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Questions tagged [syntax]

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How do postpositions fit into Latin syntax?

In a comment on this answer, luchonacho comments that tenus is a preposition taking the genitive; this seemed odd to me, since I'd never considered tenus anything akin to a preposition. Tenus seems ...
2
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1answer
72 views

Subject-verb agreement when the subject is a dominant participle construction

My question is whether constructions similar to the following English one can exist in Latin, i.e., constructions where (i) the subject is formed by a plural noun plus an obligatory/"dominant" ...
6
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1answer
108 views

How complex a motion event can be in Classical Latin

How natural would you judge the translation of the following English sentence into Latin? He still wandered on, out of the little high valley, over its edge, and down the slopes beyond. '...
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2answers
126 views

On the (typical?) ambiguity of “Porta clausa est”

It is often said that Porta clausa est can have two readings depending on the categorial nature of the participle: verbal (cf. clauditur/clausa est) or adjectival (cf. clausa est/clausa fuit), which ...
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Why can’t we wipe the slate clean in Latin?

After reading Luchonachos’ previous post, whose Latin text contains an adjectival resultative predicate (claudus effectus est ‘he became lame’), the following question came to my mind: Why is it the ...
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3answers
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Quo mortuo nuntiato (Cicero) // Ab urbe condita nuntiata (?)

Given my description below on nested/double predicative participle constructions (e.g., quo mortuo nuntiato) and given the well-known parallelism between so-called “dominant” participle constructions (...
4
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1answer
131 views

Latin usage & perfect passive finite verb forms

I understand that a perfect passive finite verb is formed by combining the perfect passive participle with the correct form of 'esse'. My question is this: Does it ever happen that the second ...
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2answers
958 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? ...
7
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1answer
602 views

Making a strong machine vs. making a machine strong

Consider the two English expressions: He made a strong machine. (He built a machine, and the machine is a strong one.) He made the machine strong. (There was a pre-existing machine but it was not ...
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1answer
35 views

Need translation Please of: Promissary of the future

Dear Translation Helpers, Could you please help me translate "Promissary of the Future" into true Latin? I have looked the words up, but they don't seem to make sense as the syntax is different and I ...
6
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1answer
53 views

Can “quam” be used as a mere intensifier to a superlative?

In a question about Augustine, this quotation is given: Frustra itaque nonnulli, immo quam plurimi, aeternam damnatorum poenam et cruciatus sine intermissione perpetuos humano miserantur affectu, ...
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1answer
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When and where to use which construction expressing purpose

To the best of my knowledge, the following constructions are used to express purpose in Latin: ut + [subjunctive clause] ad + [accusative gerund] ad + [accusative gerundive] + [accusative noun] [...
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1answer
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Parsing Priapea IV

I'm kind of 'intermediate' Latin, and I can't find a completely satisfactory way to parse this poem (Priapea IV, Bucheler Ed. via latinlibrary): Obscaenas rigido deo tabellas dicans ex ...
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2answers
279 views

“Felix est rex is quem omnes cives amant”. Is the pronoun “is” necessary?

Considering the original phrase: The king who all citizens love is happy. (Portuguese: Feliz é o rei a quem todos os cidadãos amam.) Here is a proposed Latin translation: Felix est rex ...
8
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1answer
110 views

When to use “ac” instead of “et”?

What's the difference between the conjunctions: "et", and "ac"? Which one corresponds to what kind of situation? Allow me to elaborate for clarification, and to distinguish from similar questions. ...
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1answer
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“Alligatus ego vinculis vitae” does it translate to “I am bound by the chains of life.”

I was wondering if this translates well. If it does not translate well to mean that phrase, I would appreciate if you could suggest a way to better phrase it in Latin.
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1answer
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“I am divided. I am balanced. I am one.”

I was hoping someone with more experience in Latin could help me confirm whether this translation is correct or not: Ego sum dividitur. Ego sum libratum. Ego sum unum. Does this translate properly ...
5
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1answer
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How to continue doing something?

There are many Latin verbs meaning roughly "continue", but I failed to find a description how to use any of them with another verb. I would like to say things like "Keep walking!" and "She continues ...
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1answer
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I'm really having trouble with “but” (as in “except”) in this phrase

I'm trying to say "No one but [i.e. except] love provokes me with impunity." where love is a metonymic stand-in for the person I love. I hope it makes sense. (You can read it as a personification if ...
3
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1answer
137 views

Fiat justitia in imperative mood?

I came across the Fiat ivstitia motto. The Wikipedia entry translates it as "Let justice be done". I need a bit of help to understand this. I know justitia is a noun (like justicia, in Spanish, or ...
11
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1answer
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How can participles (inflected forms) be distinguished from deverbal adjectives (derived forms) in Latin?

Many modern linguistic analyses of languages like English draw a sharp theoretical distinction between participles, which are analyzed as inflected forms belonging to the paradigm of some verb, and ...
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2answers
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Irreal condition expressed by a prepositional phrase

In English one can say: Without you I would not be here. This is roughly the same thing as: If you had not helped, I would not be here. The exact wording depends on context. In the second ...
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1answer
134 views

Was Classical Latin syntax complex on purpose?

Whenever I see Classical texts, the syntax of almost every sentence is really complex. On the other hand, medieval or Renaissance texts seem to have a word order that is more similar to modern Romance ...
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0answers
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Mr Bean's Latin lyrics

I just saw an episode of Mr Bean and once again heard the choir sing in Latin. Based on what I remember hearing and what I found online, the four segments sung are: Start: Ecce homo qui est faba &...
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1answer
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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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Is the following sentence grammatically correct?

I'm in university and in creative writing they asked us to write a short story. I chose a mystery story and composed this sentence for it: Omni usurpant optimes sapientes virtutes acceptum verum ...
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3answers
284 views

What is the correct way to write “The Prince's Book” in Latin?

Greetings Latin StackExchange. One of my hobbies is to write stories and in one of my stories I would like to incorporate an item called "The Prince's Book". My ideal goal is that this item is written ...
4
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3answers
378 views

Using “ad” vs. dative

The self-exercises in CAPVT VIII of Wheelock's Latin (7th Edition) include the following sentence (#11): Litterās ad virginem scrībit. He is writing a letter to the maiden. I'm confused about ...
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1answer
91 views

What case is virtutis in “prope virum summae virtutis sto”?

Consider the sentence, "prope virum summae virtutis sto." What case is virtutis and why? I'm pretty sure that it is genitive due to description, but I'm not sure. In case it helps, I translated it as,...
7
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2answers
115 views

Translating “We are her sword” into Latin

I'm trying to translate a sentence "We are her sword". It's supposed to be a motto for a warriors' guild under leadership of a female elf warrior in our tabletop RPG game. Other than the obvious ...
7
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2answers
296 views

Why is “et sine ipso factum est nihil quod factum est” translated into past tense?

I'm a beginner and noticing "est" a present tense verb, being translated in dozens of resources as "was." Why? et sine ipso factum est nihil quod factum est = and without him nothing was made that ...
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1answer
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Ne … quidem with preposition

What would be the translation of: He does not play even with his brother? Could it be: Ne cum fratre suo quidem ludit? Normally I have seen the structure ne ... quidem with a noun in the nominative ...
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1answer
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Can a morphologically singular collective noun be syntactically plural?

In English the noun "family" is singular but it means a group (of people). Syntactically it can be singular or plural: one can say "the family is/are…" with either choice. Can this kind of ...
3
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1answer
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Doing things “out of vanity”

How can I say "he did it out of vanity" in Latin? The only thing I could see is a causal ablative: vanitate sua ita fecit. Are there other options for doing something "out of vanity", "out of pity", ...
7
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1answer
309 views

how to tell when to use cum temporal and when cum circumstantial

So I have never, ever, ever been able to grasp fully any explanation in any textbook of the difference between cum temporal and cum circumstantial, because the examples they give always seem to ...
4
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1answer
109 views

Relative Clause of Purpose with Quo

Moreland has this sentence in Relative Clause of Purpose (Unit 14): Properatis quo celerius adveniatis. which it translates as: You hasten by which you may arrive more quickly. The adjective '...
4
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1answer
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Epistemic Modality

Before the erudition of Cerberus, the concept of epistemic modality (EM) had passed me by. Now, I have a Q on this topic. North & Hillard Ex. 216: "Whether the enemy were dismayed at so strange a ...
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1answer
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How to parse “Dis Manibus” syntactically?

Almost everyone who has ever seen a Roman grave inscription has seen the phrase Dis Manibus or its abbreviation DM. It starts almost every Roman tombstone I have seen. I know it means "to/for the ...
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1answer
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Does this adverb phrase apply to one or both verbs separated by 'vel'?

The quote below is from the Instituta Patrum de modo psallendi, an anonymous Carolingian or High Medieval (I myself would date it 800s or 900s) document on singing psalms in Gregorian chant. Source ...
3
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1answer
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Numeral form for one pluralia tantum noun

One pants? One scissors? Oh, no way! This is a follow-up to the @brianpck's question How do I specify how many “litterae” or “castra” there are?, and the accepted answer was to use distributive ...
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1answer
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Homo Novus vs Novus Homo

To my surprise, the English Wikipedia article about the concept of homines novi is called Novus Homo, not homo novus as I would expect. I have been taught that Latin order is almost always ...
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2answers
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Can the absolute ablative be used with a prepositional phrase?

In all cases of ablativus absolutus that I know, there is a main word and an attribute and both are in ablative. For example, me absente is "while I am away" and Caesare duce is "when Caesar is in ...
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Walking “hand in hand”

How can I translate the sentence "We are walking hand in hand" in Latin? I am not sure how to render "hand in hand". A direct translation would be Ambulamus manus in manu. But can I use a nominative ...
3
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1answer
65 views

Passive periphrastic with two datives

I want to translate the following as a passive periphrastic: You must give your money to me! My attempt so far is: pecunia tua tibi danda est mihi Because Latin rarely acknowledges word order, ...
6
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1answer
108 views

Translating “God knows how much/long” and similar

Consider these examples: Mr. Johnson has been the janitor for God knows how long. Right behind this park is the new bridge that cost God knows how much. You can replace "God knows how" with "...
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2answers
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Describing relative locations of material objects in Latin

I tried translating three sentences regarding topic in question and will appreciate it if you take time to check my attempts. Chest is to the left of the bed. Arca ad sinistram lectuli est. ...
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2answers
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Event happening during action

How to translate to Latin sentences describing event occurring during another action. E.g.: Walking under trees I noticed it. My attempt: Dum sub arboribus ambulabam id conspicavi. Is ...
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3answers
8k views

How to curse someone in Latin?

Suppose I want to curse someone — I want to ask some gods or spirits to do evil upon a particular person. (No, I'm not angry at any user of this site.) How do I do this in Latin? I am not ...
5
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1answer
139 views

The use of subjunctive in the future

I came across the usage of subjunctive the other day. I read that if the main verb is in the present, future or perfect with have, the subjunctive is in the present whereas if the main verb is in the ...
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4answers
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“Deep” Meaning of “Gloria in excelsis Deo”

Sorry if the question is not very deep, please edit the question if it is not accurate in meaning. According to Wikipedia (and common understanding of people who sang Gloria), the meaning is stated ...