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227. Ἄν is sometimes used elliptically without a verb, when one can be supplied from the context. E.g. “Οἱ οἰκέται ῥέγκουσιν: ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἂν πρὸ τοῦ(sc. ἔρρεγκον), “the slaves are snoring; but they wouldn't have been doing so at this hour in old times.” AR. Nub. 5.Ὡς οὔτ᾽ ἂν ἀστῶν τῶνδ᾽ ἂν ἐξείποιμί τῳ, οὔτ᾽ ἂν τέκνοισι τοῖς ἐμοῖς ῾σξ. ἐξείποιμι, στέργων ὅμωςSOPH. O.C. 1528. Τί ἂν δοκεῖ σοι Πρίαμος (sc. πρᾶξαι), εἰ τάδ᾽ ἤνυσεν; “ but what think you Priam would have done if he had accomplished what you have?” AESCH. Ag. 935. Σώφρων μὲν οὐκ ἂν μᾶλλον, εὐτυχὴς δ᾽ ἴσως (sc. οὖσα). EUR. Alc. 182: cf. AR. Eq. 1252. (See 483.)

So πῶς γὰρ ἄν (sc. εἴη; how could it? πῶς οὐκ ἄν; and similar phrases; especially ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ (also written as one word, ὡσπερανεί), in which the ἄν belongs to the verb that was originally understood after εἰ; as φοβούμενος ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ παῖς, fearing like a child (originally for φοβούμενος ὥσπερ ἂν ἐφοβεῖτο εἰ παῖς ἦν). PLAT. Gorg. 479A. See DEM. xviii. 194: τί χρὴ ποιεῖν; ὥσπερ ἂν εἴ τις ναύκληρον πάντ᾽ ἐπὶ σωτηρία πράξαντα . . . τῆς ναυαγίας αἰτιῷτο, what are we to do? (We are to do) just what a shipowner would do (ποιοῖ ἄν) if any one should blame him for the wreck of his ship, etc. See φήσειεν ἄν, which explains the omitted verb, just afterwards.

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    • William Watson Goodwin, Commentary on Demosthenes: On the Crown, 214
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