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[*] 894. The phrase οὐκ ἂν φθάνοις (or οὐκ ἂν φθάνοιτε), you could not be too soon, is used with the participle as an exhortation, meaning the sooner the better. The first and third persons are less common in this sense. E.g. Ἀποτρέχων οὐκ ἂν φθάνοις, “the sooner you run off the better.” AR. Pl. 1133.So HDT. vii. 162; XEN. Mem. iii. 11, 1. Οὐκ ἂν φθάνοις λέγων, “the sooner you speak the better.” Symp. 185E. Οὐκ ἂν φθάνοιμι (λέγων), I might as well speak at once. Ib. 214E. Εἰ μὴ τιμωρήσεσθε τούτους, οὐκ ἂν φθάνοι τὸ πλῆθος τούτοις τοῖς θηρίοις δουλεῦον, “the people might as well be slaves to these beasts at once.” DEM. xxiv. 143.
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