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THE NEGATIVES IN INDIRECT QUESTIONS

2676. The negative of the direct form is usually preserved in indirect questions.

““εἴσομαι . . . πότερον ἔχων αὐτὸ οὐκ εὐδαίμων ἐστὶν εὐδαίμωνI shall know whether its possessor is happy or notP. R. 354c, ““οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ὅπως φῶ τοῦτο καὶ μὴ φῶI know not how I am to say this and not to say itE. I. A. 643 ( = πῶς μὴ φῶ;).

a. Indirect single questions introduced by interrogative pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs, usually have οὐ.

b. μή appears after verbs of seeing, considering and the like (σκοπῶ, ὁρῶ, ἐννοοῦμαι, ἐνθυ_μοῦμαι) when there is an idea of purpose or desire to prevent something. Thus, ὁρᾶτε . . . ὅτῳ τρόπῳ κάλλιστα ἀμυνεῖσθε αὐτοὺς καὶ μήτε καταφρονήσαντες ἄφαρκτοι ληφθήσεσθε κτλ. consider how you may best defend yourselves and may neither be caught off your guard through contempt, etc. T. 6.33. So also with the potential optative with ἄν; as τί οὖν οὐ σκοποῦμεν πῶς ἂν αὐτῶν μὴ διαμαρτάνοιμεν; why then do we not consider how we may avoid mistaking them? X. M. 3.1.10. Indirect questions with μή thus belong under μή with verbs of fear and apprehension, where μή is the negative of the will. Cp. 2674.

c. Indirect questions introduced by εἰ have οὐ or μή. Thus, ““ἤρετο τὸν δῆμον εἰ οὐκ αἰσχύ_νοιντοhe asked the people whether they were not ashamedAes. 1.84, ἤρετό με . . . εἰ μὴ μέμνημαι he asked me whether I did not remember 2. 36.

d. In relative clauses joined by καί and standing in an indirect question (what . . . and what not), μή must be used when the verb is to be supplied with the second clause; but when the verb is repeated, either μή, or οὐ if the antecedent is definite, may be used. Thus, ““διαγιγνώσκουσιν τε δύνανται καὶ μήthey distinguish between what they can do and what they cannotX. M. 4.2.26, οἶσθα . . . ὁπόσοι τε φρουροὶ ἱκανοί εἰσι καὶ ὁπόσοι μή εἰσιν you know how many garrisons are advantageously situated and how many are not 3. 6. 10. The antecedent is definite in ““ἀπέδειξεν οὓς χρὴ δημηγορεῖν καὶ οὓς οὐ δεῖ λέγειν ἐν τῷ δήμῳhe showed who must speak in the assembly and who must not speak before the peopleAes. 1.27.

e. As the second member of an alternative question introduced by εἰ, or not is either οὐ or μή. Thus, ““σκοπῶμεν εἰ ἡμῖν πρέπει οὔlet us consider whether it is proper for us or notP. R. 451d, νῦν ἔμαθον δ̀ λέγεις: εἰ δὲ ἀληθὲς μή, πειρά_σομαι μαθεῖν now I have made out what you mean; and I will try to make out whether it is true or not 339 a.

f. A shift from μή to οὐ in sequent alternative indirect questions appears to be due to the desire to attain variety. Thus, ““οὐ δεῖ ὑ_μᾶς ἐκ τῶν τοῦ κατηγόρου λόγων τοὺς νόμους καταμανθάνειν, εἰ καλῶς ὑ_μῖν κεῖνται μή, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ τῶν νόμων τοὺς τοῦ κατηγόρου λόγους, εἰ ὀρθῶς καὶ νομίμως ὑ_μᾶς διδάσκουσι τὸ πρᾶγμα οὔyou must not start from the pleas of the accuser to learn whether your laws have been established well or not, but you must start from the laws to learn whether his pleas set forth the case fairly and legally or notAnt. 5.14. Cp. Ant. 6.2, Is. 8.9, D. 20.83. Some scholars hold that οὐ here lays stress on a negative fact or on something conceived as a negative fact, and that μή puts the question abstractly as a mere conception.

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