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2675. Indirect alternative questions are introduced by the particles signifying whether . . . or: πότερον (πότερα) . . . , εἴτε . . . εἴτε, εἰ . . . , εἰ . . . εἴτε. See also under Particles.

a. πότερον (πότερα) . . . : Thus, ““διηρώτα_ τὸν Κῦρον πότερον βούλοιτο μένειν ἀπιέναιshe asked Cyrus whether he wanted to stay or go awayX. C. 1.3.15, ““θαυμάζω πότερα ὡς κρατῶν βασιλεὺς αἰτεῖ τὰ ὅπλα ὡς διὰ φιλία_ν δῶραI wonder whether the king asks for our arms as a conqueror or as gifts on the plea of friendshipX. A. 2.1.10.

N.—πότερον . . . may denote that the second alternative is more important than the first. πότερον is omitted when the introductory clause contains the adjective πότερος (X. C. 1.3.2).

b. εἴτε . . . εἴτε gives equal value to each alternative. Thus, ““τὴν σκέψιν ποιώμεθα εἴτε ὠφελία_ν εἴτε βλάβην παρέχειlet us make the inquiry whether it produces benefit or injuryP. Phae. 237d.

N. 1.—In Homer εἴτε . . . εἴτε (εἴ τε . . . εἴ τε) almost always retains the meaning either . . . or (A 65).

N. 2.—The first εἴτε is rarely omitted in prose, as ““πόλις εἴτε ἰδιῶταί τινεςa State or certain individualsP. L. 864a; more often in poetry, as ““λόγοισιν εἴτ᾽ ἔργοισινby words or deedsS. O. T. 517.

c. εἰ . . . indicates that the second alternative is preferable or more probable. Thus, ἠρώτα_ εἰ αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἀνδράσι σπένδοιτο τοῖς ἰοῦσι καὶ ἀπιοῦσιν, καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἔσοιντο σπονδαί he asked whether he was making a truce merely with the individual men who were coming and going or whether the truce would be with the rest as well X. A. 2.3.7.

d. εἰ . . . εἴτε is like εἴτε . . . εἴτε. Thus, ““εἰ δ᾽ ἔτ᾽ ἐστὶν ἔμψυ_χος γυνὴ εἴτ᾽ οὖν ὄλωλεν, εἰδέναι βουλοίμεθ᾽ ἄνwe should like to know whether the lady is still alive or deadE. Alc. 140.

e. (ἠὲ) . . . (ἦε) occurs in Homer, as ““ὄφρ᾽ ἐὺ εἰδῶ ἠὲ νέον μεθέπεις καὶ πατρώιός ἐσσι ξεῖνοςthat I may know well whether thou art newly a visitor or art actually an ancestral guest-friendα 175. Cp. 2661. . . . is doubtful in Attic.

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