Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
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μή is the regular negative after all verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and substantives, which take an infinitive not in indirect discourse. Thus, after verbs and other words denoting ability, fitness, necessity (and their opposites). Cp. cross2000-2007.

εἰκὸς σοφὸν ἄνδρα μὴ ληρεῖν it is proper for a wise man not to talk idly P. Th. 152b, τὰ_ς ὁμοία_ς χάριτας μὴ ἀντιδιδόναι αἰσχρόν it is disgraceful not to repay like services T. 3.63.


χρή (χρῆν, ἐχρῆν) takes either μή or οὐ.

χρὴ μὴ καταφρονεῖν τοῦ πλήθους one must not despise the multitude I. 5.79, χρῆν οὔ σ' ἁμαρτάνειν thou oughtst not to do wrong E. Hipp. 507, χρῆ δ' οὔποτ'

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εἰπεῖν οὐδέν' ὄλβιον βροτῶν it is not right ever to call any son of man happy E. And. 100.

a. For original οὐ χρή was substituted (for emphasis) χρὴ οὐ, where the οὐ was still taken with χρή; ultimately οὐ was felt to belong with the infinitive and hence came to be separated from χρή.

b. δεῖ takes μή, as μὴ ὀκνεῖν δεῖ αὐτούς they must not fear T. 1.120. οὐ δεῖ may be used for δεῖ μή ( cross2693). In δεῖ οὐχ ἁπλῶς εἰπεῖν one must not speak in a general way I. 15.117 οὐχ is adherescent. Note οἶμαι δεῖν οὐ, φημὶ χρῆναι οὐ, οἶμαι χρῆναι μή.


μή is used with the infinitive in wishes and prohibitions. Thus, θεοὶ πολῖται, μή με δουλεία_ς τυχεῖν ye gods of my country, may bondage not be my lot A. Sept. 253, οἷς μὴ πελάζειν do not approach these A. Pr. 712.


μή is used with the infinitive in oaths and protestations. Thus, ἴστω νῦν τόδε γαῖα . . . μή τί τοι αὐτῷ πῆμα κακὸν βουλευσέμεν ἄλλο let earth now know this (i.e. I swear by earth) that I will not devise any harmful mischief to thine own hurt ε 187. Cp. cross2705 i.


μή is used with the infinitive of purpose (cp. cross2719) or result ( cross2260). Cp. cross2759. On ἐφ' ᾧ μή see cross2279; on ὥστε οὐ see cross2269.


μή is used when the infinitive stands in apposition ( cross1987), and hence is like τὸ μή with the infinitive. Thus, τοῦτο ἕν ἐστιν ὧν φημι, μηδένα ἂν ἐν βραχυτέροις ἐμοῦ τὰ αὐτὰ εἰπεῖν this is one of the things I maintain—that no one can say the same things in fewer words than I can P. G. 449c. Cp. A. Pr. 173, 431, 435, P. R. 497b. Such cases are not to be confused with μή after verbs of asseveration or belief ( cross2725).


μή is used with the infinitive introduced by verbs of will or desire ( cross1991) or by verbs expressing activity to the end that something shall or shall not be done; as τὴν Κέρκυ_ραν ἐβούλοντο μὴ προέσθαι they wished not to give up Corcyra T. 1.44, φυλακὴν εἶχε μήτ' ἐκπλεῖν . . . μηδένα μήτ' ἐσπλεῖν he kept guard against any one either sailing out or in T. 2.69.


Verbs of commanding and exhorting (κελεύω, λέγω, βοῶ), asking (αἰτῶ, ἀξιῶ), advising (συμβουλεύω), and other verbs of will or desire of like meaning, take μή.

ἐκέλευε . . . μὴ ἐρεθίζειν he ordered him not to provoke his wrath P. R. 393e, ἔλεγον αὐτοῖς μὴ ἀδικεῖν they told them not to commit injustice T. 2.5, ἐβόων ἀλλήλοις μὴ θεῖν they shouted to each other not to run X. A. 1.8.19, ἱ_κέτευε μὴ κτεῖναι he besought them not to kill him L. 1.25, συμβουλεύω σοι . . . μὴ ἀφαιρεῖσθαι ἃ ἂν δῷς I advise you not to take away what you may have given X. C. 4.5.32.


οὐ is used after verbs of will or desire only when it is attached to the leading verb or to some particular word; when it marks a contrast inserted parenthetically; where a compound negative takes up οὐ used with the leading verb; and when οὐδείς may be resolved into οὐ and τὶς, οὐ going with the leading verb. Examples in 2738.

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Verbs of saying and thinking take οὐ with the infinitive in indirect discourse. Here οὐ is retained from the direct discourse.

(ἀνάγκῃ) φαμεν οὐδένα θεῶν οὔτε μάχεσθαι τὰ νῦν οὔτε μαχεῖσθαί ποτε we declare that no one of the gods either now contends with necessity, or ever will P. L. 818e ( = οὐδεὶς . . . μάχεται . . . μαχεῖται), λέγοντες οὐκ εἶναι αὐτόνομοι saying that they were not independent T. 1.67, ( = οὔκ ἐσμεν), οἶμαι γὰρ ἂν οὐκ ἀχαρίστως μοι ἔχειν for I think it would not be unattended with gratitude to me X. A. 2.3.18 ( = οὐκ ἂν ἔχοι), ἡγήσαντο ἡμᾶς οὐ περιόψεσθαι they thought that we should not view it with indifference T. 1.39 ( = οὐ περιόψονται), ἐμοὶ δὲ δοκοῦσιν οὗτοι οὐ τὸ αἴτιον αἰτιᾶσθαι but these persons seem to me not to blame the real cause P. R. 329b, ἐνόμισεν οὐκ ἂν δύνασθαι μένειν τοὺς πολιορκοῦντας he thought the besiegers would not be able to hold their position X. A. 7.4.22 ( = οὐκ ἂν δύναιντο).


Verbs of saying and thinking take μή in emphatic declarations and expressions of thought which involve a wish that the utterance may hold good. So with φημί, λέγω, ἡγοῦμαι, νομίζω, οἶμαι. Cp. cross2725.

φαίην δ' ἂν ἔγωγε μηδενὶ μηδεμίαν εἶναι παίδευσιν παρὰ τοῦ μὴ ἀρέσκοντος but for my part I would maintain that no one gets any education from a teacher who is not pleasing X. M. 1.2.39, πάντες ἐροῦσι . . . μηδὲν εἶναι κερδαλεώτερον ἀρετῆς all will say that nothing is more profitable than bravery X. C. 7.1.18, τίς δ' ἂν ἀνθρώπων θεῶν μὲν παῖδας ἡγοῖτο εἶναι, θεοὺς δὲ μή; who in the world would think that they were the sons of gods and not gods? P. A. 27d, ἀπῇσαν . . . νομίσαντες μὴ ἂν ἔτι . . . ἱκανοὶ γενέσθαι κωλῦσαι τὸν ἐπὶ τὴν θάλασσαν τειχισμόν they departed in the belief that they would no longer prove able to prevent the building of the wall to the sea T. 6.102.

a. Cp. P. Th. 155a (φημί), T. 1.139, 6. 49, P. R. 346e (λέγω), X. M. 1.2.41, D. 54.44 (οἶμαι), X. C. 7.5.59 (νομίζω), P. Soph. 230c (διανοοῦμαι).

b. Cases where the infinitive is in apposition, or depends on an imperative, or occurs after a condition, do not belong here.


μή with the infinitive is often found after verbs denoting an oracular response or a judicial decision actual or implied. Cp. cross2725. Thus, ἀνεῖλεν ἡ Πυ_θία_ μηδένα σοφώτερον εἶναι the Pythian prophetess made answer that no one was wiser P. A. 21a (in direct discourse οὐδεὶς σοφώτερός ἐστι). So after κρί_νω, as ἔκρι_νε μὴ Ἀρίστωνος εἶναι Δημάρητον παῖδα the Pythian prophetess gave decisior that Demaretus was not the son of Ariston Hdt. 6.66, κέκρισθε . . . μόνοι τῶν πάντων μηδενὸς ἂν κέρδους τὰ κοινὰ δίκαια τῶν Ἑλλήνων προέσθαι you are adjudged to be the only people who would not betray for lucre the common rights of the Greeks D. 6.10. So καταγιγνώσκω μή T. 7.51, X. C. 6.1.36.


μή is often used with verbs and other expressions of asseveration and belief, after which we might expect οὐ with the infinitive in indirect discourse. Such verbs are those signifying to hope, expect, promise, put trust in, be persuaded, agree, testify, swear, etc.

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The use of μή indicates strong assurance, confidence, and resolve; and generally in regard to the future. Cp. cross2723.

ἐλπὶς ὑ_μᾶς μὴ ὀφθῆναι there is hope that you will not be seen X. C. 2.4.23, ὑπι_σχνοῦντο μηδὲν χαλεπὸν αὐτοὺς πείσεσθαι they promised that they should suffer no harm X. H. 4.4.5, πιστεύω . . . μὴ ψεύσειν με ταύτα_ς τὰ_ς ἀγαθὰ_ς ἐλπίδας I trust that these good hopes will not deceive me X. C. 1.5.13, θαυμάζω ὅπως ἐπείσθησαν Ἀθηναῖοι Σωκράτην περὶ θεοὺς μὴ σωφρονεῖν I wonder how the Athenians were persuaded that Socrates did not hold temperate opinions regarding the gods X. M. 1.1.20, ὁμολογεῖ μὴ μετεῖναί οἱ μακρολογία_ς he acknowledges that he cannot make a long speech P. Pr. 336b, αὐτὸς ἑαυτοῦ καταμαρτυρεῖ μὴ ἐξ ἐκείνου γεγενῆσθαι he proves by his own testimony that he is not his son D. 40.47, ὤμοσεν ἦ μὴν μὴ εἶναί οἱ υἱὸν ἄλλον μηδὲ γενέσθαι πώποτε he swore that he had no other son and that none other had ever been born to him And. 1.126, ὤμνυε . . . μηδὲν εἰρηκέναι he swore that he had said nothing D. 21.119, ὀμοῦμαι μήποτ' . . . ἀλεξήσειν κακὸν ἦμαρ I will swear that I will never ward off the evil day Φ 373. Cp. Ar. Vesp. 1047, 1281, And. 1.90, Lyc. 76. With ὄμνυ_μι the infinitive may refer to the present, past, or future.


Such verbs are hope ἐλπίζω; expect ἐλπίζω, προσδοκῶ, δοκῶ, οἴομαι, εἰκός ἐστι; promise ὑπισχνοῦμαι, ἐπαγγέλλομαι; swear ὄμνυ_μι; agree ὁμολογῶ, συγχωρῶ; pledge ἐγγυῶμαι; put trust in πιστεύω; am persuaded πέπεισμαι; testify μαρτυρῶ; repudiate ἀναίνομαι; threaten ἀπειλῶ, etc.

a. μή is regular after verbs of promising; common after verbs of hoping and swearing. With ὄμνυ_μι, πιστεύω, πείθομαι, μαρτυρῶ, etc. there is an idea of deprecation.


ἐπίσταμαι and οἶδα usually take μή when they denote confident belief ( = I warrant from what I know; cp. πιστεύω μή, ὄμνυ_μι μή). Thus, ἐξίσταμαι μή του τόδ' ἀγλάϊσμα πλὴν κείνου μολεῖν I assure you this fair offering has not come from any one save from him S. El. 908 (cp. Ant. cross1092). In τοσοῦτόν γ' οἶδα μήτε μ' ἂν νόσον μήτ' ἄλλο πέρσαι μηδέν so much at least I know—that neither sickness nor aught else can undo me (S. O. T. 1455) the infinitive may be appositional ( cross2718). Cases of ἴσθι μή (be assured = I assure you) may have μή by reason of the imperative ( cross2737 a). So S. Ph. 1329.

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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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