[*] 525. The uses of some of the more common Conditional Particles may be stated as follows:— [*] a. Sī is used for affirmative, nisi ( nī ) and sī nōn for negative conditions.
- With nisi (generally unless) the apodosis is stated as universally true except in the single case supposed, in which case it is (impliedly) not true:—
(if not) the apodosis is only stated as true in the (negative) case
supposed, but as to other cases no statement is
- sī Conōnnōn adest, maereō, if Conon is not here, I mourn (i.e. I mourn in the single case of Conon's absence, nothing being said as to other cases in which I may or may not mourn).
[*] Note.--It often makes no difference in which of these forms the condition is stated.
- Sometimes nisi
sī, except if, unless,
- nōlī putāre mē ad quemquam longiōrēs epistulās sorībere, “nisi sī quis ad mē plūra scrīpsit” (Fam. 14.2) , ... except in case one writes more to me.
- “ nisi vērō L. Caesar crūdēlior vīsus est ” (Cat. 4.13) , unless indeed Lucius Cæsar seemed too cruel.
- nisi forte volumus Epicūrēōrum opīniōnem sequī; (Fat. 37), unless, to be sure, we choose to follow the notion of the Epicureans.
[*] Note.--This is the regular way of introducing a reductio ad absurdum in Latin. Nisi alone is sometimes used in this sense: as, “—nisi ūnum hōc faciam ut in puteō cēnam coquant” (Pl. Aul. 365) , unless I do this one thing, [make them] cook dinner in the well.[*] c. Sīve ( seu ) ... sīve ( seu ), whether ... or, introduce a condition in the form of an alternative. They may be used with any form of condition, or with different forms in the two members. Often also they are used without a verb:—
- nam illō locō libentissimē soleō ūtī, sīve quid mēcum ipse cōgitō, sīve quid scrībō aut legō; (Legg. 2.1), for I enjoy myself most in that place, whether I am thinking by myself, or am either writing or reading.
- “accūsātor illum dēfendet sī poterit; sīn minus poterit, negābit ” (Inv. 2.88) , the accuser will defend him if he can; but if he cannot, he will deny.