previous next


2280. A condition is a supposition on which a statement is based. A conditional sentence commonly consists of two clauses:

The protasis: the conditional, or subordinate, clause, expressing a supposed or assumed case (if).

The apodosis: the conclusion, or principal clause, expressing what follows if the condition is realized. The truth or fulfilment of the conclusion depends on the truth or fulfilment of the conditional clause.

a. The protasis has its name from πρότασις, lit. stretching forward, that which is put forward (in logic, a premiss); the apodosis, from ἀπόδοσις, lit. giving back, return; i.e. the resuming or answering clause.

2281. The protasis usually precedes, but may follow, the apodosis.

2282. The protasis is introduced by εἰ if.

a. Homer has also αι᾽, which is an Aeolic (and Doric' form.

2283. With the subjunctive mood, ει᾽ commonly takes ἄν (Epic εἴ κε or εἴ κεν, not ἐά_ν).

a. There are three forms, ἐά_ν, ἤν, ἄ_ν. ἐά_ν is the ordinary form in Attic prose and inscriptions; ἤν appears in Ionic and in the older Attic writers (the tragic poets and Thucydides); ἄ_ν, generally in the later writers (sometimes together with ἐά_ν), very rarely in Attic inscriptions. In Plato ἄ_ν is commoner than ἐά_ν. Xenophon has all three forms.

b. ἤν is from εἰ ¨ ἄν, ἄ_ν from η᾽ (another form of εἰ) + ἄν. The etymology of ἐά_ν is uncertain: either from η᾽ ¨ ἄν or from εἰ ¨ ἄ_ν.

2284. The particle ἄν is used in the apodosis: (1) with the optative, to denote possibility (cp. 1824); (2) with the past tenses of the indicative, to denote either the non-fulfilment of the condition (1786) or, occasionally, repetition (1790).

2285. The apodosis may be introduced by δέ or ἀλλά, less often by αὐτάρ. See under Particles. νῦν δέ as it is, as it was corrects a supposition contrary to fact. The apodosis sometimes has τότε, τότε δή, οὕτως (Hom. τῷ) comparable to Eng. then, in that case in the conclusion of conditional sentences.

2286. The negative of the protasis is μή because the subordinate clause expresses something that is conceived or imagined. μή negatives the conditional clause as a whole. On οὐ adherescent in protasis, see 2698.

The negative of the apodosis is οὐ, in case the principal clause states the conclusion as a fact on the supposition that the protasis is true; μή, when the construction requires that negative (2689).

2287. The indicative, subjunctive, and optative moods, and the participle may stand in protasis and apodosis. The imperative and infinitive may be used in the apodosis. The future optative is not used in conditional sentences except in indirect discourse. The tenses in conditional sentences, except unreal conditions, have the same force as in simple sentences.

2288. Instead of a formal conditional sentence the two members may be simply coördinated, the protasis having the form of an independent clause.

σμι_κρὸν λαβὲ παράδειγμα, καὶ πάντα εἴσει βούλομαι take an insignificant example, and you will know what I mean P. Th. 154c, πρά_ττεταί τι τῶν ὑ_μῖν δοκούντων συμφέρειν: ἄφωνος Αἰσχίνης something is going on (of a kind) that seems to be to your advantage. Aeschines is dumb. D. 18.198. Cp. “Take with you this great truth, and you have the key to Paul's writings” (Channing); “Petition me, perhaps I may forgive” (Dryden). Cp. 1839.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: