How would you translate: "He asked if the the city had been captured?"

Quaerit num civitatem captum esse?

Here I am using an accusative (captum) plus infinitive (esse).

Am I right?

Thank you!

2 Answers 2


As an indirect question in subjunctive: "Quaerit an/utrum civitas capta sit."

  • 1
    You are right !
    – NVaughan
    Oct 9, 2019 at 2:50
  • Note that this means "he asks whether the city is captured".
    – Cerberus
    Oct 12, 2019 at 4:21
  • I don't think so: "capta sit" is past perfect passive subjunctive.
    – NVaughan
    Oct 12, 2019 at 15:34
  • Then what is perfect passive subjunctive?
    – Cerberus
    Oct 12, 2019 at 20:40
  • "Perfect" is short for "past perfect". "Quaerit utrum civitas capiatur" is in present subjective passive: "He/she asks whether the city is captured". On the other hand, "Quaerit utrum civitas capta sit" is in past perfect subjunctive passive, and it means "He/she asks whether the city has been captured". (Note that "an" and "utrum" are somewhat equivalent for the purpose of making indirect questions.)
    – NVaughan
    Oct 12, 2019 at 21:35

An indirect question always uses subjunctive (also called conjunctive) in Latin. You just write the question as if it were a normal question, and then change indicative to subjunctive.

An accusative with infinitive cannot be used for indirect questions. Unless the question contains a question word (quis, quando, or similar), an indirect question is often introduced with an or utrum.

The translation suggested by NVaughan is great.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.