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Conditionals: a guide

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Conditionals: a guide

Postby mwh » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:02 am

This thread picks up from viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64818.

Here's a way—a good way, I think—to get to grips with conditional sentences.

There's conditional clauses, i.e. if-clauses, and there’s main clauses. A main clause is not affected at all by whether or not there’s an if-clause with it.

So here’s how if-clauses work:-

εἰ + indic.:
εἰ λέγω / ἔλεγον / εἶπον / εἴρηκα = If I am saying / was saying / said OR had said / have spoken.
Easy as π.

ἐάν + subj.:
ἐὰν εἴπω = If I say (i.e. in the event that I say) (Usually followed by future main clause)
(ἐάν = εἰ + ἄν, i.e. an indefinite clause)

εἰ + opt.
εἰ εἴποιμι / λέγοιμι = If I were to say (= If I said, followed by main clause with “would”)
(Aor. or pres. according to aspect.)

That’s about it. Note that this system applies not only to if-clauses but also to when-clauses (e.g. ὅτε), relative clauses (e.g. ὅ), and in fact to all subordinate clauses.

Negatived if-clauses—all of them, regardless of mood—have μή, not οὐ.
εἰ/ἐὰν μὴ = if ... not ..., unless

Now here’s how main clauses work (any and all main clauses, whether or not they have an if-clause attached to them):-

Indic. (without ἄν):
λέγω / ἐρῶ / ἔλεγον / εἶπον / εἴρηκα = I say, will say, was saying, said, have spoken

Indic. with ἄν (This is where people get confused):
Imperf. ἔλεγον ἄν = I would be saying (right now)
Aor. εἶπον ἄν = I would have said

Opt. with ἄν:
εἴποιμι ἄν / λέγοιμι ἄν = I would say
(Aor. or pres. acc. to aspect.)

(In other words:
"would say" = opt.+ἄν
"would have said" = aor.indic.+ἄν
"would be saying" = impf.indic.+ἄν)

Main clauses and if-clauses can be combined in any way that makes sense.

Get this down and you’ll never go wrong. (Well, hardly ever.)
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Re: Conditionals: a guide

Postby jeidsath » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:59 pm

That's simpler that Sidgwick presents it (he does Protasis and Apodosis together in all of his examples).

Is this sketch of how they are modified in indirect speech (Oratio Obliqua) and historic sequence correct?

1) For indirect speech, the verb in the apodosis in the verb that is modified to acc. + inf. (saying/thinking verbs) or acc. + participle (feeling/knowing verbs).

2) For indirect speech in historic sequence, any subjunctive or present indicative in the protasis becomes optative. Also, ἐάν becomes εἰ.
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Re: Conditionals: a guide

Postby Hylander » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:49 pm

I'm deleting what I wrote in this message because, while I don't think it was wrong, it might detract from the clarity of mwh's explanations and lead to confusion.
Last edited by Hylander on Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Conditionals: a guide

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:50 pm

That system certainly removes the fog generated by the classification terminology. It cuts out the intermediate step of asking "is this a true X Class conditional? A question that serves no useful purpose other than giving exegetical commentaries something to talk about. Keeping the "if" clause and the "main clause" separate also has the benefit of covering cases where we find somewhat abnormal syntax. For example:

2Cor. 2:2 εἰ γὰρ ἐγὼ λυπῶ ὑμᾶς, καὶ τίς ὁ εὐφραίνων με εἰ μὴ ὁ λυπούμενος ἐξ ἐμοῦ;

more on that passage:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=64657#p180005
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Re: Conditionals: a guide

Postby mwh » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:47 pm

OK, here’s how INDIRECT SPEECH works.

(1) What happens to original main clauses (whether or not attended by an if-clause):

Two constructions, (a) ὅτι/ὡς or (b) (acc.&)inf. (pple. after verbs of knowing or perceiving):

(a) If ὅτι/ὡς, no change is necessary.
But in secondary/historic/past sequence, e.g. after εἶπον/ἔλεγον, the verb is liable to become optative.

(b) If (acc.&)inf. (/pple.), the verb becomes infinitive(/pple.), keeping ἄν if it had ἄν in the first place. Imperf. uses pres. infin.
If the subject of the infinitive is different from that of the main verb, it becomes accusative, and needs to be expressed. (Otherwise it stays nominative, implicit or explicit.)

(2) What happens to if-clauses (and this applies to any subordinate clause):

Same as with ὅτι/ὡς, i.e. no change is necessary, but in secondary/historic/past sequence the verb is liable to become optative—in which case any ἄν is lost, i.e. ἐάν+subj. becomes εἰ+opt. (Subj.+ἄν is an indefinite clause; if it loses the subjunctive it loses the ἄν along with it.)

Indirect speech does not affect negatives.
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Re: Conditionals: a guide

Postby Sofronios » Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:02 pm

I think I am gonna print this thread for reference and review :D
my first exposure to conditionals is classification using 1st, 2nd, 3th and the not complete 4th(in koine) class that is not easy for me to memorize. but yours gives better learning-aids..
Thx you
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Re: Conditionals: a guide

Postby bedwere » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:34 pm

mwh wrote:Negatived if-clauses—all of them, regardless of mood—have μή, not οὐ.
εἰ/ἐὰν μὴ = if ... not ..., unless


A negatived apodosis will normally have οὐ, if I'm not mistaken.
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Re: Conditionals: a guide

Postby mwh » Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:33 am

Negatived main clauses—with or without if-clauses—most often have οὐ, yes, and that would be the case with the examples I gave. But it all depends on their syntax.

E.g. “(If he talks [or When he talks, or Whoever talks, or Whatever he says],)
don’t listen to him” / “let’s not listen to him” / “may he not talk for long” / “he won’t expect us to listen will he?”

All these would use μή not οὐ (with the verb variously imperative, subjunctive, optative, indicative). Main clauses can take all sorts of forms; I wasn’t aiming to present all of them. Some are negatived with ου, others with μή. All may or may not be conditioned (i.e. attended by an if-clause or equivalent).

That’s why I didn’t say anything about negatived main clauses. :wink:
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Re: Conditionals: a guide

Postby daivid » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:21 pm

mwh wrote: Main clauses can take all sorts of forms; I wasn’t aiming to present all of them.


One of the best and worst aspects of Farnell's book on conditionals is that he pretty much tries to present them all. This is why I find him quite hard going. Your simple rules are about presenting the wood, Farnell the trees.

I guess one of the reasons I am finding Greek so hard going is because my brain has trouble grasping the wood until I have seen all the trees.
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Re: Conditionals: a guide

Postby daivid » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:19 am

daivid wrote:One of the best and worst aspects of Farnell's book on conditionals is that he pretty much tries to present them all. This is why I find him quite hard going..


And in case anyone asks, you can access Farnell's book here: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc2.ark:/13960/t3805830n;view=1up;seq=5.
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