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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How to analyze and translate "non se luxu neque inertiae corrumpendum dedit" (Sal. Jug. 6)?

By taking a look at various translations of the sentence in bold below, which is excerpted from a famous portrait of Jugurtha by Sallust, one could infer that the datives luxu (cf. luxui) and inertiae ...
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Nested prepositional phrases

I'm trying to learn me some Latin recently, using Euler's works as my training material, since some of them already have English translations, so I can compare my attempts with theirs, and use them as ...
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Aristotle Metaphysics - questions on syntax

Metaphysics, 994b7-9: ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἀδύνατον τὸ πρῶτον ἀΐδιον ὂν φθαρῆναι: ἐπεὶ γὰρ οὐκ ἄπειρος ἡ γένεσις ἐπὶ τὸ ἄνω, ἀνάγκη ἐξ οὗ φθαρέντος πρώτου τι ἐγένετο μὴ ἀΐδιον εἶναι. Latin translation: Simul ...
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Can -que be used with adverbs?

If I wanted to say something like "I love you now and forever", can I use -que with one of the adverbs like I would with nouns? Nunc perpetuoque te amo. I tried searching various adverbs ...
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Can habeo introduce a relative clause of purpose?

In Cicero's letter to Atticus from November 68 BC, he writes this: Porrō autem neque mihi accidit ut habērem quī in Ēpīrum proficīscerētur nequedum tē Athēnīs esse audiēbāmus. This is how I ...
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how 'nunc' is used as a correlative?

I came across this sentence in Jerome's letter to Innocentius: "Nunc mihi ēuānēscentibus terrīs ‘caelum undique et undique pontus’ nunc unda tenebrīs horrēscēns et caecā nocte nimbōrum spūmeī ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Omitting a verb when it is the same for both parts of the sentence

The grammar book I'm studying translates the following sentence like this: English: The death is certain, uncertain is the day of death. Latin: Mors certa, dies mortis incerta est. However, I'd ...
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What is the event referred to in this passage from Hermann von dem Busche's Vallum Humanitatis?

In Hermann von dem Busche's Vallum Humanitatis, a spirited defense of renaissance humanism against scholastics at the University of Cologne, I have come across a puzzling passage. Ecce tibi, quam ...
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Preposition preceding a verb [duplicate]

i came across this sentence in Orberg's book: "Quid inest in saccis?" Or "Ecce iulius ad villam advenit." My question is that why there are aditional prepositions, namely another &...
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Analysing syntax: What are the main clauses in these two Latin sentences from "Brevarium" by Eutropius?

everyone. Here are the sentences and my thoughts about them: 1: Is veniens eodem itinere, quo etiam Hannibal venerat a consulibus Ap. Claudio Nerone et M. Livio Salinatore apud Senam, Piceni civitatem,...
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Analyzing syntax: "Interea ad Hispanias...annos natus quattuor et viginti..." The sentence is from the Late Latin book "Brevarium" by Eutropius

Here is the sentence and my thoughts about it: Interea ad Hispanias, ubi occisis duobus Scipionibus nullus Romanus dux erat, P. Cornelius Scipio mittitur, filius P. Scipionis, qui ibidem bellum ...
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Analyzing syntax: "Cui viro divinum quiddam inesse existimabatur, adeo ut putaretur etiam cum numinibus habere sermonem."

everyone. Here is the sentence and my thoughts about it: Cui viro divinum quiddam inesse existimabatur, adeo ut putaretur etiam cum numinibus habere sermonem. First of all, I am curious about the ...
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What is the syntax of "cantantes licet usque eamus," specifically regarding "licet"?

The motto of the Harvard Glee Club is "cantantes licet usque eamus." This appears to be an approximate quote from Virgil's Eclogue 9, lines 63-64: aut si, nox pluviam ne colligat ante, ...
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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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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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8 votes
2 answers
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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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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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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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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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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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11 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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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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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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9 votes
2 answers
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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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1 answer
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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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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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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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6 votes
0 answers
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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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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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7 votes
1 answer
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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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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6 votes
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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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6 votes
2 answers
480 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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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1 vote
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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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9 votes
2 answers
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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7 votes
1 answer
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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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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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8 votes
1 answer
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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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8 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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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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8 votes
0 answers
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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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