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248. The final step is taken when an unreal condition is expressed as part of the sentence, forming the protasis to which the potential indicative is the apodosis; as ἦλθεν ἂν εἰ ἐκέλευσα, he would have gone if I had commanded him. The dependent protasis, by a natural assimilation, has a past tense of the indicative corresponding to the form of the apodosis. On the other hand, when an unreal condition has been expressed, as εἰ ἐκέλευσα, the potential indicative is the natural form to state what would have been the result if the condition had been fulfilled. (See 390, 2; and 410.) The potential indicative does not change its essential nature by being thus made part of an unreal conditional expression, and it is not necessarily implied that its action did not take place (see 412). Although the latter is generally implied or inferred, while the reverse seldom occurs, still it is important to a true understanding of the nature of the indicative with ἄν to remember that it is not essential or necessary for it either to refer to an unreal condition or to denote in itself what is contrary to fact.

For a periphrastic form of potential indicative with ἔδει, χρῆν, etc., with the infinitive, see 415.

For the Homeric use of the present optative with κέ or ἄν as a present potential form (like the later imperfect with ἄν), see 438.

For the rare Homeric optative with κέ in the sense of the past tenses of the indicative with κέ or ἄν, see 440.

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