The answer key to North & Hillard, Ex. 235 proposes the following Latin translation of:"...until the king, frightened by the ambassador's boldness, promised to do what the Senate decreed."

...donec rex audacia legati perterritus promisit se omnia quae Senatus decerneret facturum.

I have two questions about this proposed translation:

  • Normally, I would expect in indirect discourse that there should be an "esse" after the future participle, e.g.: "dixi me venturum esse" = "I said that I would come." In the above example, the king promised that he would do what the Senate decreed. Is it acceptable to omit esse after facturum?
  • Secondly, the answer key uses the imperfect subjunctive decerneret, while I used the pluperfect active decreverat. Would both options make grammatical sense?

1 Answer 1


Omitting esse in future infinitives like facturum esse is very common and perfectly acceptable. In fact, if something doesn't seem to quite make sense syntactically, it is often a good idea to check whether there could be an implicit est or esse somewhere.

I would consider conjunctive to be slightly more natural. The decision in this sentence is subordinate to promisit, a promise by the king. When a subordinate clause has someone's point of view — like king's here — the predicate is often in conjunctive. The king made a promise based on his knowledge of the decision.

If you want to emphasize that the decision was a factual event, the indicative is possible. But here it is a reason for a personal action, so conjunctive is a better choice.

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