DIRECT ALTERNATIVE QUESTIONS
Direct alternative questions are usually introduced by πότερον
) . . . ἤ whether . . . or
(Lat. utrum . . . an
). πότερον δέδρα_κεν ἢ οὔ
; has he done it or not? D. 23.79
, πότερόν σέ τις, Αἰσχίνη, τῆς πόλεως ἐχθρὸν ἢ ἐμὸν εἶναι φῇ
; shall I say
, that you are the enemy of the State or mine?
18. 124 (τις φῇ ῀ φῶ
, 1805 c), πότερα δ᾽ ἡγεῖ . . . ἄμεινον εἶναι σὺν τῷ σῷ ἀγαθῷ τὰ_ς τι_μωρία_ς ποιεῖσθαι ἢ σὺν τῇ σῇ ζημίᾳ
; do you think that it is better to inflict the
proper punishments in your own interest or to your own loss? X. C. 3.1.15
often stands alone without πότερον
(as an without utrum
). Thus, ἔλυ_ε τὴν εἰρήνην ἢ οὔ
; did he break the peace or not? D. 18.71
, ἢν χρήματα πολλὰ ἔχῃ, ἐᾷς πλουτεῖν ἢ πένητα ποιεῖς
; if he has great wealth, do you let him keep on being rich or do you make him poor? X. C. 3.1.12
. So when the first question expresses uncertainty on the part of the questioner; as ἀλλὰ τίς σοι διηγεῖτο; ἢ αὐτὸς Σωκράτης
; but who told you the story?
(was it some one else) or was it Socrates himself? P. S. 173a
. Cp. 2860
An alternative question may follow upon a simple direct (or indirect) question. Thus, πόθεν πλεῖθ᾽ ὑγρὰ κέλευθα; ἤ τι κατὰ πρῆξιν ἤ μαψιδίως ἀλάλησθε
; whence do ye sail over the watery ways? Or is it perchance on some enterprise or by way of rash adventure that ye rove? ι 252
. Cp. E 85 (cited in 2660
) may stand alone when the second member of the question is implicit in another sentence. Thus, ἐννοήσατε δὲ κἀ_κεῖνο, τίνα πρόφασιν ἔχοντες ἂν προσιοίμεθα κακί_ονες ἢ πρόσθεν γενέσθαι. πότερον ὅτι ἄρχομεν; . . . ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι εὐδαιμονέστεροι δοκοῦμεν νῦν ἢ πρότερον εἶναι
; and consider this too: what pretence should we have for allowing ourselves to become less deserving than heretofore? Is it because we are rulers? Or is it because we seem to be more prosperous than before? X. C. 7.5.83
) was originally the neuter of πότερος which of the two?
placed in front of a double question and later made a part of the first question. Thus, ἐρωτῶ πότερον φιλεῖ ἢ μι_σεῖ σε I ask which of the two
(is true): does he love or does he hate you?
Cp. Τυ_δεΐδην δ᾽ οὐκ ἂν γνοίης ποτέροισι μετείη, ἠὲ μετὰ Τρώεσσιν ὁμι_λέοι ἦ μετ᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς you could not tell on which side Tydides was
, whether he consorted with Trojans or with Achaeans
E 85, τίνες κατῆρξαν, πότερον Ἕλληνες, μάχης, ἢ παῖς ἐμός
; who began the battle—was it the Greeks or my son? A. Pers. 351
, cp. X. C. 1.3.2
) . . . ἦ
), or ἦ
) alone, occurs in Homer, who does not use πότερον
. Thus, ἤ ῥά τι ἴδμεν ἐνὶ φρεσίν, ἦε καὶ οὐκί
; do we know aught in heart
, or do we not? δ 632
, ψεύσομαι ἦ ἔτυμον ἐρέω
; shall I speak falsehood or the truth?
K 534. a.
All the ancient grammarians attest the accentuation of these particles as given above. Modern editors often adopt other accents. ἠέ
are derived from ἠ-ϝέ
). With this enclitic ϝέ
, cp. Lat. -ϝε