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

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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’).

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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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