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736. For an explanation of the origin of the use of ὤφελον in wishes, see 424. It is there seen to be analogous to ἔδει and χρῆν with the infinitive, implying that what ought to be or to have been does not or did not happen. Only after its original meaning was obscured by familiar use could εἴθε or εἰ γάρ have been prefixed to it. Μὴ ὤφελον may be explained in the same way; or we may suppose that μή originally belonged to the infinitive, and afterwards came to negative the whole expression. See the examples in 734.

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