[*] 447. The Potential Subjunctive has the following uses:—
- In cautious or modest assertions in the first person
singular of expressions of saying,
thinking, or wishing(present or perfect):—
- “pāce tuā dīxerim” (Mil. 103) , I would say by your leave.
- “haud sciam an ” (Lael. 51） , I should incline to think.
- “tū velimsīc exīstimēs ” (Fam. 12.6) , I should like you to think so.
- “certum affīmāre nōn ausim” (Liv. 3.23) , I should not dare to assert as sure.
[*] Note.-- Vellem , nōllem , or māllem expressing an unfulfilled wish in present time may be classed as independent potential subjunctive or as the apodosis of an unexpressed condition (§ 521): as—vellemadesset M. “Antōnius” (Phil. 1.16) , I could wish Antony were here.
- In the indefinite second person singular of verbs
of saying, thinking, and the like
(present or imperfect):—
- crēdāsnōn dē puerō scrīptum sed ā puerō; (Plin. Ep. 4.7.7), you would think that it was written not about a boy but by a boy.
- “crēderēsvictōs ” (Liv. 2.43.9) , you would have thought them conquered.
- reōs dīcerēs (id. 2.35.5), you would have said they were culprits.
- “vidērēssusurrōs ” (Hor. S. 2.8.77) , you might have seen them whispering (lit. whispers).
- “fretō assimilāre possīs” (Ov. M. 5.6) , you might compare it to a sea.
- With other verbs, in all persons, when some word or
phrase in the context implies that the action is expressed as
merely possible or conceivable:—
- nīl egocontulerimiūcundō sānus amīcō; (Hor. S. 1.5.44), when in my senses I should compare nothing with an interesting friend.
- “fortūnam citiusreperiās quam retineās” (Pub. Syr. 168) , you may sooner find fortune than keep it.
- “aliquis dīcat” (Ter. And. 640) , somebody may say.
[*] Note 2.--In this use the subjunctive may be regarded as the apodosis of an undeveloped protasis. When the conditional idea becomes clearer, it finds expression in a formal protasis, and a conditional sentence is developed.
- “forsitan quaerātis quī iste terror sit ” (Rosc. Am. 5) , you may perhaps inquire what this alarm is.
- forsitan temerē fēcerim (id. 31), perhaps I have acted rashly.
[*] Note.--Other expressions for perhaps are (1) forsan (chiefly poetical; construed with the indicative or the subjunctive, more commonly the indicative), fors (rare and poetical; construed with either the indicative or the subjunctive). Forsit (or fors sit ) occurs once (Hor. S. 1.6.49) and takes the subjunctive. Fortasse is sometimes followed by the infinitive with subject accusative in Plautus and Terence. Fortassis (rare; construed like fortasse ) and fortasse an (very rare; construed with the subjunctive) are also found.