previous next

309. This simple construction of a dependent verb introduced by μή with no connecting conjunction remained the established form after verbs of fearing in all periods of the language; and occasional exceptions, like μὴ φοβοῦ ὡς ἀπορήσεις, do not fear that you will be at a loss (371), οὐ φοβεῖ ὅπως μὴ ἀνόσιον πρᾶγμα τυγχάνῃς πράττων; (370), and οὐ φοβούμεθα ἐλασσώσεσθαι, we are not afraid that we shall have the worst of it (372), in place of the regular μὴ ἀπορήσῃς, μὴ τυγχάνῃς, μὴ ἐλασσωθῶμεν, only prove the rule. The original independent sentence with μή, expressing an object of fear which it is desired to avert, like μὴ νῆας ἕλωσι, is well established in Homer and appears occasionally in the Attic poets (261; 264). But in Plato it suddenly appears as a common construction, expressing, however, not an object of fear but an object of suspicion or surmise (265), so that μή with the subjunctive is a cautious expression of a direct assertion; as μὴ ἀγροικότερον τὸ ἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν, I rather think the truth may be too rude to tell (Gorg. 462E).

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: