Ecclesiastical Latin/Sentence3

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The sentence pattern for this lesson will be as follows.

  • NN GN ESSE

and

  • NN DN ESSE

The first, NN GN ESSE is not so hard to understand. The genitive case is basically a noun pretending to be an adjective. Most of the time it denotes possession but does have some other uses. The above sentence pattern is not really equal to NN NA ESSE because the whole point of such a sentence is to inform us that the subject noun has the quality of the adjective. However, in NN GN ESSE, we are really saying just NN ESSE with the extra genitive tacted on as an after thought. The genitive here is not so important to the sentence. The Nominative Noun is much more important.

Currum matris est. "It's mom's car."

However, if we change the Genitive to a Dative we get; NN DN ESSE and this very strongly expresses the idea of possession. The Dative is not just an extra idea added to the sentence but is unnecessary as the genitive is. In the sentence pattern, the Dative is the most important word. The very purpose of the sentence is to tell us TO WHO the thing in the nominative belongs.

Currum matri est. Liturally this is "Car to mom is." But it has the force of "The car BELONGS TO MOM (and no one else)." OR, "The car is MOM'S, not mine, not yours, not Dad's, only MOM'S."

Interestingly, since Latin is a pro-drop language, which means that if the subject is understood already between speaker and listener it need not be expressed, we often find NN DN ESSE being expressed as DN ESSE.

Matri est. "It is for Mom."