Last week, in CHAT, there was a discussion on direct speech/ indirect speech/ subordinate clauses. With this in mind here's a quote from Sky-News TV-journalist, Beth Rigby, who on the 18th. of January, this year, was interviewing a senior British politician:

"The broadcasters have asked me to ask you if you are found to have lied to Parliament, will you resign."

In Latin this could be:

"duces mihi imperaverunt ut te rogarem num deprehensum iri, qui Senatui mentitus est, te abdicaturus sis."


"The bosses have ordered me to ask you if you are found-out (to be), he who has lied to the Senate, will you resign.

Is this correct?

EDIT 9/3/2022:

Thanks to Joonas for advising that this translation should be approached sequentially, and not in one splurge.

The first part: "duces mihi imperaverunt ut te rogarem", direct speech followed by indirect speech is, I think, correct.

Following, the indirect question ("will you resign") introduced by "num" = "whether"/ "if"; the passive indirect "future", "num deprehensum iri" may be wrong: "if you are found (out)"; this is, in fact, the first of two indirect questions, therefore: "num deprehendaris" (passive present subjunctive) = "if you are found (out)".

And "will you resign" is the second indirect question.

The subordinate clause in the abstract: "(if you are found-out [to be]) he who has lied...".

The abstract because I did not want to keep saying: "you-this; you-that; you...". Does an abstract subordinate clause make for good Latin? I don't know.

The last bit, "te abdicaturum sis", the periphrastic use of the present subjunctive, with a future participle, for an indirect question about what someone will do, in the future; is, I think, correct.

"duces mihi imperaverunt ut te rogarem, num deprehendaris, qui Senatui mentitus est, te abdicaturus sis."

Is this translation better?

  • I don't think impero takes accusative + infinitive. It takes ut + subjunctive, so duces mihi imperaverunt ut te rogarem..., right?
    – MPW
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 20:18
  • @MPW: You don't sound very sure; or, are you just being polite? Please advise.
    – tony
    Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 16:40
  • 1
    I am certain. See, e.g., this link and note in particular the two tables and the list of exceptions at the bottom. (The link explicitly is gavirtual.instructure.com/courses/2699/pages/…)
    – MPW
    Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 18:47
  • @MPW: Thank you. I've changed it. The quote was: "The broadcasters have ordered me to ask you...."; perfect tense with "have"--primary tense-- so is it present subjunctive, "rogem"?
    – tony
    Commented Mar 12, 2022 at 12:25
  • 1
    “The Perfect Indicative is ordinarily a secondary tense, but allows the primary sequence when the present time is clearly in the writer’s mind” - A&G 485 (New Latin Grammar). So it’s up to you, depending on the shade of meaning you intend. For what it’s worth, N&H(Latin Prose Composition) break it up as “Perfect with ‘have’” and “Perfect without ‘have’ (Aorist)”, as you suggest. Bennett 268 (New Latin Grammar) says “The Perfect Indicative is usually an historical tense (even when translated in English as a Present Perfect), and so is followed by the Imperfect and Pluperfect Subjunctive”
    – MPW
    Commented Mar 12, 2022 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


First we need to set up the condition correctly. In direct speech, I think this would take a future perfect in the protasis and a future in the apodosis: "If you will have been discovered..., will you resign?"

Now, we account for the indirect question by making the future perfect of the protasis into an imperfect subjunctive periphrastic and the future of the apodosis into a present subjunctive periphrastic:

num te, si ... deprehensus fores, abdicaturus sis.

For me, the remaining difficulty concerns the syntax around deprehendo. In English, it is permissible to make an infinitive the predicate of this personal verb: "you are discovered to have lied." But not all verbs in Latin can combine an infinitive phrase with a personal passive. If I'm thinking about this correctly, only verbs that accept a nominative with infinitive construction should be used this way. And I am simply unsure whether this verb falls into that category. So, if a personal passive with infinitive is not permissible, an impersonal passive should be (if it were to be discovered that you lied). In that case, we have:

num te, si te Senatui mentitum esse foret deprehensum, abdicaturus sis.

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