Very straightforward. I don't know any dictionary of latin regencies, so I come here whenever these questions rise up.

In the famous quote:

Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?

we have the feminine word patientia in the same case of nostra, so we conclude they are in the singular buy the case of those words is really weird it is either nominative or ablative instead of accusative or dative.

Can someone justify to me why those words would be on ablative given that patientia seems to be the object of abutere?

  • 2
    Note that if you look at a version of this text where long vowels are explicitly marked, you will see: "Quō ūsque tandem abūtere, Catilīna, patientiā nostrā?" Note how the words "patientiā nostrā" have their final vowels marked as long, which shows they must be in the ablative case, not nominative.
    – printf
    Commented May 13 at 23:45

1 Answer 1


The "objects" of utor and its derivative abutor go into the ablative case. This isn't unusual, and plenty of other verbs are followed by what looks like a direct object in English translation but are in the ablative or dative case in Latin.

Usually a dictionary, like Lewis and Short, will list which cases follow a verb. In this case, as you can see from the link, abutor can take either an accusative or an ablative, although do note that the accusative examples come from Old Latin authors Plautus and Terence, both of whom died in the 2nd century BCE, while the ablative examples come from the Classical Latin author Cicero, who is often seen as a model of Latinity, during the first century BCE.

  • Since a different case is selected by abutor in different periods (Early vs. Classical Latin), one can wonder if there is also any (subtle) meaning difference related to this different case pattern. The relevant pending question is: are the two patterns (completely) synonymous? To state that some authors of different periods use different cases does not provide a "justification" (cf. OP's question) of the linguistic phenomenon involved here.
    – Mitomino
    Commented May 16 at 14:25

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