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16. In future conditions the optative expresses the supposition in a weakened future form, as compared with the stronger future of the subjunctive and the future indicative.

Compare ἐὰν ἔλθω, if I (shall) go (444), with εἰ ἔλθοιμι, if I should go (455). Often the form of the leading sentence (the apodosis) decides whether a given supposition shall be expressed by a subjunctive or by an optative; thus in DEM. iv. 11 we have ἂν οὗτός τι πάθῃ, if anything happens (shall happen) to him (Philip), depending on ποιήσετε; and in the next sentence, referring to precisely the same contingency, we have εἴ τι πάθοι, depending on two optatives with ἄν.

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