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176. As the optative refers sometimes to the future and sometimes to the past, it exerts upon a dependent verb sometimes the force of a primary, and sometimes that of a secondary tense.

When A. it refers to the past, as in general suppositions with εἰ and relatives after past tenses, or when it takes its time from a past verb (as in a final clause), it has the force of a secondary tense.

When B. it refers to the future, as in future conditions, in its use with ἄν, and in wishes, it is properly to be considered primary. In many cases, however, a double construction is here allowed. On the principle of assimilation the Greeks preferred the optative to the subjunctive in certain clauses depending on an optative, the dependent verb referring to the future like the leading verb, and differing little from a subjunctive in such a position. A dependent indicative is, however, very seldom assimilated to a leading optative. Such assimilation of a dependent verb to an optative takes place (1) regularly in protasis and conditional relative clauses depending on an optative of future time; (2) seldom in final and object clauses after ἵνα, ὅπως, μή, etc.; (3) very rarely in the case of the indicative in indirect quotations or questions, but (4) more freely in the case of the subjunctive in indirect questions.

These four classes of sentences which depend on an optative referring to the future are treated separately below (I.-IV.)

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