The enclitic -ne is used for binary questions where you expect a yes or no answer. Does an enclitic exist for open-ended questions, like "where do you want to have dinner", or "who is that"?

Is this generally moot because the rest of the sentence indicates whether something is a question or not?

1 Answer 1


There is no such enclitic, at least not a common one by any measure. And what would you need it for? If a question does not ask for a yes or a no, it has a specific question word indicating what is wanted: quis, quando, cur, unde…

As Sebastian says in his answer to the linked question: -ne is not used when we have a question word like quid or ubi.

Enclitics can be used in all questions: Ubi saltant maritus uxorque? The enclitic -que is used, but it does not indicate a question. The only enclitic indicating a question is -ne.

As noted in Sebastian's answer, binary questions can be formed without -ne, using nonne or num. But when the question is not binary, using -ne is not really an option.

  • I think it is a fair question, because in English we differentiate: “In what a city we live!” versus “In what a city do we live?” Does the first type of sentence exist in Latin? Aug 7, 2021 at 7:38
  • @SebastianKoppehel I agree, the question is fair. I hope my answer didn't come across as condescending. For such a question-natured cry I think the best option is o quam, as in: O quam amoena est urbs nostra! Whether his works with o and other question words or without the o is not clear to me. Certainly worth exploring in a follow-up question.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Aug 7, 2021 at 11:22
  • I didn't take the answer negatively; I figured even though the answer was likely no it was worth asking in case someone else wondered and searched.
    – Adam
    Aug 7, 2021 at 15:43
  • One of the things that got me thinking is that in Japanese you can add ka to the end of a sentence like a sort of spoken question mark. Not an enclitic at all, but it got me wondering if there was something like that in Latin.
    – Adam
    Aug 7, 2021 at 15:47
  • @Adam Finnish has an interrogative enclitic -ko/-kö, and it behaves very similarly to the Latin -ne. If there are small differences, I'm sure I'll replace all Latin rules with Finnish ones and never know about it. Germanic languages seem to have a tendency to indicate questions by word order. For any language student learning how questions work is a big question in learning the language in question.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Aug 7, 2021 at 15:57

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