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The following sentence is from the book "Fabellae latinae", chapter 9 "Ōrnāmentae dominae",

Nam ānulus ad eum digitum convenit.

What I cannot understand is the use of "eum" here. I would have opted for "eius".

4 Answers 4

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Both eum and eius would be grammatically correct, but they mean different things.

Eum (from is, ea, id) when modifying a noun is a demonstrative pronoun. The ring fits that finger as opposed to a different finger.

Eius (also from is, ea, id) as a genitive pronoun is a third-person non-reflexive possessive: the ring fits his/her/its finger as opposed to someone else’s.

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Here's the context:

Ancilla ānulum gemmātum in digitō dominae pōnit. In quō digitō? In digitō quārtō, nam ānulus ad eum digitum convenit.

My translation:

The servant girl places the jewelled ring on the finger of the lady. On which finger? On the fourth finger, as the ring fits that finger.

In context, it doesn't make much sense to read "... as the ring suits her finger", with a genitive; the demonstrative pronoun isn't referring back to domina but specifies the specific finger, so it must be in the accusative masculine singular to agree with digitum.

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This is a difficult sentence to translate, and I think the key to translating it is realizing that is, ea, id — in addition to being a third-person pronoun (he, she, it) — can also be a determiner meaning "this" or "that". So the phrase "eum digitum" can be translated as "this finger" or "that finger".

Nam ānulus ad eum digitum convenit.

For the ring fits that finger.

The word eum is in the accusative singular, and it agrees with the noun digitum in case and number.

The sentence has a lot of useful vocabulary. Here is a list of some of the vocabulary used:

  1. Nam (conjunction): for
  2. Anulus, anuli (2nd decl noun): ring
  3. Is, ea, id (pronoun/adjective): he, she, it; this, that
  4. Digitus, digiti (2nd decl noun): finger
  5. Convenio, convenire, conveni, conventum (4th conjugation -io): to fit

The word convenio can also mean "to convene" or "to assemble", but in this context it means "to fit".

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    What is "ad" doing here? What if it was omitted?
    – tony
    Aug 6, 2023 at 9:07
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    @tony ad connects the verb venire with its indirect object. According to L&S the pure accusative would also possible, but they only have one dubious attestation for that and Georges doesn't mention it at all, so I would say if the ad were omitted, the sentence woule be more or less ungrammatical. Aug 7, 2023 at 19:59
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“…to that finger.” Not “to his/her finger”. It’s emphasizing a specific finger as opposed to emphasizing the person. The finger must have been referenced earlier in the text.

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