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

Next SubSect

C. Infinitive after Adjectives, Adverbs, and Substantives 2001

The infinitive serves to define the meaning of adjectives, adverbs, and substantives, especially those denoting ability, fitness, capacity, etc. (and their opposites), and generally those analogous in meaning to verbs which take the infinitive ( cross2000). Here the datival meaning (purpose, destination) is often apparent. Cp. cross1969.


Adjectives and Adverbs.ἱκανοὶ ἡμᾶς ὠφελεῖν able to assist us X. A. 3.3.18, δεινὸς λέγειν, κακὸς βιῶναι skilled in speaking, evil in life Aes. 3.174, οἷοι φιλεῖν able to love D. 25.2, ἕτοιμοί εἰσι μάχεσθαι they are ready to fight X. C. 4.1.1, ἄρχειν ἀξιώτατος most worthy to govern X. A. 1.9.1, ὁδὸς . . . ἀμήχανος εἰσελθεῖν στρατεύματι a road impracticable for an army to enter 1. 2. 21, χαλεπὸν διαβαίνειν hard to cross5. 6. 9, ἐπινοῆσαι ὀξεῖς quick to conceive T. 1.70. So also after ῥᾴδιος easy, ἡδύς pleasant, δίκαιος just, ἀναγκαῖος necessary, ἐπιτήδειος suitable, ἀγαθός good, αἴτιος responsible for, μαλακός incapable of; cp. ὀλίγος 1063. After adverbs: κάλλιστα ἰδεῖν most splendid to behold X. C. 8.3.5.

a. Some of these adjectives take the infinitive by analogy to the related verbs, as πρόθυ_μος zealous (προθυ_μοῦμαι), ἐπιστήμων knowing how (ἐπίσταμαι).


οἷος fit, ὅσος sufficient take the infinitive like the fuller expressions τοιοῦτος οἷος, τοσοῦτος ὅσος. Thus, οὐ γὰρ ἦν ὥρα_ οἵα_ τὸ πεδίον ἄρδειν for it was not the proper season to irrigate the plain X. A. 2.3.13, ὅσον ἀποζῆν sufficient to live off of T. 1.2, τοιοῦτος οἷος . . . πείθεσθαι the kind of a man to be convinced P. Cr. 46b. On τοσοῦτος ὥστε (ὡς) see cross2263. Hom. has the infinitive after τοῖος, τόσος, etc.


Substantives.—As, οἱ παῖδες ὑ_μῖν ὀλίγου ἡλικία_ν ἔχουσι παιδεύεσθαι your children are almost of an age to be educated P. Lach. 187c. With ἐστί omitted: σχολή γε ἡμῖν μανθάνειν we have leisure to learn X. C. 4.3.12, ἀνάγκη πείθεσθαι there is need to obey X. H. 1.6.8, περαίνειν ἤδη ὥρα_ it is high time to finish X. A. 3.2.32. Cp. cross1985.


The infinitive is added, like an accusative of respect ( cross1601, cross1602), to intransitive verbs (especially in poetry), to adjectives (more frequently in poetry), and to substantives (rarely). Thus, τοῖος ἰδεῖν such in aspect (lit. to look on) Theognis 216, ὁρᾶν στυγνός of a repulsive expression X. A. 2.6.9, ἀκοῦ-

-- 446 --

σαι παγκάλως ἔχει it is very fine to hear D. 19.47, θαῦμα καὶ ἀκοῦσαι a marvel even to hear of P. L. 656d.


The infinitive limiting the meaning of an adjective is commonly active (or middle) in cases where the passive is more natural in English. Thus, λόγος δυνατὸς κατανοῆσαι a speech capable of being understood P. Ph. 90c, ἄξιος θαυμάσαι worthy to be admired T. 1.138 (but ἄξιος θαυμάζεσθαι X. C. 5.1.6).

a. The active use is due to the old datival function of the infinitive: δυνατὸς κατανοῆσαι capable for understanding.


The infinitive, with or without ὥστε or ὡς, may be used with than after comparatives, depending on an (implied) idea of ability or inability. ἢ ὥστε is more common than or ἢ ὡς. Cp. cross2264.

τὸ γὰρ νόσημα μεῖζον ἢ φέρειν for the disease is too great to be borne S. O. T. 1293, φοβοῦμαι μή τι μεῖζον ἢ ὥστε φέρειν δύνασθαι κακὸν τῇ πόλει συμβῇ I fear lest some calamity befall the State greater than it can bear X. M. 3.5.17, βραχύτερα ἢ ὡς ἐξικνεῖσθαι too short to reach X. A. 3.3.7.

a. The force of ἢ ὥστε may be expressed by the genitive; as, κρεῖσσον λόγου (T. 2.50) = κρεῖσσον ἢ ὥστε λέγεσθαι. Cp. cross1077.

b. Words implying a comparison may take the infinitive with ὥστε or ὡς ( cross1063).

Previous SubSect

Next SubSect

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