Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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The articular infinitive, while having the character of a substantive, retains the functions of a verb. In its older use the articular infinitive is a subject or object; the nearest approach to this use in Homer is ἀνί_η καὶ τὸ φυλάσσειν to watch is also trouble υ 52. In the tragic poets the genitive and dative are rarely used; in the speeches in Thucydides and in Demosthenes all of its four cases appear with great frequency. The articular infinitive may take dependent clauses.


The articular infinitive admits the constructions of an ordinary substantive.

Nom. τὸ ποιεῖν making or to make, τὸ ποιήσειν, τὸ ποιῆσαι, τὸ πεποιηκέναι

Gen. τοῦ ποιεῖν of making, τοῦ ποιήσειν, τοῦ ποιῆσαι, etc.

Dat. τῷ ποιεῖν for making, by making, τῷ ποιήσειν, τῷ ποιῆσαι, etc.

Acc. τὸ ποιεῖν, τὸ ποιήσειν, τὸ ποιῆσαι, etc.


The articular infinitive is treated as subject, predicate noun, and object like the simple infinitive ( cross1984- cross1986).

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The negative of the articular infinitive is μή.


The articular infinitive may indicate time (after verbs of saying or thinking, 2034 g), or may be timeless.


The articular infinitive is in general used like the infinitive without the article, and may take ἄν; as regards its constructions it has the value of a substantive. The article is regularly used when the connection uniting the infinitive to another word has to be expressed by the genitive, the dative, or a preposition.

a. The articular infinitive is rarely used, like a true substantive, with the subjective genitive: τό γ' εὖ φρονεῖν αὐτῶν μι_μεῖσθε imitate at least their wisdom D. 19.269.


Subject ( cross1984): νέοις τὸ σι_γᾶν κρεῖττόν ἐστι τοῦ λαλεῖν in the young silence is better than speech Men. Sent. 387, τὸ Πελοποννησίους αὐτοῖς μὴ βοηθῆσαι παρέσχεν ὑ_μῖν . . . Σαμίων κόλασιν the fact that the Peloponnesians did not come to their assistance enabled you to punish the Samians T. 1.41.


a. The genitive of the articular infinitive is used to limit the meaning of substantives, adjectives, and verbs.

b. Adnominal ( cross1290): τοῦ πιεῖν ἐπιθυ_μίᾳ from desire to drink T. 7.84, πρὸς τὴν πόλιν προσβαλόντες ἐς ἐλπίδα ἦλθον τοῦ ἑλεῖν they attacked the city and entertained hopes of taking it 2.56.

c. Partitive ( cross1306): τοῦ θαρσεῖν τὸ πλεῖστον εἰληφότες having gained the greatest amount of courage T. 4.34. After comparatives ( cross1431): τί οὖν ἐστιν . . . τοῦ τοῖς φίλοις ἀρήγειν κάλλι_ον; what then is nobler than to help one's friends? X. C. 1.5.13.

d. After verbs: ἐπέσχομεν τοῦ δακρύ_ειν we desisted from weeping P. Ph. 117e (cp. cross1392).

e. Purpose (cp. cross1408), often a negative purpose: τοῦ μὴ τὰ δίκαια ποιεῖν in order not to do what was just D. 18.107, ἐτειχίσθη Ἀταλάντη . . . τοῦ μὴ λῃστὰ_ς . . . κακουργεῖν τὴν Εὔβοιαν Atalante was fortified to prevent pirates from ravaging Euboea T. 2.32. More common is the use with ὑπέρ ( cross2032 g) or ἕνεκα.

f. Genitive Absolute ( cross2070): ἐπ' ἐκείνοις δὲ ὄντος αἰεὶ τοῦ ἐπιχειρεῖν καὶ ἐφ' ἡμῖν εἶναι δεῖ τὸ προαμύ_νασθαι since the power of attack is always in their hands, so in our hands should lie the power of repelling it in advance T. 3.12.

g. After prepositions, e.g. ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐπὶ Κα_ρία_ν ἰέναι . . . ἐπὶ Φρυγία_ς ἐπορεύετο instead of going against Caria, he marched toward Phrygia X. H. 3.4.12, ἄνευ τοῦ σωφρονεῖν without exercising self-control X. M. 4.3.1. To express purpose the genitive with ὑπέρ is very common: ὑπὲρ τοῦ τούτων γενέσθαι κύ_ριος . . . πάντα πρα_γματεύεται he devotes his every effort that he may become master of these D. 8.45, ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ τὸ κελευόμενον ποιῆσαι in order not to do what was commanded 18. 204. Furthermore, after ἀπό, πρό, διά, μετά, περί, ὑπό, ἕνεκα, χάριν, χωρίς, πλήν, μέχρι; and after adverbs. In Hdt. τοῦ may be omitted after ἀντί.

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a. With verbs, adjectives, and adverbs: thus, ἵνα . . . ἀπιστῶσι τῷ ἐμὲ τετι_μῆσθαι ὑπὸ δαιμόνων that they may distrust my having been honoured by divine powers X. Ap. 14, τῷ ζῆν ἐστί τι ἐναντίον, ὥσπερ τῷ ἐγρηγορέναι τὸ καθεύδειν; is it something opposed to living, as sleeping to waking? P. Ph. 71c, οὐδενὶ τῶν πάντων πλέον κεκράτηκε Φίλιππος ἢ τῷ πρότερος πρὸς τοῖς πρά_γμασι γίγνεσθαι Philip has conquered us by nothing so much as by being beforehand in his operations D. 8.11, ἅμα τῷ τι_μᾶν at the same time that we honour P. R. 468e, ἴσον δὲ τῷ προστένειν equal to sorrowing beforehand A. Ag. 252.

b. After prepositions: e.g. οὐ γὰρ ἐπὶ τῷ δοῦλοι, ἀλλ' ἐπὶ τῷ ὁμοῖοι τοῖς λειπομένοις εἶναι ἐκπέμπονται (ἄποικοι) for colonists are not sent out on the basis of being inferiors, but on the basis of being the equals of those who are left at home T. 1.34, ὁ μὲν πρὸς τῷ μηδὲν ἐκ τῆς πρεσβεία_ς λαβεῖν, τοὺς αἰχμαλώτους . . . ἐλύ_σατο the one, in addition to gaining nothing from the embassy, ransomed the prisoners of war D. 19.229, ἐν τῷ φρονεῖν γὰρ μηδὲν ἥδιστος βίος for life is sweetest in being conscious of nothing S. Aj. 553.


a. Object (cp. cross1989): δείσα_ς τὸ ζῆν fearing to live P. A. 28d, μεῖζον μέν φαμεν κακὸν τὸ ἀδικεῖν, ἔλα_ττον δὲ τὸ ἀδικεῖσθαι we call doing wrong a greater evil, being wronged a lesser P. G. 509c.

b. After prepositions: e.g. μέγιστον ἀγαθὸν τὸ πειθαρχεῖν φαίνεται εἰς τὸ καταπρά_ττειν τἀ_γαθά obedience appears to be an advantage of the greatest importance with regard to the successful accomplishment of excellent objects X. C. 8.1.3, τῶν ἁπάντων ἀπερίοπτοί εἰσι παρὰ τὸ νι_κᾶν they are indifferent to everything in comparison with victory T. 1.41, πρὸς τὸ μετρίων δεῖσθαι πεπαιδευμένος schooled to moderate needs X. M. 1.2.1, πῶς ἔχεις πρὸς τὸ ἐθέλειν ἂν ἰέναι ἄκλητος ἐπὶ δεῖπνον; how do you feel about being willing to go uninvited to supper? P. S. 174a (cp. ἐθέλοις ἂν ἰέναι). Furthermore, after διά, ἐπί, κατά, μετά, περί.

c. The accusative of the infinitive with τό appears after many verbs and verbal expressions which usually take only the simple infinitive. Such verbal expressions may be followed also by a genitive of a noun. Thus, τὸ σπεύδειν δέ σοι παραινῶ I commend speed to thee S. Ph. 620, καρδία_ς δ' ἐξίσταμαι τὸ δρᾶν I withdraw from my resolution so as to ( = and) do this thing S. Ant. 1105, μαθὼν γὰρ οὐκ ἂν ἀρνοίμην τὸ δρᾶν when I am informed, I will not refuse the deed S. Ph. 118, τὸ προθυ_μεῖσθαι δὲ συναύξειν τὸν οἶκον ἐπαιδεύομεν αὐτήν we trained her to show zeal in assisting to increase our estate X. O. 9.12 (cp. cross1628), τὸ ἐρᾶν ἔξαρνος εἶ you refuse to love P. Lys. 205a.

d. So after adjectives. Thus, μακρὸς τὸ κρῖναι ταῦτα χὡ λοιπὸς χρόνος the future is long (i.e. time enough) to decide this S. El. 1030.

e. This object infinitive after verbs is often an internal accusative. The accusative after verbs and nouns is, in many cases, like an accusative of respect ( cross1600); as τὸ δρᾶν οὐκ ἠθέλησαν they refused to do it S. O. C. 442, αἰσχύ_νονται τὸ τολμᾶν they are ashamed to dare P. Soph. 247b, οὐδ' ἐμοί τοι τοὐξανιστάναι ἐστὶ θάρσος nor have I courage to remove thee S. O. C. 47, τὸ μὲν ἐς τὴν γῆν ἡμῶν

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ἐσβάλλειν . . . ἱκανοί εἰσι they are able to make an inroad into our country T. 6.17. This infinitive after adjectives (and sometimes after verbs) occurs when the simple infinitive expresses purpose or result, as in τίς Μήδων . . . σοῦ ἀπελείφθη τὸ μή σοι ἀκολουθεῖν; what one of the Medes remained away from you so as not to attend you? X. C. 5.1.25.

f. Some verbs take the articular infinitive as an object when the simple infinitive could not be used: μόνον ὁρῶν τὸ παίειν τὸν ἁλισκόμενον taking heed only to strike any one he caught X. C. 1.4.21.

g. Verbs of saying and thinking rarely take the articular infinitive (also with ἄν): ἐξομεῖ τὸ μὴ εἰδέναι; wilt thou swear thou didst not know? S. Ant. 535, τῆς ἐλπίδος γὰρ ἔρχομαι δεδραγμένος, τὸ μὴ παθεῖν ἂν ἄλλο πλὴν τὸ μόρσιμον for I come with good grip on the hope that I can suffer nothing save what is my fate S. Ant. 235.

h. On the use of the object infinitive with τὸ μή and τὸ μὴ οὐ, see cross2744 and 2749.

i. The accusative with the infinitive may stand in the absolute construction: ἐπεί γε τὸ ἐλθεῖν τοῦτον, οἶμαι θεόν τινα αὐτὸν ἐπ' αὐτὴν ἀγαγεῖν τὴν τι_μωρία_ν as for his coming, I believe that some god brought him to his very punishment Lyc. 91.

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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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