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

Next SubSect

-- 601 --

INDIRECT (DEPENDENT) QUESTIONS 2663

Indirect questions are introduced by interrogative pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs, indefinite relative pronouns and adverbs ( cross340, cross346), or by certain interrogative particles ( cross2671, cross2675).

2664

The interrogatives of the direct question may be retained in an indirect question. But it is more common to use the indefinite relatives which (in interrogative sentences) are employed only in indirect questions.

ἠρώτων αὐτοὺς τίνες εἶεν they asked them who they were X. A. 4.5.10 ( = τίνες ἐστέ;), ἠρώτων ὅ τι ἐστὶ τὸ πρᾶγμα I asked what the matter was 5. 7. 23 ( = τί ἐστι;), ἠρώτα_ αὐτόν πόσον χρυ_σίον ἔχοι he asked him how much money he had 7. 8. 1 ( = πόσον ἔχεις;), ἠρώτων αὐτὸν τὸ στράτευμα ὁπόσον εἴη they asked him how large the army was 4. 4. 17 ( = πόσον ἐστί;), ἀπορῶν ποῖ τράποιτο ἐπὶ λόφον τινὰ καταφεύγει being in doubt whither he should turn, he fled to a hill X. C. 3.1.4 ( = ποῖ τράπωμαι;), ᾔδει δὲ οὐδεὶς ὅποι στρατεύουσιν but no one knew where they were going to march T. 5.54 ( = ποῖ στρατεύομεν;).

2665

The use of the direct interrogatives is a relic of original juxtaposition, e.g. εἰπέ μοι, ποῖόν τι νομίζεις εὐσέβειαν εἶναι; tell me, what sort of a thing do you think holiness is? X. M. 4.6.2. The interrogative force of the indefinite relatives is derived, not from any interrogative idea in these words, but from the connection in which they stand.

2666

An indirect interrogative is often used in the same sentence after a direct interrogative. Thus, οὐκ οἶδα οὔτ' ἀπὸ ποίου ἂν τάχους οὔτε ὅποι ἄν τις φεύγων ἀποφύγοι οὔτ' εἰς ποῖον ἂν σκότος ἀποδραίη οὔθ' ὅπως ἂν εἰς ἐχυρὸν χωρίον ἀποσταίη I do not know with what swiftness of foot nor by fleeing to what quarter a man might escape nor into what darkness he might run away nor how he could withdraw into any stronghold X. A. 2.5.7. The direct form precedes less often, as οὐ γὰρ αἰσθάνομαί σου ὁποῖον νόμιμον ἢ ποῖον δίκαιον λέγεις for I do not perceive what you mean byconformable to lawor what you mean byjustX. M. 4.4.13.

2667

Two interrogatives may occur in the same sentence without a connective; as πῶς οἶδεν ὁποῖα ὀποίοις δυνατὰ κοινωνεῖν; how does he know what letters are able to unite with what? P. Soph. 253a. Cp. cross2646.

2668

After verbs of saying, knowing, seeing, making known, perceiving, etc. (but not after verbs of asking) the simple relatives are found where the indefinite relatives (or the interrogatives) might stand in an indirect question. Where ὅς is so used, it has the force of οἷος (cp. qualis in such questions); and rarely follows a negative clause, because verbs denoting lack of knowledge are allied in meaning to verbs of asking. The usual forms are e.g. οἶδά σε ὃς εἶ and οὐκ οἶδά σε ὅστις εἶ. But we find οἶδά σε ὅστις εἶ and οὐκ οἶδά σε ὃς εἶ. Thus, πέμπει . . . εἰπὼν ὃς ἦν he sends . . . telling who he was X. C. 6.1.46 (here ἦν represents the point of view of the writer), ἐκέλευσε . . . δεῖξαι ὃς εἴη he ordered him to explain who he was D. 52.7, μήποτε γνοίης ὃς εἶ mayest thou never come to know who thou

-- 602 --

art S. O. T. 1068, ὁρᾷς ἡμᾶς, ὅσοι ἐσμέν; do you see how many there are of us? P. R. 327c. So with the adverbs ἔνθα, οὗ, ᾗ, ὡς, ὅθεν; as τὴν ὁδὸν ὁδὸν ἔφραζεν ᾗ εἴη he told where the road was X. A. 4.5.34. In some cases these sentences may be exclamatory ( cross2685).

a. That the simple relatives are never thus used after verbs of asking indicates that such clauses are not true indirect questions (as in Latin), and that the pronouns have their value as relatives. But some scholars allow an indirect question after all these words except ὅς; and others admit no such limitation.

b. Only in late Greek are the pronouns or adverbs of the indirect form used in direct questions.

c. ὅπως is used occasionally (often in poetry) in the sense of ὡς. Thus, μή μοι φράζ' ὅπως οὐκ εἶ κακός tell me not that (lit. how) thou art not vile S. O. T. 548.

d. The context must sometimes determine whether a sentence is an indirect question or a relative clause. Thus, without the context, οὐκ εἶχον ὅποι ἀποσταῖεν (X. H. 3.5.10) might mean they did not know to whom ( = ἠγνόουν πρὸς τίνας) to revolt or they had no allies to whom ( = πρὸς οὕς) to revolt. But the present or aorist optative in relative final clauses is rare; cp. cross2554 c.

2669

An indirect question may depend (especially in poetry) on an idea involved in the principal verb; or may depend on a verb to be supplied. Thus, ὥστε μ' ὠδί_νειν τί φῄς so that I am in travail to know thy meaning S. Aj. 794, ὁποτέρως οὖν σοι . . . ἀρέσκει in whatever way it pleases you (scil. ἡδέως ἂν ἀκούσαιμι) P. R. 348b.

2670

The indefinite relative is commonly used when a question is repeated by the respondent before his reply. Here you ask? is supplied in thought. Thus, A. ἀλλὰ τίς γὰρ εἷ; B. ὅστις; πολί_της χρηστός A. But who are you, pray? B. Who am I? an honest burgher Ar. Ach. 594, πῶς δή; φήσω ἐγώ. ὅπως; φήσει how are you? I will say; How am I? he will say Hippocrates 1. 292 c.

2671

Simple indirect questions are introduced by εἰ whether, less often by ἆρα.

ἐρωτῶντες εἰ λῃσταί εἰσιν asking whether they are pirates T. 1.5, τοῦτον οἶσθ' ει' ζῶν κυρεῖ; dost thou know whether he is alive? S. Ph. 444, ἤρετο αὐτὸν εἰ βληθείη he asked him whether he had been struck X. C. 8.3.30 ( = ἐβλήθης;), φόβος εἰ πείσω δέσποιναν ἐμήν I am afraid (about the question) whether I can persuade my mistress E. Med. 184 ( cross2234), ἴδωμεν ἆρ' οὑτωσὶ_ γίγνεται πάντα let us see whether everything is thus produced P. Ph. 70d. With the deliberative subjunctive: ἐπανερομένου Κτησιφῶντος εἰ καλέσῃ Δημοσθένην when Ctesiphon was asking if he was to call Demosthenes Aes. 3.202 ( = καλέσω;).

a. εἰ has an affirmative force (whether) or a negative force (whether . . . not). The latter is seen e.g. after verbs expressing uncertainty or doubt, as after οὐκ οἶδα. Thus, εἰ μὲν δὴ δίκαια ποιήσω, οὐκ οἶδα I don't know whether I shall do what is right X. A. 1.3.5 (i.e. I may possibly not do what is right). The assumption is affirmative in τὰ ἐκπώματα . . . οὐκ οἶδ' ει' Χρυ_σάντᾳ τουτῳῒ δῶ I don't know whether I must not give the cups to Chrysantas here X. C. 8.4.16 (i.e. I think I shall give them).

b. The interrogative use of εἰ is derived from the conditional meaning if, as

-- 603 --

in σὺ δὲ φράσαι εἴ με σαώσεις but do thou tell me whether thou wilt save me A 83 (i.e. ‘if thou wilt save me, tell me so’).

2672

ἐά_ν rarely, if ever, means whether, even after verbs of examining, considering (σκοπῶ ἐσκεψάμην, καθορῶ), where its use is best explained by 2354. In form such conditional sentences often approach closely to indirect questions. Thus, cp. σκέψαι . . . ἐὰ_ν ἄρα καὶ σοὶ συνδοκῇ ἅπερ ἐμοί consider if (in case that, on the chance that) you too agree with me (P. Ph. 64c) with σκέψασθε εἰ ἄρα τοῦτο . . . πεποιήκα_σιν οἱ βάρβαροι consider whether the barbarians have (not) done this X. A. 3.2.22. Cp. ἀναμιμνήσκεσθαι ἐὰ_ν ἀληθῆ λέγω to recall to your recollection if I speak the truth And. 1.37.

a. Some scholars maintain that, in Greek, if was at an early period confused with whether in such sentences as εἶμι γὰρ ἐς Σπάρτην . . . νόστον πευσόμενος πατρὸς φίλου, ἤν που ἀκούσω strictly for I will go to Sparta to inquire about the return of my dear father, in the hope that I may hear of it β 359. When the conditional clause was attached to πευσόμενος, ἤν acquired (it is claimed) the force of whether. Cp. ᾤχετο πευσόμενος . . . εἴ (v.l. ) που ἔτ' εἴης he had gone to inquire whether you were still living ν 415. Cp. German ob, once meaning if, now whether.

2673

Homer has ἤν, εἴ κε, αἴ κε with the subjunctive after verbs of knowing, seeing, saying (but not after verbs of asking). Such cases belong under 2354 b.

2674

μή is sometimes translated by whether after verbs of fear and caution; but such dependent clauses with μή are not indirect questions ( cross2221 a). After verbs of seeing, considering and the like (ὁρῶ, ἐννοοῦμαι, ἐνθυ_μοῦμαι, σκοπῶ) μή is properly a conjunction and not the interrogative particle. In such clauses there is an idea of purpose or desire to prevent something or a notion of fear that something is or may be done. Thus, φροντίζω μὴ κράτιστον ᾖ μοι σι_γᾶν I am considering whether it is not best for me to be silent X. M. 4.2.39, ὁρῶμεν μὴ Νι_κία_ς οἴεταί τι λέγειν let us see whether Nicias is of the opinion that he is saying something important P. Lach. 196c. That μή does not properly mean whether not (indirect question) is clear from the fact that, in these clauses, it is not used of something that is hoped for. Cp. cross2676 b.

Previous SubSect

Next SubSect


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