When can I use "venire ad", or "venire in". (excepting the few locative cases)

What kind of buildings, place, etc, can accept the one or the other?
Is "venire ad" insists more on the move than "in"?

I've found that bother "in ludum" and "ad ludum" were both possible for instance (go to school), is there a difference in the use or in the meaning?

Thank you.

2 Answers 2


I would say that the difference is much like the one between the English "in" and "at" (for being somewhere) or "into" and "to" (for going somewhere). When you are in the store, you are actually inside it. When you are at the store, your are probably somewhere near but not quite inside.

For movement, ad + accusative means going near and in + accusative means going in. For location, ad + accusative means being near and in + ablative means being inside. It's not a question of which place requires which pronoun, but of where you are in relation to the place.

If I plan to meet a friend in front of their house, I could say ad domum tuam venio. If I actually planned to go inside, I could say in domum tuam venio. (Adding an adjective or a possessive pronoun often turns locatives and other non-prepositional expressions for domus and cities into normal prepositional phrases.)

Both in ludum and ad ludum make sense with venire but mean different things. Are you going to the schoolyard or all the way into the building?

This is of course a simplified picture, but should give you a good overall idea of the difference. One cannot cover everything quite so briefly. I will also point out that I took the point of view of buildings, not so much places like market squares and in particular not people.

  • So, "ad ludum" rather means that you don't attend school but you enter (in) the building?
    – Quidam
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 18:37
  • @Quidam Something like that. Depends on context. Maybe you're just in front of the building or in the general area.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 18:45
  • 1
    I think the English distinction you are looking for is between "into" and "to".
    – C Monsour
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 21:23
  • @CMonsour Indeed! I edited that in.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 7:42
  • I agree with your description of the Latin contrasts involving in vs. ad but I'm not sure about your parallelism with English, in particular, about your statement that "When you are at the store, you are probably somewhere near but not quite inside". I imagine "at" as involving you're located at some point in the store, rather than near (?) the store. I don't know if any native speaker of English could confirm this.
    – Mitomino
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 1:33

A similar source of confusion can arise between movement (accusative) and position (ablative) with preposition "sub" = "under".

"...et omnes milites sub iugum missi sunt." = "...and all the soldiers were sent under the yoke."

(To send an enemy under the yoke [a wooden collar, of long diameter, placed around the neck] was a traditional form of humiliation.)

Astonished to find "sub" taking accusative, when, at that time, had only ever encountered the ablative form. After some effort-of-study (having neglected to consult dictionary) yes, to be sent under the yoke (sub iugum mittere) involves movement; therefore, "sub" takes neuter accusative "iugum", not ablative "iugo". Confusion: a captured soldier is, presumably, standing still, at the point of a sword, when this humiliation is applied; but, the expression is "to-be-sent-under"--at least implying movement.

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