Recognizing the Conditions of “If” or “ei


There are two parts of a conditional sentences (or, a sentence with an “if” clause/)

The two parts are:

a)      The subordinate clause, or “if” clause which states a supposition or condition

b)      The principle clause, or “conclusion” clause, which states the result if the “if” clause is fulfilled.

Example:  “If you get there early (this is the subordinate or “if” clause)

                  then you will get a good seat (this is the principle or conclusion clause)


The Greek word ei is translated into English as “if, or whether.”  This word will be found in the first part or the subordinate clause of a conditional sentence.


The Greek word an is an untranslated word whose presence in a clause introduces the element of contingency.  It will be found in the second part or the principle clause of a conditional sentence.


Here is an example from the Greek interlinear:


ei    ek    tou     kosmou     hte      

If        of        the             world        you were   


o     kosmos    an    to   idion     efelei


the         world          would      its      own         have loved.



First Class Condition

            ei plus indicative mood. . . . . .with conclusion clause in any mood and any tense


                        Seen in Galatians 5:18, John 14:7



Second Class Condition

            ei plus imperfect tense . . . . . . with conclusion clause  an plus imperfect tense


                        Seen in Luke 7:39, John 15:19 and 22



            ei plus Aorist or Pluperfect tense . . . . . with conclusion clause an plus Aorist                                                                                                  or Pluperfect tense.


                        Seen in John 11:32, Matthew 11:21



Third Class Condition

            ei plus Subjunctive mood . . . . . with conclusion clause in any verb form


                        Seen in Romans 7:2, Matthew 9:21, 1 John 1:9


Fourth Class Condition

            ei plus Optative mood . . . . . with conclusion clause an plus Optative mood


                        Seen in 1 Peter 3:14, 1 Corinthians 14:10