I am trying to increase my Latin skill by doing as much thinking and talking to myself in Latin and came across two problems in my head. First the following sentence, which is just checking if what I say is correct:

I am so tired that I should go to sleep.

My head came up with: Tam fessus sum ut dormiendus eam

I was wondering if this is correct Latin and if not, why?

A complete concept my head is struggling with is when I encounter 'for + verb' in English. Example: these books are for reading

If I understand correctly, using the gerundive/gerundivum allows me to say they are to be read, as in they HAVE to be read. But what if I only wanna state the purpose of the books?

1 Answer 1


With respect to the first question:

First, the choice of tam...ut for the structure looks very apt. Now, for the second part ut dormiendus eam, few things ought to be said: (1) It does not mean the required since it sets apart the passive adjectival "dormiendus" from the verb eo, so as it stands it could not mean "should go to sleep"; It might be the case that the intention here was to use the accusative supine dormitum which is indeed an idiomatic option here (both eo cubitum and eo dormitum are attested). But (2) having the plane ut dormitum eam does not provide us with the flavor of "should" or the judgment here, so I guess that was the idea of using the gerundive. I've once had this contemplation on how to render "should" and I was also considering a gerund/gerundive. However, the gerundive is usually much more forcing and stronger than the "should" here. The answer there suggests using debeo which is a good option. Alternatively, in this case, we could also use the impersonal oportet. So we can say: Tam/adeo fessus sum ut ire dormitum debeam.

[Had we wanted to use the gerund/gerundive anyway, we could say something like this ut dormiendum mihi sit - we could not have used the gerundive dormiendus because it is passive; i.e., if we say dormiendus sum it means "I must/should be slept"]

About the Second question, I believe it merits its own question; So briefly, you are correct in your judgment: libri legendi sunt means the books must be read; If you want to signify the purpose of the books there are several options and most naïve one is probably ad legendum. Amica mea libros emit ad legendum.

  • 1
    As for your last sentence with the prepositional gerund (Amicae meae libros dedi ad legendum), I'd say that in Classical Latin it is more idiomatic to use the gerundive here: cf. Amicae meae libros dedi legendos.
    – Mitomino
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 0:22
  • @Mitomino, is it because do and curo are kind of special verbs in that regard? If we have habeo or emo instead of do will it sound better?
    – d_e
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 8:09
  • @mitomino does the gerundive not get translated as 'books which are to be read' as in you HAVE to read them, same like 'karthago delenda est'. But I want to state the prupose of the books, like 'the books which are for reading'. Its a clear difference. Maybe this is a bad example for a real world case but there is a difference.
    – Kai
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 15:38
  • 1
    Yes, do and curo are two verbs that are typically found in this kind of predicative gerundive construction. Take a look at the following question for additional examples with verbs that typically enter into this construction (NB: one example includes habeo): latin.stackexchange.com/questions/9370/…
    – Mitomino
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 18:17
  • @Mitomino, thanks, I fixed it to a more idiomatic example.
    – d_e
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 18:59

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