In all examples I have seen, the ne in ne … quidem could be replaced with non alone, leaving out the quidem (thus changing the meaning from "not even" to "not"), and still make a grammatically correct sentence but not with ne.

Are there examples in classical literature where the ne in ne … quidem could be replaced with ne alone, leaving out the quidem, and still make a grammatically correct sentence? I would like to see an authentic example to convince myself that this is possible, assuming it is.

Let me try to illustrate what I'm looking for by an artificial example. First, consider this simple example with non and ne:

Non hodie canis.Spero, ne hodie canas.
You do not sing today. — I hope that you will not sing today.

Let us then add quidem:

Ne hodie quidem canis.Spero, ne hodie quidem canas.
You do not sing today, either. — I hope that you will not sing today, either.
(For both statement and hope: You usually don't sing and today is no exception.)

I have seen various examples of structures like ne hodie quidem which mean non hodie but have the quidem. What I have never seen is ne hodie quidem in a clause where you would expect ne instead of non if you drop the quidem (for example, introducing the conjunctive in a prohibition, fear or danger clause). Using the word hodie is not important, of course; I am looking for ne … quidem with anything in between.


1 Answer 1


I believe I have found at least one example where ne...quidem replaces what would otherwise just be ne:

in foribus scribat occupatam ésse se.
aut quod illa dicat peregre allatam epistulam,
ne epistula quidem ulla sit in aedibus
nec cerata adeo tabula; (Plautus, Asinaria, IV.1)

  • This is a good find! I won't object to having more examples, of course, but this already satisfies my main curiosity.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    May 16, 2016 at 19:46
  • Though in this case it seems like quidem is focused on ulla rather than epistula —which in a weird way makes this seem not quite like an occurrence of ne...quidem (in the sense that ne...quidem applies as a rule to the word between the two elements). May 17, 2016 at 14:51
  • 1
    Excellent find. It's worth pointing out, though, that Old Latin syntax isn't necessarily the same as Classical Latin syntax; many usages that are found in Plautus aren't found in later writers, and this may or may not be one such.
    – TKR
    Jun 12, 2016 at 23:36

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