The use of ut + subjunctive in final/ purpose clauses is well-known/ well-established. But "quod" & "quin" seem to be deployed in near-identical circumstances e.g. in Ex 197 (North & Hillard):

non quidem est dubium quin ceteros duces aspernandi causa hoc dixerit...

So quin + perfect subj., (denoting something that definitely happened) "there indeed is no doubt that (quin) he (definitely) said this in order to upset the other generals."

Is it correct that expressing "that"/ "so that"/ "in order that" by "ut" or "quod" or "quin" requires the subjunctive?

  • It's usual to distinguish between several types of adverbial clause. You are quite far on with the N&H exercises, and it would be helpful to know that you were able to cope earlier with the consecutive, final and causal types. Immediately, though, I suggest that you look at Rule 17 (p.96).
    – Tom Cotton
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 14:35
  • @Tom Cotton: Thank you. The Q isn't really about subordinate clauses, in indirect speech; but, the substituting of "ut" by "quod"/ "quin".
    – tony
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 9:34

1 Answer 1


non quidem est dubium quin ceteros duces aspernandi causa hoc dixerit...

"There is indeed no doubt that he said this in order to upset the other generals."

You could translate it thus, but a (somewhat less desirable) alternative is possible:

"There is indeed no doubt whether he said this in order to upset the other generals."

When there is no doubt whether something happened, the conversational implicature is, in most contexts, that it did happen. This applies to most languages I know. Even so, whether... is an indirect question, not a mere declarative content clause (which would usually be expressed in an a.c.i.). Indirect questions normally require the subjunctive mood. So this suggests to me why it is considered an indirect question.

In general, indirect declarative clauses are expressed in the a.c.i (although I'm sure there are exceptions, which I will ignore for the moment...). By an indirect declarative clause, I mean that the speaker does not express his modal attitude towards the content of the clause: he does not say explicitly whether it is desirable, nor whether it is probable. This usually means it is presented as a plain fact. The word "doubt", however, strongly suggests an attitude about probability.

One might think the word non cancels this attitude; but, in practice, it does not; it's merely considered by Romans to be an extra modifier to the doubt—or that is how I have always interpreted this use—just as we can still use there is no doubt whether in English even though it feels like a fact. This that might even be considered an oddity of the English language.

As to quod, you haven't given an example. Perhaps you were thinking of its use as a relative pronoun?

Templum aedificaverunt quod omnes finitimi inviderent.

"They built a temple (of a quality) such that all neighbours envied it."

Whenever relative pronouns are used to define something, such that you can translate them as "such that", the relative clause is felt to be consecutive, akin to ut "such that", whence the subjunctive.

Another possible translation is "they built a temple, in order that all neighbours should envy it". Then the use of relative + subjunctive isn't defining–consecutive, but final (indicating purpose).

Yet another construction is quod "because" with a subjunctive:

Nero servos misit ad domum Agrippinae, quod timeret ne mater vulnerata esset.

"Nero sent slaves to the house of his mother Agrippina, because he (claimed that he) was afraid she had been wounded."

The subjunctive (timeret) can be used with quod ("because") to express that it is not the author who professes this reason/cause, but rather someone else. The author does not commit himself to the truth of the quod clause. He may doubt or disavow Nero's motives for sending the slaves (is Nero intending to have her killed?). The author might simply not know whether that was the true reason. Had he considered it a fact that Nero sent the slaves because he was afraid for her, he would have used the indicative.

  • In Caesar's "de Bello Civili 3.73.3: "habendam fortunae gratiam, quod Italiam sine aliquo vulnere cepissent", the use of "quod + pluperfect subjunctive", is used to indicate that the subjugation of Italy occurred before the soldiers' recent defeat. Is that correct?
    – tony
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 13:46
  • @tony: It is the pluperfect that shows that the subjugation occurrent before Caesar's speech: the subjunctive mood does not express temporal relations. The reason this clause is in the subjunctive is because clauses dependent on indirect speech (here on an a.c.i.) are normally in the subjunctive. You could say that is a related effect: because the author obviously distances himself to some degree some someone else's speech, it may make sense for any clauses dependent on it to also be distanced.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 17:00

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