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The original question is, 'The other, whose parents lived in Greece, was returning home.' My translation is, 'Alter, cuius parentes habitaverunt Graecum, redibat domum,' and i am not so sure if 'in greece'(it would be best to have it in one word) and 'returning home' would be accusative in this context. Any suggestions on what it should be?

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  1. "Graecum" should be "Graeciam" since you want the Place not the Adjective.
  2. You also will want to change the word order I think -- the verb usually comes at the end of a clause. "Graeciam habitaverunt"
  3. "Domum" should be "Domi." A locative makes sense here.

Other than that, I think you did a great job. You used perfect tense for a completed occurrence, you used the inceptive imperfect. Habito easily takes an accusative, so no issue there. Well done!


Side note (and this may just be me) but I have never seen "alter" start off a sentence in isolation like this. I would just drop it and start with cuius. "Cuius parentes Graeciam habitaverunt, ille redibat." That man whose parents lived in Greece began to return.

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    Nickimite, the centurio from "Life of Brian" wants a word with you. (That is to say, you may want to reconsider both the accusative with habitare and the locative with ire.) – Sebastian Koppehel Apr 9 at 7:18
  • Oof yeah you're right. It takes in+ablative. I have sinned! – Nickimite Apr 9 at 14:36
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    Alter at the beginning of a sentence is perfectly fine; examples abound, even just in Cicero. Presumably, it answers to a form of alter in a previous sentence that describes what the first of two individuals did; therefore, the sentence and the larger passage where it occurs would lose something fairly essential without it. Also, Sebstian Koppehel has already alluded to this, but the locative domi is incorrect here; the original poster's domum (accusative showing goal of motion) is correct. – cnread Apr 9 at 16:21
  • thanks so much! – jonathan May 5 at 20:45
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As Nickimite has pointed out, Greece is Graecia, so the accusative would be Graeciam. But that is not how you say where someone is and remains. How exactly you say that depends on how you describe their dwelling place; however for regions and countries it's simply in + ablative – so that would be in Graecia. For the names of cities and small islands and a few special words, you would use the locative, but Greece is not among those. (You can also use apud or ad + accusative to express vicinity, e.g.: ad litora habito = I live by the seashore.)

For motion towards a place, we would usually use in or ad + accusative, but for cities, small islands and a few special words, you use the simple accusative. Domus happens to be such a special word, so we say: domum redire.

Allen & Greenough wrote it all up, read it here.

Note that having lived somewhere is a continuous state, so it qualifies for the imperfect, while having gone somewhere is a single completed action, so you might want to use the perfect tense. That leaves us with:

Alter, cuius parentes in Graecia habitabant, domum rediit.

If you wanted to say: The other, wo lived at his parents' place, went to Italy, you would say:

Alter, qui apud parentis habitabat, in Italiam se contulit.

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    "...he carried himself into Italy.", is that how the Romans would have said it; what about "...in Italiam iit"? – tony Apr 12 at 11:35
  • @tony Yes, according to L&S that's “very freq. and class.” Of course you could just as well say iit. You could also say iter fecit or Italiam petivit (transitive verb). – Sebastian Koppehel Apr 12 at 21:05

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