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Questions tagged [grammar-choice]

When asking which choice (case, tense, mood etc.) is grammatical in a given situation, use this tag.

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What is the logic behind the order of the cases

Most English books of Latin use the order used by Charles E. Bennett: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Vocative, Ablative. But most French books use the following order: Nominative, ...
user16115's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
2k views

Latin plural of Curriculum Vitae?

Curriculum vitae (often abbreviated CV) is a common Latin locution present in a high number of languages, including English. In English, as in other languages, how to pluralize these foreign locutions ...
Rafael's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
10k views

Do *Mundi* and *Mundum* mean different things?

I came across this expression in the book: The Invisible Man, (H.G. Wells) Griffin contra mundum...with a vengeance From my very basic knowledge of Latin (I'm a Bio. student) I take it that contra ...
paracetamol's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the difference between -us and -io?

One can derive nouns from verbs by attaching -us or -io to the perfect participle stem. For example, movere gives rise to motus (fourth declension) and motio. The meanings of these derived words are ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
355 views

When should nūllus be singular vs plural?

“Nūllus” indicates a quantity of zero, so it’s not obvious if it should be plural or singular, and I have seen examples of both, but I am unsure what the choice should be based on. The first pair of ...
Florianus's user avatar
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15 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is the Phrase "Sola Dea Fatum Novit" Proper Latin?

I have seen this sentence translated as both "Only the Goddess knows fate" and "Only the Goddess knows their fate". That aside, I remember someone telling me that this was not correct Latin, and it ...
Meta's user avatar
  • 273
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is "esse est percipi" grammatical, even with infinitives?

According to the Crash Course Philosophy video today, George Berkeley summarized his empirical philosophy with the phrase "esse est percipi", to be is to be perceived. However, it feels somewhat ...
ws04's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
634 views

How to resolve ambiguity with reflexive pronouns

A comment to an answer of this question mentions that ambiguity can arise with a reflexive pronoun when both the independent clause and the clause with the reflexive pronoun have third-person subjects....
brianpck's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Memento quod <subjunctive>

(A tangent off of a question and comment by David Charles.) This verse from roughly the ninth century: Memento rerum conditor, Nostri quod olim corporis Sacrata ab alvo Virginis Nascendo ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
511 views

How to speak a language with a third declension adjective?

Most Latin adjectives related to names of countries and languages are of first and second declension: Latinus, Graecus, Anglicus… If I want to express that I speak in any such language, I will ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
5k views

When to use cum + subjunctive and when cum + indicative

So I have never, ever, ever been able to grasp fully any explanation in any textbook of when to use "cum" with the subjunctive and when to use it with the indicative, because the examples they give ...
Joel Derfner's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the correct way to say "Noctis Avem"?

I'm looking to use "Night bird" as a name or title for something. I don't know which, if any, of the following would be correct: Noctis Avem Avem Noctis Avis Noctem Avem nox etc. What rules come ...
GJH105775's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
573 views

Does Latin have a mechanism to disambiguate possessive pronouns of the same gender referring to distinct persons?

Question: does Latin have a grammatical mechanism to disambiguate the ambiguous use of `his' in the third of the three following English sentences? Person A wrote a book. Then person B wrote a ...
guest's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is the complement of esse in nominative or accusative when esse is a subject?

Suppose I want to say something like "I like being a human". There are undoubtedly several ways to phrase that in Latin, but I want to do it so that it the subject is "to be a human". The complete ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
461 views

"Dies unus"—non primus?

Genese 1:5 Hieronymus traduxit: Appellavitque lucem Diem, et tenebras Noctem: factumque est vespere et mane, dies unus. Cur "unus", non "primus"? Nonne numerum ordinalem significat? Nonne "unus" ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
324 views

What cases were used in compounds?

In Greco-Latin compound words, I generally use the bare stems for all but the last component, joined together with stem vowels (in Greek) or i (in Latin). For example, certifaciō (> certify) comes ...
Draconis's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Genitive vs Ablative of Price

In Latin, worth or value can be expressed by the genitive or by the ablative. Here are some examples: Genitive Non pono utrique par pretium: pluris aestimo beneficium quam iniuriam. (Sen Ep. Mor. 81....
brianpck's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
297 views

How to form the plural of "noun plus noun in possessive case"?

I would like to know what are the rules to form the plural of a noun plus a noun in possessive case. I am not sure if this is a correct description of what I am interested in let me give an example. ...
quid's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
3k views

Which is more correct, "status quo" or "statu quo"?

I always heard and read the expression "status quo" but I just found the alternative spelling "statu quo" in the Italian translation of Motivational Interviewing by Miller e ...
Michele Dorigatti's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
888 views

What is the difference between accusative and genitive with meminisse?

The verb meminisse can take an accusative or a genitive object. Also other constructions are possible (see the entry in L&S), but I want to focus on comparing these two in classical Latin. Are ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why *In medias res* and not *In media res*?

Wikipedia gives literal translation as: Into the middle of things. As far as I am aware into – in takes accusative. Plural accusative of medium seems to be media, not medias Even if I am ...
user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
450 views

How do I specify how many "litterae" or "castra" there are?

Certain words in Latin have a special meaning in the plural, which is often translated with the English singular. One obvious example of this is litterae, -arum, which means, "a letter." ...
brianpck's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
388 views

Can Latin "inde" introduce a temporal clause?

Lines one and two of book 2 of Vergil's Aeneid sparked this question: Conticuere omnes intentique ora tenebant inde toro pater Aeneas sic orsus ab alto: I had two interpretations. My first ...
Bounce's user avatar
  • 113
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Could we say "dies mirabilis" as we say "annus mirabilis"?

"Annus mirabilis" is an expression which refers to a wonderful year like 1905 for A. Einstein and modern physics. What would be the equivalent for a single day? Is "dies mirabilis" the correct form? ...
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
5k views

How to say "To serve, not to be served" in Latin?

I would like to know how to translate the phrase "To serve, not to be served" in Latin. It doesn't have to be a word for word translation. But, I want to know the phrase that would give the ...
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Dropping "to be" and other verbs in Latin?

Some languages, like Indonesian, can drop the verb to be when the meaning is obvious. They are zero-copula languages. I heard that some Latin authors wrote some sentences with this feature. Do you ...
Quidam's user avatar
  • 1,806
10 votes
2 answers
637 views

How to answer a question?

Respondere looks like a good verb for answering, but how can I say "to answer a question"? I failed to find an answer by looking at dictionaries. These options come to mind: quaestionem respondere in ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
5k views

Alea iacta est, plural version?

I was thinking about the famous Phrase "alea iacta est", and I was wondering: how would be the plural version of it? I thought about ALEAS IACTA SUNT Because aleas needs to be in the accusative ...
Henry's user avatar
  • 203
10 votes
3 answers
4k views

How do you convert 'lectulus' from a noun to an adjective?

I'm thinking that a houseguest who stays on your couch should be something like hospes lectuli. But that sounds more like a guest invited by your couch, which is silly. In my non-expert understanding ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
  • 16.1k
10 votes
2 answers
283 views

Why are "esurivi" and "sitivi" used in perfect, but "hospes eram" in imperfect in the same context?

There is a fragment of Gospel of Matthew (in Vulgata): (...), esurivi enim et dedistis mihi manducare, sitivi et dedistis mihi bibere, hospes eram et collegistis me (...) My question is: Why ...
Marek Lipka's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

How to emphasize adjectives?

In English, and most modern European languages, we have one single word, "very," which is accepted as the regular way to make an adjective more extreme. Is there a common way to do this in Latin? Ways ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 101
10 votes
1 answer
354 views

How to write a sentence with two genitives describing one noun

I would like to translate the following sentence into Latin. Minerva is the goddess of wisdom and of wool. My first guess would be, Minerva est dea sapientiae et lanae. But I'm not sure ...
ktm5124's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Difference between Vocative and Accusative usage

What is the grammatical difference between saying something like Bonam Fortunam (in the accusative) and Bona Fortuna (in the vocative) to another person? I have always heard the former, and I do not ...
Sam K's user avatar
  • 3,998
10 votes
1 answer
858 views

“Hic” or “hīc”?

The pronoun hic (this) is written with short i in many places, e.g. Oxford Latin Dictionary. But in Lewis & Short: Latin-English dictionary and Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar, it is ...
Kotoba Trily Ngian's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
452 views

Can -c replace -que in other words than atque and neque?

The enclitic -que in the words neque and atque can be shortened to produce nec and ac. Are there other instances where -que can turn into -c? Can this be productive, or can it only happen in very ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
3k views

When to use the Greek accusative?

The Greek accusative or the accusative of respect (accusativus Graecus or accusativus respectus) is used like the ablative of respect (ablativus respectus). This construction is a loan from Greek, ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
259 views

Can we use the gerund passively?

In a recent question it was pointed out that there is no passive gerund, and cupido amandi can't mean the desire of being loved. But I'm not sure that this is the case. I tend to view the gerund as ...
d_e's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
498 views

Is it "bene videtur" or "bonum videtur"? Adjective or adverb with verbs/copulae meaning "seem"

With verbs like "seem, appear", one sometimes uses an adverb to express how something appears ("she looked well"), at other times an adjective ("he seemed angry"). How did the Romans do it, ...
Cerberus's user avatar
  • 20.1k
10 votes
1 answer
212 views

How do you say "imply" in Latin?

I need to know how to say the present, past and future tense of "imply" in Latin. I don't know much Latin, I just need the grammatically correct way to say: "Implied ______" For example, for "Implied ...
Sir know-a-ton's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Translation of "since 1950" (for example)

I'm in the midst of designing a graphic for my parents' 50th anniversary celebration, and for obscure reasons I want to include the proper Latin equivalent of "since 1967", in the same way that a ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 103
9 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why is this a correct sentence: "Iūlius nōn sōlus, sed cum magnā familiā habitat"?

In Familia Romana Cap. 5 there is this sentence: Iūlius nōn sōlus, sed cum Aemiliā et cum magnā familiā in vīllā habitat. I'm struggling to understand why this sentence is grammatically correct. ...
tianz's user avatar
  • 201
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is it acceptable/regular to use diacritics (macron) in written texts?

I'm building the brand for a web development company, and I'm using Latin for the name and slogan. However, as I am not familiar with the language, I would like some help clarifying meanings to avoid ...
GregKos's user avatar
  • 235
9 votes
2 answers
480 views

Manilius nesciebat quid scribebat

When the formidable classicist A. E. Housman published his critical edition of Manilius' Astronomicon, he stated in his infamous preface, "When Scaliger says at v 39 Manilius nesciebat quid scribebat ...
Figulus's user avatar
  • 4,771
9 votes
2 answers
623 views

Hit the lamb with the flower

Page 18 of "Prosodic Phrasing in Adolescents with High-Functioning Autism" by Jessica Mayo, a doctoral dissertation that has nothing to do with Latin (but watch for the relevance, it's coming), ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
  • 16.1k
9 votes
2 answers
643 views

Translating "destroy the bad" for a tattoo

I am considering a tattoo in Latin, and I want it to say "destroy the bad", or perhaps "get rid of the evil". I want the translation to be short due to space constraints. I looked online and I found ...
DAHardman's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
700 views

Plural of axis mundi

The phrase axis mundi is used frequently in archaeology and art history to describe certain places as a "world center" or "center of the universe" in Indigenous or ancient/...
Sarah's user avatar
  • 93
9 votes
1 answer
237 views

"Ignis solis propinqui"

Linguā Latīnā Per Sē Illūstrātā Ioānnis Ørbergī pāginā 207 scrīptum est: Ignis sōlis propinquī cēram, quā pennae iūnctae et fīxae erant, mollīvit et pennās ussit. Cur nōn "propinquus" dīcit?
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
  • 16.1k
9 votes
1 answer
372 views

The interjection "o" with different cases

I recently came across o beatum te in a letter and I was surprised that accusative was used instead of vocative. Lewis and Short indeed indicate that the interjection o can be used with vocative, ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
906 views

SPQR: Why not Romani?

The motto of the Roman Republic was, of course, Senatus Populusque Romanus, or SPQR. However, Romanus is a masculine, singular adjective. What confuses me is that it is referencing Senatus Populusque. ...
Imperator's user avatar
  • 193
9 votes
1 answer
269 views

Usage of adjective solus

I'm trying to translate the sentence "The whole state was thanking this man's brother alone." (that is, the brother the only one being thanked) My try is: Tota civitas fratri huius soli gratias agebat....
Henry's user avatar
  • 193

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