previous next

11. In conditional clauses the subjunctive expresses either a future supposition (444), or a general supposition which is indefinite (never strictly present) in its time (462).
  • In the former it supposes such a future case as the Homeric subjunctive (6) states; as ἐάν τις εἴπῃ, if one shall say (the thing supposed being εἴπῃ τις, one will say); here the future indicative may be used in essentially the same sense (447). In the general condition it supposes an event to occur at any time, as we say if any one ever goes or whoever goes, with an apodosis expressing repetition or a general truth; as ἐάν τις κλέψῃ (or ὃς ἂν κλέψῃ), κολάζεται, if any one steals (or whoever steals), he is always punished.
  • (b)
  • The subjunctive in general suppositions is the only subjunctive which does not refer to future time, and here the future indicative can never be used. In most other languages (as in English and generally in Latin), and sometimes in Greek, such a condition is expressed by the present indicative, like an ordinary present supposition; but the Greek, in its desire to avoid a form denoting present time, generally fell into one which it uses elsewhere only for future time. The construction, however, appears in Homer imperfectly established, except in relative clauses (468): this indicates that it does not belong to the primitive uses of the subjunctive. (See 17.)

For the Homeric subjunctive with κέ or ἄν in independent sentences, which does not differ perceptibly in meaning from the future with κέ or ἄν, see 201, 1.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: