Passage from LLPSI

Sed, nescio quomodo, multas res video quae incertum me faciunt.

Why is videō in the quōmodo-clause (which I think to be an indirect question) indicative instead of subjuctive?

1 Answer 1


Because video is not in the clause introduced by quomodo. The nescio quomodo is a parenthetical remark and those two words can be removed without significantly altering the meaning. Pay attention to the punctuation.

The video is not in an indirect question. The only indirect question is quomodo — you could expand nescio quomodo to nescio quomodo ita sit, showing the expected conjunctive mood.

  • Nice answer. It also might be worth mentioning that nescio + a question word is not a genuine question but an idiom meaning "some [x] or other." Nescio quomodo means "somehow or other." Dec 20, 2021 at 14:23
  • @Kingshorsey True, quomodo is not to be read a s proper question. (But even if it is taken literally, it's only an indirect question embedded in a remark, so it doesn't really ask anything.) Many languages seem to have some idiomatic questions that don't expect an answer. Who knows how many English has!
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Dec 20, 2021 at 14:32
  • The larger problem is that nescio+question idioms cannot be understood as parenthetical remarks or indirect questions, although they may have evolved from them. Rather, they are used as indefinite determiners. Nescio quomodo is semantically extremely similar to aliquo modo or quodammodo, which cannot be analyzed as parenthetical remarks or indirect questions. (For more info, see Oxford Latin Syntax 7.135 and 11.27.) In this sentence, nescio quomodo is a manner adverbial. Dec 20, 2021 at 14:59
  • 1
    @Kingshorsey We have the same thing in English: "He did I don't even know what!" = "He did something crazy!"
    – cmw
    Dec 20, 2021 at 18:34
  • @cmw Yes, and also in English, that's not a parenthetical remark. It's a clausal constituent. Dec 20, 2021 at 19:33

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