It is grammatically correct if I turn any Main active verb in the Indirect commands into passive ones?

Active - rogat nos ut veniamus - He asks us to come.

Passive - " rogamur ab eo ut veniamus " ? - we are asked by him to come ?

Active - te rogabit ne venias - he will ask you not to come

Passive - " rogaberis ab eo ne venias " ? - you will be asked by him not to come ?

  • Should I turn the subordinate verb into passive too? If so what the subordinate verb must agreed?

If you give any example than this it would be nice!


1 Answer 1


If you're using rogare or another transitive verb (that is, a verb that takes an accusative direct object), then yes, you can turn the main clause passive, exactly as you've done. All four of your Latin sentences are perfectly correct.

However, note that some intransitive verbs can also introduce indirect commands, such as imperare and persuadere. In these cases, to turn the main clause passive, you'd have to use an 'impersonal passive.' For example, (nobis) imperat ut veniamus would become (nobis) ab eo imperatur ut veniamus. (Literally, this means 'There is an ordering by him [of us] that we come'; practically speaking, though, the English meaning is 'We are ordered by him to come.')

You could turn the subordinate clauses passive too, if you wanted. However, for your specific examples, you would once again have to use an impersonal passive, because the verb venire is intransitive. In this case, the subordinate clause ut veniamus would become ut a nobis veniatur. Still, if you changed both clauses to passive voice in this way, the resulting sentence, rogamur ab eo ut a nobis veniatur, would be as clunky in Latin as the literal translation, 'We are asked by him that there be a coming by us,' is in English.

  • You point out that imperare is an intransitive verb but the example you give nobis imperat ut veniamus can be claimed to involve a transitive use of this verb (i.e., the direct object is the subordinate clause introduced by ut : e.g., cf. the transitive use of imperare selecting an ut clause as its internal argument in micmap.org/dicfro/search/gaffiot/impero ). So note that it can be a bit confusing to say that your example nobis ab eo imperatur ut veniamus is an impersonal passive (cf. Hoc nobis ab eo imperatur).
    – Mitomino
    Commented Nov 7, 2020 at 3:43
  • @Mitomino: In " nobis imperat ut veniamus" is the direct object "the order"? The literal translation of "impero" = "I-give-an-order-to" + dative. Analysis: "He (subject) gives (verb) an order (direct object) to us ([dative] indirect-object). The subordinate clause, "ut veniamus", is, then, a secondary indirect object? Thus in "nobis ab eo imperatur ut veniamus" = "It (subject) is ordered (the order is given) by him (direct object) to us that we come." In "hoc nobis ab eo imperatur." = "This is ordered (this order is given) by him to us.", where "this (order)" becomes the subject.
    – tony
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 13:17
  • @tony, Although the verb imperare has a dative object to describe the person that the order is issued to, it can also take an explicit accusative direct object, contrary to what I say in my answer. For example, when a general orders a local town to supply him with troops, it can be phrased as 'He (nom. subect) ordered (imperavit) troops (acc. direct object) from them (dat. indirect object).' In a sentence like nobis imperat ut veniamus, the ut veniamus clause is filling the role of direct object. At some point, I need to update my answer to correct the inaccuracy that imperare is intransitive.
    – cnread
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 17:34

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.