10 votes
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Why is the imperfect tense used here instead of the present tense?

Sometimes, the imperfect (and perhaps even the perfect) indicative can be used for a subjunctive. It can then express an irrealis, like here: "it would be better that I died than to live without ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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'diceres vocem eius audiri posse' in 'Fabulae Syrae' in the story of Arachne (pag. 83), what is the correct translation of diceres?

The use is the so-called potential subjunctive. The relevant sections of Gildersleeve and Lodge, Latin grammar, are 257ff. 258. The Potential of the Past is the Imperfect Subjunctive, chiefly in the ...
cnread's user avatar
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8 votes
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Use of imperfect in a letter

This is called the epistolary imperfect, and it's used not in place of the perfect, but of the present. See Allen and Greenough on the topic. In letters, the Historical Perfect or the imperfect may ...
cmw's user avatar
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5 votes
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Modalities for fictitious past: could have, should have, and would have

Even if these expressions (“woulda, shoulda, coulda”) look very similar in English, it is probably helpful to look at two things separately: Would have is a true counterfactual, and since the “would ...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
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What does "vestem scindebat" mean?

The whole sentence is not particularly long and goes like this: Ariadna igitur in litus descendit atque huc et illuc currens multis cum lacrimis capillum et vestem scindebat, ut homines qui maerent ...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
4 votes
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Does 'fiebam' contain the same root twice?

It seems so. According to Hriberšek, the imperfect and future were most likely periphrastic constructions, with forms of *fu(i)- following the main verb. He cites Sihler 1995 comparing this to the ...
Draconis's user avatar
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Adhibeturne tempus perfectum/imperfectum aut presens cum de homine mortuo loqueris?

As a native English speaker, I would use a past tense to describe something that was once true but no longer is, and the present to describe something that is still true. Barack Obama was the ...
Draconis's user avatar
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To talk about repetitive past events (that used to occur regularly), do you use perfect or imperfect tense?

Imperfect tense. The reason that it is called imperfect is because it describes a repeated (a.k.a. non-instantaneous) action. Perfect, on the other hand, describes something that happened once. There ...
gingerwitch64's user avatar

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