Ut clauses of result are excellent for saying "so ___ that". But what if I wanted to reverse this and say "not ___ enough to"?

For example, tam strenue laborābam ut epistolās centum scripserim means "I worked so hard that I got one hundred letters written". What if I wanted to contrast myself with Pseudolus, who didn't work hard enough to get one hundred letters written?

(Note that I'm not looking for a simple ut…non, which to my understanding would be something like "I worked so hard that I didn't get one hundred letters written". I want to negate the working hard, rather than just the writing.)

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Three options spring to mind; no doubt there are others.

  1. Replace strenue with some adverb that's opposite in meaning, such as pigre, and then negate the result clause:

    tam pigre laborabam ut centum epistulas non scripserim.

    I worked with so little energy that I didn't manage to write 100 letters.'

    (Note that in result clauses, the perfect subjunctive is regularly used even in so-called 'secondary sequence.' See Allen & Greenough §485.c, especially Note 2: 'There is a special fondness for the Perfect Subjunctive to represent a Perfect Indicative.' This is why I've used scripserim instead of keeping your scribarem – which should actually be scriberem.)

  2. Replace tam in your original main clause with adeo non, and then negate the result clause too:

    adeo non strenue laborabam ut centum epistolas non scripserim.

    To such a degree did I not work hard that I didn't manage to write 100 letters.'

  3. Use tantum abest with two result clauses, 'It is so far from being the case that x occurs, that y occurs.' This is a somewhat rare construction that I'm always very happy to run across in my reading (as I believe I did not so long ago in one of Pliny's letters).

    As explained in Allen & Greenough §571.b, one of the two result clauses (= x in the preceding translation) 'is substantive, the subject of abest; the other [= y] is adverbial, correlative with tantum.' In this case, the latter result clause is negated.

    In other words, you could say:

    tantum afuit ut strenue laborarem ut centum epistulas non scripserim.

    So far was I from working hard, that I didn't manage to write 100 letters.

  • ne is not an option, right? – Rafael Aug 14 at 13:23
  • 1
    @Rafael, Ne is not an option, unless one were to reformulate the result clause so that it says something like '...that I managed to write not even 30 letters'; in that case, ne would be used, but only as part of a ne...quidem: ut ne triginta quidem epistulas scripserim. – cnread Aug 14 at 16:57
  • I kind of expected/needed an answer in that line, thanks – Rafael Aug 14 at 16:58

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