233); in consecutive sentences with ὥστε so that ( cross2274), in conditional sentences ( cross2300, cross2303, 2323, cross2326); in temporal sentences ( cross2395); in object sentences after ὅτι and ὡς with a verb of saying, etc. ( cross2577 ff.).

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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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