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434. Potential optative.

The optative with “ἄν” is the potential1 of the Greek language. It is used mainly in leading clauses. It expresses the opinion of the speaker as an opinion, and may be called the mood of qualified assertion. The verification of the opinion or assertion is postponed to another time (“ἄν”).

1 Objections have been raised to the term potential, but nothing better has been suggested. Potentiality has to do with character, not with possibility merely, and the estimate of character goes back to the opinion of the one who makes the estimate. Compare A. J. P. xix (1898), 231.

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