Questions tagged [infinitive]

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What did the Romans consider the "basic" form of a verb?

Many of us are used to using the (active present) infinitive form of a verb as a "label" or "basic form" or "representative" of the verb. By this I refer to uses like dictionary entries or grammatical ...
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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 ...
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13 votes
5 answers
500 views

How do you show an infinitive for reason?

For instance, if you say, "I came here to eat," or "We want something good to eat," you are using the infinitive "to eat" to express reason or purpose. How do translate something like this in Latin?
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12 votes
2 answers
952 views

Infinitive main verb in Newton's Three Laws of Motion

Isaac Newton expressed his three laws of motion as follows: Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus a viribus impressis cogitur statum illum ...
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12 votes
1 answer
280 views

Third conjugation passive infinitive: why -i and not -eri?

The active infinitive is uniform (-re from -se by rhotacism) across the regular Latin conjugations, but the passive one is not: the third conjugation loses the consonant. We have amare/amari, habere/...
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11 votes
1 answer
551 views

Where did the passive infinitive come from?

The etymology of the present active infinitive seems well-documented. Proto-Italic had an infinitive-like suffix *-si, so *dōnā- + *-si = *dōnāsi > dōnāre by regular sound changes (s → z → r between ...
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10 votes
2 answers
779 views

Confusion regarding 'esse' + accusative

I am currently learning Latin from the Bloomsbury Latin to GCSE books. In one of the reading passages the following constructions are used: "non cupio rex vester esse. dei signum mittent si me ...
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10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Contracted perfect and historical infinitive

The present infinitive is sometimes used as a predicate in a past tense sentence. The use context is similar to praesens historicum. My grammar gives two examples: Nihil Galli respondere, sed in ...
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8 votes
1 answer
425 views

What form is 'numerārī'?

In chapter X of Orberg's Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata there is this sentence: Piscēs numerārī nōn possunt. From the context I would translate this as an infinitive. But the infinitive should be ...
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8 votes
0 answers
247 views

Why is the infinitive used instead of a genitive gerund (e.g. "consilium ceperunt ex oppido profugere")?

I was wondering about the grammatical reason(s) whereby a(n expected) genitive gerund/gerundive is sometimes replaced by an infinitive. Here are some representative examples of this phenomenon: ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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How to translate this line from Xenophon? (Const. Lac. 9.1)

I'm working on this line from Xenophon, and I'm having a little trouble with the second clause. ἄξιον δὲ τοῦ Λυκούργου καὶ τόδε ἀγασθῆναι, τὸ κατεργάσασθαι ἐν τῇ πόλει αἱρετώτερον εἶναι τὸν καλὸν ...
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7 votes
2 answers
260 views

"To be" and a commentator on Aquinas

Father David Burrell, a well-known philosopher and theologian who has written on Thomas Aquinas, has discussed Aquinas' view of God, or at least of what could or could not be properly said about God. ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Jenney's Second Year Latin, Lesson 12, exercise E: Ut clauses and how to translate English infinitives

I'd like some clarification on the possible translations of "to see you." I'm teaching Jenney's Second-Year Latin (1990, Prentice-Hall edition). In the introduction to Lesson 12 (page 138), the book ...
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6 votes
2 answers
129 views

How to make sense of this standalone infinitive? (Metamorphoses 1.601—603)

For starters, I haven't finished translating this short passage yet, so I would be grateful if you refrain from giving the full translation. (And if it's hard to answer the question without doing so, ...
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6 votes
1 answer
219 views

Is spargier a valid passive present infintive of spargo?

I noticed that ignoro has the passive present infinitives ignōrārī, ignōrārier. This made me wonder if other verbs has the second -er version. The wiktionary page for spargo does not list a second one,...
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6 votes
1 answer
470 views

Fore or not Fore?

North & Hillard Ex. 230 includes the line: "By his advice the confederates bound themselves to resist to the death,". This, translated, in the Answer Book, as: "euis autem consilio socii se ...
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6 votes
1 answer
124 views

Use of Infinitive

Moreland has this adapted paragraph from Cicero's De Senectute. I'm slightly confused about the use of infinitive over here. Moriens Cyrus maior haec dicit: "nolite arbitrari, o mihi carissimi ...
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6 votes
1 answer
87 views

How to resolve ambiguities with the infinitive

In the Vulgata, Titus 3:8 reads as follows: Fidelis sermo est: et de his volo te confirmare: ut curent bonis operibus præesse qui credunt Deo. Hæc sunt bona, et utilia hominibus. In particular, ...
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6 votes
1 answer
212 views

In an indirect statement, could there be two infinitives in the dependent clause for different purposes?

The sentence is "The sailor realized that he himself ought to give the money back to the girl." My translation is "Nauta intellexit se debere dare pecuniam retro puellae." (If there are any errors ...
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6 votes
1 answer
402 views

Is 'volo' ever used with a future infinitive?

One can certainly use volo with an infinitive to express a wish: Volo amari! I want to be loved! A future sense is often implied, as one would probably interpret that I'm not loved now if I wish ...
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5 votes
2 answers
706 views

Meaning of “Videre Sed Non Videri”

What is the meaning of “Videre Sed Non Videri”? I already search on Google on pages like: mymemory.translated But results are confusing me, and my knowledge on Latin language is zero. Thanks in ...
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5 votes
1 answer
179 views

Can the articular infinitive be a dative of means? (Greek)

I am translating this sentence from English to classical Greek. There is great danger that the students may harm themselves by not taking care of themselves. Let us decide how to help them. My ...
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5 votes
1 answer
218 views

Flee or chase, the meaning of fugere?

In reading Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles, I find the following passage: Dum tamen ea geruntur, Argonautae nōn intermissō remigandī labōre mox ē cōnspectū hostium auferēbantur, neque prius fugere ...
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5 votes
0 answers
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On the Etymology of the Future Active Infinitive

In Syntax of Plautus, W. M. Lindsay writes: But the earliest form of the Future Infinitive Active, which still survives in some lines of Plautus and has probably been removed by scribes from more, ...
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4 votes
1 answer
242 views

Is expiari an alternate form of the infinitive expiare?

I take the following sentence from Fabules Faciles: ...hōc enim ūnō modō tantum scelus expiārī potuit as "...only in this way could he atone for such a great crime." literally, "...
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4 votes
1 answer
128 views

Usage of perfect infinitive ("Res mihi nondum comperta est, itaque sufficiat leviter admonuisse alios de hac quarta causa")

In Kepler's Strena, seu de Nive Sexangula we read: Res mihi nondum comperta est, itaque sufficiat leviter admonuisse alios de hac quarta causa. which I translate as: This thing is not yet ...
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4 votes
1 answer
325 views

Primum non culpare?

I was thinking of how you could alter the medical dictum Primum non nocere to mean "First, CYA." My first thought: Primum non culpare, which I would literally translate as "First, don't get blamed." ...
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3 votes
2 answers
248 views

Sentence with gerund or gerundive and infinitive

I'm trying to translate the following: [...] quem autem valorem aliter nisi appropinquando cognoscere non datur. Which comes from Euler (De Serie Lambertina/e). But I'm having trouble sorting out ...
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3 votes
1 answer
280 views

The usage of present passive infinitive

In Augustine confessions we read: "quid tibi sum ipse, ut amari te iubeas a me et, nisi faciam, irascaris mihi et mineris ingentes miserias?" (book I, cap. V) I can't understand the usage of the ...
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3 votes
2 answers
121 views

Using genitive and infinitive to describe characteristics

Answering this question, I recalled a somewhat rare construction used to express that an action is characteristic of someone. Pekkanen's Ars Grammatica (§77.1) gives two examples: Cuiusvis hominis ...
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3 votes
1 answer
349 views

Nominativus cum infinitivo

Can somebody please tell me if my translation for the sentence: "It seems that the slave is carrying a letter." is correct? Videtur servus epistulam portare. videtur - 3rd person present passive ...
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3 votes
1 answer
290 views

Infinitive ' habere ' usage in this sentence

How to understand a meaning of the infinitive 'habere' here, is it here as a subject (The Infinitive as a Subject, Gildersleeve & Lodge, page 275)? Nam cum posse existere potentia sit, sequitur ...
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3 votes
1 answer
700 views

Is there a passive infinitive?

If I say something can be changed, for example, how would I say that in Latin? Would I say id X potest, or is there some other construction for this? The context doesn't really matter, but it's for my ...
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3 votes
2 answers
263 views

Infinitival impersonal passives

The impersonal passive is a familiar construction: Pugnatur. "There is fighting / people are fighting / etc." Pugnatum est. "There was fighting / etc." Here a finite passive verb is being used ...
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3 votes
0 answers
79 views

What do I do when "ait" fails me?

In a separate answer, I was trying to use ait in an English sentence: If the Lex Julia can ait its wording… …but I ran into a problem. Even ignoring my bastard mixture of English and Latin, "can ...
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3 votes
0 answers
134 views

When did the infinitive in -ier fall out of use?

At one point, the Latin passive infinitive was formed with a suffix -(r)ier, as in agier "to be driven", amārier "to be loved". Allen and Greenough call this an "ancient form[…] found chiefly in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
90 views

Why does the contraction rule ε+εν -> ειν apply to the formation of λύειν?

In their discussions of the formation of the infinitive, both Pharr and White remark on the contraction of -εεν to -ειν, but I don't understand why this would apply to most of the examples that come ...
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2 votes
2 answers
181 views

On the formation of perfect passive infinitives

I Think I understand why the passive infinitive of " amo " is not " esse amatus" : "being loved" is not perfect ( without any play on words). So we need something else ...
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2 votes
1 answer
113 views

Future infinitive active in indirect discourse

The future infinitive active can be used as an active periphrastic, but within an indirect discourse, of which the subject is an accusative and the main verb an infinitive, can it also have a future ...
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2 votes
1 answer
66 views

Resource request: formation of the Greek infinitive, including Homeric Greek

As suggested by cmw, I'm spinning off this resource request from an earlier question that was long and unwieldy. Can anyone suggest resources that do a good job of giving a complete presentation of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
70 views

How to make sense of this articular phrase in Aur 1.17.3? (Greek)

I learned from my textbook (From Alpha to Omega, Groton) about articular infinitives, in which a definite article is coupled with an infinitive, to form a phrase of many uses. At first glance, that ...
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2 votes
1 answer
322 views

Gerundial arguments selected by verbs taking Genitive: e.g., "Memento moriendi"? "Me paenitet vivendi"?

As a follow-up of two previous questions on Latin grammar, I was wondering if examples like Memento moriendi (cf. Memento mori) and Me paenitet vivendi (cf. Me paenitet vivere) are also attested. ...
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1 vote
1 answer
50 views

How should this infinitive clause and this ut clause translate?

The sentence from Euler's De Serie Lambertina I'm working on now has the following form: Praesenti autem forma hanc seriem exhibere est visum, ut litterae A et B inter se permutabiles evaderent, ita ...
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1 vote
1 answer
49 views

What is the correct way to show the Passive Perfect Infinitive in a textbook?

I have come across the Passive Perfect Infinitive and my current textbook represents it as a nomative participle + esse (e.g. salutatus esse). However on the internet I mostly see it represented as an ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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Is the Greek infinitive regular?

My general understanding of Greek verbs is that if you know the six principal parts, you should be able to infer all forms of the verb (although there may be complications such as contractions, the ...
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