Re: Translating Imperatives

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (
Date: Sat Aug 21 1999 - 17:25:33 EDT

<x-flowed>At 12:54 21/08/99 -0700, you wrote:
>If the nuance of the imperative
>is command

I suspect that you mean "essence" , since "nuance" is defined by the SOED as:

>>A slight or subtle variation in or shade of meaning, expression, colour,
etc. <<

>and if the 3rd person is used, then by rendering
>it "let ... ", it seems something less than a command is being
>issued. Or, is there a sub-category of command whereby some
>commands, like 3rd person imperatives, are supposed to be a
>more polite way of commanding?

As Stanley Porter [ Porter, Stanley E. Idioms of the Greek New Testament.
2nd. Ed. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1994.] puts it ( p.55)

"Greek has imperative forms in the second and third person, singular and
plural. Whereas the second person is similar to the English form when
translated, the third person imperative requires what has sometimes been
labelled a permissive sense ( let ....) . However any permissive sense is a
phenomenon of English translation, not Greek (2). The third person
imperative is as strongly directive as the second person."

(2) is a citation of Brooks and Winbery _Syntax_ p.117

Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]

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