As a textbook exercise, I'm translating the following sentence from English into Greek.

Farewell, dear country! The war will be long, and I shall flee through the rivers and the marshes.

(T1 = my first translation) χαιρε, ω φιλη χωρα. ὁ πολεμος ἐσται μακρος και φευξομαι δια και των ποταμων και των λιμνων.

I suspect I may have used και incorrectly. In the first use, it coordinates two clauses; in the second use, it serves as a correlative conjunction. This is all well and good, but when I combine both functions of και in the same sentence, I feel like it's probably bad style.

I can think of a couple alternatives. One is to set up a μεν... δε construction, but I'm not sure whether it works grammatically. For example,

(T2) χαιρε, ω φιλη χωρα. ὁ μεν πολεμος ἐσται μακρος, φευξομαι δε δια και των ποταμων και των λιμνων.

The other alternative would be to simply use δε to convey the sense of the first και. In which case it would be placed postpositively after the verb φευξομαι.

(T3) χαιρε, ω φιλη χωρα. ὁ πολεμος ἐσται μακρος, φευξομαι δε δια και των ποταμων και των λιμνων.

I suspect that T3 would be the most accurate translation, and probably the best style. But I'm not completely sure of this, and I would appreciate your thoughts.

It's an interesting comparison (or contrast) between English and Greek. English has no problem using "and" two times in the same clause. But I don't want to assume the same is true about Greek.

1 Answer 1


T1 is grammatically correct: there's no rule against using καί both as a simple connective and as part of a "both ... and" construction in the same sentence. You're right, however, that the result is a little awkward. Whether a Greek author would consider it bad enough to need avoiding might be a matter of stylistic preference, but if so, then yes, T3 would be the most natural way of fixing the problem. (T2, though not wrong, strikes me as unlikely since there seems to be nothing like a contrastive relationship between the μέν clause and the δέ clause.)

Two further notes:

  1. The English doesn't say "both through the rivers and the marshes", so you don't actually need καί ... καί in that part of the sentence, which avoids the problem altogether. The extra emphasis of "both ... and" doesn't really seem suitable or necessary here.
  2. Not relevant to your question, but if you do use καί ... καί, idiomatic Greek would probably be καὶ δία τῶν ποταμῶν καὶ δία τῶν λιμνῶν. Putting a καί ... καί coordination inside a prepositional phrase is, I believe, either strictly impossible or at best rare.
  • 1
    I agree 100% with everything in this answer (although I'm not 100% sure of my own intuition/experience). One other option, which I think I should prefer, is to link the two closely linked nominal phrases with τε καί (or even with poetic, double pospositional τε...). Then it would be δία τῶν ποταμῶν τε καὶ λιμνῶν (or Homeric ποταμῶν τε λιμνῶν τε, although I'm not sure whether that would fit the stylistic register).
    – Cerberus
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 2:41
  • @TKR Thanks! Good to know that I don't need the double και...και construction, as that probably does solve the problem all on its own.
    – ktm5124
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 17:18
  • @Cerberus Thanks for the tip. I haven't learned the word τε yet but I'll keep it in mind when I do.
    – ktm5124
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 17:19

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