Genesim 1:8 Hieronymus traducit ita:

Vocavitque Deus firmamentum, Cælum: et factum est vespere et mane, dies secundus.

Cur “factum”, non “facta”? Nonne subiectum est "vespere et mane", et nonne illud est plurale?

  • Before I try answering, I'd like to confirm that your question is "why is this singular? Isn't the subject 'vepsere et mane', and aren't they plural?", because I'm a dirty non-Latin-fluent peasant or somesuch.
    – Nic
    Feb 25, 2016 at 19:17
  • @QPaysTaxes Ita. Anglice dicitur "Evening and morning are done". Duo nomini unum subjectum pluralem faciunt.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 25, 2016 at 19:32
  • @C.M.Weimer Gratias tibi ago pro correctionis dono! :)
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 26, 2016 at 0:08

3 Answers 3


Sometimes, especially with neuter nouns, when there are two subjects, an adjective or verb will agree with the closest subject and not the whole subject. This is listed under Allen and Greenough § 286.a:

With two or more nouns the adjective is regularly plural, but often agrees with the nearest (especially when attributive):—

  • Caesaris omni et gratia et opibus fruor (Fam. i. 9. 21), I enjoy all Caesar's favor and resources.

Nisi fallor, vespere in casu ablativo et in omnibus casibus mane simpliciter 'mane' scribitur. Qua de causa forsitan Hieronymus scripsisset duobus casibus ablativis hac in sententia:

Die secundo in duobus partibus (id est, vespere et mane) [omne?] factum est.

  • Itaque "dies secundus" sit subjectum sententiæ? Sed "dies" nomen masculinum, "factum" neuter est. Verum est?
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 25, 2016 at 20:16
  • In re "duobus casibus ablativis", si te placet hanc quæstionem novam vide. Fortassis rectum responsum tenes.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 26, 2016 at 17:00

I'm fairly sure that "vespere et mane" isn't the subject (i.e. nominative), but the means (i.e. ablative), because "-e" isn't the right ending for third declension nominative, but it is for third declension ablative (and the version I know has "the second day" as the subject)

However, "secundus dies" is nominative singular, which matches the verb, so it's more likely that that's the subject.

I'd propose this as an English translation:

And God called the firmament Heaven, and the second day was made with the evening and the morning.

  • Vide notas sub responso a cjmcnamara.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 26, 2016 at 0:16
  • @BenKovitz Probably should be "responso cjmcnamarae", and I have. I'm fairly sure I've seen "dies" used as neuter though.
    – Nic
    Feb 26, 2016 at 0:17
  • Re genere "diei", vide Wiktionariam.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 26, 2016 at 0:40
  • @BenKovitz Hm, seems I was wrong. Fair enough! I'm not sure what it could mean, then, though.
    – Nic
    Feb 26, 2016 at 0:42

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