I'm a real beginner, but I was reading that a noun is declined as nominative for the predicative nominative, so:

cattus est canis, the cat is a dog

both cat and dog would be declined in the nominative case.

but I was curious if both nouns would be declined in the nominative if there were another copulative verb, e.g.:

the cat looks like a dog

would they both be declined in the nominative? or is the only verb this applies to est? sorry, I know this is probably very obvious, but like I said, beginner. thank you very much.

2 Answers 2


Besides "to be", another verb that acts this way is videor, "to seem" or "appears", which does work as a translation to "looks like" depending on how you use it. (It looks like a dog = I'm not sure what it is but it looks like a dog = It appears to be a dog).

Cicero's De Officiis provides a nice example of this usage:

Numquam...imbelles timidique videamur.

We must never seem powerless and cowardly.

Both imbelles and timidi are nominative, and the subject is an implied nos.

If you were to switch it out for simus, the grammar would not change.

If you means "looks like" as in "resemble," the Latin construction uses similis instead, which takes a genitive or a dative, not a nominative.


In general, verbs that equate two things put the same case on either side of the verb. For example, vocāre "call" in the active can equate two things in the accusative (i.e. two direct objects), and in the passive equates two things in the nominative. For a few examples from Ennius (since he shows up first in my corpus search):

Istic est is Iuppiter quem dico, quem Graeci vocant aerem
It is this Jupiter that I speak of, whom the Greeks call "aer"…

Deinde Pan eum deducit in montem, qui vocatur caeli stela.
Then Pan led him to a mountain, which is called the Pillar of Heaven.

Similar verbs like appellāre work the same way, this time quoting Caesar:

…tertiam [incolunt] qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.
The third territory is inhabited by those who are called "Celts" in their own language and "Gauls" in ours.

…in his Diviciaco et Lisco […] quem Vergobretum appellant Haedui…
…among these were Diviciacus and Liscus […] whom the Haedui call "Vergobret"…

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