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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14
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2answers
649 views

What word order resolves the ambiguity of two nominative nouns in a sentence?

This question is a beginner's confusion about sentences of the form: [subject_noun] [object_noun] est. E.g. Bob agricola est. From my understanding, both the subject and object are declined in ...
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5answers
476 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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1answer
358 views

Are there instances of free indirect discourse in Latin or Greek?

Free indirect discourse is a type of narrative device which has some similarities with direct discourse and some with ordinary indirect discourse, but is different from both. Here's an English example,...
12
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2answers
496 views

Does Latin have a mechanism to disambiguate possessive pronouns of the same gender referring to distinct persons?

Question: does Latin have a grammatical mechanism to disambiguate the ambiguous use of `his' in the third of the three following English sentences? Person A wrote a book. Then person B wrote a ...
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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 ...
12
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3answers
675 views

Can esse be used with a present participle?

I do not recall ever seeing esse in any form used with active present participles (like faciens). One could imagine something similar to the English distinction between "he does" and "he is doing" in ...
12
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1answer
637 views

What is the difference between accusative and genitive with meminisse?

The verb meminisse can take an accusative or a genitive object. Also other constructions are possible (see the entry in L&S), but I want to focus on comparing these two in classical Latin. Are ...
12
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1answer
304 views

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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"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 &...
11
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3answers
809 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 ...
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4answers
2k views

Is the complement of esse in nominative or accusative when esse is a subject?

Suppose I want to say something like "I like being a human". There are undoubtedly several ways to phrase that in Latin, but I want to do it so that it the subject is "to be a human". The complete ...
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2answers
675 views

Jenney's First Year Latin, Lesson 37, comparatives with "quam"

I'd like some clarification on which cases are appropriate during the use of the word "quam" with comparatives. I'm teaching Jenney's First-Year Latin (1990). In Lesson 37 (page 426 of the 1990 ...
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3answers
403 views

How to work around the missing cases of vis?

The word vis does not have singular genitive and dative forms. This makes it difficult to use vis. (I was reminded of this difficulty by this Star Wars question.) Can you suggest methods of working ...
11
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1answer
399 views

How to make a deponent passive in meaning?

I was thinking about the verb sequi, a deponent which means to follow. I was wondering, how do you put the deponent into a passive form? So is it possible to translate the following sentences into ...
11
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1answer
201 views

Scope of negation with absolute constructions

In Latin and Greek, when a negator appears in an absolute construction (ablative absolute, genitive absolute), it is generally taken to negate the predicate within that construction: hostibus ...
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2answers
180 views

When did the grammarians first recognize a question?

I previously asked about indicating a question in writing, and I got interested in how questions were recognized in the first place. To know if a question mark would be used after a question, one ...
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2answers
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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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2answers
545 views

How to answer a question?

Respondere looks like a good verb for answering, but how can I say "to answer a question"? I failed to find an answer by looking at dictionaries. These options come to mind: quaestionem respondere in ...
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2answers
144 views

Ambiguitas casus genitivi?

The first sentence of the introduction to the Systema Naturæ by Linnaeus is: Homo mundi intraturus theatrum quæritur Quis sit. How do you tell what noun goes with mundi? Grammatically, two ...
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2answers
700 views

Difference between filiī and liberī

I was reading Orberg's Lingua Latina per se Illustrata and I found the following sentences: Marcus et Quīntus sunt dūo filiī. [...] In familia Rõmāna tres līberī sunt. Now I deduce both words ...
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2answers
353 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 ...
10
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1answer
262 views

How to write a sentence with two genitives describing one noun

I would like to translate the following sentence into Latin. Minerva is the goddess of wisdom and of wool. My first guess would be, Minerva est dea sapientiae et lanae. But I'm not sure ...
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2answers
221 views

Omission of a repeated verb in second part of a μέν ... δέ

This question is about the Greek equivalent of sentences like I do not fear the Greeks, but I do fear the Romans. Socrates didn't write dialogues, but Plato did. These sentences use or imply the ...
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2answers
338 views

Is it "bene videtur" or "bonum videtur"? Adjective or adverb with verbs/copulae meaning "seem"

With verbs like "seem, appear", one sometimes uses an adverb to express how something appears ("she looked well"), at other times an adjective ("he seemed angry"). How did the Romans do it, ...
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1answer
549 views

The syntax of swearing

How to swear in Latin? I am not looking for vocabulary, but syntax. Did the Romans only swear using interjections, or did could swearing be used within a sentence? There are several ways to swear in ...
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2answers
791 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
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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 ...
9
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1answer
167 views

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 ...
9
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1answer
212 views

Negative Future Imperatives

In reading through Book VI of Vergil's Aeneid, I came across the following line: 851 tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento I believe this is translated as "you, Roman, remember to rule the ...
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1answer
462 views

Is "Homo sum, Deus ero" a correct way to say this?

I'm coming up with a title for a song, and I thought "I'm a human, I will be a god" or "I'm human, I will be God" was pretty sweet sounding, but translating it into a short Latin saying would make it ...
9
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1answer
233 views

Usage of adjective solus

I'm trying to translate the sentence "The whole state was thanking this man's brother alone." (that is, the brother the only one being thanked) My try is: Tota civitas fratri huius soli gratias agebat....
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1answer
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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. ...
9
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1answer
232 views

Do the locatives militiae, terrā, marī occur by themselves?

Textbooks tell us that the only common (in the sense of not proper) nouns that have a locative case are rūs "countryside" and domus "home". However, I'm familiar with two expressions that use ...
9
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1answer
167 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
151 views

On different expressions of partitivity in Latin

I was wondering whether there is any difference between the following partitive expressions in Latin: ūnus tribūnōrum and ūnus ex tribūnīs 'one of the tribunes' (cf. the so-called 'partitive genitive' ...
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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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101 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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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 ...
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3answers
341 views

What's the logic behind "eritque Israel in proverbium" (Vulgate bible)

In the Vulgate bible, I encountered the sentence, Eritque Israel in proverbium, et in fabulam cunctis populis. And Israel will be a proverb, and a story for all people. (1 Kings 9:7) I'm curious to ...
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2answers
403 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 ...
8
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2answers
238 views

Phrasing "it remains to"

The phrase "it remains to" is pretty common in mathematics. It can be used in other contexts as well, but let me restrict my question to the abstract realm for concreteness. For example, this would ...
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2answers
591 views

Latin for English "has been" + adjective?

I'm trying to say in Latin, "Our garden has been full of junk for three years" and I can't figure out what tense to put the verb in. In English, "has been" expresses present tense with perfective ...
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2answers
332 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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2answers
695 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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2answers
344 views

Indefinite relative clauses in indirect discourse

What is the most idiomatic way of expressing in Latin a sentence containing an indirect statement, which itself contains an indefinite relative clause? To start with the direct version: consider a ...
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2answers
278 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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2answers
305 views

Present Subjunctive Passive

North & Hillard Ex. 213; Q5: the following is to be translated into Latin: "I am willing to send anyone at all to find out what is going on." The answer: "volo quemvis (quemlibet) mittere ...
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3answers
687 views

"Populus Romanus Quiritium" as vocative?

In Latin Prose Composition by John Arbuthnot Nairn (Cambridge UP, 1926; p. 5 of "Versions" section), I find the following as a translation of Shakespeare's "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ...
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2answers
135 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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2answers
258 views

Is there a difference between the future participle and the supine accusative?

The purpose of motion can be expressed in several ways. For example, I would consider the following essentially equivalent (did I forget something?): Ille me salutatum Romam venit. Ille me ...

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