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88. It is sometimes difficult here, as in the corresponding case of the imperfect and the aorist indicative (56; 57), to see any decisive reason for preferring one tense to the other; and it can hardly be doubted that the Greeks occasionally failed to make use of this, as well as of other fine distinctions, when either form would express the required sense equally well, although they always had the distinction ready for use when it was needed. Compare the present and the aorist subjunctive and optative in the following examples:— In the last example, it is obvious that the change from κομίσαιντο to κομίζοιντο is connected with the change from εἰ ἦσαν to εἰ εὐεργετηκότες εἶεν; but it is questionable whether the latter change is the cause or the effect, and it is also quite as hard to see the reason for this change in the protasis, when both conditions are equally general, as for that in the final clause. Probably no two scholars would agree in the reasons which they might assign for the use of the tenses in these examples. It is certain, however, that either present or aorist would express the meaning equally well in all these cases.

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