Disjunctive ἤ (Epic ἠέ) or (uel, aut); and repeated: ἢ . . . ἤ either . . . or (uel . . . uel, aut . . . aut) to connect the two members more closely.
X. A. 1.9.11,
ἀγαθὸν ἢ κακόν good or bad
P. A. 17b. ἤ with the subjunctive is often used when a speaker corrects himself; as νῦν δ' αὖ τρίτος ἦλθέ ποθεν σωτήρ, ἢ μόρον εἴπω; and now, again, the third has come, the deliverer—or shall I call it a deed of death? A. Ch. 1074. On ἤ in questions, see cross2657, cross2675.
ἤ τι ἢ οὐδέν little or nothing
Between ascending numbers ἤ has the force of Eng. to, as
X. C. 5.3.28.
ἐν ἓξ ἢ ἑπτὰ ἡμέραις in six to seven days
ἤτοι may be used instead of the first ἤ when the first member, as is commonly the case, contains the more probable choice. In English the order is often inverted. Thus,
S. Ant. 1182. ἤτοι may be followed by ἤ several times. ἤτοι . . . γε is more emphatic, as
ἤτοι κλύουσα παιδὸς ἢ τύχῃ πάρα she comes either by chance or because she has heard about her son
ἤτοι κρύφα γε ἢ φανερῶς either secretly or openly
ἤ often indicates that a given result will follow in case the action of
-- 649 --
the previous clause is not realized: or else (cp. εἰ δὲ μή, 2346 d). Thus,
X. A. 1.4.16.
ὅπως . . . ὑ_μεῖς ἐμὲ ἐπαινέσετε, ἐμοὶ μελήσει· ἢ μηκέτι με Κῦρον νομίζετε it shall be my concern that you commend me; or else my name is no longer Cyrus
ἤ often does not introduce an alternative to a previous question, but substitutes instead another question which is more specific and intended to anticipate the answer to the first (or rather, or precisely). Thus, λέγε ἡμῖν πῶς με φῂς διαφθείρειν τοὺς νεωτέρους; ἢ δῆλον δὴ ὅτι . . . θεοὺς διδάσκειν μὴ νομίζειν οὓς ἡ πόλις νομίζει; tell us how you mean that I corrupt the young? Or rather clearly you mean that (I corrupt them) by teaching them not to acknowledge the gods which the State acknowledges? P. A. 26b.
ἤ often introduces an argument ex contrario (D. 31.14).
ἢ καί is often used where ἤ would suffice (cp. cross2888 a); as ἢ ξένος ἢ καί τις πολί_της either an alien or a citizen if you will (or as well) D. 20.123.
Comparative ἤ than is used to mark difference. It stands after comparatives where the genitive or a preposition ( cross1069 ff.) is not used, and after words indicating difference or diversity or having a comparative force, e.g., ἄλλος or ἕτερος other, ἄλλως otherwise, διάφορος different, διαφέρειν to be different, ἐναντίος contrary, διπλάσιος twice as much, πρίν sooner.
X. C. 3.1.9, ἄλλο οὐδὲν ἢ ἐκ γῆς ἐναυμάχουν T. 4.14 ( cross2778 a), τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ δεῖ με ἀποθνῄσκειν ἢ ᾗ ἂν ἔλθῃ τὸ πλοῖον I must die the day after (that on which) the ship arrives P. Cr. 44a (here ἤ or ᾗ might be omitted), τἀ_ναντία . . . ἢ τοὺς κύνας ποιοῦσι differently from the way they treat dogs X. A. 5.8.24,
ἄλλα ἢ τὰ γενόμενα things different from what occurred
X. H. 5.3.21.
τὸν ἥμισυν σῖτον ἢ πρόσθεν half as much corn as before
a. After τί or a negative, ἤ may be used without ἄλλος, as τί ποιῶν ἢ εὐωχούμενος; doing what else except feasting? P. Cr. 53e,
X. C. 7.5.41.
εἶπε μηδένα παριέναι ἢ τοὺς φίλους he said that they should let no one pass except his friends
b. Often after verbs of willing, choosing, etc.; as
L. 2.62. Here we might have μᾶλλον ἤ, which is usually not separated, and especially when μᾶλλον belongs to the whole sentence.
θάνατον μετ' ἐλευθερία_ς αἱρούμενοι ἢ βίον μετὰ δουλεία_ς preferring death with freedom rather than life with servitude
c. If two clauses connected by ἤ have the same verb it may be omitted in the clause following ἤ; as ἔπρα_ττες ἀλλοῖον ἢ οἱ πολλοί (πρά_ττουσι) you behaved differently from the rest P. A. 20c.
d. On ἢ ὥστε (ὡς), or ἤ alone, than so as to, see cross2264.