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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Condition Omitted

522. The Protasis is often wholly omitted, but may be inferred from the course of the argument:—

    poterat Sextilius impūne negāre: quis enim redargueret (Fin. 2.55), Sextilius might have denied with impunity; for who would prove him wrong (if he had denied)?

a. In expressions signifying necessity, propriety, and the like, the Indicative may be used in the apodosis of implied conditions, either future or contrary to fact:—

    quod contrā decuit ab illō meum [corpus cremārī] (Cat. M. 84), whereas on the other hand mine ought to have been burnt by him.

    nam nōs decēbat domum lūgēre ubi esset aliquis in lūcem ēditus (Tusc. 1.115), for it were fitting for us to mourn the house where a man has been born (but we do not).

    quantō melius fuerat (Off. 3.94), how much better it would have been.

    illud erat aptius, aequum cuique concēdere (Fin. 4.2), it would be more fitting to yield each one his rights.

    ipsum enim exspectāre māgnum fuit (Phil. 2.103), would it have been a great matter to wait for the man himself?

    longum est ea dīcere, sed ... (Sest. 12), it would be tedious to tell , etc. [Future.]

Note 1— In this construction, the Imperfect Indicative refers to present time; the Pluperfect to simple past time, like the Perfect. Thus oportēbat means it ought to be [now], but is not; oportuerat means it ought to have been, but was not.

Note 2— In many cases it is impossible to say whether a protasis was present to the mind of the speaker or not (see third example above).

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