I was a little stumped, here, when I came across the feminine relative pronoun ᾗ.

ἴσως δή, εἶπον, παρὰ τὸ ἔθος γελοῖα ἂν φαίνοιτο πολλὰ περὶ τὰ νῦν λεγόμενα, εἰ πράξεται ᾗ λέγεται.

καὶ μάλα, ἔφη.

Plato's Republic, Book 5, section 452a

Here's how I translated the passage:

"Perhaps then," I said, "being contrary to custom, many things related to what we're saying should seem ridiculous, if they will be done according to what is said."

"Yes," he said.

First, I'm unsure as to why ᾗ is in the feminine singular. Is this an arbitrary choice? Or is there a logic to it? For several reasons, I would expect the neuter instead of the feminine.

Second, why the dative case? Nominative makes more sense to me. Is there a better way to translate the dative than the one I gave?

I think the best translation would be, "if what is said will be done", but this would be more liberal, and I wanted to understand how the nuts and bolts worked first.

1 Answer 1


This is an adverbial use of the relative and has its own entry in LSJ. It's used in comparative clauses, for example.


, dat. sg. fem. of relat. Pron. ὅς, ἥ, ὅ, in adverb. sense ... II. of Manner, how, as.

Smyth (§2463):

Comparative clauses of quality or manner are introduced by ὡς as, ὥσπερ, καθάπερ just as, ὅπως, ᾗ, ὅπῃ, ᾗπερ as

  • Great find. So should you translate it, then, "if they will be done as they are said"? I assume that πολλὰ carries over as the subject (for both verbs).
    – ktm5124
    Feb 22, 2017 at 9:05
  • 2
    This sounds analogous to the Latin feminine ablative qua.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Feb 22, 2017 at 10:28
  • 1
    @JoonasIlmavirta You're right! The LSJ entry gives the following quote from Aristotle: "ᾗ ἄνθρωπος" = "qua man" (Arist. EN 1096b2)
    – brianpck
    Feb 22, 2017 at 14:29

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