Queō and Nequeō

Summary of queō and nequeō

Summary of Use and Defection

Queō and nequeō (viz. ne + queō) are defective verbs and should be translated I can and I cannot, i.o.

Both verbs conjugate like

“They are rarely used except in the present” (AG, 206d)

Many forms are defective—that is, they appear in no extant Latin text

  • The imperative, gerund and supine are entirely defective
  • A few passive forms occur in medieval prose

Queō and nequeō appear less frequently than possum and nōn possum.


  • I can trust him: eō fidem dāre queō. 
  • He cannot feel pain: nōn quit sentīre dolorem.
  • He cannot feel pain: nequit sentīre dolorem.
  • This is what may be said: hōc quod dicere quīsse est.

The Essential AG: 206d

Famous Phrase: flectere sī nequeō superōs, Acheron movēbo.

(If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.) [Aeneid, 7.312]




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