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520. A relative with an indefinite antecedent gives a conditional force to the clause in which it stands, and is called a conditional relative. The conditional relative clause stands in the relation of a protasis to the antecedent clause, which is its apodosis (380). The negative particle is μή.

Thus, when we say νομίζει ταῦτα λέγει, he is saying what he (actually) thinks, or ἐνόμιζε ταῦτα ἔλεγεν, he was saying what he thought, the actions of νομίζει and ἐνόμιζε are stated as actual facts, occurring at definite times; but when we say ἂν νομίζῃ (ταῦτα) λέγει, he (always) says whatever he thinks, or νομίζοι (ταῦταἔλεγεν, he (alwayssaid whatever he happened to be thinking, νομίζῃ and νομίζοι do not state any such definite facts, but rather what some one may think (or may have thought) on any occasion on which he may speak or may have spoken. So, when we say νομίζει ταῦτα λέξει, he will say what he (now) thinks, νομίζει denotes a fact; but when we say ἂν νομίζῃ λέξει, he will say whatever he happens to be (then) thinking, νομίζῃ denotes a supposed future case. Again,—to take the case in which the distinction is most liable to be overlooked,—when we say οὐκ οἶδα οὐκ οἴομαι εἰδέναι, what I do not know, I do not think that I know, οὐκ οἶδα, as before, denotes a simple fact, and its object has a definite antecedent; but when Socrates says μὴ οἶδα οὐδὲ οἴομαι εἰδέναι, the meaning is whatever I do not know (i.e. if there is anything which I do not know), I do not even think that I know it. In sentences like this, unless a negative is used (518), it is often difficult to decide whether the antecedent is definite or indefinite: thus οἶδα οἴομαι εἰδέναι may mean either what I (actuallyknow, I think that I know, or whatever I know (if there is anything which I know), I think that I know it.

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