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I'm currently doing Latin in high school, and there's one thing which I can't get my head around in a recent test I got back.

I translated the command "Listen to me!" as "mihi audi!" but it was marked as wrong, and the correct answer (according to my teacher) was "me audi!".

Why isn't the genitive (mihi) used here? Doesn't it literally mean "Listen to me", or am I misunderstanding something?

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    Welcome to the site and thanks for posting your question! – Adam Mar 28 at 13:22
  • literal translations don't 100% work – Leaky Nun Mar 29 at 14:31
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Your match of mihi with "to" is correct, but that's the dative case, not the genitive. The genitive is mei.

Neither case is appropriate here, though. Audio more or less contains the idea of "to" in itself—it means "hear" or "listen to". Thus

Listen to me!

becomes

(Listen to) (me)!

becomes

Audi me!

Another way of saying "Listen to me" could be "Hear me". In that rephrasing, the reason for using accusative is more obvious.

If you wanted a word that more closely meant "listen to" rather than "hear", a word that didn't have that sort of passive undertone, you could use ausculto.

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  • Thanks! Makes sense now. – pigeonburger Mar 28 at 20:19

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