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The following sentence comes from lines 126-128 of chapter XVI of Lingua latina per se illustrata. Familia Romana:

Nāvis aquā implērī incipit, neque enim nautae satis multum aquae haurīre possunt.

By context, it seems to me that satis multum, followed by the genitive aquae, has some kind of partitive function, meaning, in this case, "a sufficient amount of water". But I'm not completely sure that my interpretation is correct. In a more general way, I would like to know if one should use the construction

satis multum + genitive

to express "enough or a sufficient amount of something". Do we have to use "multum"? Or some other words are possible?

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  • "neque enim nautae satis multum aquae haurīre possunt." I was confused, too, but after reading the above I believe that 'multum' is used for emphasis. 'satis aquae' would be 'enough water' but 'satis multum aquae' I believe means 'a great enough amount of water.' However, I am stil not sure what part of speech 'multum' is. Is it a noun or an adverb; although I am leaning towards 'adverb'. Can anyone enlighten me?
    – David Hume
    Mar 6 at 19:40
  • Welcome to the site! If you want to ask a follow-up question, please write a new question (with a link to the appropriate old one) instead of writing an answer. We really stick to answers being about answering the question, not about continuing a discussion.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Mar 6 at 20:13

1 Answer 1

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Yes, satis multum aquae means “enough water” or “a sufficient amount of water” (you cannot say “enough amount” in English because “enough” is an adverb).

This is not even a particularly fixed expression – Latin has a partitive genetive (genetivus partitivus), and while it is restricted to certain constructions, it can be used with many other words. A few important constructions are:

  • Substantivized adjectives describing amounts like multum (much, many), parvum (little), nihil (nothing). This includes comparatives like plus and minus (plus aquae = “more water”).
  • Nouns describing amounts like pars (part), copia (great amount), e.g. copia ferramentorum (a great amount of iron tools).
  • Substantivized pronouns like quis or nemo, e.g. quis nostrum (who of us).
  • Adverbs like satis, parum and nimium, i.e., it would also have been possible to say satis aquae (enough water).
  • Comparatives, superlatives and ordinal numbers, e.g. maior sororum (the older of the sisters), fortissimus militum (the bravest of the soldiers), decimus senatorum (the tenth of the senators).

There are also some fixed expressions that are not easily classified, like id temporis (at the time) or ubi gentium (or terrarum; where in the world). For a relatively comprehensive list, see Allen & Greenough.

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  • 1
    I understand. Is there any difference in meaning between satis multum aquae and satis aquae?
    – Charo
    Oct 11, 2023 at 18:46
  • 5
    FWIW, satis multum only appears once in PHI. I think satis aquae would be more normal.
    – TKR
    Oct 11, 2023 at 18:51
  • @TKR Satis aquae would have been my intuition as well. Curious choice on Ørberg's part, then. Oct 11, 2023 at 20:54
  • @Charo I cannot really see a real difference in meaning, no. Oct 11, 2023 at 20:54

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