In English(in Portuguese, as well) we can use the adverb "nunquam" with an imperative "Never do/say/etc something! I'm asking because when I read the dictionaries, I never see a sentence with "nunquam" and a imperative. I googled, and I didn't find anything abou it. Has ever any author used it with an imperative?

  • 5
    My immediate reaction is that ne+subjunctive or noli+infinitive would be used to form a negative command (prohibition), and then umquam would be used; but I haven't confirmed this.
    – cnread
    Jun 10, 2023 at 23:40
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    My intuition, similarly, is that you could use numquam with a subjunctive or noli + umquam, but not numquam with an imperative; I'll need to find some actual confirmation before making this an answer, though.
    – Draconis
    Jun 10, 2023 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


(*) As suggested in the comments we can have negative command with numquam + perfect subjective.

quod [vulnus] is [Pomponio] se passum pro Caesare pugnantem gloriabatur, ‘numquam fugiens respexeris’ inquit (Quint.Inst.

As for using numquam + imperative this is still to be determined.

(*) Edit: Some texts read this with a question mark. i.e., "Would you have never looked back when fleeing?”" (See Loeb translation of the same referred text in "Fragmentary Republican Latin": "as C. Caesar said to Pomponius, displaying a wound on his face received in Sulpicius’ [P. Sulpicius Rufus ] insurrection [88 BC], because he boasted of having suffered it while fighting for Caesar: “Would you have never looked back when fleeing?")

But Loeb original translation of Quintilian reads as command: "... as in the riposte of Gaius Caesar to Pomponius, who had exhibited a wound on his face received in Sulpicius’ insurrection and boasted of having suffered it while fighting for Caesar: “Never look round when you are running away”";

I think by context the two readings are possible (this statement of this C. Caesar was an example to the orator how a comment can pop someone's boast.)

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