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Interrogative with moods of main clause:


εἰ δὲ ἀληθὲς μή, πειράσομαι μαθεῖν

‘I will try to find out whether or not this is true.’ (Plat. Rep. 339a)

A subordinate clause with the moods and tenses of the independent clause, introduced by an interrogative word, is an indirect question. Depending on the (interrogative) word that introduces it, indirect questions can be divided into three categories:1. simple yes-no question: εἰ ‘whether’;2. two-part yes-no question: πότερον (πότερα) ... ἤ, εἰ ... ἤ, εἰ ... εἴτε or εἴτε ... εἴτε ‘either... or’;3. question with an interrogative word: interrogative or indefinite relative pronoun or adverb.

Syntactic usage (not possible optativus obliquus)

After historical tenses the indicative without ἄν can be replaced by an optative (the so-called oblique optative). The subjunctive of the deliberative question can also occur in an indirect question. Unlike in main clauses this deliberative subjunctive also occurs in the third person.

Historical background

The indirect question is the first construction in which the oblique optative occurs after a past tense. We encounter the oblique optative as early as Homer.

Example Sentences: 

ὅρα δὲ τί δρῶμεν

But see what we must do. ֍

ὅρα γὰρ ὡς καταγέλαστος εἶ

For look how ridiculous you are. ֍

ἐρωτηθεὶς ποῖον οἶνον ἡδέως πίνει, ἔφη, “τὸν ἀλλότριον”

When he [= Diogenes the Cynic] was asked which kind of wine he preferred, he answered: that of another.

οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ὅπως σε φῶ βεβουλεῦσθαι καλῶς

I do not know how I could say that you have taken good advice. ֍

οὐ δύναμαι γνῶναι, πότερον χαίνει Διόδωρος ἢ βδῆσ'· ἓν γὰρ ἔχει πνεῦμα κάτω καὶ ἄνω.

I cannot distinguish Diodorus jawning from Diodorus breaking wind: for the odor is the same, below and above.