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91. This use of the aorist subjunctive (90) sometimes seems to approach very near to that of the perfect subjunctive (103); and we often translate both by the same tense. But in the perfect, the idea of an action completed at the time referred to is expressed by the tense of the verb, without aid from any particle or from the context; in the aorist, the idea of relative past time can come only from the particle or the context. (See 103 with examples, and 104.) The Greek often uses the less precise aorist subjunctive and optative (see 95) where the perfect would be preferred but for its cumbrous forms; and we sometimes give the aorist more precision than really belongs to it in itself by translating it as a perfect or future perfect. (See the last six examples under 90.) The following example illustrates the distinction between the perfect and aorist subjunctive:—

Ὃν μὲν ἂν ἴδῃ ἀγνῶτα κύων, χαλεπαίνει: ὃν δ᾽ ἂν γνώριμον ἴδῃ, ἀσπάζεται, κἂν μηδὲν πώποτε ὑπ αὐτοῦ ἀγαθὸν πεπόνθῃ,” “whomsoever he sees whom he knows, he fawns upon, even if he has hitherto received no kindness from him.” PLAT. Rep. 376A. Compare this with ἐὰν ἀγαθόν τι πάθῃ ὑπό τινος, ἀσπάζεται, if he ever happens to receive any kindness from any one, he always fawns upon him; and ἐπειδὰν ἀγαθόν τι πάθῃ, ἀσπάζεται, after he has received any kindness, he always fawns upon him.

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