Questions tagged [syntax]

Syntax are the rules for how sentences and phrases are constructed in a language, including word order and how words change based on their relations to other words (snl.no/syntaks).

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3
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1answer
414 views

Why is there no case agreement between "magni" and "poetae"?

Shouldn't "magni" be "magnae" as it is modifying "poetae"? Fīliae vestrae dē libris magnī poētae saepe cogitābant. The quote is from Wheelock's Latin, chapter 6.
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3answers
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Is "necesse" an adjective or an adverb

Introduction My enquiry arrises from a passage in “Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata: Familia Romana” in its tenth chapter which is entitled “BESTIAE ET HOMINES” on its fifty-ninth line which is as ...
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2answers
320 views

Hearing vs hearing that

The English sentence 'I heard you play the flute' can have three distinct meanings: At some point in the past, you played the flute while I was within earshot. Someone told me that you are able to ...
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1answer
215 views

Short form for "collige, virgo, rosas"

I've never studied Latin, so probably I'm asking a trivial question. I'm wondering if the phrase "collige, virgo, rosas" can be expressed correctly in the following short form "collige ...
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1answer
139 views

More detailed translation of a passage

In the book «Elementos de Retórica» by the 18th-century Spanish priest and latinist Calixto Hornero, there is the following sentence (link to 1815 edition): Cernere est plurimos, qui sibi parum ...
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226 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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On the syntactic distribution of ablative gerund and nominative present participle

I've always taken it for granted that in Classical Latin nominative present participles cannot be replaced by ablative gerunds without a meaning change. For example, in the following case the ...
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53 views

General vs specific "mors" and "vita"

To my understanding, words like vita and mors can either refer to the general concepts of life and death ("life is precious", "remember death") or to specific people's lifespans or ...
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3answers
797 views

Parsing "quae cum audisset"

I'm having trouble parsing the phrase "quae cum audisset," which I've seen translated as "when [subject] heard" or "and when [subject] heard" in the latin vulgate. For ...
5
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1answer
126 views

Is there an enclitic for non-binary questions?

The enclitic -ne is used for binary questions where you expect a yes or no answer. Does an enclitic exist for open-ended questions, like "where do you want to have dinner", or "who is ...
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1answer
82 views

Oblique cases and 'si quis'

It is convenient to formulate conditions with si quis, for example: Si quis me audiet canentem, non gaudebit. If anyone hears me singing, they will not enjoy it. Here the same unnamed person is the ...
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134 views

Stacked/Consecutive Genitives

For example, the way of the cross in Latin is via crucis, but how would one go about saying the beginning of the way of the cross? Would both via and crux be in the genitive, yielding principium viae ...
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1answer
335 views

Why Does Cicero use the Third-Person Singular Instead of the Plural Form?

Cicero, de Oratore (2.25.108): "...in quibus hoc praecipit ratio et doctrina ut vis eius rei, quam definias sic exprimatur ut neque absit quicquam neque supersit," "...on which ...
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85 views

Coordinating positive and negative imperatives

For positive commands, Latin uses the imperative: Da mihi librum "Give me the book." For negative commands, it uses a number of constructions of which noli + inf. is most common: Noli mihi ...
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1answer
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Can a gerund stand alone?

In response to a question e.g. "How will you maintain order?" (= "quomodo tu disciplinam sustentabis?"), the answer could be, "By ruling." In Latin, an ablative of the ...
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Accusative case marking of subjects in infinitival clauses

The present question is based on a previous discussion with Draconis and on a previous question raised by Joonas. The Accusativus cum Infinitivo (AcI) construction is often regarded in linguistics as ...
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1answer
103 views

How can I define a new word in Latin?

As Latin is an ancient language, many words denoting new meanings are not available. So, I think it's necessary to define some new words in Latin. For example, principissa (a New Latin word, just ...
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99 views

Construction with ecce

According to the usual authorities the particle ecce is construed with the accusative in pre-classical Latin, but with the nominative in classical and post-classical Latin. Thus, Lewis and Short: “(...
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1answer
149 views

Can -que be used with negation?

If I want to negate two things, can I combine them with -que? For example, if I want to say "I don't have a cat or a dog", can I say non habeo felem canemque? Or should it rather be non ...
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1answer
166 views

The verb 'utor' in gerundive constructions

I was wondering about the logic of the usage of the verb utor in gerundive constructions. The following relevant quote is from Woodcock's (1959: 164) A New Latin Syntax: "one can say ad hanc rem ...
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82 views

Is "Te id dicente id non fit." good Latin for "You saying so does not make it so."?

Is "Te id dicente id non fit." good Latin for "You saying so does not make it so."? There are a couple of things I am not sure about it. When the participle is in ablative ("...
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2answers
468 views

In Vulgate, Matthaeus 4:23, it says "et prædicans Evangelium regni". Shouldn't it be "regno" (dative) rather than "regni" (genitive)?

In Vulgate, Matthaeus 4:23, it says "et prædicans Evangelium regni". Shouldn't it be "regno" (dative) rather than "regni" (genitive)? He was talking the gospel TO the ...
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1answer
75 views

Which Case is Governed by Verb Obsto/ Obstare?

Continuing from Q: What is the Role of "Quid" in "ne quid obstet"?, with Livius (9.8.6): "ne quid divini humanive obstet quominus iustum piumque de integro ineatur bellum.&...
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1answer
274 views

How is "as...as" to be Expressed in Latin?

In expressions e.g. "A change is as good as a rest."; "He was as good as his word."; how is the "as...as" part to be translated? I've found quid sicut bonum ("Word ...
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On the (necessary or typical?) relationship between double accusative and causation

I was wondering if there is a syntactic/semantic generalization that can account for the so-called "double accusative" predicative frame in Latin (verbs with person & thing (docere ...
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2answers
777 views

Word order in Virgil's Aeneid - why so scrambled?

I can understand why Virgil would like to use standard devices like chiasmus and synchysis to create poetic effect in the Aened. But sometimes the word order is scrambled up so much, I can't work out ...
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1answer
75 views

iuvare ut + subjunctive

In English, I might ask you to "help me [to] do" some task. Would the most (classically) idiomatic Latin equivalent be an ut clause (e.g., "iuva ut faciam ...")? My only reason for ...
6
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1answer
119 views

Can valeo be used transitively?

Looking through the entry in Lewis & Strong, I couldn't find any mention of the accusative being used with valeo, except as the object of certain prepositions. However, the following use of magna ...
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1answer
66 views

What are the Roles of "Quin" and "Sit" in "fieri non potest quin sit"?

In the question on Sherlockian logic, Batavulus, in his answer gave an alternative translation of the clause "it must be believed"/ "one must believe it", which is: "fieri ...
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1answer
50 views

Putting the virus in its place!

My schooldays Latin is very rusty! please help with translating 'pneumonia and the virus are losers' Sunt should go at the end? Victus should be plural and accusative? Thank you!
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Seneca's Quaestiones Naturales Book VII [25,4] parsing question

Latinistas! I have trouble parsing a passage from Seneca's Quaestiones Naturales (Natural Questions) Book VII COMETS, [25,4] The first sentence — “Veniet tempus quo ista quae nunc latent in lucem ...
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1answer
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How do you say "feed on (something)" in Latin

Not the most experienced in Latin, so this may seem redundant to most, but I'm trying to figure out how to say "to feed on (something)". I'm assuming I just change the case of the object ...
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1answer
251 views

Constituendi autem sunt qui sint in amicitia fines et quasi termini diligendi (Cic. Amic. 56)

I was wondering to what extent the agreement pattern exemplified with the following sentences drawn from Cicero's De Amicitia can be regarded as the most natural one. I'm asking this question since, ...
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1answer
268 views

Is "gate to heaven" "foris paradisi" or "foris paradiso"?

I noticed that the Croatian for "gate to heaven" is "vrata raja", "raja" being the genitive singular (rather than dative) of "raj" (heaven). I was wondering how ...
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3answers
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How do you say "Heroes are never forgotten." in Latin?

Besides, its [of the Latin language] grammar also seems not to allow making statements that you would expect a truly natural language to allow, like "Heroes are never forgotten." The Flat ...
3
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1answer
84 views

Number of adjectives in polite plural address

This question concerns using the plural vos instead of the singular tu for polite address of a single person in Latin. This is not a classical feature but arises later. When using this address, are ...
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Does the indefinite pronoun/determiner "quă" only exist as an enclitic?

I recently learned that there is an indefinite determiner and pronoun quă used in the feminine nominative singular and neuter nominative/accusative plural with the sense "any(one)" (...
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Genitive Adjective with no Noun Referent

Praejudicium autem cum dico, non volo intelligi qualecunque praegressum judicium in animo; quasi animus ab omni omnino judicio liber esse debeat: sed judicium quod semel formatum tanti fit, ut eo quis ...
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2answers
277 views

On the syntax of 'Cogitate quantis laboribus fundatum imperium (...) una nox paene delerit' (Cic. Cat. 4, 19)

Picking up the thread of analyzing beautiful structures involving participles in Cicero's works (e.g. see this link), I'd like to raise a question about the syntax of the following complex sentence. ...
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1answer
85 views

In Latin, is there an “adjective form of nation name” vs genitive “of nation name” distinction?

In Latin, is there an “adjective form of nation name” vs “of nation name” distinction? In English we can say “Church of Rome” or “Roman Church”, or “Embassy of Germany” or German Embassy”, or “Prime ...
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On the syntax of some datives in a beautiful Ciceronian structure

I was wondering if you would like to share your thoughts on the grammar of the datives in the following texts from Cicero. The second example is a very interesting one provided by Kingshorsey in an ...
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ad obsidionem urbis vs. ad obsidendam urbem

I was wondering to what extent the two Prepositional Phrases (PPs) in the title of the present question can be taken as functionally equivalent. Consider the following text about Caesar's siege of ...
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4answers
226 views

Latin version of "non ho che un" or "je n'ai qu'un"

At least Italian and French have an idiomatic way to say "I have only one friend": Non ho che un amico. Je n'ai qu'un ami. Finnish has the same thing: "Minulla ei ole kuin yksi ystävä....
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1answer
302 views

participium coniunctum vs. ablative absolute of transitive deponent verbs

I was wondering why the "active meaning" and the transitivity of deponent perfect participles like cohortatus in (1) are not naturally preserved in the Ablative Absolute in (2). Why is it ...
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1answer
247 views

Can *esse* be elided with a dative of possession?

The possessive dative construction involves a subject possessee, a dative possessor, and a form of esse: Mihi soror est. Dicit sibi sororem esse. In this construction, is esse ever elided? That is, ...
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164 views

Female Names and Heritable *Cognomina*

Suppose I want to speak of the daughter of a man with a heritable cognomen. Let us take Marcus Tullius Cicero as an example. If I want to clarify that the Tullia I am speaking of is his daughter (or ...
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1answer
207 views

Impersonal Verbs: Are Active Transitives Possible?

Latin utilizes some verbs that pretty much only occur impersonally, like oportet. One can also regularly form impersonal actives from intransitive verbs like placeo and impersonal passives from ...
3
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1answer
193 views

Agreement and possessive genitive

What we do in the following example? I need to combine two words in a phrase: 'professional' and 'holiday'. There is no adjective 'professional' in Latin or my searching is bad. So I can use the ...
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2answers
4k views

"Tu quoque, Brutus, mi fili?" Grammar question

Someone told me these were Caesar's actual last words. Google confirms this. But I can't find an explanation for what looks to me like weird grammar. First of all, shouldn't "Brutus" be &...
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2answers
148 views

Confusing syntax in two sentences

I seem to be confused by the constructions of these two sentences from a Medieval Latin text: Unde vocum alia suavis est illa, scilicet quae subtilis, spissa, clara et acuta est. and Multiplicem ...

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