The gerund and the gerundive look similar and have similar meanings, but they are still distinct as any Latin grammar will tell us. But how did classical Latin come to have these two close but distinct (sets of) forms? Did the gerund split off as a substantivized gerundive, or did the two end up being similar despite very different origins, or something different?

Assuming the two developed from a common origin, when did the distinction emerge? I have no idea how well we might know this kind of thing, so any justified estimate (such as "some time between PIE and Plautus because…") is great. And if there are trustworthy scholarly sources stating that we simply don't know, that's a good answer, too.

  • The gerundive grew out of the gerund. The passive periphrastic (gerundive + esse) used to have a gerund governing the accusative instead, e.g. agitandum est vigilias instead of agitandae sunt vigiliae. EDIT: A similar thing happened with the future active participle, which was often used like a future active infinitive, e.g. Cas. 693 te occisurum ait 'she says she will kill you'.
    – Anonym
    Jul 11, 2017 at 23:36
  • 1
    @Anonym That's really an answer, so can you post it as one? It would benefit from some references (or corpus excerpts showing the development), but it's interesting already.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jul 12, 2017 at 9:33


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