Uses of Quam (Quamquam and Quamvīs)

Uses of Quam (part 3 of 4)


Origin of Quam

Quam is derived from the feminine singular accusative of the interrogative pronoun quī, quae, quod 

Summary of Use

Quam has many and various uses in Latin

It appears most commonly as the standard coordinating conjunction of comparison between two adjectives, adverbs or clauses (part 1)

  • Two things compared with quam will always appear in the same case
  • There are better and worse (common and less common) ways to compare with quam

The phrases quam ut, quam quī, quam sī and quam (alone) may also initiate a subjunctive statement (part 2)

  • These include clauses of purpose, characteristic and comparison

The compounds quamvīs and quamquam are concessive particles, taking subjunctive and indicative clauses, i.o. (part 3)

Quam and its compounds have several other functions (part 4)



Quamvīs “means literally ‘as much as you will.’” (AG 527a)

  • It was originally an expression of hortatory subjunctive

Quamvīs is speculative, and therefore followed with a subjunctive statement of concession

  • They have died, however guilty they may have been: cecidērunt, quamvīs sceleratī fuissent.
  • However incapable they are, still, these things must be revealed: quamvīs īnfantēs sint, tamen sibi aperienda sunt. 


Quamquam “introduces an admitted fact and takes the indicative” (AG, 527d)

  • Though he is king, he is mortal: quamquam rex, tamen mortalis est.
  • Although you have said these things, I doubt: quamquam ea fāris, dubitō. 

Quamquam also appears as and yet, introducing a new position in the indicative

  • And yet, you have come: quamquam, vēnistī.
  • He is filthy, and yet I love him: sordidus est, quamquam eum amō.


The Essential AG: 527 a, d


quamvīs tegātur, proditur vultū furor

(though covered, passion is betrayed by the face)

[Seneca, Phaedra, 363]




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