I am learning Latin. I have bought a grammar book, which is not that great. My professor is using words like adversative conjunction, comparative, conditional, and so on. I can't find any long list over these types online. Can you help me? Here is what I have gotten till now:

Conjunctions can be separated into hypotaxis and parataxis.

  • Hypotaxis: (connecting) introducing a subordinate clause
  • Parataxis: connecting to independent clause


  • Copulative/Additive
  • Adversative
  • Explicative
  • Final
  • Causal
  • Comparative
  • Conditional
  • Consecutive
  • Concessive
  • Temporal
  • Modal
  • Local
  • Disjunctive

I need help to get the whole list, what each of the terms means and in which Latin words/sentences are used.


2 Answers 2


Here is the stub of an answer. Many conjunctions can be used in two or more different ways. And I've only given an example for each category, not an exhaustive list. But this should be enough for you to be able to categorise other conjunctions.

Copulative/Additive: connects two clauses without indicating any specific kind of relation between them: et.

Adversative: indicates opposition: sed.

Explicative: explicates or elaborates on the previous clause: quod/ut "that".

Final: indicates a purpose or end: ut, ne

Causal: indicates a cause: nam "for", quia, quoniam, quod "because".

Comparative: indicates what the preceding is compared with: quam "than".

Conditional: indicates a condition: si.

Consecutive: indicates a result that was not specifically intended: ut.

Concessive: indicates a concession: quamquam, quamvis, etsi, ut/cum "although".

Temporal: indicates a time at/after/before which the main clause happens: ut/cum/ubi "when", postquam, priusquam, antequam, dum, donec.

Modal: probably indicates circumstances or methods, but I can't think of what those would be. Perhaps (sic)ut "(such) as", but one might as well call that comparative. Or prout "to the extent that".

Local: indicates a location: ubi "where*.

Disjunctive: separates two possibilities: sive, aut.

Interrogative: introduces the content of a question: utrum, an. Or perhaps others would have this fall under "explicative".

There is no necessary or complete list of different kinds of conjunctions: any categorisation is a choice. But most of the terms above are indeed fairly commonly used for conjunctions.

  • Neat. But we've both of us left out relative clauses! Are they Explicative now?
    – Hugh
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 18:02
  • 1
    @Hugh Mm but those aren't conjunctions! You might call relative pronouns explicative.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 1:35
  • You're right of course; they're introduced by pronouns. Then, what sort of clauses are introduced by quippe, quin, and quo; they're all listed as conjunctions? Aren't they relative clauses?
    – Hugh
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 2:23
  • 1
    @Hugh You're right: the boundary is not always clear. It could be argued that a relative that does not refer to another word or phrase has become more like a conjunction. Indeed, both conjunctions and relatives conjoin clauses. It could even be argued that relative pronouns are a type of conjunction... look only at quod and that, which are called conjunctions and relative pronouns depending on context.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 4:05
  • 2
    @Cerberus I'd argue that relative pronouns are a blend of pronoun and conjunction. After all, conjunctions like ubi and ut are pronominal in origin (quobi -> cubi -> ubi and quoti -> cuti -> uti -> ut). Even more transparent are qui, quin, and quominus.
    – Anonym
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 22:59

[Warning: I am subject to error; and grammar/ syntax is subject to fashion. Terminology and taxonomy will vary in older grammars.]

Copulative: Felis abest et mures ludunt. Felis abest, porro mures ludunt.
Adversative: [But] Felis abest, mures tamen non ludunt. Felis abest, sed mures non laetare coeperunt.
In paratactic clauses modality is independent of the conjunction.

Comparative: [The more...the more]Quam saepius felis abest, magis mures laetuntur.
Explicative: [Because] Quod felis abest, mures ludunt.
Participle, nominative: Felis absens ignoravit mures ludere.
Participle: Ablative absolute: Fele absente, mures ludunt. (literally "The cat being away, ..." can be translated as causal, temporal, or conditional)

modal hypotaxis
Some conjunctions Ut, cum, Si, nisi, can take the subjunctive:
[When] Cum felis abest, mures ludunt (temporal) but
[Since] Cum felis absit (modal) mures ludunt.

[As] Ut felis aberat, mures ludere coeperunt. (temporal) but
(modal) Felis abivit, [so that] ut mures luderent.(final)

Conditional (factual) Si felis abest, mures ludunt. but
(modal) (hypothetical) [If] Si felis abesset, mures [would] luderent.

The hypotactic list omits Indirect Speech, and Indirect Questions, both of which have indicative and modal variants. Lokal syntax can be treated with Indirect Questions.

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.