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Omission of the Verb

944. Ellipsis of the Copula.—The copulative verb εἶναι is often omitted, especially the forms ἐστί and εἰσί. This occurs chiefly

a. In general or proverbial statements: ““κοινὴ τύχη καὶ τὸ μέλλον ἀόρα_τονchance is common to all and the future cannot be scannedI. 1.29; b. in expressions of necessity, duty, etc.: ““ἀνάγκη φυλάττεσθαιit is necessary to be on our guardD. 9.6. So with ὥρα_, καιρός, εἰκός, χρεών, δέον, verbals in -τέον (2152), as ““θεραπευτέον τοὺς θεούςwe must serve the godsX. M. 2.1.28; c. with various adjectives: ἄξιος, δυνατός, πρόθυ_μος, δίκαιος, οἷος, φροῦδος, ἕτοιμος; thus, ““ ψυ_χὴ δουλεύειν ἑτοίμηthe soul is ready to be a servantP. Phae. 252a, ““εἴ τις ἐπερωτῴη πότερον κρεῖττονif anybody should ask whether it is betterX. M. 1.1.9.

945. Other forms of εἶναι are less commonly omitted: κοινωνεῖν ἕτοιμος (scil. εἰμί), οἶμαι δὲ καὶ Λάχητα τόνδε (scil. ἕτοιμον εἶναι) I am ready to assist you and I think that Laches here is also ready P. Lach. 180a, οὐ σὺ λογογράφος (scil. εἶ); are you not a speech-writer? D. 19.250, νὺξ ἐν μέσῳ (scil. ἦν) the night was half gone Aes. 3.71, ἄτοπα λέγεις καὶ οὐδαμῶς πρὸς σοῦ (scil. ὄντα) you are talking absurdly and not at all like yourself X. M. 2.3.15, τοῖς θεοῖς μεγίστη χάρις (scil. ἔστω) to the gods let our heartiest thanks be given X. C. 7.5.72. Cp. 1041.

946. In lively discourse the form of a verb signifying to do, speak, come, go, etc., may be omitted for brevity. The ellipsis is often unconscious and it is frequently uncertain what is to be supplied to complete the thought. Thus, τί ἄλλο (scil. ἐποίησαν) ἐπεβούλευσαν; what else did they do except plot against us? T. 3.39, οὐδὲν ἄλλο (scil. ποιῶν) πόλιν τὴν αὑτοῦ ἀπολείπων doing nothing else except leaving his native city 2. 16, ἵνα τί (scil. γένηται); to what purpose? D. 19.257, περὶ μὲν τούτου κατὰ σχολήν (scil. λέξω) about this by and by 24. 187, μή μοί γε μύ_θους (scil. λέξητε) none of your legends for me! Ar. Vesp. 1179, ἀλλ᾽ (σκέψασθε) ἕτερον but consider another point L. 13.79, φίλε Φαῖδρε, ποῖ δὴ (scil. εἶ) καὶ πόθεν (scil. ἥκεις); my dear Phaedrus whither, I beg of you, are you going and whence do you come? P. Phae. 227a, οὐκ ἐς κόρακας (scil. ἐρρήσεις); will you not be off to the crows? Ar. Nub. 871, πρός σε (scil. ἱκετεύω) γονάτων I entreat thee by thy knees E. Med. 324. Cp. 1599.

947. Καὶ ταῦτα and that too takes up a preceding expression: ““ἀγριωτέρους αὐτοὺς ἀπέφηνε . . . καὶ ταῦτ᾽ εἰς αὑτόνhe made them more savage and that too towards himselfP. G. 516c; often with concessive participles (2083): Μένωνα δ᾽ οὐκ ἐζήτει, καὶ ταῦτα παρ᾽ Ἀριαίου ὢν τοῦ Μένωνος ξένου he did not ask for Menon and that too although he came from Ariaeus, Menon's guest-friend X. A. 2.4.15. Cp. 1246, 2083.

948. A verb that may easily be supplied from the context is often omitted. Thus, ἐὰν μάθω, παύσομαι (scil. ποιῶν) γε ἄ_κων ποιῶ if I learn better, I shall leave off doing what I do unintentionally P. A. 26a, ἀμελήσα_ς ὧνπερ οἱ πολλοί (scil. ἐπιμελοῦνται) not caring for what most men care for 36 b, ἐὰ_ν αὖθις ζητήσετε ταῦτα, οὕτως (scil. ἔχοντα) εὑρήσετε if you inquire about this later, you will find that it is so 24 b. See under Brachylogy (Index).

hide References (20 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (20):
    • Aeschines, Against Ctesiphon, 71
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 871
    • Aristophanes, Wasps, 1179
    • Demosthenes, Philippic 3, 6
    • Demosthenes, On the False Embassy, 250
    • Demosthenes, On the False Embassy, 257
    • Euripides, Medea, 324
    • Isocrates, To Demonicus, 29
    • Lysias, Against Agoratus, 79
    • Plato, Apology, 26a
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 227a
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 252a
    • Plato, Laches, 180a
    • Plato, Gorgias, 516c
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 2.4.15
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 7.5.72
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 1.1.9
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 2.1.28
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 2.3.15
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.39
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