Questions tagged [verbs]

Questions concerning verbs: words describing action.

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Did the Romans derive verbs from names?

I know the Romans did derive verbs from nouns (laudare, finire, lucere…), but did they ever derive verbs from names? The Greeks did, for example forming homerizein (ὁμηρίζ&...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

What are the key differences between the main Latin verbs meaning "to kill"?

I'm a student and my class laughs when we learn a new verb for "to kill". Just to list some of them: necare interficere extinguere There are of course many others. What are the key differences ...
Distjubo's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
766 views

What did the Romans consider the "basic" form of a verb?

Many of us are used to using the (active present) infinitive form of a verb as a "label" or "basic form" or "representative" of the verb. By this I refer to uses like dictionary entries or grammatical ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
988 views

How can I say "undo" in Latin?

The question of how to express my username, Undo, in Latin recently came up in chat. As Ben Kovitz notes, Latin seems to lack the word 'defacio' or similar. How can I say my name, the verb "undo", in ...
user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
841 views

Was the plural future imperative ever used?

In Latin today, we ran across the word "esto", which our teacher told us is the future singular imperative of "sum, esse". When I half-jokingly asked what the plural was, he thought for a few seconds ...
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15 votes
1 answer
366 views

Can I passivize a verb with two objects with respect to either one?

If I have a transitive verb with one object, passivizing an active sentence is straightforward. For example, "te amo" becomes "(a me) amaris". But how to passivize a verb that has two objects? For ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Latin passive endings: Why is -mini sticking out

The Latin passive ending usually feature an additional letter R compared to the active endings: laud-or, -aris, -atur, -amur, -antur. However, the second person plural is different, using the ending -...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
193 views

What is the difference in meaning or nuance between 'premō' and 'imprimō' in the sense of 'I press'?

Wiktionary shows that both premō and imprimō can mean (among other things) "I press." Looking at the formation of the latter word, the prefix im-, can negate the root word. How this applies to this ...
Flimzy's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
964 views

What is the optative?

Some conjunctive forms end in -im (and -is, -it, -imus, -itis, -int), but this is rare. The examples I recall are sim, possim, velim, nolim, malim, and duim (alternative to dem). These forms are ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
562 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?
Clayton Ramsey's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why is there no future perfect subjunctive in Latin?

Why is there no future perfect subjunctive verb form in classical Latin? I can't think of a time it would be used, but I can think of an English translation: "if subject were to have verbed, then ...
tox123's user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
2k views

Imperatives of derivatives of facere, dicere and ducere

Three verbs are well known to have an irregular short imperative: fac, dic, duc. Do the imperatives remain short in the presence of a prefix? For example, which ones are correct out of effic/effac/...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Do plural names referring to a singular thing require a plural verb?

Another question related to my geography of the Roman Empire which I am writing has arisen: during the time of Trajan, 117 AD, there were several provinces which had names in the plural, especially ...
Ethan Bierlein's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do I use gerundives of obligation for deponent verbs?

(Inspired by the comments on this answer.) The gerundive of obligation is a wonderful little idiom in Latin, as in Cato's famous mantra Carthāgō dēlenda est "Carthage must be destroyed" In this ...
Draconis's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does 'verbum' mean both word and verb?

The word verbum means "word", but I want to find out whether it can also have the more specific meaning "verb" (as opposed to other kinds of words). Lewis and Short does not list &...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
552 views

How can one predict the length of theme vowels in verbs?

The theme vowels a, e, and i in infinitives are long. But, in other forms of those verbs, they can be short. But when, exactly? What are the rules for this? And how about the suppletive vowels used ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
2k views

Which verb for drinking is least related to alcohol?

In English, like in many other languages, "to drink" often means "to drink alcohol". I dislike this connotation, and I would like to be able to talk about drinking with minimal alcoholic connotations. ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
415 views

Understanding the stem(s) of 'struere'

The present, perfect, and participle stems1 of the verb struere are stru-, strux-, and struct-. The -s- in the perfect stem and the -t- in the participle stem are nothing unusual, but they seem to ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
497 views

Why is it "dare" and not "dāre" when most first conjugation verbs spell like "amāre"?

Why does dō conjugate differently from other first conjugation verbs in that you find a short a where otherwise you might expect a long ā? BACKGROUND Examples: amāre (dare), amārī (darī), ...
Catomic's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
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Is the Spanish translation of the "Exultet" chant literal?

I am reading the Exultet, an ancient Christian chant. The first two lines are: Exultet iam angelica turba caelorum, exultent divina mysteria In the Spanish translation, these two lines are: ...
luchonacho's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the imperative of velle?

The conjugation tables of irregular Latin verbs that I have seen do not give any imperative forms for the verb velle. The verb nolle has the imperative forms noli and nolite, and they are fairly ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
866 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
832 views

Where did the passive infinitive come from?

The etymology of the present active infinitive seems well-documented. Proto-Italic had an infinitive-like suffix *-si, so *dōnā- + *-si = *dōnāsi > dōnāre by regular sound changes (s → z → r between ...
Draconis's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
608 views

When to use -ris vs. -re as a passive verbal ending

Anyone who has read Cicero's famous line, Quo usque tandem, Catalina, abutere patientia nostra? ...knows that the 2nd person singular passive personal ending "-ris" is often changed to "-re": ...
brianpck's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
358 views

Third conjugation passive infinitive: why -i and not -eri?

The active infinitive is uniform (-re from -se by rhotacism) across the regular Latin conjugations, but the passive one is not: the third conjugation loses the consonant. We have amare/amari, habere/...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
1k views

Verbing in Latin

Do we have any cases where the Romans intentionally conjugated a noun or adjective into a verb? This is common in English and other modern languages, so I'm assuming it is a natural concept. However, ...
tox123's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
970 views

Why is there no predicate in "in vino veritas"?

The latin aphorism, penned by Alcaeus of Mytilene, in vino veritas does not contain any predicate. I assume that esse is implied but I haven't come across any other aphorisms leaving out verbs. Is ...
technical_difficulty's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
387 views

Can a supine verb have arguments?

Consider the following line from the Aeneid, Book VI: nec credere quivi hunc tantum tibi me discessu ferre dolorem. Context: Aeneas has traveled into the underworld, and bumps into Dido, who he ...
user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
303 views

Can a verbum deponens go along with an accusativus?

In Plinius I encountered: "Confitentes iterum ac tertio interrogavi supplicium minatus" Is supplicium some sort of accusativus belonging to minatus, which comes from deponens minor? If a form is ...
drhab's user avatar
  • 213
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

What's the difference between mutantur and mutamur?

A quote by John Owen: Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. I was wondering if you could tell me the difference between mutantur and mutamur?
GoodluckH's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the difference between "novi" and "scio"?

Latin has at least two words that straightforwardly translate to English "know": novi (perf. of nosco) scio Plautus combines the two pleonastically: nec vos qui homines sitis novi nec scio Here'...
brianpck's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
425 views

aret = aridus est?

Is there any semantic or aspectual difference between aret and aridus est (cf. rubet/ruber est; calet/calidus est, candet/candidus est, i.a.)? Ager aret. (Col. 2.8.5) Ager aridus erat. (...
Mitomino's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Dropping "to be" and other verbs in Latin?

Some languages, like Indonesian, can drop the verb to be when the meaning is obvious. They are zero-copula languages. I heard that some Latin authors wrote some sentences with this feature. Do you ...
Quidam's user avatar
  • 1,776
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are Deponent Verbs a feature of the Latin Language or Means of Translation?

sequi as an example is a deponent verb. All forms are translated active, but look like passive forms. Is this a feature of the Latin language (i.e. were contemporary linguists aware of such a feature)...
Narusan's user avatar
  • 479
10 votes
2 answers
4k views

Dominus illuminatio mea

I am trying to understand this expression. According to Wikipedia, it is translated as "The Lord is my light". Before reading this article, I thought this meant "Lord illuminate me", perhaps in ...
luchonacho's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
691 views

Why "dilatasti" instead of "dilatavisti" in Psalm 4:2?

(Psalm 4:2) cum invocarem exaudivit me Deus iustitiae meae in tribulatione dilatasti mihi miserere mei et exaudi orationem meam When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in ...
Pascal's Wager's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

How many distinct forms does a typical Latin verb have?

I thought I read somewhere that Latin verbs usually have about 150 different endings, but when I looked over a paradigm table I only found around 90. How many distinct forms do you need to memorize, ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
  • 15.9k
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

'Credo' with dative problem

Here is a small problem with 'credo', there is an example in my dictionary saying that 'crede mihi (dat.)' means 'believe me'. Gildersleeve & Lodge gives credere under Dative with Intransitive ...
Aili J.'s user avatar
  • 1,169
10 votes
1 answer
310 views

How does a computer crash in Latin?

I wrote up a lengthy question to ask here, but my computer crashed and I lost it. Instead of reproducing the question just now, I would like to know how to describe the situation in Latin. The only ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
256 views

Questions on reading the prologue of Aesopus Latinus via LLPSI

Duplex libelli dos est: quod risum movet  et quod prudenti vitam consilio monet. Calumniari si quis autem voluerit  quod arbores loquantur, non tantum ferae, ... (Line 3~6) Dos is explained as a ...
Kotoba Trily Ngian's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
5k views

Alea iacta est, plural version?

I was thinking about the famous Phrase "alea iacta est", and I was wondering: how would be the plural version of it? I thought about ALEAS IACTA SUNT Because aleas needs to be in the accusative ...
Henry's user avatar
  • 193
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Instances of the future passive infinitive

Throughout my time studying Latin in school, one grammatical construction in particular has always intrigued me to an extent — the future passive infinitive (eg. amatum iri). Whenever it came up (...
Nick's user avatar
  • 640
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Three forms of a Latin verb?

Why do Latin to English dictionaries list three forms of a Latin verb? I've seen this other places like grammar books too. For example: sedeō, sēdī, sessum: to sit. There's no Latin keyboard for ...
Luke Sheppard's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
803 views

How can I tell if -ere is getting substituted for -erunt?

There's an alternate form of the third person plural perfect active indicative. Instead of, say, habuerunt, a poet might write habuere, to make the word fit with the meter, but that looks like the ...
user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
384 views

Do any Latin verbs use a temporal augment?

In Greek, past tenses are formed with "augmentation," e.g. present -> imperfect: λῡ́ω > ἔλῡον εὑρῐ́σκω > ηὕρῐσκον Since we know that certain Latin verbs preserve perfect reduplication, I wonder: do ...
brianpck's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
359 views

Syntax of sentences with the verb "pudet"

In Lewis and Short, I have seen that the verb pudeo is chiefly used as an impersonal verb. In fact, I have found some examples of such usage in chapter XXIII of Lingua latina per se illustrata. ...
Charo's user avatar
  • 2,012
9 votes
1 answer
299 views

Borrowing Greek verbs without -ίζω

I was recently linked to this post on False Cognates, discussing different verb classes in Latin, Greek, and Germanic. One part caught my eye: Latin verbs of all conjugations are borrowed easily (...
Draconis's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
612 views

Are Latin verbs of motion satellite-framed or verb-framed?

Are Latin verbs of motion satellite-framed, verb-framed, both, or neither? Native English verbs of motion are said to be satellite-framed: the verb usually indicates the manner of motion and a "...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
291 views

Understanding vowel quantity in fieri

The verb fieri has an unusual conjugation, and one of the weird aspects is the long I before many vowels: fīō, fīās, fīet… Why is the I long? Does the origin of ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
113 views

Natural translation of "... Herculaneum, a town near the mountain"

I have been given as an exercise this sentence to translate into Latin: "The soldier arrived in Herculaneum, a town near the mountain". I offered the translation of "Miles in Herculaneum pervenit, ...
Cataline's user avatar
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