In North & Hillard, Ex 215, the following sentence:

There can be little doubt that the guides, whether through treachery or ignorance, were mainly responsible for the disaster.

is translated by the answer book as:

parum quidem dubitari potest quin huius cladis, seu proditione seu inscientia, auctores in primis fuerint duces.

Why deploy the future-perfect, fuerint ("they-will-have-been the creators of the disaster")?

The English requires "were....responsible"; for me, there is a credible case for:

  • sunt ("they are the creators"), even though the disaster has already happened;
  • erant, giving the English: "they were"; and, presumably, continue to be responsible;
  • yet again: fuerunt ("they were"): a completed process, in the past, now finished.

Any thoughts on why fuerint is used?

  • @JoonasIlmavirta Looks like our edits collided: I rolled back and added the tags – brianpck Nov 30 '17 at 16:03
  • @brianpck Thanks! Dealing with and even detecting edit collisions on the phone is confusing. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 30 '17 at 17:47

It's actually perfect subjunctive following quin, which is permissible since it's a doubting clause. The two forms do look alike, but the quin is your giveaway. See A&G 558 for more examples.

  • Thank you C.M. Weimer; thought of perf. subj., but, without ut/ne present dismissed this. – tony Nov 30 '17 at 17:43
  • 1
    @tony The perfect subjunctive (conjunctive) does not require any particular conjunctions, so even adding quin and quominus to your list is not really sufficient. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 30 '17 at 17:46

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