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I am new here, I hope this question is permitted.

I've recently been revisiting my high school Latin, and working though a textbook. I studied Latin for 5 years at school, and have come back after a 10+ year hiatus. I have some basics, but rather rusty.

I have been trying to translate one of the exercise translation sentences from English to Latin:

We had heard many things about the leader

I'm happy with the verb tense- pluperfect, "about the leader" is ablative following "de". So far so good, I think.

I however have struggled with "many things".

This was my solution:

De duce multum audiveramus

I chose the adjective multus, I thought the noun "things" would be implied so wouldn't be required. I initially thought this would need to agree with this implied word, but can't find a translation for "things".

Multus is a 1st declension adjective. I presume it is accusative, as it is what "had been heard". I don't think agreeing with the ablative "duce" would be correct, as "much" is not a property of the leader in this case. I used the masculine endings, in my mind it obliquely references a masculine entity (i.e. the leader), but this is where my logic run out.

So then I'm a bit stumped.

I have checked the answer key solution:

De duce multa audiveramus

Apologies if this (or similar) has been posted before, I just couldn't find a satisfactory answer through searching.

Could anybody shed any light on why it's multa? How do I know which gender/case/number to apply to this adjective? Is it a neuter accusative plural adjective? What is it agreeing with?

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    Hey! It is a neuter plural accusative, in Latin the masculine is used for non-specific persons, and the neuter for non-specific things.
    – Laravel
    Jul 13 at 11:52

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Your question is very welcome to this site and I hope you continue to ask here as questions like this arise along your way!

The suggested multa is indeed the neuter plural accusative, and it is the most natural choice. Notice that the English has "many things" in the plural, and that points towards picking a plural in Latin, too. If you had heard multum, my interpretation would be that you heard a lot about a single thing concerning the leader.

In general, it seems to me that the adjective multus is mostly used in the plural. The stand-alone uses multa (many things) and multi (many people) are very common and might well be worth memorising in their own right. They don't modify or refer to any other word in the sentence. And if you ever find yourself with an adjective that doesn't refer to anything specific, the neuter plural is a good first guess.

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    +1. But If I may confuse a little. the other day we had a question here , about the so called " accusative of degree" (there was posse multum); is multum audiveramus grammatical here? what would it mean?
    – d_e
    Jul 13 at 12:22
  • Of course, makes sense. Thank you. Jul 13 at 12:31
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    @d_e The option with multum is grammatical but less idiomatic and means something slightly different. It does indeed have a double meaning, either as a simple accusative object or as an accusative of degree. Context makes a big difference here, and I would dismiss the adverbial reading without another object, whether explicit or implicit. Perhaps "we had heard greatly" would be a reasonable counterpart in English, making little sense in isolation.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jul 13 at 14:35

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