Latin/Lesson 8-Ablative Absolute and Accusative Infinitive

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Latin
Intro: 12
Chapter 1 123456
Chapter 2 12345678
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Ablative Absolute[edit]

The ablative absolute construction is used in a sentence to provide a background for the main action in the sentence. An ablative absolute is formed with a noun and an adjective or participle in the ablative case.

convivis ingressis ille cenam parat

With the guests having entered, he prepares dinner.

viris in taberna bibentibus feminae diligenter laborabant

With the men drinking in the tavern, the women worked diligently.

omnibus ieiunis multos panes parare debuit

With everyone (being) hungry, he had to prepare lots of bread.

Accusative Infinitive[edit]

The accusative infinitive construction is used to indirectly report speech or thoughts. An accusative infinitive construction is formed by taking the indirect clause and putting the subject in the accusative and the verb in the infinitive.

ille credit pueros stultos esse

He believes the boys to be fools = He believes that the boys are fools.

magister parentibus dicit pueros stultos esse

The teacher says to the parents that the boys are fools.

colonus uxori dicit se confectum esse

The farmer says to his wife that he is exhausted.

In this sentence, note how the reflexive se refers to the main subject of the sentence.

colonus uxori dixit se confectum esse

The farmer said to his wife that he was tired.

Note how esse, despite being a present infinitive, is translated into the past tense. This is because the infinitive uses the action of the main verb, in this case dixit as a reference point instead of the present.

But what about sentences such as "the farmer says to his wife that he worked diligently"? For those, you need to use the past infinitive.

Overview of infinitives in all tenses[edit]

Tense Active Passive Active Passive Active Passive Active Passive
Present amare amari monere moneri regere regi audire audiri
Past amavisse amatus, -a, -um esse monuisse monitus, -a, -um esse rexisse rectus, -a, -um esse audivisse auditus, -a, -um esse
Future amaturus, -a, -um esse amatum iri moniturus, -a, -um esse monitum iri recturus, -a, -um esse rectum iri auditurus, -a, -um esse auditum iri

The sentence "The farmer says to his wife that he worked diligently" would thus translate as:

colonus uxori dicit se diligenter laboravisse

The following examples show how different infinitives with the main verb in the past and present would appear in English:

  • colonus uxori dixit se diligenter laboravisse = The farmer said to his wife that he had worked diligently.
  • colonus uxori dixit se diligenter laborare = The farmer said to his wife that he was working diligently.
  • colonus uxori dixit se diligenter laboraturum esse = The farmer said to his wife that he would work (or was going to work) diligently.
  • colonus uxori dicit se diligenter laboraturum esse = The farmer said to his wife that he will work (or is going to work) diligently.
  • nuntius mihi dixit urbem deletam esse = The messenger told me that the city had been destroyed
  • nuntius mihi dixit urbem deleri = The messenger told me that the city was being destroyed
  • nuntius mihi dixit urbem deletum iri = The messenger told me that the city would be destroyed (or was going to be destroyed)
  • nuntius mihi dicit urbem deletum iri = The messenger told me that the city will be destroyed (or is going to be destroyed)

Translation Exercises[edit]

  1. parentis absentibus pueri ludunt
  2. multis hominibus audientibus consul orationem (speech) habet
  3. consule loquente multi homines audiunt
  4. agro vendito colonus Romam ingressus est
  5. Antonius civibus dixit Brutum victum iri
  6. Bruti fautores (supporters) crediderunt eum victurum esse
  7. illi gaudebant Brutum multas legiones habere
  8. sed paucis post mensibus nuntius venit et dixit Brutum victum esse