Genesis 2:4 reads as follows in the Latin Vulgate:

Istae sunt generationes caeli et terrae, quando creata sunt, in die quo fecit Dominus Deus caelum et terram

Quo and quando were used both as a relative pronoun meaning 'when' as in the above sentence. what is the difference between them?

1 Answer 1


The question “what is the difference between them” is somewhat vague. Quo and quando have little in common besides the fact that both start with qu and end in o. In particular, it is not true that “quo and quando were used both as a relative pronoun meaning 'when'” in this sentence.

  • Quando is a conjunction meaning “when.”
  • Quo is a relative pronoun and does not really mean “when” but “which” or “that.”

In this case quo is in the ablative, which we have to render in English somehow, seeing how we don't have an ablative in English. How exactly we render it depends on which type of ablative usage it is, in this case an ablative of time; therefore dies, quo fecit Dominus Deus means “the day on which the Lord God made …” and so on.

Actually, it happens that you can leave the “on” out in English, as in the KJV text of Gen. 2:4 —

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

(emphasis mine, obviously). Note: Presumably this is not a translation from the Latin, of course – but it renders the same meaning anyway.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.