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929. An unemphatic pronoun of the first or second person is generally omitted: λέγε τὸν νόμον read the law (spoken to the clerk of the court) D. 21.8.

930. An emphatic pronoun is generally expressed, as in contrasts: ““σὺ μὲν κεῖνον ἐκδέχου, ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἄπειμιdo thou wait for him, but I will departS. Ph. 123. But often in poetry and sometimes in prose the pronoun is expressed when no contrast is intended. The first of two contrasted pronouns is sometimes omitted: ἀλλά, εἰ βούλει, μέν᾽ ἐπὶ τῷ στρατεύματι, ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἐθέλω πορεύεσθαι but, if you prefer, remain with your division, I am willing to go X. A. 3.4.41. Cp. 1190, 1191.

931. The nominative subject of the third person may be omitted

a. When it is expressed or implied in the context: ““ σὸς πατὴρ φοβεῖται μὴ τὰ ἔσχατα πάθῃyour father is afraid lest he suffer deathX. C. 3.1.22.

b. When the subject is indefinite, especially when it is the same person or thing as the omitted subject of a preceding infinitive (937 a): τοῦ οἴεσθαι εἰδένάι (ἀμαθία_), οὐκ οἶδεν the ignorance of thinking one knows what one does not know P. A. 29b. Often in legal language: νόμος, ὃς κελεύει τὰ ἑαυτοῦ ἐξεῖναι διαθέσθαι ὅπως ἂν ἐθέλῃ the law, which enjoins that a man has the right to dispose of his property as he wishes Is. 2.13.

c. When a particular person is meant, who is easily understood from the situation: τοὺς νόμους ἀναγνώσεται he (the clerk) will read the laws Aes. 3.15.

d. When it is a general idea of person, and usually in the third person plural of verbs of saying and thinking: ““ὡς λέγουσινas they sayD. 5.18. So φα_σί they say, οἴονται people think; cp. aiunt, ferunt, tradunt.

e. In descriptions of locality: ἦν δὲ κρημνῶδες for it (the place) was steep T. 7.84.

f. In impersonal verbs (932, 934).

932. Impersonal Verbs (905).—The subject of a true impersonal verb is a vague notion that cannot be supplied from the context: ὀψὲ ἦν it was late, καλῶς ἔχει it is well, ““ἤδη ἦν ἀμφὶ ἀγορὰ_ν πλήθουσανit was already about the time when the market-place is fullX. A. 1.8.1, αὐτῷ οὐ προυχώρει it (the course of events) did not go well with him T. 1.109.

933. An impersonal verb the subject of which may be derived from the context is called quasi-impersonal.

a. When the indefinite it anticipates an infinitive or subordinate proposition which forms the logical subject (1985). So with δοκεῖ it seems, συμβαίνει it happens, ἔξεστι it is permitted, πρέπει, προσήκει it is fitting, φαίνεται it appears, ἐγένετο it happened, εἰσῄει με venit me in mentem, δηλοῖ it is evident, etc. Thus, ““ὑ_μᾶς προσήκει προθυ_μοτέρους εἶναιit behooves you to be more zealousX. A. 3.2.15, εἰσῄει αὐτοὺς ὅπως ἂν οἴκαδε ἀφίκωνται it came into their thoughts how they should reach home 6. 1. 17.

b. So also with χρή, δεῖ it is necessary; as, δεῖ σ᾽ ἐλθεῖν you ought to go (lit. to go binds you). The impersonal construction with -τέον is equivalent to δεῖ (2152 a): ““βοηθητέον ἐστὶ τοῖς πρά_γμασιν ὑ_μῖνyou must rescue the interests at stakeD. 1.17.

934. In some so-called impersonal verbs the person is left unexpressed because the actor is understood or implied in the action. So

a. In expressions of natural phenomena originally viewed as produced by a divine agent: βροντᾷ tonat, ὕ_ει pluit, νείφει ningit, χειμάζει it is stormy, ἔσεισε it shook, there was an earthquake. The agent (Ζεύς, θεός) is often (in Hom. always) expressed, as Ζεὺς ἀστράπτει Iuppiter fulget.

b. When the agent is known from the action, which is viewed as alone of importance: σαλπίζει the trumpet sounds (i.e. σαλπιγκτὴς σαλπίζει the trumpeter sounds the trumpet), ἐκήρυξε proclamation-was made (scil. κῆρυξ), σημαίνει the signal is given (scil. κῆρυξ or σαλπιγκτής).

935. In impersonal passives the subject is merely indicated in the verbal ending: λέγεταί τε καὶ γράφεται speeches (λόγοι) and writings (γράμματα) are composed P. Phae. 261b. This construction is relatively rare, but commonest in the perfect and pluperfect: ““οὐκ ἄλλως αὐτοῖς πεπόνηταιtheir labour has not been lostP. Phae. 232a, ““ἐπεὶ αὐτοῖς παρεσκεύαστοwhen their preparations were completedX. H. 1.3.20.

936. Subject of the Infinitive.—The subject of the infinitive is in the accusative: ““ἐκέλευον αὐτοὺς πορεύεσθαιthey ordered that they should proceedX. A. 4.2.1.

a. See 1975. On the nominative subject of the infinitive, see 1973.

937. Omission of the Subject of the Infinitive.—The subject of the infinitive is usually not expressed when it is the same as the subject or object (direct or indirect) of the principal verb: ““ἔφη ἐθέλεινhe said he was willingX. A. 4.1.27 (contrast dixit se velle), πάντες αἰτοῦνται τοὺς θεοὺς τὰ φαῦλα ἀπο- ““τρέπεινeverybody prays the gods to avert evilX. S. 4. 47, ““δός μοι τρεῖς ἡμέρα_ς ἄρξαι αὐτοῦgrant me the control of him for three daysX. C. 1.3.11. Cp. 1060, 1973.

a. An indefinite subject of the infinitive (τινά, ἀνθρώπους) is usually omitted. Cp. 931 b, 1980.

hide References (20 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (20):
    • Aeschines, Against Ctesiphon, 15
    • Demosthenes, Olynthiac 1, 17
    • Demosthenes, On the Peace, 18
    • Demosthenes, Against Midias, 8
    • Isaeus, Menecles, 13
    • Plato, Apology, 29b
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 232a
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 261b
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 123
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.109
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.84
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 1.8.1
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 3.2.15
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 3.4.41
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 4.1.27
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 4.2.1
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 1.3.11
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 3.1.22
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 1.3.20
    • Xenophon, Symposium, 4
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