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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):—
    1. pāce tuā dīxerim(Mil. 103) , I would say by your leave.
    2. haud sciam an (Lael. 51) , I should incline to think.
    3. velimsīc exīstimēs (Fam. 12.6) , I should like you to think so.
    4. 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 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.
    1. crēderēsvictōs (Liv. 2.43.9) , you would have thought them conquered.
    2. reōs dīcerēs (id. 2.35.5), you would have said they were culprits.
    3. vidērēssusurrōs (Hor. S. 2.8.77) , you might have seen them whispering (lit. whispers).
    4. 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.
    1. fortūnam citiusreperiās quam retineās(Pub. Syr. 168) , you may sooner find fortune than keep it.
    2. 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.

a. Forsitan, perhaps, regularly takes the Potential Subjunctive except in later Latin and in poetry, where the Indicative is also common:—
  1. forsitan quaerātis quī iste terror sit (Rosc. Am. 5) , you may perhaps inquire what this alarm is.
  2. forsitan temerē fēcerim (id. 31), perhaps I have acted rashly.

Note.--The subjunctive clause with forsitan (= fors sit an ) was originally an Indirect Question: it would be a chance whether, etc.

b. Fortasse, perhaps, is regularly followed by the Indicative; sometimes, however, by the Subjunctive, but chiefly in later Latin:—

  1. quaerēs fortasse (Fam. 15.4.13) , perhaps you will ask.

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.


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