I remember being told this by a Latin teacher, but I have since forgotten the details. Why should I use the accusative case instead of the nominative here?

  • 1
    Hello, and welcome to the site! Here is a relevant question that has an answer that may, in turn, answer your question.
    – Sam K
    Oct 2, 2016 at 2:07
  • Thank you, I missed that as I was searching for nominative and accusative. I forgot that nominative and vocative are the same in all but 2nd declension.
    – Aidan
    Oct 2, 2016 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


First, if you say "good fortune", the two words must have same case, number and gender. Therefore bona fortunam is always wrong. (This may have been a typo, but I wanted to make sure.) The question is choosing between nominative (bona fortuna) and accusative (bonam fortunam).

When you wish something, accusative is more common than nominative. Think of them as parts of complete sentences:

  • Bonam fortunam (tibi exopto)! — (I wish you) good fortune!
  • Bona fortuna (tibi esto)! — (May you have) good fortune!

There are other options for both cases, but these should get the point across. If you use the nominative alone, it sounds more like the observation "the fortune is good" than wishing anyone anything. With accusative the intention is clearer and I find it more suitable anyway.

I suggest you also look at this earlier question about the accusative of exclamation.

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