Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
2675

Indirect alternative questions are introduced by the particles signifying whether . . . or: πότερον (πότερα) . . . ἤ, εἴτε . . . εἴτε, εἰ . . . ἤ, εἰ . . . εἴτε. See also under Particles.

a. πότερον (πότερα) . . . : Thus, διηρώτα_ τὸν Κῦρον πότερον βούλοιτο μένειν ἢ ἀπιέναι she asked Cyrus whether he wanted to stay or go away X. C. 1.3.15, θαυμάζω πότερα ὡς κρατῶν βασιλεὺς αἰτεῖ τὰ ὅπλα ἢ ὡς διὰ φιλία_ν δῶρα I wonder whether the king asks for our arms as a conqueror or as gifts on the plea of friendship X. A. 2.1.10.

N.—πότερον . . . ἤ may denote that the second alternative is more important than the first. πότερον is omitted when the introductory clause contains the adjective πότερος (X. C. 1.3.2).

b. εἴτε . . . εἴτε gives equal value to each alternative. Thus, τὴν σκέψιν ποιώμεθα εἴτε ὠφελία_ν εἴτε βλάβην παρέχει let us make the inquiry whether it produces benefit or injury P. Phae. 237d.

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N. 1.—In Homer εἴτε . . . εἴτε (εἴ τε . . . εἴ τε) almost always retains the meaning either . . . or (A cross65).

N. 2.—The first εἴτε is rarely omitted in prose, as πόλις εἴτε ἰδιῶταί τινες a State or certain individuals P. L. 864a; more often in poetry, as λόγοισιν εἴτ' ἔργοισιν by words or deeds S. O. T. 517.

c. εἰ . . . indicates that the second alternative is preferable or more probable. Thus, ἠρώτα_ εἰ αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἀνδράσι σπένδοιτο τοῖς ἰοῦσι καὶ ἀπιοῦσιν, ἢ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἔσοιντο σπονδαί he asked whether he was making a truce merely with the individual men who were coming and going or whether the truce would be with the rest as well X. A. 2.3.7.

d. εἰ . . . εἴτε is like εἴτε . . . εἴτε. Thus, εἰ δ' ἔτ' ἐστὶν ἔμψυ_χος γυνὴ εἴτ' οὖν ὄλωλεν, εἰδέναι βουλοίμεθ' ἄν we should like to know whether the lady is still alive or dead E. Alc. 140.

e. (ἠὲ) . . . (ἦε) occurs in Homer, as ὄφρ' ἐὺ εἰδῶ ἠὲ νέον μεθέπεις ἦ καὶ πατρώιός ἐσσι ξεῖνος that I may know well whether thou art newly a visitor or art actually an ancestral guest-friend α 175. Cp. cross2661. ἢ . . . ἤ is doubtful in Attic.


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