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384. When οὐ is found in a protasis, it is generally closely connected with a particular word (especially the verb), with which it forms a single negative expression; so that its negative force does not (like that of μή) affect the protasis as a whole. E.g.

Πάντως δήπου (οὕτως ἔχει), ἐάν τε σὺ καὶ Ἄνυτος οὐ φῆτε ἐάν τε φῆτε, if you deny it, as well as if you admit it. PLAT. Apol. 25B.Εἰ τοὺς θανόντας οὐκ ἐᾷς κωλύεις θάπτειν,” “if you forbid burying the dead.” SOPH. Aj. 1131. Εἰ μὲν οὐ πολλοὶ (=ὀλίγοι) ἦσαν, καθ᾽ ἕκαστον ἂν περὶ τούτων ἠκούετε, if there were only a few, etc. LYS. xiii. 62: cf. 76. Τῶνδε μὲν οὐδὲν ἴσον ἐστὶν, εἴγε ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν γε τῶν ἐν μέσῳ οὐδεὶς οὐδέποτε ἄρξεται, there is no fairness in this, if (it is the plan, that) no one is ever to begin with us. XEN. Cyr. ii. 2, 3.

In all these cases μή could be used, even where οὐ seems especially proper; as in ἄν τ᾽ ἐγὼ φῶ ἄν τε μὴ φῶ, whether I admit or deny it, DEM. xxi. 205.See EUR. Hipp. 995, οὐδ᾽ ἢν σὺ μὴ φῇς. The use of μή or οὐ was determined by the feeling of the speaker at the moment as to the scope of his negation. The following example makes the difference between οὐ and μή particularly clear, οὐ affecting merely the verb, and μή affecting the whole clause (including the οὐ): εἰ μὴ Πρόξενον οὐχ ὑπεδέξαντο, ἐσώθησαν ἄν, if it had not been that they did not receive Proxenus, they would have been saved, DEM. xix. 74.

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