In response to a question e.g. "How will you maintain order?" (= "quomodo tu disciplinam sustentabis?"), the answer could be, "By ruling." In Latin, an ablative of the gerund, "regendo."

Is this correct for a single-word response, using a gerund?

1 Answer 1


It is as grammatical as the English sentence "By ruling". They are both fine, but clearly elliptic; the omitted words are clear enough, so that in the context of such an exchange the response can easily be expanded to:

Regendo [[eam (= disciplinam)] sustentabo].
[I will do it (= maintain discipline)] by ruling.

When you are asked for a detail, you can answer with just that detail if the context is clear enough. The short answer is not a complete sentence, but in natural discussion not all sentences are.

This is hardly different to answering "What are you eating?" with just "Bread.", only supplying the object and leaving all other components implicit.

  • What about using a gerund as in the following example: "Hurry up, we'll be late to the movie!" "Coming!"
    – RobertF
    Jul 15, 2021 at 20:38
  • 1
    @RobertF In that case it's short for "I'm coming" in English, but in Latin no gerund would be employed. What you need in Latin is a suitable idiom for just that scenario. That'd make a good separate question!
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jul 16, 2021 at 1:29
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    Yes that makes sense. Going back to the original question, how about using a gerund to answer the question: "How is order maintained?" "By ruling." Although in this case you could say the question is implicitly asking "How does one maintain order?".
    – RobertF
    Jul 16, 2021 at 14:32
  • @RobertF How short an answer makes sense depends on the circumstances, so I recommend asking separate questions on specific cases. If you can count on having a charitable audience, as you would in most real conversations, then a single word can easily suffice. The biggest problem is probably sounding unfriendly than being too difficult to parse.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jul 16, 2021 at 20:04

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