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.)


It appears that you can use (non) satis with a result clause to mean 'not x enough to (do y)':

non satis strenue laborabam ut centum epistulas scripserim.

I didn't work hard enough to (manage to) write 100 letters.

I didn't go through every search result, but the only example I managed to find of this construction (as opposed to other places where satis is followed by an ut clause of a different sort) is Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium 52.2:

nemo per se satis valet ut emergat; oportet manum aliquis porrigat, aliquis educat.

No one is strong enough to rise to prominence by himself….

Here are some other options, somewhat better attested than the preceding:

  • 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.'

    Cf. Pliny the Younger, Epistulae 1.8.10:

    oculorum porro et aurium uoluptates adeo non egent commendatione, ut non tam incitari debeant oratione quam reprimi; ut uero aliquis libenter educationis taedium laboremque suscipiat, non praemiis modo uerum etiam exquisitis adhortationibus impetrandum est.

    To such a degree do pleasures for the eye and ear not require approval, that they should not so much be encouraged as restrained in a speech….

    Also, Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium 18.1:

    December est mensis: cum maxime civitas sudat. ius luxuriae publice datum est; ingenti apparatu sonant omnia, tamquam quicquam inter Saturnalia intersit et dies rerum agendarum; adeo nihil interest ut <non> videatur mihi errasse qui dixit olim mensem Decembrem fuisse, nunc annum.

    …To such a degree is there not any difference that he doesn't seem to have been mistaken who said that December was once a month but is now a year.

  • Use this somewhat uncommon but perfectly sound construction: tantum abest with two result clauses, 'It is so far from being the case that x occurs, that y occurs.'

    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.

    Cf. Livy, Ab urbe condita 44.38.4:

    nam tantum abest, ut me hesternae quietis paeniteat, ut servatum a me exercitum eo consilio credam.

    For so far am I from regretting my lack of action yesterday, that I believe that I saved the army by my plan.

  • 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.'

  • ne is not an option, right?
    – Rafael
    Aug 14 '18 at 13:23
  • 2
    @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 '18 at 16:57
  • I kind of expected/needed an answer in that line, thanks
    – Rafael
    Aug 14 '18 at 16:58

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