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Questions tagged [syntax]

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Asking a teacher for more (hopefully extra credit) homework

Salvete, Sodales! I'm a student in his second year of Latin study, but my class has been slow in reading our texts and I've been bored from the beginning. I want to ask my teacher to give me more ...
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69 views

In this passage, why verbo instead of verbum?

There's a phrase from the Gospel that's used in the liturgy -- "sed tantum dic verbo" [et sanabitur anima mea], "but only say the word" [and my soul shall be healed]. Why verbo (dative or ablative) ...
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Gerundives in Ablative Absolute constructions?

I was wondering if Gerundives, the verbal adjectives referred to as "passive future participles" by Latin grammarians, can appear as predicates of (true) Ablative Absolute (AA) constructions. As is ...
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1answer
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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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Indirect questions and the passive subjunctive

How would you translate: "He asked if the the city had been captured?" Quaerit num civitatem captum esse? Here I am using an accusative (captum) plus infinitive (esse). Am I right? Thank you!
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Shuffling Latin sentences

So, I have heard an interesting claim about Latin, and I wonder how true it is. The claim is, given that Latin has declensions, you can shuffle words around and keep the sentence's meaning. Is that ...
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1answer
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How do I name the individual parts of the lumbricals muscle of the foot in latin?

As we can see, Wikipedia lists the lumbricals muscle and tells us that the muscle contains four parts. I need to name all four individual parts of the muscle and their respective side in the body. I ...
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507 views

Where is the correct position to set right or left of muscle names for anatomical names?

Muscles and bones have Latin names as can be found on wikipedia. I need to name muscles and bones with their Latin name and I also need to specify if it's the left or the right muscle in the human ...
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50 views

Any material on so-called “inverse analysis” and “minimal pairs” to practice Latin grammar?

I was wondering if anyone could provide me with references on any online material (pdf, links, etc.) of Latin Grammar which can contain exercises based on so-called "inverse analysis" and "minimal ...
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1answer
123 views

What is the grammatical “logic” of ablative case in «Tuā et meā māximē interest tē ualēre» (Cic. Fam. 16.4)?

Assuming that ablative case is always a semantic case (see the typical lists of its associated meanings in Latin grammars), I was wondering if Latin speakers could still assign a synchronic more or ...
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1answer
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What is the grammatical “logic” of impersonal constructions like “Me non solum piget stultitiae meae sed etiam pudet” (Cic. De Dom. 29)?

What is the grammatical "logic" of the impersonal construction with psychological verbs like pudet, piget, paenitet, taedet, miseret? (here is a short descriptive characterization of so-called “psych ...
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226 views

Null expletive objects in Latin? “Cariotae cum ficis certandum habent” (Plin. Ep. 1,8)

How is the gerundive construction to be analyzed in the following example? Cariotae cum ficis certandum habent. (Plin. Ep. 1,8) 'Dates have to fight with figs'. Could you please provide me ...
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Is this a question or an affirmation?

Reading the Digest (6th century, copy of 9th century), I find this sentence: Sed si plures servum percusserint, utrum omnes quasi occiderint teneantur videamus. One author who established the text ...
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The Purpose of “Natu”

Following on from the question "Using Genitive & Infinitive To Describe Characteristics"; Joonas (26/6/19): "adulescentis est maiores natu revereri." = "It is of a young person to respect his/ her ...
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552 views

Sentences with no verb, but an ablative

Sometimes I will run across sentences that have no verb, but there is an ablative and I am not sure about the right approach to assuming a verb. For example, in this 16th century sentence: Erat ...
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Greek: indirect discourse / sequence of moods after κελεύω etc.?

I'm wondering about the proper Greek translation of a sentence like: He ordered me to do whatever I wanted. This sentence has an indefinite relative clause (whatever I wanted) after a verb of ...
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200 views

What is the term for extremely loose Latin word order?

For a Latin-language artificial intelligence called Mensa Latina the user manual will need to discuss and therefore refer to the phenomenon in Latin prose where meaning comes from grammar and ...
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1answer
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Syntax of Ille: “numquam est ille miser cui facile est mori”

What is the syntax of ille in the sentence: "numquam est ille miser cui facile est mori"? I get that cui is indirect object, but what is the function of the demonstrative pronoun ille in the sentence?
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Why the placement of the verse break between John 7:21-22?

I've been slowly working my way through the Gospel of John translating from the Greek. Coming to John 7:21-22, I am a bit stumped as to why editors have placed sentence and verse breaks where they ...
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When are -ns words used with accusative direct objects?

In English, one common generalization is that "-ing" words only take direct objects when they are verb forms, not when they are true adjectives or true nouns. (There are only a few possible exceptions,...
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On the use (or not) of genitive in some verses of the Vulgata

I'm a bit puzzled with some verses of the Vulgata, regarding the use or not of genitive. Consider 3 Regnum (1 Kings in non LXX-based bibles). Verses 13-15 in Chapter 10 go as follows: [13] Rex ...
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1answer
119 views

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 ...
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1answer
142 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" ...
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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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193 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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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 (...
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1answer
152 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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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? ...
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1answer
609 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
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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 ...
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1answer
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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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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
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“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 ...
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1answer
323 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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“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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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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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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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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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? [closed]

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
323 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 ...
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3answers
732 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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129 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,...