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See also: αν, αν-, άν-, and ἀν-


Ancient GreekEdit

Etymology 1Edit

Uncertain. Has been connected to Latin an and Gothic 𐌰𐌽 (an). Seems to derive from a Proto-Indo-European *ken, *kn̥.

Alternative formsEdit




ᾰ̓́ν (án) (modal particle)

  1. Expresses potentiality or conditionality
    1. (only Epic, with subjunctive in main clauses) in that case and future tense
      • 800 BCE – 600 BCE, Homer, Iliad 1.184–184:
        ἐγὼ δέ κ' ἄγω Βρισηΐδα καλλιπάρῃον
        αὐτὸς ἰὼν κλισίηνδε τὸ σὸν γέρας ὄφρ' ἐῢ εἰδῇς
        ὅσσον φέρτερός εἰμι σέθεν []
        egṑ dé k' ágō Brisēḯda kallipárēion
        autòs iṑn klisíēnde tò sòn géras óphr' eǜ eidêis
        hósson phérterós eimi séthen []
        [Agamemnon speaking to Achilles]: But in that case I myself will lead away your prize, fair-cheeked Briseis, and go to my tent, so that you may learn well how much greater I am than you.
    2. (with optative) Expresses future potentiality: would or could do or be doing
    3. (with imperfect indicative) Expresses present or rarely past potentiality: were doing, would be doing
    4. (with aorist indicative) Expresses past potentiality
      • 341 BCE, Demosthenes, Third Philippic 68:
        καὶ μὴν ἐκεῖνό γ᾽ αἰσχρόν, ὕστερόν ποτ᾽ εἰπεῖν ‘τίς γὰρ ἂν ᾠήθη ταῦτα γενέσθαι; νὴ τὸν Δί᾽, ἔδει γὰρ τὸ καὶ τὸ ποιῆσαι καὶ τὸ μὴ ποιῆσαι.’
        kaì mḕn ekeînó g᾽ aiskhrón, hústerón pot᾽ eipeîn ‘tís gàr àn ōiḗthē taûta genésthai? nḕ tòn Dí᾽, édei gàr tò kaì tò poiêsai kaì tò mḕ poiêsai.’
        And definitely it is a shame to have to say after the fact "Who on earth could have imagined this would happen? By Zeus, of course [we] should have done this and that, and not done this and that."
  2. (with past indicative) Expresses unreality
    1. (with aorist) Past or rarely present unreality: would have done, would do
    2. (with imperfect) Present or past unreality: would do, would be doing; would have been doing
    3. (with pluperfect) Present or less commonly past unreality:
  3. (with past indicative) Expresses iteration or habituality: had done, had been doing; would have done, would have been doing; used to do
    • 400 BCE – 387 BCE, Plato, Apology 22b:
      ἀναλαμβάνων οὖν αὐτῶν τὰ ποιήματα ἅ μοι ἐδόκει μάλιστα πεπραγματεῦσθαι αὐτοῖς, διηρώτων ἂν αὐτοὺς τί λέγοιεν, ἵν᾽ ἅμα τι καὶ μανθάνοιμι παρ᾽ αὐτῶν.
      analambánōn oûn autôn tà poiḗmata há moi edókei málista pepragmateûsthai autoîs, diērṓtōn àn autoùs tí légoien, hín᾽ háma ti kaì manthánoimi par᾽ autôn.
      Taking up [the poets'] works that seemed to me to have taken them the most trouble [to write], I would question them on what they meant, so that I could at the same time learn something from them.
    1. (with Ionic past iterative)
      • 460 BCE – 420 BCE, Herodotus, Histories 4.130:
        οἱ δὲ ἂν Πέρσαι ἐπελθόντες λάβεσκον τὰ πρόβατα καὶ λαβόντες ἐπηείροντο ἂν τῷ πεποιημένῳ.
        hoi dè àn Pérsai epelthóntes lábeskon tà próbata kaì labóntes epēeíronto àn tôi pepoiēménōi.
        The Persians used to attack and seize the cattle and take them and, after taking them, to be encouraged by this achievement.
  4. (with subjunctive in subordinate clauses) Expresses generality, and often translatable with present or future tense in English
    1. With εἰ (ei), contracted to ἐάν (eán), expresses a general condition that is likely to occur
      • Homer, Iliad 2.364:
        εἰ δέ κεν ὣς ἕρξῃς καί τοι πείθωνται Ἀχαιοί
        ei dé ken hṑs hérxēis kaí toi peíthōntai Akhaioí
        if thus you will do and the Achaeans obey you
      • Euripides, Alcestis 671:
        ἢν δ' ἐγγὺς ἔλθῃ θάνατος, οὐδεὶς βούλεται θνῄσκειν
        ḕn d' engùs élthēi thánatos, oudeìs boúletai thnḗiskein
        if death ever come near, no one wishes to die
  5. When combined with infinitive or participle in indirect speech, represents a finite verb with ἄν in direct speech

Derived termsEdit


Etymology 2Edit

A contracted form of ἐάν (eán), from εἰ (ei, if) + ἄν (án, modal particle).

Alternative formsEdit




ἄν (án) (ἄ̄ν)

  1. if (for more details, see εἰ (ei) and ἄν (án))