Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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Third Form of Conditions: MORE VIVID FUTURE CONDITIONS 2323

More vivid future conditions have in the protasis ἐά_ν (ἤν, ἄ_ν) with the subjunctive; in the apodosis, the future indicative or any other form referring to future time.

ἐὰ_ν ταῦτα ποιῇς (ποιήσῃς), καλῶς ποιήσεις if you do this, you will do well.


This form of condition corresponds to the use of shall and will in conditional sentences in older English (“if ye shall ask . . . I will do it”: St. John).

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Modern English substitutes the present for the more exact future in ordinary future conditions of this class; and often uses shall in the protasis with an emotional force. The English present subjunctive, although somewhat rarely used in the modern language, corresponds more nearly to the Greek subjunctive (“if she be there, he shall not need”: Beaumont and Fletcher).—Since if you do this may be expressed in Greek by ἐὰ_ν ταῦτα ποιῇς or εἰ ταῦτα ποιήσεις ( cross2328), and by εἰ ταῦτα ποιεῖς ( cross2298), the difference in meaning is made clear only by the apodosis. The form ἐὰ_ν ταῦτα ποιῇς in vivid future conditions must be distinguished from the same form in present general conditions (if ever you do this, cross2337). ἐὰ_ν ταῦτά σοι δοκῇ, ποίει may be particular or general: if (or if ever) this seems good to you, do it.


The present subjunctive views an act as continuing (not completed); the aorist subjunctive as simply occurring (completed). Neither tense has any time of itself. The aorist subjunctive may mark the action of the protasis as completed before the action of the principal clause (cp. the Lat. future perfect). Ingressive aorists ( cross1924) retain their force in the subjunctive.


The apodosis of the more vivid future condition is the future indicative or any other form of the simple sentence that refers to future time.

a. Future Indicative: ἐὰ_ν ζητῇς καλῶς, εὑρήσεις if you seek well, you shall find P. G. 503d, ἐὰ_ν δ' ἔχωμεν χρήμαθ', ἕξομεν φίλους if we have money, we shall have friends Men. Sent. 165, χάριν γε εἴσομαι, ἐὰ_ν ἀκούητε I shall be grateful, if you listen P. Pr. 310a, ἂ_ν αὐτῷ διδῷς ἀργύριον καὶ πείθῃς αὐτόν, ποιήσει καὶ σὲ σοφόν if you give him money and persuade him, he will make you too wise 310 d, ἢν γὰρ τοῦτο λάβωμεν, οὐ δυνήσονται μένειν for if we take this, they will not be able to remain X. A. 3.4.41, ἐὰ_ν κύκλου ἐπὶ τῆς περιφερεία_ς ληφθῇ δύο τυχόντα σημεῖα, ἡ ἐπὶ τὰ σημεῖα ἐπιζευγνυμένη εὐθεῖα ἐντὸς πεσεῖται τοῦ κύκλου if any two points be taken in the circumference of a circle, the straight line which joins them shall fall within the circle Euclid 3. 2.

b. Primary Tenses of the indicative other than the future. Present ( cross1879): ἢν θάνῃς σύ, παῖς ὅδ' ἐκφεύγει μόρον if thou art slain, yon boy escapes death E. And. 381, δίδωσ' ἑκὼν κτείνειν ἑαυτόν, ἢν τάδε ψευσθῇ λέγων freely he offers himself to death, if he lies in speaking thus (δίδωσι = he says that he is ready) S. Phil. 1342. Aorist: see cross1934, and cp. εἰ μέν κ' αὖθι μένων Τρώων πόλιν ἀμφιμάχωμαι, ὤλετο μέν μοι νόστος if I tarry here and wage war about the city of the Trojans, my return home is lost for me I 413. Perfect: see cross1950. Cp. “if I shall have an answer no directlier, I am gone”: Beaumont and Fletcher.

c. Subjunctive of exhortation, prohibition, or deliberation, and with μή (μὴ οὐ) of doubtful assertion ( cross1801). Thus, μηδ' ἄ_ν τι ὠνῶμαι, ἔφη, ἢν πωλῇ νεώτερος τριά_κοντα ἐτῶν, ἔρωμαι, ὁπόσου πωλεῖ; even if I am buying something, said he, am I not to askwhat do you sell it for?if the seller is under thirty years of age? X. M. 1.2.36, κἂ_ν φαινώμεθα ἄδικα αὐτὰ ἐργαζόμενοι, μὴ οὐ δέῃ ὑπολογίζεσθαι κτλ. and if we appear to do this unjustly, I rather think it may not be necessary to take notice, etc. P. Cr. 48d.

d. Optative of wish, or potential optative with ἄν (‘something may happen’ instead of ‘something will happen’). Thus, ἤν σε τοῦ λοιποῦ ποτ' ἀφέλωμαι χρόνου,

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. . . κάκιστ' ἀπολοίμην if ever in the future I take them away from you, may I perish most vilely! Ar. Ran. 586, ἐὰ_ν κατὰ μέρος φυλάττωμεν . . ., ἧττον ἂν δύναιντο ἡμᾶς θηρᾶν οἱ πολέμιοι if we keep guard by turns, the enemy will (would) be less able to harry us X. A. 5.1.9. See also cross2356 a.

e. Imperative, or infinitive for the imperative ( cross2013): ἢν πόλεμον αἱρῆσθε, μηκέτι ἥκετε δεῦρο ἄνευ ὅπλων if you choose war, do not come here again without your arms X. C. 3.2.13, σὺ δ', ἄ_ν τι ἔχῃς βέλτι_όν ποθεν λαβεῖν, πειρᾶσθαι καὶ ἐμοὶ μεταδιδόναι but if you can find anything better from any quarter, try to communicate it to me too P. Crat. 426b.


Homeric Constructions.—a. εἰ alone without κέ or ἄν with the subjunctive with no appreciable difference from εἴ κε (ἄν): εἴ περ γάρ σε κατακτάνῃ, οὔ σ' . . . κλαύσομαι for if he slay thee, I shall not bewail thee X 86. This construction occurs in lyric and dramatic poetry, and in Hdt., as δυστάλαινα τἄ_ρ' ἐγώ, εἴ σου στερηθῶ wretched indeed shall I be, if I am deprived of thee S. O. C. 1443. In Attic prose it is very rare and suspected (T. 6.21).

b. Subjunctive with κέ in both protasis and apodosis (the anticipatory subjunctive, cross1810): εἰ δέ κε μὴ δώῃσιν, ἐγὼ δέ κεν αὐτὸς ἕλωμαι and if he do not give her up, then will I seize her myself A 324.

c. εἴ (αἴ) κε with the future in protasis (rare): σοὶ . . . ὄνειδος ἔσσεται, εἴ κ' Ἀχιλῆος . . . ἑταῖρον . . . κύνες ἑλκήσουσιν it will be a reproach unto thee, if the dogs drag the companion of Achilles P 557. Some read here the subjunctive.


Emotional Future Conditions.—When the protasis expresses strong feeling, the future indicative with εἰ is commonly used instead of ἐά_ν with the subjunctive, and may often be rendered by hall. The protasis commonly suggests something undesired, or feared, or intended independently of the speaker's will; the apodosis commonly conveys a threat, a warning, or an earnest appeal to the feelings. The apodosis is generally expressed by the future indicative, but other forms of 2326 are possible.

εἰ ταῦτα λέξεις, ἐχθαρεῖ μὲν ἐξ ἐμοῦ if thou speakest thus, thou wilt be hated by me S. Ant. 93, εἰ μὴ καθέξεις γλῶσσαν, ἔσται σοι κακά if you won't hold your tongue, there's trouble in store for you E. frag. 5, ἀποκτενεῖς γάρ, εἴ με γῆς ἔξω βαλεῖς for thou wilt slay me if thou shalt thrust me out of the land E. Phoen. 1621, εἰ ὧδε στρατευσόμεθα, οὐ δυνησόμεθα μάχεσθαι if we keep the field thus, we shall not be able to fight X. C. 6.1.13, ἀ_θλιώτατος ἂν γενοίμην (potential optative), εἰ φυγὰς ἀδίκως καταστήσομαι I should become most wretched, were I to be driven unjustly into exile L. 7.41.

a. When εἰ with the future indicative is directly contrasted with ἐά_ν with the subjunctive, the former usually presents the unfavourable, the latter the favourable, alternative. Thus,

ἢν μὲν γὰρ ἐθέλωμεν ἀποθνῄσκειν ὑπὲρ τῶν δικαίων, εὐδοκιμήσομεν . . ., εἰ δὲ φοβησόμεθα τοὺς κινδύ_νους, εἰς πολλὰ_ς ταραχὰ_ς καταστήσομεν ἡμᾶς αὐτούς if we are (shall be) willing to die for the sake of justice, we shall gain renown; but if we are going to fear dangers, we shall bring ourselves into great confusion I. 6.107. Cp. X. C. 4.1.15, Ar. Nub. 586-591, L. 27.7, I. 12.237, 15. 130, 17. 9, D. 8.17, 18. 176, 27. 20-22. Both constructions are rarely used in successive clauses with

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out any essential difference (X. Ap. 6). ἐά_ν with the subjunctive, when used in threats or warnings, is a milder form of statement than εἰ with the future (Hdt. 1.71). An unfavourable alternative may thus be expressed by ἐά_ν with the subjunctive (A 135-137, Hdt. 3.36, Aes. 3.254).

b. εἰ with the future indicative may have a modal force like that of δεῖ or μέλλω (am to, must) with the infinitive: βαρεῖα (κήρ), εἰ τέκνον δαΐξω hard is fate, if I must slay my child A. Ag. 208. The future of present intention ( cross2301) is different.

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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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