The Particle ἄν.
The adverb ἄν
(with the epic κέ
) has two uses, which
must be distinguished.
1. In one use, it denotes that the action of the verb to
which it is joined is dependent upon some condition, expressed or
implied. This is its force with the secondary tenses of the indicative,
and with the optative, infinitive, and participle: with these it belongs
strictly to the verb, to which it gives a potential force, like our
2. In its other use, it is joined regularly to εἰ
, to relative and temporal words, and sometimes to the final
particles ὡς, ὅπως
, when any of
these are followed by the subjunctive. Here, although as an adverb it
qualifies the verb, it is so closely connected with the relative or
particle, that it often coalesces with it, forming ἐάν, ἤν, α?ν ὅταν, ὁπόταν, ἐπειδάν,
These statements include only the constructions which are in
good use in Attic Greek. For the epic use of κέ
with the subjunctive in a potential sense (as with the
optative) see 201
1; for κέ
with the future indicative
There is no word or expression in English which can be used
separately to translate ἄν
. In its first use (192, 1) we express it by the form of
the verb which we use; as ἔλθοι
, he would go
; ἦλθεν ἄν
, he would have gone.
In its second use, with
the subjunctive, it generally has no force that can be made perceptible
The peculiar use of ἄν
can be understood only by a study of the various
constructions in which it occurs. These are enumerated below, with
references (when it is necessary) to the more full explanation of each
in Chapter IV.
No theory of the origin of either ἄν
has yet helped to explain their meaning, however
valuable the discussion of the question may have been to comparative
philology. It seems to be clear that κέ
is the older particle; it occurs 621 times in Homer
occurs 155 times;
in Pindar the two are nearly balanced; ἄν
has a preference for negative
sentences, being very often attached to the negative; ἄν
is more emphatic, as
appears indeed from its fixed accent, while κέ
is enclitic; κέ
is much more frequent than ἄν
in relative clauses in
But, practically, it is still safe to assume that the two
particles are used in substantially the same sense in all epic and lyric
poetry. In Herodotus and Attic Greek only ἄν
Indicative with ἄν.
The present and perfect indicative are never used with ἄν
This seems to occur chiefly when Plato and Aristotle use
(= καὶ ἂν, εἰ
) like καὶ εἰ
, without regard to the
mood of the verb which is to follow, to which κἄν
really belongs. See
PLAT. Men. 72
“κἂν εἰ πολλαί εἰσιν, ἕν
γέ τι εἶδος ταὐτὸν πᾶσαι ἔχουσι
, i.e. even if they are many, still (it
would seem to follow that) they all have one and the same
So PLAT. Rep. 579 D
, Soph. 247E
Pol. iii. 6, 1,
“κἂν εἰ πλείους
, with σκεπτέον
Examples of a different class (without κἂν εἰ
) are obviously corrupt, and have
now almost disappeared from our texts. One of the last relics,
“ἐγὼ δὲ οὕτω νῦν ἐξαίφνης
ἂν ἐρωτηθεὶς ὄντως ὅπερ εἶπον, οὐκ ἔχω
, is now simply emended by reading ἀνερωτηθείς
The future indicative is often used with κέ
by the early poets, especially Homer. The addition of
seems to make the
future more contingent than that tense naturally is, sometimes giving it
a force approaching that of the optative with ἄν
. E.g. Ἀλλ᾽ ἴθ̓, ἐγὼ δέ κέ τοι Χαρίτων μίαν
ὁπλοτεράων δώσω, ὀπυιέμεναι καὶ σὴν κεκλῆθαι
, I will give you one of the
, etc. Il. xiv. 267.
Καί κέ τις ὧδ᾽ ἐρέει Τρώων
, and some one
) thus speak.
Il. iv. 176.
Ὁ δέ κεν κεχολώσεται ὅν κεν
“and he may be angry to whom I come.”
Il. i. 139.
“Εἰ δ᾽ ἄγε, τοὺς ἂν ἐγὼν
ἐπιόψομαι: οἱ δὲ πιθέσθων
Παρ᾽ ἔμοι γε καὶ ἄλλοι, οἵ
κέ με τιμήσουσι
who will honour
Il. i. 174.
“Εἰ δ᾽ Ὀδυσεὺς ἔλθοι καὶ
ἵκοιτ᾽ ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν, αἶψά κε σὺν ᾧ παιδὶ βίας
, which may be aorist subjunctive (201, 1
), is used nearly in the
sense of the optative, corresponding to the optatives in the protasis.
is much more
common with the future than ἄν
The use of ἄν
with the future indicative in Attic Greek is absolutely denied by many
critics, and the more careful revision of the texts has greatly
diminished the number of examples cited in support of it. Still, in
several passages, even of the best prose, we must either emend the text
against the Mss., or admit the construction as a rare exception. E.g.
Αἰγυπτίους δὲ οὐχ ὁρῶ
ποίᾳ δυνάμει συμμάχῳ χρησάμενοι μᾶλλον ἂν κολάσεσθε τῆς
νῦν σὺν ἐμοὶ οὔσης
. XEN. An. ii. 5. 13
Ἔφη οὖν τὸν ἐρωτώμενον
εἰπεῖν, οὐχ ἥκει, φάναι, οὐδ᾽ ἂν ἥξει δεῦρο
he said that the one who was asked
, “He hasn't come, and he
won't come this way.
” PLAT. Rep. 615D.
(The only other
reading is ἥξοι
colloquial style here makes ἄν
less objectionable; see SOPH. Ant. 390
, quoted in 208
.) Ἔφη λέγων πρὸς ὑμᾶς ὡς, εἰ
διαφευξοίμην, ἤδη ἂν ὑμῶν οἱ υἱεῖς πάντες παντάπασι
. Id. Ap. 29C.
Κἂν ἔτ᾽ ἔτι φόνιον ὄψομαι
(so the Mss.). EUR. El. 484.
and 216, on the future infinitive and participle with ἄν
The most common use of ἄν
with the indicative is with the secondary tenses,
generally the imperfect and aorist, in the apodosis of an unfulfilled
in a potential sense (243)
The imperfect and aorist indicative are sometimes used with
in an iterative
construction must not be confounded with that just mentioned (198)
Subjunctive and Optative with ἄν.
In Attic Greek ἄν
is regularly used with the subjunctive in protasis and in
conditional relative sentences, and sometimes in final clauses with
, being always closely
joined with the particle or the relative; but never in independent
sentences. See 325
, and 522
1. In epic poetry, when the independent subjunctive has
nearly the sense of the future indicative (284)
, it sometimes takes κέ
. This forms a future potential
expression, nearly equivalent to the future indicative with κέ
, and sometimes approaching the optative
“Εἰ δέ κε μὴ δώῃσιν, ἐγὼ
δέ κεν αὐτὸς ἕλωμαι,
“and if he does not give her up, I will take
; see also i. 137
. For the
variety of nearly equivalent future potential forms which the Homeric
language presents, reduced to one in Attic Greek, see 235
2. The epic language has κέ
with the subjunctive in the constructions of 192, 2
; but its use of κέ
in conditions is less strict, and that
with final particles is more free, than the Attic use of ἄν
See 325-328; 450-454; 468-471; 538-541.
The optative with ἄν
forms the apodosis of the less vivid future condition
(like the English form with would
), or has a potential sense. E.g. Εἰ τοῦτο ποιήσειεν, ἄθλιος ἂν
, if he should do this
he would be wretched.
Ἡδέως ἂν ἐροίμην
, I should like to ask
For construction of ἄν
or the final
particles and the optative, see 460; and 329, 330, 349, 350, 351.
As the future optative came into common use after the future
indicative with ἄν
extinct, it was never used with ἄν
Infinitive with ἄν.
The infinitive can be used with ἄν
in all cases in which a finite verb
would have ἄν
if it stood
in its place.
This is found chiefly in indirect discourse, in which each
tense of the infinitive with ἄν
represents the corresponding
of the indicative or optative with ἄν
in the direct form. The context must
decide whether the indicative or optative is represented in each
) The present
infinitive, which represents also the imperfect (119)
, when used with ἄν
, may be equivalent either
to the imperfect indicative with ἄν
or to the present optative with ἄν
. It can represent no other form, as no
other form of these tenses has ἄν
joined with the verb in a finite mood. E.g. Φησὶν αὐτοὺς ἐλευθέρους ἂν
εἶναι, εἰ τοῦτο ἔπραξαν
says that they would
) be freeif they had done this
). Φησὶν αὐτοὺς ἐλευθέρους ἂν
εἶναι, εἰ τοῦτο πράξειαν
says that they would
be freeif they should do this
). Οἴεσθε γὰρ τὸν πατέρα οὐκ ἂν
φυλάττειν καὶ τὴν τιμὴν λαμβάνειν τῶν ξύλων;
do you think he would not have taken care and
have received the pay for the timber?
DEM. xlix. 35. (Here
the direct discourse would be ἐφύλαττεν ἂν καὶ ἐλάμβανεν
.) Μαρτυρίῳ ἐχρῶντο, μὴ ἂν τούς γε ἰσοψήφους
ἄκοντας, εἰ μή τι ἠδίκουν οἷς ἐπῄεσαν,
, they used us as an
, that people who had an equal
vote with themselves
would not be serving with them against their
will, unless those whom they attacked were guilty of some wrong.
THUC. iii. 11.
Οἶμαι γὰρ ἂν οὐκ ἀχαρίστως
, for I think it would not
be a thankless labour
(οὐκ ἂν ἔχοι
). XEN. An. ii. 3, 18.
) The perfect
infinitive, which represents also the pluperfect (123)
, when used with ἄν
, may be equivalent either
to the pluperfect indicative with ἄν
or to the perfect optative with ἄν
. E.g. Εἰ μὴ τὰς ἀρετὰς ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἐκείνας οἱ
Μαραθῶνι καὶ Σαλαμῖνι παρέσχοντο, . . . πάντα ταῦθ᾽ ὑπὸ
τῶν βαρβάρων ἂν ἑαλωκέναι
(sc. φήσειεν ἄν τις
those at Marathon and Salamis had not exhibited those deeds of
valour in their behalf, any one would say that all these would have
been captured by the barbarians.
DEM. xix. 312.
(Here ἑαλωκέναι ἄν
“Ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἂν ἡγοῦμαι
αὐτοὺς δίκην ἀξίαν δεδωκέναι, εἰ ἀκροασάμενοι αὐτῶν
“but I do not believe they would (then) have
suffered sufficient punishment, if you after hearing them should
(Here the protasis in the optative shows that δεδωκέναι ἄν
δεδωκότες ἂν εἶεν
; but if the
protasis were εἰ
, if you had condemned
would represent ἐδεδώκεσαν ἄν
, they would have
) See also, in xxvii. 8, οὐκ ἂν ἀπολωλέναι, ἀλλὰ δίκην
, representing perfect optatives with ἄν. Ἀνδραποδώδεις ἂν δικαίως
). XEN. Mem. i. 1, 16.
(Here κεκλῆσθαι ἄν
represents κεκλημένοι ἂν εἶεν
These constructions are of course rare, as are the forms of
the finite moods here represented.
) The aorist infinitive
may be equivalent
either to the aorist indicative with ἄν
or to the aorist optative with ἄν
. E.g. Οὐκ ἂν ἡγεῖσθ᾽ αὐτὸν κἂν ἐπιδραμεῖν;
do you not believe that
(if this had been so
would even have run thither?
i.e. οὐκ ἂν ἐπέδραμεν;
DEM. xxvii. 56.
Ἄνευ δὲ σεισμοῦ οὐκ ἄν μοι
δοκεῖ τὸ τοιοῦτο ξυμβῆναι γενέσθαι
(οὐκ ἂν ξυμβῆναι
representing οὐκ ἂν ξυνέβη
), but unless there had been an earthquake, it does not
seem to me that such a thing could by any chance have happened.
THUC. iii. 89.
Τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἤλπιζεν ἴσως
ἂν ἐπεξελθεῖν καὶ τὴν γῆν οὐκ ἂν περιιδεῖν
(i.e. ἴσως ἂν
ἐπεξέλθοιεν καὶ οὐκ ἂν περιίδοιεν
). Id. ii. 20.
Οὐδ᾽ ἂν κρατῆσαι αὐτοὺς τῆς
(i.e. κρατήσειαν ἄν
). Id. vi. 37.
) The future infinitive
can be equivalent
only to the Homeric construction of the future indicative with ἄν
. But as ἄν
is not found in Homer with
the future infinitive, this construction rests chiefly on the authority
of passages in Attic writers, and is subject to the same doubts and
suspicions as the future indicative with ἄν
in those writers. (See 197
.) Unless we exterminate
the latter, there can be no objection to this as its representative. In
the following passages it is still retained on the best MS. authority.
Νομίζοντες, εἰ ταύτην
πρώτην λάβοιεν, ῥᾳδίως ἂν σφίσι τἄλλα
. THUC. ii. 80.
(Here the direct discourse would regularly
have had either the future indicative without ἄν
, or the aorist optative with ἄν
.) The same may be said of
, νομίζων μέγιστον ἂν
(where one MS. reads by correction ὠφελῆσαι
). See also THUC. vi. 66
viii. 25 and 71; and PLAT. Crit. 53D
; PLAT. Crat. 391A.
“Σχολῇ ποθ᾽ ἥξειν δεῦρ᾽
ἂν ἐξηύχουν ἐγώ,
“I declared that I should be very slow to come
(Here the colloquial style may account for ἥξειν ἄν
, as for ἥξει ἄν
in PLAT. Rep. 615 D
, unless we take
. See 197
.) In PIND. Ol. i.
, we have εἰ δὲ μὴ
ταχὺ λίποι, ἔτι γλυκυτέραν κεν ἔλπομαι σὺν ἅρματι θοῷ
As the future optative is never used with ἄν
, this can
never be represented by the future infinitive with ἄν
The infinitive with ἄν
is rare in the early poets, occurring but once in Homer,
(quoted under 683), and three times in Pindar, Pyth. viii. 20
(aorist), and Ol. i. 108
(future, quoted in 208).
The infinitive with ἄν
sometimes represents an iterative imperfect or aorist
indicative with ἄν
. This must be
carefully distinguished from the potential use. E.g. Ἀκούω Λακεδαιμονίους τότε ἐμβαλόντας ἂν
καὶ κακώσαντας τὴν χώραν ἀναχωρεῖν ἐπ᾽ οἴκου
, I hear that the Lacedaemonians at
, after invading and ravaging
the country, used to return home again.
DEM. ix. 48.
(Here ἀναχωρεῖν ἄν
represents ἀνεχώρουν ἄν
in its iterative sense, they used to
) Φασὶ μὲν γὰρ
αὐτὸν ἐρεπτόμενον τὰ τῶν ἐχόντων ἀνέρων οὐκ ἂν
ἐξελθεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς σιπύης: τοὺς δ᾽ ἀντιβολεῖν ἂν
, they say that
, when he was feeding on men of wealth, he never would
get away from the meal-tub; and they all alike used to implore
(οὐκ ἂν ἐξῆλθεν, οἱ
δὲ ἠντιβόλουν ἄν
). AR. Eq. 1295.
The infinitive with ἄν
, in the cases already mentioned, stands in indirect
discourse after a verb of saying
Sometimes, however, it is found in
other constructions, where the present or aorist infinitive (without
) would be expected.
In such cases there is an approach to the usage of indirect discourse,
so far at least that the infinitive with ἄν
has the force of the corresponding
tense of the indicative or optative. E.g. Τὰ δὲ ἐντὸς οὕτως ἐκαίετο, ὥστε ἥδιστα
ἂν ἐς ὕδωρ ψυχρὸν σφᾶς αὐτοὺς ῥίπτειν
, so that they would most gladly have thrown
themselves into cold water
here being equivalent to
). THUC. ii. 49.
Μιᾶς τρέφει πρὸς νυκτὸς, ὥστε
μήτ᾽ ἐμὲ μήτ᾽ ἄλλον
, ὅστις φῶς ὁρᾷ, βλάψαι ποτ᾽ ἄν
so that you could harm
) neither me nor any other who beholds the
OSOPH. .T. 374. So SOPH. Tr. 669.
Ἔφθασαν παρελθόντες τὴν τῶν
Ἀθηναίων οἰκοδομίαν, ὥστε μηκέτι μήτε αὐτοὶ κωλύεσθαι
ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν, ἐκείνους τε καὶ παντάπασιν ἀπεστερηκέναι, εἰ
καὶ κρατοῖεν, μὴ ἂν ἔτι σφᾶς ἀποτειχίσαι
, so as to be no longer themselves obstructed by
, and so as to have deprived them
absolutely of the power of ever again walling them in, even if they
should be victorious.
THUC. vii. 6.
“Ὕσομεν τὴν νύκτα πᾶσαν:
ὥστ᾽ ἴσως βουλήσεται κἂν ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ τυχεῖν ὢν
μᾶλλον ἢ κρῖναι κακῶς,
“we will rain all night long, so that perhaps
he will wish to have the luck to be (that he might by chance
find himself) in Egypt rather than to judge unfairly.”
(Here τυχεῖν ἄν
future infinitive in THUC. vi. 57
: see 113
.) We have ἐλπίζω
followed by the infinitive and ἄν
in THUC. vii. 61
, τὸ τῆς τύχης κἂν μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν ἐλπίσαντες
, hoping that fortune may take
sides with us
). See also SOPH. El. 1482
, ἀλλά μοι πάρες κἂν σμικρὸν εἰπεῖν
but permit me at least to say a
(that I might say even a
See the corresponding use of the future infinitive in similar
expressions, where there is the same approach to indirect discourse (113)
Even the infinitive with the article occasionally takes
, as in ANT. v. 8
τοῦτο ὑμᾶς διδάξω, οὐ τῷ
φεύγειν ἂν τὸ πλῆθος τὸ ὑμέτερον
, this I will teach you
, not because I would avoid your people.
SOPH. Ant. 236,
“τῆς ἐλπίδος τὸ μὴ παθεῖν
, the hope that I could not suffer anything
, the construction is practically that of indirect
Participle with ἄν.
When the participle is used with ἄν
, each tense represents the
corresponding tenses of the indicative or optative with ἄν
The participle with ἄν
is not, like the infinitive with ἄν
, found chiefly in indirect discourse;
is more frequently
added to an attributive
or a circumstantial
to give it a potential force
equivalent to that of the indicative or optative with ἄν
. The participle with
is not found in
Homer or Pindar.
) The present participle
(like the present infinitive) with ἄν
represents the imperfect indicative or the present
optative with ἄν
Οἶδα αὐτοὺς ἐλευθέρους
ἂν ὄντας, εἰ τοῦτο ἔπραξαν
know they would
) be free, if they had done this.
Οἶδα αὐτοὺς ἐλευθέρους ἂν
ὄντας, εἰ τοῦτο πράξειαν
, I know
) be free, if they should do this.
former ὄντας ἄν
represents ἦσαν ἄν
the latter εἴησαν ἄν
Τῶν λαμβανόντων δίκην
ὄντες ἂν δικαίως
(i.e. ἦμεν ἄν
we should justly be among those who inflict punishment.
lvii. 3. Ὅπερ ἔσχε μὴ κατὰ
πόλεις αὐτὸν ἐπιπλέοντα τὴν Πελοπόννησον πορθεῖν,
ἀδυνάτων ἂν ὄντων
, when you would have been
unable to bring aid
(ἀδύνατοι ἂν ἦτε
). THUC. i. 73.
Πόλλ᾽ ἂν ἔχων ἕτερ᾽ εἰπεῖν
περὶ αὐτῆς παραλείπω
, although I
might be able to say many other things about it
, I omit them.
DEM. xviii. 258.
Ἀπὸ παντὸς ἂν φέρων λόγου
δικαίου μηχάνημα ποικίλον
(i.e. ὃς ἂν φέροις
), thou who wouldst derive
, etc. SOPH. O.C. 761.
) The aorist participle
aorist indicative or the aorist optative with ἄν
. E.g. Οὔτε ὄντα οὔτε ἂν γενόμενα
, they relate things which
are not real
, and which never could
(i.e. οὐκ ἂν
). THUC. vi. 38.
Ἐφ᾽ ἡμῶν οὐ γεγονὸς οὐδ᾽
οἶδα εἰ γενόμενον ἄν
, (a thing) which has not occurred in our day, and I doubt whether it ever
). PLAT. Rep. 414 C
. Ἀλλὰ ῥᾳδίως ἂν ἀφεθεὶς, εἰ καὶ μετρίως τι τούτων
ἐποίησε, προείλετο ἀποθανεῖν
, whereas he might easily have been acquitted
, etc. XEN. Mem. iv. 4, 4.
Καὶ εἰ ἀπήχθησθε ὥσπερ
ἡμεῖς, εὖ ἴσμεν μὴ ἂν ἧσσον ὑμᾶς λυπηροὺς γενομένους
τοῖς ξυμμάχοις, καὶ ἀναγκασθέντας ἂν ἢ ἄρχειν,
(i.e. οὐκ ἂν
ἐγένεσθε, καὶ ἠναγκάσθητε ἄν
), if you had become odious as we have, we are sure that you would
have been no less oppressive to your allies, and that you would have
, etc. THUC. i. 76.
Ὁρῶν τὸ παρατείχισμα ἁπλοῦν
ὂν καὶ, εἰ ἐπικρατήσειέ τις τῆς ἀναβάσεως, ῥᾳδίως ἂν
(i.e. ῥᾳδίως ἂν ληφθείη
), seeing that
it would easily be taken
, etc. Id. vii. 42.
So ὡς τάχ᾽ ἂν συμβάντων
) A few cases of the
future participle with ἄν
representing the future indicative with ἄν
, are found in Attic writers. These rest
on the same authority as those of the future indicative and the future
infinitive with ἄν
and 208). E.g. Ἀφίετε ἢ μὴ
ἀφίετε, ὡς ἐμοῦ οὐκ ἂν ποιήσοντος ἄλλα, οὐδ᾽ εἰ μέλλω
(i.e. οὐκ ἂν ποιήσω ἄλλα
): so all MSS. PLAT. Ap. 30B.
Τοὺς ὁτιοῦν ἂν ἐκείνῳ
ποιήσοντας ἀνῃρηκότες ἐκ τῆς πόλεως ἔσεσθε
. DEM. xix. 342.
(Here most MSS., including Σ
, have ποιήσοντας
, but A has ποιήσαντας
τις ἡδέως ἂν ἴσως ἐρωτήσων κάθηται
, many a one has long been sitting here who perhaps
would be very glad to ask
(so all MSS.). DEM. ix. 70.
The participle with ἄν
can never represent a protasis, because there is no form
of protasis which could be represented by a participle, where ἄν
is separable from the
conditional particle. (See 224
Position of ἄν.
1. When ἄν
used with the subjunctive, if it does not coalesce with the relative or
particle into one word (as in ἐάν,
, etc.), it is generally separated from it only by
such monosyllables as μέν, δέ,
τέ, γάρ, καί, νύ, πέρ
, etc., rarely τὶς
See examples under 444 and 529.
2. In Homer and Hesiod two such words may precede κέ
; as εἴ περ γάρ κεν, εἰ γάρ νύ κε, εἰ γάρ τίς
κε, ὃς μὲν γάρ κε
. This is rare with ἄν
in prose; see DEM. iv. 45
, ὅποι μὲν γὰρ ἄν
. Exceptional are
ὅποι τις ἂν, οἶμαι,
, DEM. ii. 14
; ὅ τι
ἄλλο ἂν δοκῇ ὑμῖν
, XEN. Cyr. iv. 5, 52.
καθ᾽ ὧν μηνύῃ ἄν
, ANT. v.
, is now corrected to ἂν μηνύῃ
, but still stranger is ὅποσον ἡ φάρυγξ ἂν ἡμῶν χανδάνῃ
(?), AR. Ran.
with the optative or indicative, it may either stand near the verb, or
be attached to some other emphatic word. Particularly, it is very often
placed directly after interrogatives, negatives, adverbs of time, place
, etc., and other words which
especially affect the sense of the sentence. E.g. Ἀλλὰ τίς δὴ θεῶν θεραπεία εἴη ἂν ἡ
Ἀλλ᾽ ὁμῶς τὸ κεφάλαιον αὐτῶν
ῥᾳδίως ἂν εἴποις
. Id. 14
α. Οὐκ ἂν δὴ τόνδ᾽ ἄνδρα
μάχης ἐρύσαιο μετελθὼν, Τυδείδην, ὃς νῦν γε ἂν καὶ Διὶ
Il. v. 456.
“Πῶς ἂν τὸν αἱμυλώτατον,
ἐχθρὸν ἄλημα, τούς τε δισσάρχας ὀλέσσας βασιλῆς, τέλος
“Πολλὰ κἂν ἄκων ἔδρων
Τάχιστ᾽ ἄν τε πόλιν οἱ
τοιοῦτοι ἑτέρους πείσαντες ἀπολέσειαν
. THUC. ii. 63.
1. By a peculiar usage, ἄν
is often separated from its verb by such verbs as
οἴομαι, δοκῶ, φημί,
, etc. In such cases care must be taken to connect the
with the verb to
which it really belongs. E.g. Καὶ
νῦν ἡδέως ἄν μοι δοκῶ κοινωνῆσαι
, and now I think I should gladly take part
). XEN. Cyr. viii.
So AESCHIN. iii. 2
(end). Οὐδ᾽ ἂν ὑμεῖς οἶδ᾽ ὅτι ἐπαύσασθε πολεμοῦντες
nor would you
) have ceased fighting.
DEM. vi. 29.
Πότερα γὰρ ἂν οἴεσθε ῥᾷον
DEM. xlix. 45. Ἐκλέξαντα ἃ μήτε προῄδει μηδεὶς μήτ᾽ ἂν ᾠήθη
“selecting what nobody knew beforehand and nobody
thought would be mentioned to-day.”
. If ἄν
taken with ᾠήθη
meaning would be, what nobody would have thought
had been mentioned.
οὖν ἂν, ἔφην, εἴη ὁ Ἔρως;
2. Especially irregular are such expressions as οὐκ οἶδα ἂν εἰ
, or οὐκ ἂν οἶδα εἰ
by an optative or indicative to which the ἄν
belongs. E.g. Οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ἂν εἰ πείσαιμι,
“I do not know whether I could persuade him.”
(The more regular form would be οὐκ οἶδα εἰ πείσαιμι ἄν
.) So Alc. 48.
Οὐκ ἂν οἶδ᾽ εἰ
. PLAT. Tim. 26B.
Οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ἂν εἰ ἐκτησάμην
. XEN. Cyr. v. 4, 12.
So οὐκ ἂν οἶδ᾽ ὅ τι ἄλλο εἶχον
, I do not know what other
vote I could have given
(τί ἄλλο εἶχον ἂν ψηφίσασθαι;
), DEM. xlv. 7.
Among the words to which ἄν
is very frequently joined is τάχα
(i.e. quickly, soon
two forming τάχ᾽ ἄν
which expression is sometimes supposed to mean perhaps.
cannot be used unless the ἄν
belongs in its ordinary sense to the
verb of the sentence.
Thus τάχ᾽ ἂν
means it might perhaps
, and τάχ᾽ ἂν
means it might perhaps have
but the latter can never mean perhaps it happened
, like ἴσως ἐγένετο. Τάχα
alone often means
, as in XEN. An. v. 2,
Aristotle writes τάχα
separately in the same sense as τάχ᾽ ἄν;
δὲ καὶ μᾶλλον ἂν ταύτην ὑπολάβοι
, Nic. i. 5
, Nic. 6.
begins a sentence, or a clause before which a comma could stand. But it
may directly follow a parenthetic clause, provided some part of its own
clause precedes. E.g. Ἀλλ᾽ ὦ
μέλ᾽ ἄν μοι σιτίων διπλῶν ἔδει
, Pac. 137.
So τὸ μέλλον, ἐπεὶ γένοιτ̓, ἂν κλύοις
(or without the commas), the future you can hear
when it comes
, AESCH. Ag. 250.
Repetition of ἄν.
sometimes used twice, or even three times, with the same verb.
This may be done in a long sentence, to make the
conditional force felt through the whole, especially when the connexion
is broken by intermediate clauses. It may also be done in order to
emphasise particular words with which ἄν
is joined, and to make them prominent
as being affected by the contingency. E.g. Ὥστ᾽ ἂν, εἰ σθένος λάβοιμι, δηλώσαιμ᾽ ἂν
οἰ̔̂ αὐτοῖς φρονῶ
. SOPH. El. 333.
Οὔ τἂν ἑλόντες αὖθις
. AESCH. Ag. 340.
Ἄλλους γ᾽ ἂν οὖν οἰόμεθα
τὰ ἡμέτερα λαβόντας δεῖξαι ἂν μάλιστα εἴ τι
. THUC. i. 76.
“Οὔτ᾽ ἂν κελεύσαιμ᾽, οὔτ᾽
ἂν, εἰ θέλοις ἔτι πράσσειν, ἐμοῦ γ᾽ ἂν ἡδέως
Λέγω καθ᾽ ἕκαστον δοκεῖν ἄν
μοι τὸν αὐτὸν ἄνδρα παρ᾽ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ πλεῖστ᾽ ἂν εἴδη καὶ
μετὰ χαρίτων μάλιστ᾽ ἂν εὐτραπέλως τὸ σῶμα αὔταρκες
. THUC. ii. 41.
is used three times, belonging to
.) Ὑμῶν δὲ ἔρημος ὢν οὐκ ἂν
ἱκανὸς οἶμαι εἶναι οὔτ᾽ ἂν φίλον ὠφελῆσαι οὔτ᾽ ἂν
. XEN. An. i. 3, 6.
is used three times,
belonging to εἶναι
Οὐκ ἂν ἡγεῖσθ᾽ αὐτὸν
A participle representing a protasis (472)
is especially apt to have an
near it. This,
by showing that the verb is to form an apodosis, tends to point out the
participle as conditional in an early part of the sentence. E.g. Νομίσατε τό τε φαῦλον καὶ τὸ
μέσον καὶ τὸ πάνυ ἀκριβὲς ἂν ξυγκραθὲν μάλιστ᾽ ἂν
, believe that
, if they should be united, would be
THUC. vi. 18.
, is equivalent to εἰ ξυγκραθείη
.) Ἀγῶνας ἄν τίς μοι δοκεῖ, ἔφη, ὦ πάτερ, προειπὼν
ἑκάστοις καὶ ἆθλα προτιθεὶς μάλιστ᾽ ἂν
ποιεῖν εὖ ἀσκεῖσθαι
it seems to me
, said he, father, that if any one should proclaim contests
etc., he would cause
, etc. XEN. Cyr. i. 6,
(Here the protasis implied in the participles is merely
emphasised by ἄν
belongs to ποιεῖν
also λέγοντος ἄν τινος πιστεῦσαι
(i.e. εἴ τις
ἔλεγεν, ἐπίστευσαν ἄν;
) do you
think they would have believed it, if any one had told them?
DEM. vi. 20.
only to point
this out as the protasis to which its own verb πιστεῦσαι
is the apodosis, with which
) Repetition of κέ
is rare; yet it sometimes
Τῷ κε μάλ᾽ ἤ κεν
ἔμεινε καὶ ἐσσύμενός περ ὁδοῖο, ἤ κέ με τεθνηυῖαν ἔνι
. Od iv. 733.
) On the other hand, Homer
sometimes joins ἄν
in the same sentence
for emphasis. E.g.
Καρτεραὶ, ἃς οὔτ᾽
ἄν κεν Ἄρης ὀνόσαιτο μετελθὼν οὔτε κ᾽ Ἀθηναίη
. Il. xiii. 127.
When an apodosis consists of several co-ordinate
clauses with the same mood, ἄν
is generally used only in the first and
understood in the others, unless it is repeated for emphasis or for some
other special reason. E.g. Οὐδ᾽
ἂν ἐμὲ, ἡνίκα δεῦρο ἀποπλεῖν ἐβουλόμην, κατεκώλυεν,
οὐδὲ τοιαῦτα λέγειν τούτῳ προσέταττεν, ἐξ ὧν ἥκισθ᾽
ὑμεῖς ἐμέλλετ᾽ ἐξιέναι
. DEM. xix. 51.
is understood with προσέταττεν
.) Οὕτω δὲ δρῶν οὐδὲν ἂν
διάφορον τοῦ ἑτέρου ποιοῖ, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ ταὐτὸν ἴοιεν
. PLAT. Rep. 360 C
. Οὐκοῦν κἂν, εἰ πρὸς αὐτὸ τὸ φῶς
ἀναγκάζοι αὐτὸν βλέπειν, ἀλγεῖν τε ἂν τὰ ὄμματα καὶ
); Ib. 515E.
belongs to the infinitives; 223.) See
also XEN. An.
ii. 5, 14.
ΙΙάντα ᾕρει ὁ Φίλιππος,
πολλὰ λέγοντος ἐμοῦ καὶ θρυλοῦντος ἀεὶ, τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ὡς
ἂν εἰς κοινὸν γνώμην ἀποφαινομένου, μετὰ ταῦτα δ᾽ ὡς
ἀγνοοῦντας διδάσκοντος, τελευτῶντος δὲ ὡς ἂν πρὸς
πεπρακότας αὑτοὺς καὶ ἀνοσιωτάτους ἀνθρώπους οὐδὲν
. DEM. xix. 156.
The clauses with ὡς
ὡς ἔλεγον ἂν εἰ
, as I should have spoken if I
had been merely informing my colleagues;
) εἰ ἀγνοοῦντας ἐδίδασκον
, as I should have spoken if I had been instructing
ὡς λέγοιμι ἂν
, as I should speak to men who had sold
, etc. In the second clause, the construction
remaining the same, ἄν
omitted; but in the third, where an optative is implied, ἄν
In PLAT. Rep. 398 A
, we find ἄν
used with two co-ordinate optatives,
understood with a third, and repeated again with a fourth to avoid
confusion with a dependent optative in a relative clause. Ἄν
may be understood with an
optative even in a separate sentence, if the construction is continued
from a sentence in which ἄν
is used with the optative; as in PLAT. Rep. 352 E
: Ἔσθ᾽ ὅτῳ ἂν ἄλλῳ ἴδοις ἢ
ὀφθαλμοῖς; Οὐ δῆτα. Τί δέ; ἀκούσαις ἄλλῳ ἢ
So with πράττοι
, ib. 439
Elliptical uses of ἄν.
sometimes used elliptically without a verb, when one can be supplied
from the context. E.g.
“Οἱ οἰκέται ῥέγκουσιν:
ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἂν πρὸ τοῦ
“the slaves are snoring; but they wouldn't
have been doing so at this hour in old times.”
“Ὡς οὔτ᾽ ἂν ἀστῶν τῶνδ᾽
ἂν ἐξείποιμί τῳ, οὔτ᾽ ἂν τέκνοισι τοῖς ἐμοῖς ῾σξ.
ἐξείποιμι）, στέργων ὅμως
Τί ἂν δοκεῖ σοι
), εἰ τάδ᾽
“ but what think you Priam would have done if he
had accomplished what you have?”
AESCH. Ag. 935.
Σώφρων μὲν οὐκ ἂν μᾶλλον,
εὐτυχὴς δ᾽ ἴσως
). EUR. Alc. 182
: cf. AR. Eq.
So πῶς γὰρ ἄν
）; how could it?
πῶς οὐκ ἄν;
phrases; especially ὥσπερ ἂν
(also written as one word, ὡσπερανεί
), in which the ἄν
belongs to the verb that
was originally understood after εἰ;
as φοβούμενος ὥσπερ
ἂν εἰ παῖς
, fearing like a
(originally for φοβούμενος ὥσπερ ἂν ἐφοβεῖτο εἰ παῖς ἦν
). PLAT. Gorg.
DEM. xviii. 194:
τί χρὴ ποιεῖν; ὥσπερ ἂν εἴ
τις ναύκληρον πάντ᾽ ἐπὶ σωτηρία πράξαντα . . . τῆς ναυαγίας
, what are we to
(We are to do
) just what a shipowner would do
) if any one should blame him for the wreck of his
, etc. See φήσειεν
, which explains the omitted verb, just afterwards.
its meanings (as καί
the adverb ἄν
, and as
) may stand without a verb. E.g.
“Ἀλλ᾽ ἄνδρα χρὴ δοκεῖν
πεσεῖν ἂν κἂν ἀπὸ σμικροῦ κακοῦ
, which we may
express by even
or though it be
, belongs to πεσεῖν
understood.) Ἱκανῶς οὖν τοῦτο ἔχομεν, κἂν εἰ πλεοναχῇ σκοποῖμεν;
are we then satisfied of this
(and should we be so
if we were to look at it in various ways?
(We must supply ἱκανῶς ἔχοιμεν
.) See different cases of κἂν εἰ
in 195, in which a verb follows to
Καὶ ὅποι τις ἂν,
οἶμαι, προσθῇ κἂν μικρὰν δύναμιν, πάντ᾽ ὠφελεῖ
, I think,
wherever we add even
) a little power, it all helps.
DEM. ii. 14.
= καὶ ἄν τις προσθῇ
, even though we add.
) Μέτρησον εἰρήνης τί μοι, κἂν πέντ᾽
, measure me out some peace
even if it be only for five years
(καὶ ἂν μετρήσῃς
may be used
with a relative without a verb, as it is with εἰ
) in the last examples (228)
. So in XEN. An. i. 3, 6
, ὡς ἐμοῦ οὖν ἰόντος ὅπῃ ἂν
καὶ ὑμεῖς, οὕτω τὴν γνώμην ἔχετε
(i.e. ὅπῃ ἂν καὶ ὑμεῖς
), “be of this mind, that I shall go
wherever you go.”