μήπως - ίσως

larshgf

Senior Member
Danish
I sometimes mix up the two greek words μήπως and ίσως.
Will it be correct to say that μήπως can be used in a question, and ίσως can not?
 
  • larshgf

    Senior Member
    Danish
    How would you translate this sentence to english: "Μήπως να πέσω απ' τον γκρεμό καλύτερα;"
     

    larshgf

    Senior Member
    Danish
    I will be very thankfull if someone could help me with my questions above and belove. :thank you:

    Can "πλάγιες ερωτήσεις" be translated as "indirect questions" ?
    And maybe someone can tell me how these are constructed with μήπως ?
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    1."Μήπως" introduces direct or indirect questions. In the direct questions it isn't essential regarding the meaning, but it makes the style more smooth or polite. E.g. (Μήπως) έχεις 2 ευρώ; Ρώτα τον μήπως/αν έχει 2 ευρώ.
    2. "Μήπως" also introduces noun clauses after verbs that express fear, anxiety. E.g. Φοβάται μήπως αρρωστήσει.
    How would you translate this sentence to english: "Μήπως να πέσω απ' τον γκρεμό καλύτερα;"
    Maybe: (Ι wonder) would it be better for me to fall off the cliff?
    Can "πλάγιες ερωτήσεις" be translated as "indirect questions" ?
    And maybe someone can tell me how these are constructed with μήπως ?
    Yes.
    (I'll use the same example as above)
    Direct question: Μήπως έχεις 2 ευρώ;
    Indirect question: Ρώτα τον μήπως έχει 2 ευρώ.

    As for "ίσως", it's different. It works as English "perhaps" or "maybe".
     
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    Helleno File

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Nice question larshgf - and a helpful answer Perseas. With φοβάμαι can you also use που or óτι? Is there a difference?

    Φοβάμαι μήπως ήδη έκανα αυτή την ερώτηση πριν λίγο καιρό! Δεν έμαθα ποτέ σωστά τα λατινικά ρήματα φοβηκότητας ( ;; ) στο σχολείο - ίσως τα φοβάμαι! ;)
     

    ioanell

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Will it be correct to say that μήπως can be used in a question, and ίσως can not?
    Α. Μήπως έχουν απεργία οι οδηγοί των λεωφορείων; (I wonder, are the bus drivers on strike?)
    Β. Δεν ξέρω. Ίσως. (I don't know. Maybe)

    With φοβάμαι can you also use που or óτι? Is there a difference?
    Ότι can be used (although not frequently, in place of the usual conjunctions μήπως, μη[ν]), e.g. Φοβάται ότι [=μήπως] θα γίνει στόχος σκληρής κριτικής (He worries that he will be the target of hard criticism.)
    In a very folksy construction, που could be heard in expressions such as "Φοβήθηκε που [in place of επειδή] γύρισε αργά· ο πατέρας της ήταν πολύ αυστηρός." (She was afraid because she was late; her father was very strict.)

    τα λατινικά ρήματα φοβηικότητας ( ;; ). In Greek Syntax, for such verbs we normally use the expression "ρήματα δηλωτικά φόβου ή ενδοιασμού/δισταγμού", formerly "ρήματα φόβου σημαντικά".
     

    Helleno File

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Thanks Ioanell - I'm nearly there! How does φοβάμαι work with μη[ν]? I knew translating Eng 'verbs of fearing' literally was not likely to go well - so thanks for that too!
     

    ioanell

    Senior Member
    Greek
    How does φοβάμαι work with μη[ν]?
    Μη is just the first member of the ancient compound conjunction μήπως (μὴ [conjunction of fearing] + πως [adverb, meaning in a way]) and works in the same way as the AG μὴ.

    AG. Κῦρος ὑπερεφοβεῖτο μή οἱ ὁ πάππος ἀποθάνῃ. (Xen., Cyropaedia 1.4.2) MG. Ο Κύρος φοβόταν πολύ μήπως πεθάνει ο παππούς του. Cyrus worried very much that his grandfather might die.

    In MoGr, subordinate clauses (normally in the subjunctive and sometimes in indicative mood) after verbs of fearing are introduced by the conjunctions μήπως and μη(ν), when they denote a fear, a worry or caution that something unpleasant or undesirable may happen and by the conjunctions μήπως δε(ν) and μη δε(ν), when they denote a fear, a worry that something pleasant and desirable may not happen.

    Φοβάμαι (ή φοβούμαι) μην (=μήπως) έρθει. (I’m afraid that s/he will come = I don’t want her/him to come)

    Φοβάμαι (ή φοβούμαι) μη δεν (=μήπως δεν) έρθει. (I’m afraid that s/he won’t come = I do want her/him to come)

    Verbs and expressions of fear and caution which take as object (and sometimes as subject or clarification) such a subordinate clause are e.g. φοβάμαι, προσέχω, κοιτάζω, υποπτεύομαι/υποψιάζομαι, ανησυχώ, παίρνω τα μέτρα μου etc:

    Πρόσεξε μη σε γελάσει. (Watch out that s/he doesn’t cheat you.) Κοίταξε μην κάνεις λάθος. (Take care not to make a mistake.) Πάρτε τα μέτρα σας μην (=μήπως) ξαναγίνουν τα ίδια. (Take measures for fear that the same will happen again.)
     

    Helleno File

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Wow, Ioanell what a fantastic answer! Should be inserted into a textbook! I hadn't realised that in this instance that μη was a contraction of μήπως and not a negative. (Part of my anxiety about Latin verbs of fearing was that they had an unexpected negative if my memory is still correct.) And therefore the actual negative particle is a standard δε(ν).

    I genuinely feel the "scales have been lifted from my eyes" and φοβάμαι no longer has any fears for me! :thank you:
     
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