Given an accusative subject of oratio obliqua, if that subject is or words declined with it it are repeated in a subordinate subjunctive, are they accusative or nominative in the subjunctive?

Exemplī grātiā, if I wanted to say, "Someone wrote that she had come here entirely unaware of what she would be doing," would I write

Quīdam scrīpsit, eam plānē īnsciam ejus, quod factūra esset, vēnisse.


Quīdam scrīpsit, eam plānē īnsciam ejus, quod factūram esset, vēnisse.

My gut says the first, but my gut is also what has me awake at 2:30 in the morning, so I'm not sure how far I can trust it.

  • If the relative pronoun is a so-called connecting relative, so that it's equivalent to a form of is/ea/id and therefore, conceptually, the relative clause constitutes a coordinate clause to the main part of the indirect statement, you do sometimes find that the relative clause also has accusative subject + infinitive verb. Maybe that's what you're thinking? I have to confess, though, that I don't understand what you're trying to express in your Latin sentences, so I can't tell whether this 'rule' applies enough for this to be an answer rather than a comment.
    – cnread
    Dec 2 '17 at 10:01
  • Follow-up: I just dug out Gildersleeve & Lodge and found this ex. of the 'rule' that I mention above (= Cicero, De finibus 3.19.64): (Philosophi censent) unum quemque nostrum mundi esse partem, ex quo illud natura consequi ut communem utilitatem nostrae anteponamus, 'philosophers hold that every one of us is a part of the universe, and that the natural consequence of this is for us to prefer the common welfare to our own.' Here, quo is a connecting relative (ex quo = et ex eo); therefore, the rel. clause uses acc. + inf. (illud consequi) instead of nom. + finite verb (illud consequatur).
    – cnread
    Dec 2 '17 at 10:14
  • @cnread Oh, God. I'm a moron. I just edited the question to make it clear what I was trying to say, to punctuate more clearly, and to correct an error in the Latin, though there may be more. I begin to suspect the answer to this question is, "Neither; you just wouldn't write it like an idiot to begin with." Dec 2 '17 at 13:55

The (semantic) subject can only be in the accusative if the verb is in the infinitive. Your subordinate clause has the personal verb form esset (as it should), and therefore the subject of the subordinate clause is in the nominative.

The subject is often left implicit, as it is often the same as the (semantic) subject of the governing ACI structure. It is implicit here, too, but agreement with the explicit participle makes the case clear.

The reason I keep saying that the subject is semantic is that I don't consider it a full-fledged grammatical subject. I would also never put a comma after scripsit, just as I would never separate the object from the predicate by a comma, but I may be misguided by Finnish (regarding both punctuation and whatever "lauseenvastike" is in English). However, I acknowledge that this is just a point of view.

Unrelated to your actual query, I would find it more natural to replace eius quod with quid:

Quidam scripsit eam plane insciam, quid factura esset, venisse.

This would make quid factura esset an indirect question, which I find more natural here than a relative clause. Caesar also seems to use the indirect question (De Bello Gallico, 7.77.1: inscii quid in Haeduis gereretur). Also, I should remark that I'm not sure whether you could replace factura esset with faceret.

  • Thanks for this clear and thorough answer! I considered faceret but factura esset felt better, though I'm not sure I could say why. My instinct us actually not to put any commas in the sentence at all, which is how I'd do it in English, but given the looseness I tend to see in Latin punctuation I figured I'd go for clarity. I'll give quid some thought instead of ejus quod; it appears Caesar uses it exactly this way. Dec 2 '17 at 18:33
  • 1
    @JoelDerfner You're welcome! I added a remark about Caesar. I originally had only intuition, but now I have Caesar, too.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Dec 3 '17 at 14:30

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