The Allen and Greenough is still under construction;
so some links may not work quite the way you would expect.
335. In Double or Alternative Questions, utrum or -ne,
whether, stands in the first member; an,
anne, or, annon, necne, or
not, in the second; and usually an in the
third, if there be one: -
- utrum nescis, an pro nihilo id
putas (Fam. x. 26), is it that you don't know, or do you think
nothing of it?
- vosne L. Domitium an vos Domitius
deseruit (B. C. ii. 32), did you desert Lucius Domitius, or did
Domitius desert you?
- quaero servosne an llberos
(Rosc. Am. 74), I ask whether slaves or free.
- utrum hostem an vos an fortunam utriusque
populi ignoratis (Liv. xxi 10), is it the enemy, or yourselves,
or the fortune of the two peoples, that you do not know?
NOTE: Anne for an is rare. Necne is
rare in direct questions, but in indirect questions it is commoner than
annon. In poetry -ne
... -ne sometimes occurs.
a. The interrogative particle is often
omitted in the first member; in which case an
or -ne (anne, necne) may stand in the second: -
- Gabinio dicam anne Pompeio an
utrique (Manil. 57), shall I say to Gabinius, or to Pompey, or
- sunt haec tua verba necne
(Tusc. iii. 41), are these your words or not?
- quaesivi a Catilina in conventu apud M.
Laecam fuisset necne (Cat. ii. 13), I asked Catiline whether he
had been at the meeting at Marcus Laeca's or not.
b. Sometimes the first member is omitted
or implied, and an (anne) alone asks the
question, - usually with indignation or surprise: -
- an tu miseros putas illos
(Tusc. i. 13), what! do you think those men wretched?
- an iste umquam de sa bonam spem habuisset,
nisi de vobis malam opinionem animo imbibisset (Verr. i. 42),
would he ever have had good hopes about himself unless he had conceived
an evil opinion of you?
c. Sometimes the second member is omitted
or implied, and utrum may ask a question to
which there is no alternative: -
- utrum est in clarissimis civibus is,
quem ... (Flacc. 45), is he among the noblest citizens, whom,
d. The following table exhibits the
various forms of alternative questions: -
see §335 N.)
- utrum ... an... an
- utrum ... annon (necne,
- - ... an (anne)
- -ne ... an
- - ... -ne, necne
- -ne ... necne
- -ne ... -ne
NOTE: From double (alternative) questions must be
distinguished those which are in themselves single, but of which some
detail is alternative. These have the common disjunctive particles aut or vel (-ve).
Thus, - quaero num iniuste aut improbe
fecerit (Off. iii. 54), I ask whether he acted unjustly or even
dishonestly. Here there is no double question. The only inquiry is
whether the man did either of the two things supposed, not which of the
two he did.