Latin/Lesson 2-Subjunctive Use

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Latin
Intro: 12
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.The subjunctive mood has several uses in Latin, the most notable of which are:

  • First Person Exhortations
  • Purpose Clauses
  • Result Clauses
  • Indirect Commands

First Person Exhortations (Hortatory Subjunctive)[edit]

Definition, Common Usage and Expression in Latin[edit]

An exhortation is a statement which expresses a wish. In English, the most common exhortation is "let's go". Other possibilities are "would go", "should go" and "may go". In Latin, these statements are equally as often used and are expressed in the present subjunctive active tense.

Examples[edit]

  • Festinemus ad forum
    Let's hurry to the forum
  • Roma discedamus
    Let's leave Rome
  • Roma non discedam, nam mea familia ibi vivit.
    I should not leave Rome, for my family lives there. (Also, "I will not leave" -- the form is ambiguous.)
  • Cenemus!
    Let us dine!
  • Cenarem tecum si laborem perficerem[1]
    I would dine with you if I should finish my work.

Purpose Clauses[edit]

Definition, Common Usage and Expression in Latin[edit]

A purpose clause is a clause which expresses that someone did something in order that something else might happen. In English they usually contain the words in order to or so that. In Latin this concept is expressed by the words ut and ne followed by a verb in the subjunctive mood. Ut means "so that" or "in order to" and ne means "lest." In purpose clauses, only forms of the imperfect (following the secondary sequence of tenses) and present (for the primary sequence) are used.

Examples[edit]

  • Quintus donum Scintillae dedit ut eum amaret
    Quintus gave Scintilla a gift so that she would love him. (The imperfect subjunctive is used to indicate a "present/future" time relationship with the perfect main verb, with pluperfect being the only other option, indicating a past time relationship).
  • Fabius equos domum duxit ne tempestate timerentur
    Fabius brought the horses home lest they be frightened by the storm.
  • Marcus Graeciā fugit ut matrem suam Romae inveniret
    Marcus fled Greece to find his mother in Rome.

Result Clauses[edit]

Definition, Common Usage and Expression in Latin[edit]

Result clauses state that something occurred as a result of something else happening. For a positive result, use ut. For a negative result, use ut... non.

Examples[edit]

  • Sextus tam iratus erat ut fratrem interficere vellet
    Sextus was so angry that he wished to kill his brother.
  • Horatia tam laeta erat ut lacrimaret
    Horatia was so happy that she cried.
  • Caesar tam potus erat ut Galliam oppugnare non posset
    Caesar was so drunk that he couldn't attack Gaul.
  • Milo tam defessus erat ut in via dormiret
    Milo was so tired that he slept on the road.

Indirect Commands[edit]

Definition, Common Usage and Expression in Latin[edit]

An indirect command is a statement like the following: "He ordered her to do x". The English equivalent words are "to" or "that they should" It can also take the form of "I am ordering you to do x", as opposed to the imperative "DO X!". Several verbs in Latin take the subjunctive mood with indirect commands:

  1. rogo, rogare, rogavi, rogatum - to ask
  2. persuadeo, persuadere, persuasi, persuasum - to persuade
  3. impero, imperare, -imperavi, imperatum - to order
  4. peto, petere petivi, petitum - to seek, ask for

These verbs use an ut/ne + the subjunctive construction.

Examples[edit]

  • Imperator militibus imperavit ut castra caperent
    The general ordered the soldiers to capture the camp.
  • Eum rogo ut navem emat
    I am asking him to buy the ship.
  • Mater liberis imperavit ne in horto currerent
    The mother asked her children not to run in the garden.

Indirect questions[edit]

Definition, Common Usage and Expression in Latin[edit]

The subjunctive is used in indirect questions. For example, the question 'What are you doing?' is direct, while "He asked what I was doing" is indirect. In Latin, the verb in the clause containing the indirect question must be in the subjunctive.

Examples[edit]

  • Imperator milites rogat si castra ceperint
    The general asks the soldiers if they captured the camp.
  • Eum rogo quid faciat
    I am asking him what he is doing.
  • Magister pueros rogat utrum laborent an ludant
    The teacher asks the boys whether they are working or playing.

Notā bene![edit]

  1. Note that in si... (if...) clauses, the future perfect is often used where the present is in English. "I shall dine with you if I finish my work" would be "I shall dine with you if I shall have finished my work": Tecum cenam si laborem perfecero.