In the repeat entry of Smith & Hall's English-Latin dictionary (which can be read in Latinitium), there is an example: enter image description here

According to grammar books, a verb in an indirect question should be subjunctive, except in early Latin and poetry, while indicative here instead. Is this sentence in either exceptional case?


2 Answers 2


This isn't actually an indirect question, but a relative clause: quod dixit "(that) which he said".

The two constructions are easy to confuse, especially since English can translate both with what. In this case, though, quod can only be a relative pronoun; the neuter interrogative pronoun is quid, so an indirect question like e.g. "I know what he said" would be scio quid dixerit.

  • I should review pronoun declensions however :< Dec 3, 2021 at 4:19

The relevant quote is:

Sic igitur dicet ille quem expetimus […] ut quod dixit iteret…
Therefore the one that we're trying to discover speaks in such a way […] that he will repeat the thing that he's [already] said…

In other words, this is a purpose clause (sic…ut + subj). And the object of the subjunctive verb iteret isn't an indirect question: it's a relative clause, as TKR said, with the relative pronoun quod. This can also be translated "what" in English, but it's the relative word, not the question word, which is why we can also translate it as "the thing that".

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